Tag Archives: feminist

From Amora to Zatanna: February 2015

Oh my goodness, comic junkies! I am late yet again on my monthly blog post. This is primarily because I am finishing up my last semester of grad school and my master’s thesis is kicking my butt! Aside from my student turmoil, I wanted to take this month’s blog and examine a pretty important character in the Marvel universe: Gwen Stacy.

8299d295feb249e7663d95d7ff1f8267Now let me start by saying that I never used to be a Gwen Stacy fan. Sure, she was smart as well as beautiful, but I was always more interested in Felicia Hardy (aka Black Cat) and Mary Jane as romantic interests for Peter Parker. I’m not really sure why this is, except that by the time I started reading Spider-Man issues myself, he was already in a relationship with Mary Jane.
And Felicia Hardy was someone I became obsessed with when I went further back into the series to catch up on what I had missed. And, let’s face it, Felicia Hardy is so sexy and sassy!
But Gwen Stacy is really something special. She was, and is, hugely important to comics.

First of all, Gwen Stacy’s death is an incredibly iconic moment not only in Spider-Man’s fictional life, but in comic history. The graphic death of Gwen Stacy by Spider-Man’s hand was shocking on multiple levels. The “snap” sound effect drawn on the page was somehow brought to life as readers collectively heard the bone brake. It was gritty, visceral, and real. It was in this moment that comics also took a firm stance against the Comics Code Authority and proceeded to tell stories in which superheroes were fallible. The death of Gwen, though debated for a few months after the issue’s release, was entirely Peter’s fault. His overconfidence in his abilities and himself as a superhero lead to the heart-breaking death of his beloved girlfriend. And this is someone who is supposed to have an intimate knowledge about physics!
ASM2-Death-of-Gwen-StacyWith Gwen’s death, Spider-Man became less perfect and more damaged, launching a comic movement that drifted away from the Comics Code and towards “grey storytelling.”

Books for Feminists – Big and Small, Part 4: Classics

This is the final installment of our Books for Feminists series. If you missed it, there are three other parts: feminist books for children, feminist books for teens, and contemporary feminist books for adults. Now we’re going to talk about classic feminist literature.

Feminism has been around for a long time in the United States. From Abigail Adams’ letters to her husband, John Quincy Adams, asking him to “remember the ladies” when he worked with the constitutional congress on the establishment of this new nation to Sybil Ludington, the woman rider who rode twice the distances as Paul Revere on the same night to warn the Americans that the British were coming.

Feminism isn’t a movement restricted to one geographic location, indeed, it spreads across landmasses, nations, color, and gender. The books included on this list come from around the world and are all essential to any feminist’s reading.

(Image Source: Amazon.Com)
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

This book by Mary Wollstonecraft was first published in 1792. It is considered one of the first manifestos of women’s rights. Wollstonecraft’s classic book makes an argument for women to be educating, noting that “Tyrants and sensualists are in the right when they endeavor to keep women in the dark, because the former want only slaves, and the later a plaything.” Her assertion that women should be educated to enable their independence was radical at the time it was made, despite women’s education not being questioned in current times. This book shows the evolution of thought and how it sometimes takes a radical to get an idea started that later becomes part of the common practices of a culture.

(Image Source: Amazon.Com)
Madame Bovary

Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary is a French classic, first released in 1857. While the link above is to a translated version of the text, I hear reading it in its original language is an absolute-must for people who are able because a lot of nuances can be lost in translation. Emma Bovary is bored. She’s a housewife and life couldn’t be duller for her, so instead of being an obedient wife, she pursues an affair with Rodolphe. This novel is often credited with being one of the first modern realism in addition to being celebrated for its poetic craftsmanship.

(Image Source: Amazon.Com)
The Yellow Wallpaper

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote this short story based off of her own experiences with depression (from the semi-autobiographic story, it can be asserted that she had postpartum depression) and her lack of power over her own treatment for her ailment. When the woman in the novel asserts that she would really feel better if she was able to get up, move, write, and see her baby, her husband, a doctor, banishes her thoughts on her own medical treatment and insists that she ascribes to his prescribed rest cure. Being locked up in an old nursery, unable to write, interact with people, or exercise her own will and judgement, the narrator slowly goes mad and starts seeing a woman in the yellow wallpaper of the room.


Books for Feminists – Big and Small, Part 3: Adult Contemporary

Hello again and welcome to our next series in the Books for Feminists book list. If you didn’t catch the first two parts of this blog, we’ve covered feminist books for children and feminist books for teens. Our next list up is contemporary books for the feminist reader.

But before I launch into adult contemporary literature, let’s review what I mean when I say feminist (you can skip this part if you’ve read the other blog posts). A feminist is simply a person, male or female, that believes that all people are equal and that women are people too.

Now, onto the books!

(Image Source: Amazon)
How to Be a Woman

Did you forget how to be a woman? Well, this book will help you with that, or at least, it’ll make you laugh. Author Caitlin Moran mixes snark, profanity, and cutting humor within her book. She is often called “the UK Tina Fey” and this book has made it onto the New York Time’s best sellers list. If you want to read about serious issues facing women from the UK to the US today, but maybe laugh while doing it, this book is the one for you.

