Oct 19

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – Traister’s All the Single Ladies

Just at chapter 3, but I can highly recommend Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies.

A few bits…

“…as the legal scholar Rachel Moran argues, while the feminist movement of the 1970s was in part a ‘direct response to these conditions of early and pervasive marriage,’ the ironic side effect was that single women had almost no place in the underpinnings of the movement” (20).  Yes!

“Le Bon conceded that ‘Without a doubt there exist some distinguished women, very superior to the average man, but they are as exceptional as the birth of any monstrosity, as, for example, of a gorilla with two heads; consequently, we may neglect them entirely'” (53).  Had not heard that one.

Oh, and this lovely tidbit: “Chambers-Schiller reports that in the medical establishment, ‘a painful  menopause was the presumed consequence of reproductive organs that were not regularly bathe din male semen'” (54).

 

Sep 25

A Postscript to Why Feminist Manuscripts Don’t Get Published

So here’s a query letter my friend Chris Wind sent to a publisher recently:

Editor, [XYZ Publishers]:

Feminist theorist Dale Spender wrote, in Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them, “We need to know how patriarchy works.  We need to know how women disappear….”   Indeed we do.  Where are all the straight-A girls from high school?  Why, how, have they ‘disappeared’?  Marriage and kids is an inadequate answer because married-with-kids straight-A boys are visible.  Everywhere.  Even the straight-B boys are out there.

September (fiction; 114,698w) responds to Spender’s urgent comment with a microscopic examination of the life of a single woman that is, I fear, all too typical, answering the question ‘What happened?’

Although there have been many non-fiction books since Spender that have exposed the sexism in our culture …  fiction seems not to have kept pace, seems not to be informed by the insights of those authors.  September thus helps fill an important gap (especially for those who don’t read non-fiction) …

There are three voices juxtaposed throughout the novel: the fresh, impassioned protagonist speaking in the present through her journal entries from the age of fifteen to fifty; the wise, and fighting-off-bitter, now-fifty protagonist commenting about the events of her life, talking to her younger self; and the dispassionate narrator.  Insights are underscored by alternate realities, extended ‘should’ve happeneds’ and ‘could’ve happeneds’…

And so September is part fiction, part memoir; part personal essay, part critical essay; part psychology, part philosophy, part sociology.  It is a maze of analysis in which, despite the appearance of rambling randomness, one thing leads inexorably to another.

I append below a bio, synopsis, and sample; I am submitting this query to a few other publishers.

Thank you for your consideration, and I do hope to hear you’d like to read more!

Bio:  Chris Wind (M.A., Philosophy; B.A., Literature) has published four collections of poetry (Paintings and Sculptures, UnMythed, Soliloquies: the lady doth indeed protest and dreaming of kaleidoscopes).  Her prose and poetry has appeared in several journals and magazines (including Prism International, Ariel, Bogg, Canadian Woman Studies, The University of Toronto Review, Hysteria, The Wascana Review, The Antigonish Review, event, The New Quarterly, The Humanist, f.(L)ip, Waves, grain, Canadian Author & Bookman, cv2, Atlantis, and Herizons) as well as anthologies (including Contemporary Monologues for Young Women).  Several of her short theatrical works have been performed, and her stories have been read on CBC Radio (the Canadian equivalent to the BBC).  She has been awarded sixteen Ontario (Canada) Arts Council grants.

And this is the rejection letter she received:

Thank you for submitting your fiction proposal to [XYZ Publishers].

Unfortunately, we don’t think Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them is a good fit for our list at this time. …

Sincerely,

Gregg [Somebody, XYZ Publishers]

I don’t know what’s worse, that he didn’t read the letter (or even the first line) very carefully (let alone, one has to assume, the enclosed sample) or that he didn’t recognize Spender’s work.

 

 

Aug 15

Why Feminist Manuscripts Aren’t Getting Published Today – McSweeney’s List

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/why-feminist-manuscripts-arent-getting-published-today

 

Jul 09

How Being in Public Feels: Men VS Women – GREAT VIDEO!

