Tag Archives: feminism

August Round Up

…but what happened to July?

It’s been a long while since I posted (June 19th, in fact), and for that, I apologise for being so lazy. Thing is, I didn’t really have any blog-able news, and I haven’t read anything particularly note-worthy (for shame!).

Some review news:

-Today, my review of Girl Trouble: Panic and Progress in the History of Young Women (Carol Dyhouse) was published by LSE Review of Books. Check it out by following the ‘review’ link.

-Sept/Oct will be positively brimming with review work; I will be submitting two reviews to LSE, Feminist Activism, Women’s Rights, and Legal Reform (ed. Mulki Al-Sharmani), and A Feminist Voyage Through International Relations (Ann Tickner).

-I shall also be submitting a review of Gender, War and Conflict (Laura Sjoberg) to FWSA, after a long hiatus (unintentionally long I must add!).

Hopefully that should give me a kick-start into the new academic year, and I should feel some kind of enthusiasm regarding my MA dissertation.

In terms of fiction reading, I’ve found myself at a bit of a loss, if I’m honest. It’s quite possibly that all my sub-conscious really wants to read is Revival by Stephen King… (when it comes out in November…). Oh lordy…is there anything out there that can sate me for the time being?!

I am sure I’ll survive…right? RIGHT?!

Review: Wounding by Heidi James

Wounding by Heidi James tells the story of Cora, a thirty-something professional who shares her seemingly idyllic life with her doting husband and two children; everything a woman is supposed to aspire to. However, it soon becomes apparent that Cora is desperately seeking an escape from this prescribed lifestyle; guilt-ridden and unhappy, she seeks solace elsewhere…

The first thing that struck me about Wounding was the dual narrative of Cora, our main protagonist, and her husband. As we are privy to both perspectives within the relationship, we can sympathise with both parties and can approach Cora’s plight with some sense of continuity and insight. Whether Cora or her husband are indeed reliable narrators remains to be seen. Cora’s husband seems to agonise over the widening gulf in their relationship, and desperately analyses their past, before marriage and kids got in the way, in order to ascertain why Cora is drifting further and further away from the family unit.

Obviously, it is quite easy to sympathise with Cora; she is buckling under the pressure of society’s expectations of how women are supposed to live their lives; having a good job, marrying the right person and having kids, and all the while, being expected to ‘enjoy’ the confines and restrictions that having a family places on an individual. We are often bombarded by images of what the ‘perfect’ mother and wife should embody by the media, and so often, reality does not correlate with fabricated notions of the role of women and the various guises imposed on them. It seems to me that what Cora is experiencing is in part society-sponsored sadism; the things society tell us should make us happy often have the opposite effect, yet we still do them, despite our better instincts. There is no handbook telling women how to be the perfect wife/mother/citizen, yet it is expected of us regardless; as if we are subject to a kind of tacit social contract in which we perform our duties, and should never expect to complain.

All in all, I found Wounding to be a complex, sympathetic and visceral observation of Cora’s disintegrating sense of self and the effect that this has, not only on herself, but on those around her. Wounding asks difficult questions regarding the issue of motherhood, and what, exactly, makes a good parent, but it also explores the labyrinthine notion of self-hood and how our prescribed life choices can, ultimately, jeopardise our identity (-ies).

Look Who’s Back!

Yes, that’s right, me.

In October I took a little break for the sake of my sanity, and now I’m back, refreshed and raring to go.

I’ve been working, studying, and generally making a nuisance of myself. Occasionally I found the time to read some books and write some reviews.

Here they are (in case you can’t be bothered to scroll over to the relevant tab at the top of the page…):

-A conflict profile of the Nanking Massacre for the Women Under Siege Project

-A book review of The Tattooist by Louise Black for The F-Word 

-Two reviews for FWSA; Female Suicide Bombers by Rosemarie Skaine, and Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War? Perceptions, Problems in the Congo and Beyond by Maria Eriksson Baaz and Maria Stern.

-Two reviews for LSE Review of Books; The Killing Fields of Inequality by Goeran Therborn, and Voicing Demands: Feminist Activism in Transnational Contexts by Sohela Nazneen and Maheen Sultan (eds.) (UPCOMING!).