(Image Source: Amazon)
The Beauty Myth

Did you know that women don’t naturally come with hot pink lips, inch long eyelashes, or the ability to walk in high heels while cooking the most delicious dinner you’ve ever tasted? Sorry to dispel those myths for you. Naomi Wolf takes a look at how our society perceives beauty in women and how beauty is wielded like a social weapon to keep women perpetually chasing a standard that is unobtainable and costly. No one is naturally flawless, and, let’s face it, chasing perfection in the way of plastic surgery and makeup is an endless endeavor.

(Image Source: Amazon)
Book of Negros

Author Lawrence Hill creates a captivating narrative about an eleven year old girl being abducted from her home in West Africa, her journey by sea, and her eventual slavery in South Carolina. And, here’s the kicker—this isn’t a fictional story. This is the story of Aminata Diallo, born in Bayo, West Africa, in 1745. Book of Negros is a carefully constructed piece that takes historic evidence to recreate the events in Aminata’s life and struggles.

(Image Source: Amazon)
The Nightingales of Troy

This collection of short stories is connected by a common thread—through members of an Irish American family starting in 1908. The author, Alice Fulton, shows her talent as a poet with carefully constructed sentences and brilliantly specific word choices. Not only is this a great read for any writer who appreciates craft, but the uniqueness of this short story collection makes it a great read for all. The linage of the family is explored from the jazz age to the time when the Beatles ruled teenage girl’s hearts.

(Image Source: Amazon)
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine

From Sue Monk Kidd, best-selling author of The Secret Life of Bees (another great feminist novel, for those interested), comes her autobiographical tale. Her journey starts with her being the ideal Christian wife and mother until she starts to question her life. She realizes that there might just be more for women out there beyond what her religious values instilled in her. She found her feminist awakening and her faith at odds. She uses her theological background, mythological understanding, and passion for the arts to work her way through her life-crisis and she shares all of that with her readers throughout the chronicles of her journey from traditionalist to feminist.


From Amora to Zatanna: August

From Amora to Zatanna: July Our monthly run down on the comic book world, by our very own Nicole Neitzke.

Well there you have it comic fans! I give kudos to the almighty Marvel and they release the controversial image by the Italian erotica illustrator, Milo Manara, of Spider Woman in a highly suggestive pose. This image is an alternate cover to the newly rebooted “Spider Woman #1” comic franchise and man, did it piss off comic fans! This is just another example of a continuing discussion in the comic community: super heroines are over-sexualized! However, I’m not going to re-hash the same conversation I’m sure many of us have already read regarding this image and topic. Instead, I decided to dedicate this blog to some light hearted japery directed at the comic community. I had it recently brought to my attention by an artist friend just how inaccurate the physiology of these super heroines are, so I decided to post images about a current artistic trend feminists have lovingly called “the broken back.”

This trend is two-fold: it can either relate to a women who are illustrated with not only their full face and bust visible, but both butt cheeks as well; or it can be related to the exaggerated bust to hip disproportions, which hints at back problems due to the weight. This isn’t to say that these body shapes are not possible, mind you, just that our suspension of disbelief for a world populated by these types of woman almost exclusively is stretching it. Without further ado, “the broken back.”

Starting with DC, Catwoman


Is There a Link Between Our Favorite Childhood Books and Our Adult Political Ideals?

Recently, an online magazine called The Conversation ran a piece about how Harry Potter helped shape the political culture of a generation. I thought this claim was interesting, and I thought back to my own favorite childhood book series to see if I could find a connection between my favorite fantasy and my political ideals.

Here I will confess that I was too old to be on the Harry Potter bandwagon growing up. I was already in high school when the books started coming out, and it really wasn’t until I was an adult that I picked up and read the book series and watched the movies.

What I grew up with was a book series called The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. I read these as a young child and again as a young adult, out loud, to my little sister. These books are a series of offbeat fairy tales of a princess who refuses to be short, blond, and submissive to a prince. She was strong willed and insisted on having adventures of her own, mostly involving dragons. She did things outside of the normal parameters of a fairy tale.


The Art and Performance of Alice Glass

Lead singer of the band “Crystal Castles,” Alice Glass is probably best known for her raucous vocals on tracks such as “Doe Deer” or the self-referential “Alice Practice,” the single which first drew attention to the band in 2004. What sets her apart from other female vocalists, even taking into account the Riot Grrrl movement, is the feral, supernatural quality to her performances.

[Disclaimer: the music is LOUD, and epileptics should avoid these videos. Any interpretation is my own and completely speculative. All lyrics are from the official band website.]

Shrouded in heavy fog and lit by strobes, Alice seems to emerge on-stage, breaking into spasmodic convulsions, pacing to steady, insistent beats, or standing mute, her foot propped on an amplifier and hand stretched towards the audience. The band is marked by contrasts, and Alice is as likely to lull the audience into stupor as she is to break into frenzied screams. The music itself is designed to overwhelm the audience, flooding them with 8-bit glitches and strange, powerful drones.

Poetry on YouTube!

Aside from having a general appreciation for poetry and recognizing how much more intense it can be when engaging you beyond the page, there are a number of reasons or scenarios why you might watch or listen to poetry performances on YouTube:

1) You can’t make it to/can’t afford to attend an upcoming open mic or poetry event.

2) You need something to listen to while doing the dishes or working out at home, but you’re tired of everything in your iTunes library.

3) You’re curious.

4) You’re bored.

5) You want to be cheered, inspired, touched, infuriated, surprised, or all of the above.

Below is a short list of some of my personal favorite poetry performance clips on YouTube:

Sarah Kay, “Private Parts”: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AxQZlXFL_4&w=560&h=315]