How Being In Public Feels: Men VS Women

Jun 18

Women Now Empowered … GREAT ONION PIECE

http://www.theonion.com/article/women-now-empowered-by-everything-a-woman-does-1398

 

Jun 11

It’s a Boy, Peg Tittle

It was understandable, really.  By far, most of the crime— 97% in fact—was committed by men.  Prisons are expensive to build and maintain.  Prisoners are also expensive—they don’t work while they’re in prison, so we have to support them.  Then there’s the expense of the police forces and courts that get them there.  And the emergency services that take care of all the gunshot wounds, the knife slashes, the broken jaws…

 

She pushed.  And pushed.  The hospital room was white and sterile.  The attending doctor said something to the assisting nurse from time to time, but things seemed to be progressing normally.  But that didn’t mean it wasn’t excruciatingly painful.

Her husband mopped the sweat off her brow, and encouraged, and reassured.

“And push again,” the doctor said.

“It better be a girl,” she grunted as she pushed again when the wave of pain struck her.

“Don’t worry about that now, honey” her husband said.  “Just focus, you’re doing good…”

 

            Then there’s  all the environmental stuff.  All those beer cans, empty cigarette packs, fast food cartons—most of the litter along the highways was put there by men.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  What are they driving on those highways?  Big cars and pick-up trucks.  Gas-guzzlers with high emissions.  And the companies that dump toxic waste, and clear cut forests, and dam river systems…?  All run by men.

 

“I want a girl,” she cried.  With exhaustion.  With worry.

“Oh come now,” the nurse said.  “Boys are harder, I know, had two of ‘em myself.  Holy terrors half the time, but you love ‘em just the same.”

“Another push— ”

 

            The insurance companies opened the door when they implemented higher premiums for men between the ages of sixteen and twenty-six.  They were the ones more likely to cause an accident.  Can’t argue with the facts and figures. 

 

“No, it’s not that,” she gasped, “It’s the money.

“Shh, honey, we’ll find a way, it’ll be all right,” he wiped her brow again.

“One more, I think—”

She gave one final push then fell back against the pillows, drenched, exhausted.  She waited anxiously for the announcement.

“It’s a boy!”
            They called it the Gender Responsibility Tax— a $5,000 surtax was levied on each and every male.  Payable annually, from birth to death.  By the parents, of course, until the boy reached manhood.  

 


(Thanks to June Stephenson.  It was her idea.)

Jun 06

Things they’ll never tell you about basketball — and sexism

 

 

Things they’ll never tell you about basketball – and sexism

May 28

The Hook (Up) – a short script by Peg Tittle

FADE IN:

 

INT. BAR — NIGHT

 

Crowded bar scene.  MAN and WOMAN do the standard flirting thing, he buys her a drink, they dance, then exit.  Their dialogue isn’t important — the bar’s too loud for us to hear much anyway.  But it’s clear that both are willing to engage in the sex that follows.

 

INT. APARTMENT — LATER

 

They enter her apartment and move through it toward the bedroom, happily and heatedly, kissing, touching, and unbuttoning each other on the way.

 

INT. BEDROOM — CONTINUOUS

 

They are on the bed, then in the bed, which has a nightstand right beside it, then while intercourse is clearly occurring —

 

WOMAN

So, do you want a girl or a boy?

 

He stops mid-thrust.

 

MAN

What?

 

He pulls out.  Grimaces at his limpness.

 

WOMAN

Well, you aren’t using any contraception, so it stands to reason you want a child.  I mean, you must know that —

(she gestures vaguely)

 

MAN

(rolling off her; things are clearly over)

Of course I know — No, I don’t want a kid —

 

He’s up and dressing.

 

MAN (CONT’D)

I assumed you were —

 

WOMAN

Pretty important thing to just take for granted, isn’t it?

 

MAN

(his anger increasing)

What is this, some sort of trap?

 

WOMAN

Not at all.  I’m okay with it. I mean, I’ll charge for incubation services, $50,000 is about standard, and then give you the kid, no strings —

 

MAN

I don’t want a kid!

 

WOMAN

Then why —

 

MAN

Because you’re the one who gets pregnant!

 

WOMAN

I realize that.  And as I said, I’m okay with it.  If you’re the one not okay with it, if you’re the one who doesn’t want this to be reproductive sex, then you’re the one who should be using contraception.

 

He says nothing as he continues to dress.

 

WOMAN (CONT’D)

Are you usually this adept at separating cause and effect?  At not looking at the consequences of your actions?

 

He reaches for his jacket.

 

WOMAN (CONT’D)

I mean, if you and a friend do a B & E together and he’s the only one who gets caught, you’re okay with that?  You’d really not consider yourself equally responsible?

