Tag: feminist

Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett’s New Single Is an Ode to Margaret Atwood

Courtney Barnett is an Australian singer/songwriter widely known for her bold, blunt lyrics and easy, conversational style of singing. Her music blurs the line between spoken word and indie rock, and NPR has deemed her, “the best lyricist in rock music today.


Barnett hit the world by storm with the 2015 release of her debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. Still, despite the excitement many felt from seeing a new, insanely lovable artist with such a refreshing, honest, witty style, Barnett was never fully safe from the hate-filled trolls of the interweb. 


Shortly after her initial album release, Barnett received the strangely-simple-yet-weirdly-aggressive message, “I could eat alphabet soup and spit out better lyrics than you.”


So, she took the remark and used it to fuel the lyrics of her latest single Nameless, Faceless.


“He said “I could eat a bowl of alphabet soup
And spit out better words than you”
But you didn’t
Man, you’re kidding yourself if you think
The world revolves around you
You know you got lots to give
And so many options
I’m real sorry
‘Bout whatever happened to you”


Barnett used the line to take a critical look at gender roles and as a broader take down of the patriarchal society built upon expectations and beliefs that harm both men and women. A society that raises women to believe they must be submissive, weak, malleable, and never make a fuss. A society that teaches men that, in order to keep their masculinity intact, they must never let their softness show and always remain angry, aggressive, and on-top.


She flows into the chorus with the famed Margaret Atwood quote:


“Men are scared that women will laugh at them / Women are scared that men will kill them”


This line is used as a basis to describe her own experiences of walking home alone from pubs late at night with her keys between her knuckles, ready to defend herself should anyone try to grab her or do her harm. 


This song is relatable in all the ways it shouldn’t be in today’s world. I know I, personally, have used this defense (along with pepper spray, tasers, and keeping a close friend on the phone with me should I need someone to call for help), and I know many (if not all) of my female friends have, as well. 


Safety is a big issue within gender inequality. Women are taught from a young age that we should learn the best ways to protect ourselves—take self-defense classes, make sure we are never out at night alone, always let someone know once you’ve made it home okay. (I’ve even gone as far as indefinitely sharing my iPhone location with friends when I’ve been out on dates.) 


It’s refreshing to see an artist speak out about something that sounds so commonplace and mundane, yet shouldn’t be. Noticing a stranger’s presence as he begins to follow you down an empty street at night, forcing yourself to ignore the intense stare of a man sitting across from you on the train so you don’t accidentally make eye contact, always feeling obligated to react and reject advances politely when being hit-on so as not to become one of the thousands of women murdered a year for saying “no”, can somehow always manage to shake you down to the core, leave your anxiety at it’s peak, and really start to wear you down. Witnessing someone in the spotlight use their artwork to loudly say “hey, I’ve been there, too. I get it, it sucks, and I’m tired.” feels redeeming and hopeful.


Barnett’s take is raw, gritty, and honest, all while still remaining energizing and fun, with her Atwood references adding a literary twist! 


Check it out now!




Featured Image Via Mixdown Mag

Katerina reading 10 Things I Hate About You

Monday Motivation: The Three Books You Need to Read This Week

There are so many wonderful books in the world and with more published every week it can be hard to know where to start, especially on Mondays when everything is ten times harder than it usually is. So let us do the work for you. Here are the three books you need to be reading this week. You’re welcome. 




The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolizter


Image Via Publishers Weekly

Image Via Publishers Weekly




Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer- madly in love with her boyfriend, Cory, but still full of longing for an ambition that she can’t quite place- feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she’d always imagined. (Via Amazon




Despite this being her twelfth book for adults, The Female Persuasion has prompted speculation that Wolitzer’s moment has finally come. She took on sexism in the publishing industry in her essay for the New York Times Book Review, “The Second Shelf: On the Rules of Literary Fiction for Men and Women,” and many articles have, since the publication of The Female Persuasion, noted that Wolitzer isn’t just as good as quintessential American novelists like Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides, she is, in fact, better. Nicole Kidman is set to star as Faith in the adaptation of the book, so get reading before it hits cinemas! The adaptation will be produced by Kidman’s production company Blossom Films, which also produces Big Little Lies. According to Entertainment Weekly, Kidman hinted last week at developing the project and posted on Instagram that she “didn’t need to be persuaded” to adapt the novel.




