Maleficent: Finally, Disney Gives us a Positive Witch/Mother

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Women’s stories have often been twisted, stolen, and locked away, often in iron-clad phallocentric cages. This has led to benevolent witches turning wicked, powerful woman being framed as bitches, midwives cast as baby-killers, queens/princesses truncated into damsels in distress and, perhaps most pervasively, the demonization/murder of mothers and motherhood. To hide this ironclad prison house […]

Still We Rise: Remembering Maya Angelou

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Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs? In this verse from what is arguably her most beloved poem, “Still I Rise,” Maya Angelou dares to delight in the black female body, a body that has borne the brunt […]

Lesbian Truths and Laughs

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The raw, risky, brilliant, inventive, comic genius Ingrid Jungermann is back with Season 2 of her hit web series F to 7th, a comedy about her descent (ascent?) into pre-middle age. Judgmental as ever, Jungermann—the writer/director/star—struggles to find herself in a world where changing views of sexuality and gender have left behind her sort of […]

Why Mamas Write

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Outside of a few high-profile writers such as Anne Lamott, women who write explicitly about being a mother risk being seen as lightweight by the literary establishment. Not real writers. The anthology Mamas Write: 29 Tales of Truth, Wit and Grit turns this assumption on its head. You won’t find cliché advice on how to […]

Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: 5. “MO[DERN] [FRAME]”

Mourning by Carrie Mae Weems, 2008.

Visual art is often an inspiration for poetry; poems based on visual art are called ‘ekphrastic poems.’ In “MO[DERN] [FRAME]” by Dawn Lundy Martin, Martin writes responses to an image by Carrie Mae Weems, an American artist who, over the past 25 years, has created “a complex body of art that has at various times […]

Where Are All the Leading Ladies of Color?

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A few years ago, my date and I sat in a movie theater in Malibu, watching the opening of Couples Retreat. When the first black woman actor came on the screen, my date smacked his teeth in disgust. The woman was loud, obnoxious and senseless. Within the first 5 minutes of seeing her on the […]

Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: “4. From ‘Fleet of Nouns’”

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What makes poetry musical? What makes poetry pleasing to the ear? Poets use a variety of tools to achieve the musicality of poetry. In this selection from a long poem by Sina Queyras, she uses anaphora, the repetition of the first words of a line, to build both musicality and a strong, supple power. Queyras […]

MOM BABY GOD: Going Undercover in the Anti-Choice Movement

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Imagine heading out for a night of theater, only to end up chanting along with the rest of the audience: “We are the pro-life generation!” If you’re lucky enough to catch a performance of the currently touring MOM BABY GOD, you just might find yourself unexpectedly wrapped up in a “pro-life” slumber party, meeting all […]

Two Plays By Women, Two Worldviews

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When I hear producers say, “Plays by women don’t sell tickets” (and they seem to say that a lot), I always find myself asking, “Which plays by which women?” The classification “plays by women” denotes nothing other than the author’s sex, and any two plays by any two women are as likely to be as […]

Five Feminist Poems for National Poetry Month: 3. “Invisibility Terror: a prose poem”

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Feminist poets often take material for their poems from media headlines. Feminist poets often respond to and rewrite the news of the day in their poems. In “Invisibility Terror: a prose poem,” Cheryl Clarke examines the world post-9/11, making linkages between “Arab and Muslim people” and her own experiences with police officers 35 years ago […]