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Nancy Drew and the Syndication of White Savior Feminism

By Kirsten Ginzky

Relatable-yet-superhuman, Nancy Drew has been an enduring cultural icon, debuting in 1930 and starring in hundreds of books along with films, television series, and video games. When I was introduced to Nancy in 1998, I devoured every volume of the yellow-spined mystery series that I could get my hands on. The heroine is a spunky, prodigious girl detective who solves hundreds of cases, succeeding when lawmen cannot. Nancy is sarcastic, confident, and an ace at evading the many criminals who tail her powder blue Mustang convertible during high-speed chases. In the early 20th century, the Nancy Drew series was lauded as presenting “an amazing alternative to the career choice of secretary and milliner that other children’s books provided” (Paretsky, 1991, p. 9). The syndication of the ‘Nancy Drew’ archetype created a significant blueprint for modern American girl and womanhood – one that helped inspire a model of empowered womanhood that dominates 20th and 21st century American life with a Who’s Who of public figures including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Diane Sawyer, Laura Bush, Barbara Walters, Nancy Pelosi, and Sandra Day O’Connor (Murphy, 2009; Shipman & Rucci, 2009) citing her as an inspiration. Viewing Nancy with an intersectional lens complicates this narrative: aspirational, independent, but never rebellious, Nancy Drew is a thoroughly modern product, created through a fine-tuned capitalist production and distribution model. Her actions and beliefs reflect both traditional middle-class values and the expanding role of American youth and women in the wake of the Progressive Era. The books affirm WASP superiority and the original editions, revised in the 60s, are rife with racial stereotypes. A contemporary reader could easily dismiss Nancy Drew as an upper-middle-class ‘white savior.’

Naming Gendered and Sexual Identities within Blackness

An excerpt from As Black as Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation, AK Press, released June 5, 2018

By William C. Anderson and Zoe Samudzi

Any truly liberatory politics must speak to the unique needs and vulnerability of Black women and girls, particularly Black queer and transgender women and girls. There are ongoing murders of Black trans women across the country (and trans women around the world) because women’s safety is a non-priority of the state and because patriarchal gender structures are ultimately grounded in transmisogyny. Black women are also being hunted, but this hunting season (unlike the open season on Black men) is grossly under-addressed because of the frequent de-gendering of antiracist politics, the invisibilization of Black women through diversity language like “women and people of color” that overlooks the intersections of race and gender, the erasure of Black women within “women of color,” and understandings of how state violence against Black people focuses on the humiliation and emasculation and almost sole targeting of cisgender black men. A politics of self-defense cannot ignore the intersections of white supremacist state violence and its manifestations of intra-communal violence against Black women (trans and cis), as well as multiply marginalized members of Black communities more widely.

Life as a Nurse in Gaza

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haLU32C-A34 At the age of 27, Azza Jadalla has already lived through six wars. She is a cancer nurse in Gaza’s main hospital, Al-Shifa. Every day she deals with fall-out of the on-going conflict between Israel and Gaza’s ruling party, Hamas. Living in a place with a failing economy means she faces daily electricity and supply shortages at work. “Sometime we go for two or three months without pay,” she says. “But this doesn’t make me want to do my job any less, because it’s not the patient’s fault.” This year’s season features two weeks of inspirational stories about the BBC’s 100 Women and others who are defying stereotypes around the world.

On the Assassination of Afro-Brazilian Activist Marielle Franco

By Scholars for Social Justice

We, Scholars for Social Justice (SSJ) express our outrage over the political assassination of Marielle Franco and Anderson Pedro Gomes, both killed on March 14, 2018 with bullets proven to belong to Brazil’s Military Police. The loss of Marielle Franco is a singular, immense and painful loss for her family, for the black community and for those interested in social justice in Brazil, and around the world. It is also a solemn reminder of the systemic nature of anti-black state violence and genocide.

Hollywood Won’t Save Us: Instead, Let’s Build a Revitalized Radical Feminism

By Barbara Ransby | Truthout

With the rise of the #MeToo moment and the #TimesUp campaign, Hollywood has discovered activism, and with it, a new lexicon and fledgling new identity. This is potentially a blessing and a curse for those of us who have been fighting feminist and anti-racist battles long before “intersectionality” was uttered from the stage at the Oscars, long before activists formed a phalanx of silent sentinels to serve as props for celebrity performances. This scene was politically counterbalanced, by the way, with a celebratory tribute to war and militarism. But this is the world we live in. And like with every industry and institution, there are a handful of genuine change-seekers in Hollywood — people who have risked their careers and livelihoods to wage uphill battles for greater justice in the arts and media. And we have to give them the opportunity to be better allies going forward, in the spirit of Eslanda and Paul Robeson and others. How do we do this work, and dance this dance, with greater attention to the principles that ground us?

We should all be feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much … to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world — of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.

Meet Tarana Burke, Activist Who Started “Me Too” Campaign to Ignite Conversation on Sexual Assault

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T5eTD5llNs Amid the ongoing fallout from sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a former contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” has subpoenaed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for all documents relating to her and any other women who have accused the U.S. president of unwanted sexual contact. We look at how this has reignited a conversation about sexual assault with women using the #MeToo hashtag, and speak with activist Tarana Burke, who started the campaign about a decade ago. “’Me Too’ is so powerful, because somebody had said it to me, and it changed the trajectory of my healing process,” Burke says. We also speak with Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and Soraya Chemaly, a journalist who covers the intersection of gender and politics.

Inspiring the next Generation of Female Engineers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEeTLopLkEo Close your eyes and picture and engineer. You probably weren’t envisioning Debbie Sterling. Debbie Sterling is an engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math. GoldieBlox is a book series+construction set that engages kids to build through the story of Goldie, the girl inventor who solves problems by building simple machines. Debbie writes and illustrates Goldie’s stories, taking inspiration from her grandmother, one of the first female cartoonists and creator of “Mr. Magoo.” Her company, launched in 2012, raised over $285,000 in 30 days through Kickstarter, and has been featured in numerous publications such as The Atlantic and Forbes.

The Fragile Masculinity of Tech Bros and the Failure of Liberal Feminism

By Veronica Arreola | Medium

I honest to gawd thought when I saw the article, “Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far,” that it was a clickbait satire piece. Nope. It was a full-fledged New York Times article and as of its publication was in the top 5 viewed articles and continues to trend on Pocket. As I read the article, I went on a Facebook rant that I cleaned up here.

No Perfect Victims Convening 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7mMvkqbdFA&feature=youtu.be Between 1977 and 2007, the population of U.S women prisoners grew by 800% with an annual growth rate doubling that of men over many years. The vast majority of incarcerated and criminalized women (trans and non-trans) have previous histories of domestic and sexual abuse. This gathering at the Allied Media Conference in 2017 engaged participants on how to pro-actively support and advocate for survivors who live at the intersection of gender violence and criminalization. They highlighted the experiences of grassroots organizations and defense committees in supporting those who don’t fall into the “perfect victim” narrative and shaed a new toolkit for those who want to do similar work. View the full Criminalized Survivors Panel and No Perfect Victims Convening 2017 For more information, visit: www.SurvivedandPunished.org www.LoveandProtect.org Thanks to our funders for the convening: Groundswell Fund, Open Society Foundation, Allied Media Conference, and dozens of individual donors. Video by Tom Callahan (www.SensitiveVisuals.com) Photos by Sarah-Ji…

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