The Power by Naomi Alderman


Image Via SheThePeople

Image Via SheThePeople




In The Power, the world is a recognizable place: there’s a rich Nigerian boy who lounges around the family pool; a foster kid whose religious parents hide their true nature; an ambitious American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But then a vital new force takes root and flourishes, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power–they can cause agonizing pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world drastically resets.

The Power is speculative fiction at its most ambitious and provocative, at once taking us on a thrilling journey to an alternate reality, and exposing our own world in bold and surprising ways. (Via Amazon)




With the film adaptation of Alderman’s novel Disobedience, starring Rachel Weisz and Rachael McAdams, coming out in the US this week, plus a TV show of The Power in the works, Alderman, winner of the Baileys Prize for Women’s Fiction among other accolades, is already enjoying a fair amount of success. She was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2013, and was mentored by none other than The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood. She’s definitely one to read before these two adaptations hit the screens! (Also I saw a woman reading The Power on my train this morning and she looked pretty engrossed.)




Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler


Image Via Electric Literature

Image Via Electric Literature




Newly arrived in New York City, twenty-two-year-old Tess lands a job working front of house at a celebrated downtown restaurant. What follows is her education: in champagne and cocaine, love and lust, dive bars and fine dining rooms, as she learns to navigate the chaotic, enchanting, punishing life she has chosen. The story of a young woman’s coming-of-age, set against the glitzy, grimy backdrop of New York’s most elite restaurants, in Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler deftly conjures the nonstop and high-adrenaline world of the food industry and evokes the infinite possibilities, the unbearable beauty, and the fragility and brutality of being young and adrift. (Via Amazon)




Ads for the STARZ TV adaptation of Danler’s first novel are plastered on billboards and buses all over New York right now, and the young author is only set to get bigger so you better read Sweetbitter before it’s spoiled for you, because it will be spoiled for you. People are already digging this book in a big way, and they are going to go nuts for the TV show. Danler’s novel is written based on her own experiences working in the high end service industry in New York, and she even landed her agent when she served him in the restaurant where she worked! Danler adapted the screenplay herself for Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company. 


Featured Image Via Tumblr.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

10 Elizabeth Barrett Browning Quotes for International Women’s Day

March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day where voices are heard and change is the ultimate theme every single year. What better way to look toward the future than remember the strong words of the past? One English poet and author who saw women as the powerful individuals they are was Elizabeth Barrett Browning.


A voice for the oppressed, Elizabeth Barrett Browning challenged the roles of women in the Victorian household. She had the courage to profess her views that went against the grains of society. She filled her mind with Greek, Latin, and Roman histories and used her knowledge and fearless attitude to empower the women around her. Her poems are some of the most beautiful that history holds. Take a look at these lovely quotes and feel no fear:



 “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach”


“You’re something between a dream and a miracle.”



“Why, what is to live? Not to eat and drink and breathe,—but to feel the life in you down all the fibres of being, passionately and joyfully.”



“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.”



“The little cares that fretted me,
I lost them yesterday
Among the fields above the sea,
Among the winds at play.”



“What we call Life is a condition of the soul. And the soul must improve in happiness and wisdom, except by its own fault. These tears in our eyes, these faintings of the flesh, will not hinder such improvement.”



“Of writing many books there is no end;
And I who have written much in prose and verse
For others’ uses, will write now for mine,-
Will write my story for my better self,
As when you paint your portrait for a friend,
Who keeps it in a drawer and looks at it
Long after he has ceased to love you, just
To hold together what he was and is.”



“She lived, we’ll say,
A harmless life, she called a
virtuous life,
A quiet life, which was not life at all
(But that she had not lived enough to know)”



“Yes, I answered you last night;
No, this morning, sir, I say:
Colors seen by candle-light
Will not look the same by day.”



“Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: “I’m with you kid. Let’s go.”





Feature Image Via Florencelife.it

Word of the Year 2017

Merriam-Webster Has Revealed Their 2017 Word of the Year

January is coming, which signals the closing of one year and the start of another. And boy, what a crazy year it has been. Naturally, we’ve taken the good with the bad, but we’ve also taken the unexpected. Merriam-Webster Dictionary has found the perfect word to capture the year.


According to the L.A. Times, Merriam-Webster chose “feminism” to be their word of the year for 2017. The rise of this word was brought on by the Women’s March in January, along with the tidal wave of sexual assault allegations that have created a surge of power for women.