Really, I haven’t had much of a break at all but I very much enjoyed reading and writing about all the lovely books I’ve had the privilege of being sent. Writing for Women Under Siege was a great experience so thanks to Shazdeh and Lauren for accommodating my rookie academic ambitions.

So that’s it for the moment, folks. I will keep you updated on any new reviews or exciting news that may come my way.

My review for FWSA is now live!

My review of Julia Long’s ‘Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Porn Feminism‘ is now live on the FWSA blog. You can read it here.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in my review, then feel free to comment. If our opinions differ, that’s fine, but refrain from using derogatory or abusive language. Cos it’s just not cool.

I hope you enjoy my review, folks!

Recent Shenanigans

New zine project:

Feeling inspired after the successful completion of my Stephen King fanzine, ‘Death Is When The Monsters Get You‘, I decided to embark on another zine making project; an as-of-yet unnamed literary zine.

There are no firm guidelines; there is no specific theme and contributors are welcome to submit pieces of fiction in any format they choose (short story, flash fiction, Twitter fiction, haiku, poetry, monologue, screenplay etc etc).

If you would like more details then please click here. The word count stated is just a guide; I’m willing to compromise!

Being interviewed by Radio Tircoed:

Cath Elms and I, founding members of Swansea Feminist Network, were invited to appear Radio Tircoed to chat about feminism on their Women’s Bits show.

We were pretty nervous about the whole thing, but all-in-all, it went very well!

The chat was an informal one and we were asked about the origins of Swansea Feminist Network, why we identified as feminists, our activism activities and campaigns and what the future held for our organisation.

I feel this whole broadcasting malarky is something that we, as an organisation, can really get into and it’s inspired us to start thinking about how we can use radio and podcasts as part of our activities.

Unfortunately, can’t link you to a podcast of the chat, as Radio Tircoed doesn’t currently offer them, but we’re hoping to get an MP3 sent to us, so keep you posted!

Cath and I with the presenter of Women’s Bits, Alison ‘Lenny’ Lenihan:

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Reviewing ‘Dirty Work’ by Gabriel Weston for The F-Word:

After responding to a call-out by The F-Word on Facebook, I have now joined their list of fiction reviewers! Books for free! Hurrah!

I am currently reviewing ‘Dirty Work’ by Gabriel Weston in audio-book format.

The synopsis is as such (from: Telegraph Author Interviews):

‘Dirty Work is about Nancy, a young registrar working in gynaecology and obstetrics, who is summoned before a panel to investigate why, at a crucial moment while performing an abortion, she completely froze and sat motionless while her patient almost bled to death.’

The novel broaches a very contentious and timely issue, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I am an hour in and I am really enjoying ‘Dirty Work’ so far. Weston’s descriptions of colour especially strike me as almost sumptuous.

I will post a link to the review when it’s done!

Swansea Feminist Network fundraiser: 

It’s that time of year again; the first of the bi-annual Swansea Feminist Network fundraisers!

Each year we hold two fundraisers in aid of Swansea Women’s Centre  (where I am also a trustee and volunteer); we ask local female-fronted musicians to perform for us and we sell our zines, vegan cakes and raffle off various goodies for an excellent cause.

Here is the Swansea Feminist Network committee in all our drunken glory:

I am in the white floral dress...

I am in the white floral dress…

We raised just under £300 for the Centre this time round and in November, we will be holding another event for the White Ribbon Campaign; a campaign ran by men to end violence against women.

Details of all our events and activities can be found on the SFN blog (link posted above somewhere…).

Books I have read recently:

Joyland by Stephen King.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks.

NOS4R2 by Joe Hill (my review here, some spoilers!)

Changes to review policy:

Well, I don’t really have a review policy as such but I have made a decision to try and limit the amount of spoilers I use in any given piece. I feel perhaps it detracts from the review itself, and might discourage readers from checking the books out; something I would feel pretty bad about.

I also am thinking of self-imposing a word-limit on my reviews as they tend to go off on existential ruminations; maybe this is something that readers don’t like? Short and snappy best? Lengthy good sometimes?

Some feedback would be appreciated!