 

MAN

(quite angry now)

I’d consider myself lucky.  Bitch!

 

He strides out of the bedroom.

 

WOMAN

(cheerily)

I’ll call you!

May 21

Pretty, Katie Makkai

May 14

Size Matters – a short film collage

Size Matters, Peg TIttle

 

What if women were the taller sex?  I suggest that this would make a difference in the power relationship between men and women.  Ask any short man.

This short film is a five‑minute (approximately) collage of scenes from ordinary life.  That is, ordinary life reversed ‑ one in which women are taller than men.

So every woman in the film must be taller than every man, except where specified; on average, the men should be 5’4″ and the women 5’10”.  (Tap into women’s basketball and volleyball teams and men’s figure skating clubs and dance companies for extras.)

This is a silent film, though clearly dialogue is going on.

It is of utmost importance that the actors’ carriage not undermine the height difference.  It should be mandatory for all actors to take a cross‑gender acting workshop.

For that reason, a woman should be director.  Most women, more than most men, tend to be more aware of the nuances of body language that mark dominance and subordination.  A woman director would thus be more apt to ask the actors to make the necessary corrections.

 

SCENES:

 

  1. The halls, classroom, and grounds of an elementary school: all the teachers are male; the principal is female; students are shown mostly in all‑girl and all‑boy groupings; when the group is mixed, boys and girls are the same height; all are engaged in gender‑neutral activities (I know that young girls play house and young boys fight, but showing this would confuse the point; young girls and boys also sit at their desks, stand around talking, walk down the hall, chase each other, etc.)

 

  1. A cafe: all the staff waiting on customers are male, as is the cashier.

 

  1. At home, in the kitchen: as she’s on the phone with an important call, she absently reaches to get something out of a high cupboard for a child, then does the same for him (he could’ve reached, but it’d be a stretch ‑ it’s just an easy reach for her, no big deal).

 

  1. At the office, in the lobby: a cluster of women executives walk in on their way to their offices; they nod or ignore male subordinates at reception.

 

  1. A dinner date: a man and a women are finishing dinner and the cheque is presented to her.

 

  1. Hospital admissions area: the nursing and clerical staff are male; the doctor walking past is female.

 

  1. The halls, classroom, and grounds of a high school: all the teachers are male; the principal is female; students are shown in situations somewhat similar to the elementary school scene, but now the girls are taller than the boys.

 

  1. A male‑female couple walking down the sidewalk: she takes longer strides than he does, so he has to walk more quickly; in fact, he has to half‑run to keep up, like a child (and perhaps he hobbles on platform shoes); the way they hold hands, she seems to be leading him, and is always just a tad ahead of him.

 

  1. At home, at dinner time: she and the older, taller daughter are at the table; the younger, shorter son enters from the kitchen carrying something, followed by the husband carrying something (nothing special, it’s just routine dinner time).

 

  1. Crowd scenes: these are sprinkled throughout the rest of the film, but it is imperative that they not begin about half way through so the viewers see the effect first (power relationship reversals) and only later the cause (only in the crowd scenes does it become really clear that women are taller than men in this world).

 

  1. At the office: a woman in her own office is engaged in serious business as a male secretary slips in with a message and a cup of coffee for her.

 

  1. Various offices at a university: most of the faculty are women (shown in classrooms or in their private offices); most of the admin and support staff are male (shown at desks in a more public area).

 

  1. A male‑female couple dancing: she leads.

 

  1. Hospital operating room: the surgeon and anaesthetist are women; the nurses are men.

 

  1. At home, in the living room: she’s in the larger of two chairs, reading the paper; she lifts her feet up off the footstool so he can run a vacuum cleaner between the chair and footstool.

 

  1. A male‑female couple posing for a picture: her arm is around his shoulders.

 

  1. A courtroom: the judge is a woman; the clerk is a man.

 

  1. At the office, in a meeting room (all of the women must be taller even when seated): the seven or eight women present are talking and deciding; the one or two men present sit silent, taking notes; a man half raises his hand for permission to speak, but is unacknowledged; a man reaches over to fill a woman’s water glass before filling his own, not because he was asked to do so but just as a matter of routine (the subordinate attends to the superordinate’s needs).

 

  1. A male‑female couple approaches a car; the woman gets into the driver’s seat; the man gets into the passenger seat.

 

  1. Election campaign shots: all candidates are women; the men are in the background and clearly aides.

 

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