Tag Archives: Feminism

Is Sexist Lit Gaslighting Women?

A Guardian article argues that critical praise for sexist male authors valorizes patriarchal attitudes.

Posted in Bronte (Charlotte), Nabokov (Vladimir), Roth (Philip K.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Atwood Rescued This Single Mom

In an inspiring story, single mom Ashley found Atwood’s novels helped her turn her life around.

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Patmore’s “Angel,” a Dangerous Poem

Patmore’s “Angel in the House” is no longer read but it defined the domestic ideal for much of the 19th century.

Posted in Patmore (Coventry), Woolf (Virginia) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Streetcar Didn’t Impress Women

When “Streetcar Named Desire” was first staged, male reviewers thrilled to the way Stanley dominated Blanche. Reviewer Mary McCarthy was less impressed.

Posted in Williams (Tennessee) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Handmaid’s Emmy, A Sign of Its Urgency

The Emmys signaled that “Handmaid’s Tale” is as relevant as ever as America’s misogyny deepens. So is Euripides’s “The Bacchae.”

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Handmaid’s Tale, More Relevant Than Ever

With Hulu set to release “Handmaid’s Tale” tomorrow, I gather together all my past posts on Atwood’s dystopian classic. The novel isn’t only important for liberals but has lessons for rightwing women as well.

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Dorothy as Feminist Threat

In 1986, Christian fundamentalists objected to “The Wizard of Oz” being taught in school and won their lawsuit. As ridiculous as the case may sound, there are actually some good reasons for them to feel threatened.

Posted in Baum (L. Frank) | Also tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trumpist Masculinity Isn’t Kind to Men

In a story which is only too timely, the Washington Post recently reported that “sexist men have psychological problems.” Adrienne Rich was talking about this over 60 years ago in poems like “The Knight.”

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Schlafly, Model for Atwood’s Serena Joy

Recently deceased Phyllis Schlafly served as the model for Serena Joy in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel “Handmaid’s Tale.” Because Serena Joy gets the society she says she wants, however, her life turns bitter. Schlafly was lucky to live in a society that allowed women to have their own careers.

Posted in Atwood (Margaret) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Women vs. Unicorns in Poker, on Dates

In an blog post on the difficulties of handling male aggression, novelist Rachel Kranz looks at male behavior at poker tables, the mythology of virgins taming unicorns, and the rape perpetrated by Stanford swimmer Brock Turner.

Posted in White (T.H.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Was T. S. Eliot a Key to Hillary’s Success?

As a college student at Wellesley in 1969, Hillary Clinton made multiple references to T. E. Eliot’s “East Coker.” Now as we watch her become the presumptive Democratic nominee, we can see how Eliot has helped her along the way.

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Child Heroines Who Die for Our Sins

The child heroine who dies, a common trope in the 19th century, continues to fascinate us, appearing in “Bridge to Tarabithia” and “The Fault Is in Our Stars.” One of my students has this as a senior project topic.

Posted in Alcott (Louisa May), Bronte (Charlotte), Dickens (Charles), Paterson (Katherine), Poe (Edgar Allan), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Poetry that Reclaims Women’s Bodies

A former student, in her senior project, used feminist poems as the basis for art workshops designed to help women feel better about their bodies.

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Saving Princesses from the Marriage Plot

Long the target of feminist critiques, the princess story might have some progressive aspects.

Posted in Levine (Gail Carson), Perrault (Charles) | Also tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Jane Eyre” Still Challenges Us

“Jane Eyre” was radical when it came out and it continues to challenge us today with its assertive women.

Posted in Bronte (Charlotte) | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Teaching Gender Sensitivity at West Point

Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” is required reading for entering West Point cadets. Good things could happen.

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Behn’s Comedy Masks Feminist Protest

Aphra Behn’s 1677 play “The Rover” hides its feminist protest within a comic form.

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Female Bildungsromans for College Grads

One of my students, studying the female bildungsroman, is studying Salinger’s “Franny,” Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” and other works.

Posted in Salinger (J. D.) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Poetry Is Not a Luxury

Poetry Audre Lorde makes a practical case for visionary poetry.

Posted in Lorde (Audre) | Also tagged , , | 3 Comments

Reading to Learn Who We Are

Vivian Gornick reflects on why Colette and Mary McCarthy meant so much to her as a 20-something in the 1950s.

Posted in Colette, McCarthy (Mary) | Also tagged , , | 1 Comment

Is Atwood’s Dystopia Coming True?

With the rise in state legislatures passing anti-abortion legislation, Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” seems more relevant than ever.

Posted in Atwood (Margaret) | Also tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Women, You Don’t Have to Do It All

In a recent talk at St. Mary’s, author Elsa Walsh counseled young people to strive for “a good enough life.”

Posted in James (Henry), Vonnegut (Kurt) | Also tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Jane Austen: Feminine AND Feministy

In my student’s eyes, there’s no contradiction between Austen the satirist and Austen the romance writer.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Radcliffe (Ann), Scott (Sir Walter) | Also tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A 17th Century Comedy Addressing Rape

The Right Wing’s “war on women” is affecting the way my students read Aphra Behn.

Posted in Behn (Aphra) | Also tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Adrienne Rich’s Final Dive

In “Diving into the Wreck” Adrienne Rich surveyed the wreckage of post-World War II relationships and charted new paths.

Posted in Rich (Adrienne) | Also tagged , | 6 Comments

Queen Esther: Just an Ordinary Woman

Rachel Barenblat’s poem about Queen Esther brings her down to earth and in the process makes her far more interesting.

Posted in Barenblat (Rachel) | Also tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Queen of the Animals Quiz

In “Song for the Queen of the Animals,” Scott Bates celebrates the female life force while presenting the reader with a literary puzzle.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Also tagged , , | Comments closed

Chicks Who Kick Butt, 20th Anniversary

Film Friday Slate reminds me that 2011 is the 20th anniversary of Thelma and Louise, a film that once worked (and perhaps still does) as a gender Rorschach test. When it came out, many women loved it and many men didn’t. I remember walking out of the theater feeling very uncomfortable while my wife was […]

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A Poem about the Stoning of Women

My colleague Jeff Coleman recently wrote the following poem about the stoning of women in places like Somalia, Iran, and Taliban-controlled regions of Afghanistan. He tells me the poem was triggered by an article in the New York Times about Iranian executions, but for me it brought to mind the Somalian stoning two years ago […]

Posted in Coleman (Jeff) | Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Celebrating Eliza Doolittle Day

Hepburn and Harrison in My Fair Lady  Film Friday Did you know that yesterday (May 20) was Eliza Doolittle Day? I didn’t either until I heard it announced on National Public Radio.  But I remembered the song from My Fair Lady once they mentioned it: One evening the king will say: “Oh, Liza, old thing, […]

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Sadness over Little Women, 12th Night

Although reading and grading student essays is the most demanding aspect of my job—I graded around 535 formal and informal essays this past semester, as well as reading another 100 essay proposals and early drafts—it can also be the most rewarding.  That’s because I will regularly see students working through major life issues at the […]

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  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

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