Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Top 10 Women and Gender Studies Books

I had to read a lot...out of all the books I read for my degree here are the 10 I liked (or learned from) the most!

10. The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner

In depth history on how all the cocks thought they’d take over society. It can be a bit dry at times (no pun intended) but the information is revealing and makes our lives make more sense. “The contradictions between women’s centrality and active role in creating society and their marginality in the meaning-giving process of interpretation and explanation has been a dynamic force causing women to struggle against their condition,” (5).

(I also have an extra copy if any one wants one.)

9&8. A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid and Bandaneras by Dana Frank
These books will make you never want to go on vacation or eat a banana again, but they are must reads, why must you read them? They’re about working-class people, people just like you, trying to survive, yet somehow managing to get fucked by “the man” in more than one way. It’s also important to think about where your food comes from. And it’s important to think about the people you affect when you go on a “tropical” vacation—it’s a inner dilemma to have with yourself—the people on those islands now depend on tourists, yet the tourist have destroyed their sense of culture and community, turning stable islands into capitalistic trap-holes.

7. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

A beautiful, hilarious, heartbreaking story. And it’s done comic-book style making it a quick yet thoughtfully executed read. It’s amazing how relatable the characters are even though it’s set in a different cultural context. It shows the connectedness of us all, yet at the same time, shows the individuality of a specific location and that place’s issues.

6. The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol Adams

“The male prerogative to eat meat is an external, observable activity implicitly reflecting a recurring fact: meat is a symbol of male dominance,” (33). The book links animal and women’s oppressions. Breasts. Thighs. Rumps. Juicy. Meaty. Yum. Want a piece. I bet you do.

5. Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinokla Estes

It’s about getting in touch with your natural selves through understanding our own psychological myths and stories. The book is structured so as to introduce a fairytale/myth in each chapter and have each chapter go into the mind of a woman---discussing the woman’s strength and overcomings throughout each scene. The book is impactful in its ability to conjure creativity and allow one to find one’s self again “A single creative act, has the potential to feed a continent,” (299).

4, A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey

“Neoliberalim is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberation individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade, (2)” This is a difficult, stuffy read, but knowledge is power and this text is full of it. Want to understand our economy better? Want to know all about corporation corruption and bullshit privatizations…read this book.

3. The Male Body: Feminism, Western Culture and the Body by Susan Bordo

This degree did not just focus on femininity but masculinity as well. There seems to be a masculine crisis going on that very few people seem to want to talk about… but hello if we’re searching for a more egalitarian-type life we have to understand balancing the feminine and masculine and knowing the positive and negatives from both sides. Bordo does an interesting job revealing the default male and showing how the male negotiates through our system. They may be born into a certain privilege that comes with being male, but with that privilege comes a certain type of behavior they must live up to, and for many it’s not easy nor is it a path they really want to go down.

2. Learning to be White: Money, Rave and God in America by Thandeka

It’s good to know your own history, white or not white, understanding how racism developed over time in our country and how we are all personally affected by it throughout our childhood years of picking and choosing sides as well as how it became inherent in our culture. “White shame is the feeling that something about the self is racially beyond the pale. What is actually beyond the pale. however, is not the discovery of a drop of black blood in one’s veins. Rather, the darkness revealed with the white self in a realm of feelings if dismay, distress, loss, rage, and anger at one’s own white environment because it prevented the self from retaining a fuller and more inclusive range of its own sentient feelings,” (75).

1. Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria
Seriously the most inspirational book I have ever read. I could read this book over and over again. I think I have underlined almost every sentence. Talk about intersectionality—this book covers the interrelatedness of almost all our plaguing issues from women’s personal struggles with the power already within language (and the patriarchy) to race, to religion/spirituality, to art and creativity, to writing (revealing how she deals with getting it all out). “ To write, to be a write, I have to trust and believe in myself as a speaker, as a voice for the images. I have to believe that I can communicate with images and words and that I can do it well. A lack of believe in my creative self is a lack of believe in my total self and vice versa—I cannot separate my writing from any part of my life. It is all one, “ (73). Sometimes when I’m down all I need to do is pick up this book, read a few pages, and revive my energy. It is like my bible. I have yet to find a more meaningful book.

1 comment:

  1. Before you move...can I borrow a couple I haven't read?

    Good selection!!