How Much Do You Know About “Women’s Lib”?

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During my years as an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I took as many classes as I could in their well-reputed women’s studies department. When I was required to take a sociology class, I took “The Foundations of Feminism.” For my philosophy requirement, I chose “Philosophy of Feminism.” A literature […]

The Book Thief: Stealing Hearts and Minds

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Though the film The Book Thief is narrated by Death (as is the book) and takes place during World War II—an era particularly riddled with death—the movie brims with life. A large part of this is due to the amazing young actress Sophie Nélisse who plays the protagonist, Liesel Meminger. It is not often that […]

“Catching Fire”: Positive Fuel for the Feminist Flame

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I think most of us would agree there is no place on this planet that is utopian in the sense of being a perfect society (utopia literally means “no place”). Dystopia, on the other hand, exists to some extent every place. The Hunger Games trilogy is very apt in this sense of the word. The […]

“BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez” Is Bound to Be Good

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At 79 years old, Sonia Sanchez—the legendary writer, civil rights activist and leader of the Black Arts movement—is more badass than ever. Soon you will be able to see for yourself in BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, a forthcoming documentary about her life and work—which are as inextricable as two sides of the same coin. For the […]

Attacking Rape Culture with Gallows Humor

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TRIGGER WARNING: Discussion of rape and rape culture … When Jessie Kahnweiler started talking about making a comedic short film called Meet My Rapist about her personal experience with rape, everyone from friends and family to Hollywood insiders to feminists wary of offending victims urged her to rethink the idea. A P.R. consultant urged her to […]

Nuns Prove Sisterhood Is Powerful

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Every Friday since 2007, a group of nuns has stood outside Broadview (Ill.) Detention Center praying with families of immigrant deportees and eventually boarding the buses taking them to the airport. A scene from the new documentary Band of Sisters shows one nun, probably in her 60s, step in front of a police officer who’s […]

A Feminist Guide to Horror Movies, Part Six: The Final Chapter

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Already missing Halloween? Me too. Much to my dismay, this October featured only one horror movie release with Carrie. The next installment of Paranormal Activity (we’ve had one every October for the last three years) was moved to 2014, but moviegoers were able to catch a preview before screenings of Carrie, and it looks like […]

“Keep Your White Hands Off My Brown Body”

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I always had this pity for myself because I was a woman. Then, on top of it, I’d say, well, I’m Native American. I’m at the bottom of the bottom. Growing up in a society where more than one in three women will be raped during their lifetime, a number significantly higher than the statistics for […]

A Feminist Guide to Horror Movies, Part 5: The Blood of “Carrie”

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Carrie is largely about how women find their own channels of power, but also what men fear about women and women’s sexuality. Writing the book in 1973 and only three years out of college, I was fully aware of what Women’s Liberation implied for me and others of my sex. Carrie is woman feeling her […]

Healing from Historic Trauma: “12 Years a Slave”

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It never looked as terrible as it was and it made her wonder if hell was a pretty place too. Fire and brimstone all right, but hidden in lacy groves. Such is the “rememory” of Sethe, the main character in Toni Morrison’s Beloved, who recalls the glorious splendor of the trees on the farm where […]