Friday, April 26, 2013

"Seeing Like a Feminist" and Other Books I've Been Reading

If you haven't read Seeing Like a Feminist yet, you totally should. Here's what I say on Women's Web:
Does this qualify as a review: read this, read this, read this? 
Seriously, Nivedita Menon’s Seeing Like a Feminist is an excellent book that we all ought to read. I’d read much praise of this book and was hoping it would live up to the hype, and it totally did. I’m a hardcore feminist; it had me nodding along and gave me something to think about. If you aren’t one, but are perturbed at the recent spate of violence against women, this book has answers to questions like...
Read the rest of my review here, and then go buy the book!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On Women and Unconventional Careers

I was thinking of all the amazing women I know who do interesting things: my friends who are freelance writers, a few who work for non-profit organizations, some of the entrepreneurs I've met since I started my own business... And so I wrote this.
By opting out of the system, are you eliminating the chance of changing it? If women allow themselves to be pushed off the conventional career path, are we making change less likely, making it more difficult for other women?
Or are we changing the system anyway, by building alternatives to traditional, sexist work environments? Successful women entrepreneurs and freelancers demonstrate that there are other ways. Women business heads can set up more fair practices and have better workplaces. These would be bigger, better changes, in my opinion, than trying to change sexist policies or habits ingrained in conservative workplaces (and changes on the outside will then influence these as well). 
The traditional workplace – large organizations, usually with men at leading positions – is aligned with the patriarchal system. We need change both from within and without. New ways of working and new career avenues can help shift the balance of power.
I struggled a lot with this. I wanted to highlight how wonderful this is that so many women are seeking out work they love or building something new, without being condescending or sexist about it ("women don't need money, so they work for love"). I'm not sure I achieved it, but at least my support of doing work you love comes through, I think.

(And I think this is true for men as well as women: you should find something you really want to do, even if it makes you less money.)

Here's the link again: tell me what you think.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mid-Week Reads: Stories of Motherhood

Would you believe me if I said I was sorry? I didn't mean to neglect you, it's just that I was so busy I didn't realize it had been two weeks. I know, you don't care. I'm sorry.

(But if you do want to know what I've been doing, there's this. And Nilesh wrote here about what we've been doing for the past eight months or so.)

On to the stories I promised in the title. Blankets in the Sky was my favorite story in the excellent book, Of Mothers and Others. I wrote this in my review:
[It is] a heart-rending account by a mother of her two little adopted daughters, sisters by biology as well as relationship, who cling to each other as they eye the world around them, including their adoptive parents, with mistrust. Bag packed so that they could run away, they presented a united front against the world. The story of how they slowly somewhat loosened their ties to each other as they dug in their roots in their new home made me tear up.
Read the story here for free.

Also read this beautiful, beautiful account of Maya Angelou's relationship with her mother.

Maybe you'll also like Scarlet's letter to her daughter.