Women March

Image Via ABC News


When you Google ‘feminism’ you get: the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. However, Merriam-Webster has seen a spike of searches on that word, a 70% spike to be specific. An editor from the dictionary explains their process of deciding:


No one word can ever encapsulate all the news, events or stories of a given year. But when we look back at the past twelve months and combine an analysis of words that have been looked up much more frequently than during the previous year along with instances of intense spikes of interest because of news events, we see that one word stands out in both categories.


Wonder Woman

Image Via Youtube


Plus, with a rise in female TV shows and movie characters, I’m pretty sure pop culture helped bring feminism to a new height.

Dictionary.com recently named ‘complicit’ as their word of the year, but Merriam-Webster had a few other top contenders. “Dotard” (an elderly person who’s slightly senile), “syzygy” (an alignment or opposition of planets), and “gyro” (yes, the Greek sandwich) are some of the runner ups. Total solar eclipse anyone? Some of the others were “recuse,” “gaffe,” “federalism,” “empathy,” and “hurricane.”


I know it’s been a wild year and I have no idea what 2018 will bring, but I will say this: good choice, Merriam-Webster.


Feature Image Via SFGate

Hilde reporting

10-Year-Old Journalist, Author and Homicide-Uncoverer Is My Feminist Hero

I have a new hero. As if it wasn’t enough that ten-year-old Hilde Lysiak was noted by The New York Times as sporting ‘peach-colored socks featuring raccoons eating doughnuts,’ she was nine when she started her own newspaper, The Orange Street News, to report the goings-on in her neighborhood.


Lysiak ended up breaking the news of a murder hours before any official news outlets, and has now gone on to publish books based on her adventures.


me when I meet Hilde

Me, when I meet Hilde. | Via PopKey


Lysiak first hit headlines last year when her report on a local homicide went up hours before any other news outlets, and her star has been on the rise ever since.


A source tipped Hilde on the homicide, which occurred only a few blocks from her home. She confirmed the incident with the police department before rushing to the scene, and interviewing those present. Of course her hard work was met with some opposition, receiving comments advising that a ‘little girl’ should be ‘playing with dolls’ rather than reporting on murders. To that, she says: 


I think a lot of adults tell their kids they can do anything, but at the end of the day don’t actually let them do anything.


I believe her.


Hero Dog is the first book in a series of six, which feature Hilde as the protagonist. They are heavily inspired by her adventures uncovering news stories in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Hilde collaborated with her father Matthew on the books, which are illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethroff. They also feature reporting tips such as the six questions: Who? What? Why? Where? When? Hilde used to write these tips on her arm in order to remember them while out reporting.


The second book in the series came out on Tuesday. Hilde’s story has also been optioned by Paramount TV and Anonymous Content for TV.



Hilde doing her thang. | Via The New York Times


She didn’t get her interest in reporting from nowhere. Hilde’s father Matthew previously worked as a journalist with the New York Daily News, and the family traveled with him when he went to Florida to report on the murder of Trayvon Martin, and to South Carolina to cover the massacre at the church in Charleston. However, Matthew fell out of love with journalism. The family thought they’d left journalism behind when they moved from New York to Pennsylvania when Hilde was six.


They were mistaken. Hilde began her career reporting on events within the family; breaking the news to her father that her mother was considering buying a new car, for example. However, this did little for her and she decided to expand her reach, asking her father to assist her in producing her own newspaper. She typically gathers news by cycling around her neighborhood, asking questions. 


Her father admits, “There are a lot of people in town that don’t like her. They want her writing stories about parades and promoting the town. But no, Hilde wants to report crime and scandal when she finds it.” Damn right she does. Her response to the haters? “It makes me think I’m a good journalist.”



Via Giphy


Investigative journalism is not Hilde’s only passion, however. She is also very interested in slime. “I find great joy in [it],” she told the New York Times, who report that:


Ms. Lysiak laments that her biking limits prevent her from riding to Walmart, where they sell inexpensive glue that is “great for slime.” And she recounts an accident in her “laboratory” — her closet — after which her parents relegated her slime-making to the outdoors.


I have never been more obsessed with anyone than I am with this queen.



Me, embracing slime so Hilde will think I’m cool. | Via Giphy


The Hilde books are part of the Branches line at Scholastic, which are books aimed at readers aged five to eight who are not quite ready for full chapter books but who are reading independently. Hilde Cracks the Case is the first mystery series to be featured as part of Branches. 



Hilde’s books. | Via The New York Times


The rumors are true: I no longer slot into the five to eight age bracket, but you best believe that will not be stopping me from reading these books and buying my yearly subscription to The Orange Street News. (it’s only $20!) 


Featured Image Via The New York Times