Two weeks ago I went to Barnes and Noble to buy some books. I left with quite a few – including “The Whole Woman” by Germaine Greer. I’ve heard of her, but hadn’t read anything by her. I took one Women’s Studies class in college (Women in Law and Literature), but I haven’t really thought through the issues of misogyny and women’s rights in a serious way. The treatment of Hillary Clinton during this campaign made me think about it a little more, so I’ve been doing some reading. Greer’s book is, on the whole, really good and interesting. She has some ideas I don’t agree with, especially with respect to her view of trans-gendered individuals. However, it’s pretty rare that I agree with everything anyone says, and I’d rather educate myself.
After that one, I finally bought and am in the middle of reading “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf. I find her ideas to be well supported and researched, and she has a very vivid way of framing the issues. The section on “holy oil” and aging especially caught my attention. So much is about power, and it’s amazing to think about the unconscious decisions I make every day that I’ve adapted to make myself fit into what I think a good woman is. But beyond that, I think it’s amazing to think about how damaging women are to themselves when we let society as a whole get away with what it does on a daily basis.
For example, I’ve always found it disturbing that it’s fine to show a naked woman in almost any situation, but more than a glancing image of a penis is the stuff on NC-17 ratings. Why is that we accept the notion that a penis is so powerful that we must be shielded from it? It’s stupid. It creates a division that is unnecessary, and it reinforces the false idea that men are more worthy of protection from exploitation than women.
Next up on my list is “bitchfest”, a collection of articles from Btich magazine. In between I’m reading “Speaking Treason Fluently,” a collection of essays by Tim Wise, a white man who writes about racism. The book was just released, and so far I’m enjoying it and the way it makes me think. I guess the DNC just got me pumped about politics and the state of the nation again!