May 3rd, 2009

smirking half-hawk


7.Feminism: Issues and Arguments by Jennifer Mather Saul

When I last tried to read a proper book on feminism, it didn't work out so well. That book seemed to assume a solid background in academic literary/film criticism that I, as a failed CS student, lack.

In the preface to this book, Saul writes

For several years I have taught feminism to students with (in many cases) no background in feminism or philosophy, and no prior commitment to feminism. I found it extraordinarily difficult to find an appropriate text for this group. Because much feminist philosophy begins from a critique of more traditional philosophy, feminist writing tends to assume a familiarity with the basic philosophical literature.

In other words - this is a text on feminism written, more or less, for someone exactly in my position.

It's very much an introductory text, each section covering a broad topic (such as porn) in about 30 pages. This was just the kick start I needed.

The book has nine chapters:
1. The Politics of Work and Family
2. Sexual Harassment
3. Pornography
4. Abortion
5. Feminine Appearance
6. Feminism and Language Change
7. Women's 'Different Voice'
8. Feminism, Science, and Bias
9. Feminism and 'Respect for Cultures'

The chapter on porn gets credit for finally presenting Dworkin and MacKinnon in a way that didn't immediately get me so defensive I couldn't pay attention to the message. I still disagree with them, but at least I feel I have given their position half a chance. A question for my readers, especially the women: Did you, upon first viewing porn, immediately understand it as something that encourages men to be violent towards women and viewing women as exclusively sexual objects? I can certainly think of porn that doesn't seem to me to project that image, but then, I grew up in a world where Dworkin and MacKinnon were already published.

I had a hard time with "Women's 'Different Voice'", primarily because I have Issues with Essentialism - any time someone says "boys are like X and girls are like Y", I will bristle. I recognize that some of that is my Issues while still fighting the point.

There are some fantastic quotes in chapters 5 and 8, but I am not up to retyping them all just now.

I strongly recommend this book for folks who want to get started with feminist theory. mycrazyhair is first on the list to borrow it, followed by neeuqdrazil. The author's brother, of course, would like to encourage everyone to buy their own copy. :)

8.World War Z by Max Brooks

The future history of the zombie war. A sort of documentary novel set about twenty years in the future - mankind has had ten years of being at war with the living dead, and ten years after the war to recover. A creepy book to be reading during The Swine Flu Apocalypse. It starts stronger than it ends, but I suggest all zombie fans read this book - it is essential in discussing anti-zombie survival plans.

smirking half-hawk

weekend update

Had a very lovely weekend with the Lizard.

Friday we went to dinner at Moxie's, which could be turned into an awesome goth club with little effort. Then we went to see Monsters vs. Aliens - the 2nd time for me, the 1st for Zil. It's a good, fun movie that actually allows the female protagonist to remain female, and yet strong, which is pretty rare in movies. It still fails the Bechdel test, and the women are consistently rail thin while the men vary in body type. At least it's a start, though.

Saturday included kilt shopping and a haircut. Then Zil and I went to Chimichanga's for a long early dinner followed by "X-Men Origins: Wolverine". Which, for the first 2/3 of the film succeeds and fails much in the same way that the source material does. Then it collapses into a storm of pointless plot wankery and they completely ruin Deadpool after getting the character mostly right in the beginning. Also, Wolverine's hair is ridiculously pretty, and I am a geek enough that I found that distracting. On the plus side, Live Schrieber is the best possible movie Sabretooth, IMHO.

Sunday was spent lounging around watching tv and movies at home with cuddles and a fashion show.

The final wedding outfit for the ZilBro wedding is as follows: the new black utilikilt (original model), black vest, white wingtip collar shirt and a black puff tie. None of my jackets really came close to working. For footwear, we've provisionally agreed on combat boots, but only if I get them really well polished.

I also picked up something for an upcoming masquerade party, so my outfit for *that* is nearly sorted.