Men’s Feminist Voices

March 18, 2013 by So to Speak · 1 Comment
Filed under: Literary Resources, Post by: Sheila M 

Curious about what is it to be a man AND a feminist? Do you sometimes wonder if it is actually possible? Well, we’re here to tell you that it IS possible to be both a self-identifying man and feminist! Not only is it possible, but it is normal and exciting and makes for a better world. And good news— there are so many wonderful examples of male feminists right now on this site! Our men are talking everything from politics, generational gaps and misgivings, the brewing industry, translation and learning about pregnancy, matrilineal inheritance, privilege, even pornography, to seeking advice on how to be the best person one (man or woman) can be.

 

Pushcart Nominees!

Happy Holidays, everyone! We are delighted to announce the Pushcart nominees from this year’s issues of So to Speak:

Spring 2012:

Robert Kostuck, “If I Had the Wings of a Dove” (fiction)

Lauren C. Ostberg, “On Hair” (nonfiction)

Adriana Paramo, “QuarterLife of Love” (nonfiction)

Fall 2012:

Sheila Black, “Migrant” (poetry)

 

Congratulations to the nominees, and our most sincere thanks for sharing your beautiful, engaging work with us.

October News Round-Up

So to Speak is beginning a new monthly feminist news round-up series! Here we will highlight the month’s past blog posts, other feminist related news, and hot topics to look forward to in the next month! We want your input as well! Add a comment on our blog of some feminist related news, tweet, or email us!

This month on So to Speak:

  • Where in the World is Wonder Woman– Undergraduate GMU student, Jen Mach, speaks on the importance of physically strong, mentally strong, independent women role models for girls and adults alike! Using Wonder Woman as her focus, she describes how the comic book superhero tradition abuses, murders, and utterly disgraces so many of their female comic heroes. Read how this has a tragic effect on the ways women are viewed and talked about.
  • Ms.Magazine releases its 40th issue with a revival Wonder Woman cover! Celebrating women’s strength and the power to vote Katherine Spillar,

executive editor of Ms. says, “Wonder Woman has been an enduring symbol of women’s power. We could imagine no better way to urge women to use their own power – the power of their vote – to stand up for themselves and their rights in the coming elections.” The press release states that this special fall issue examines what’s at stake for women in November, including access to safe abortion and birth control, economic security and workplace equity, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and protections against violence.  The issue also provides a detailed rundown on many state ballot measures that affect women’s lives and looks at the record numbers of women running for Congress. To buy your copy go to msmagize.com

  • On Ocotber 15th we closed our submissions period. We are currently in the process of selecting pieces for publication and passing on poetry and nonfiction to our respected judges!

Book Review of Danielle Pafunda’s Manhater and essay from Beauty is a VerbPoetry and Blog Editor, Sheila McMullin, reviewed poetry contest judge, Danielle Pafunda‘s newest poetry collection Manhater from Dusie Press. In this post, Sheila thinks about the intersections of the medical gaze and male gaze as Pafunda writes about in both her poetry and critical essay from the anthology Beauty is a Verb.

 

 

  • The StS poetry team got together and posted some Poetry Tips for potential submitters!
  • Guest Blogger, Sarah Marcus, posted a Cultural Critique and Gender Identity essay by her undergraduate student David Bache. A feminist inspired lesson plan, Sarah watched Miss Reprentation with her students and asked them to write a cultural critique. Also posted is a brief description of the lesson plan.
  • From the Presidential Debates we were all shocked to hear where Romney believed women keep themselves with the now infamous phrase, “Binders full of women.” Although a poor choice of wording, we did see people paying attention to the ramifications of language—and become aware of the awesome organizations out there helping women move into higher positions of power.
  • Hilary Mantel wins the 2012 Man Booker Prize

  • This happened in September, but we must applaud! Gazing Grain, the first self-proclaiming inclusive feminist chapbook publisher publishes its first chapbook—The Busy Life, by Laura Neuman. Judged by Brian Teare. Look forward to a StS review of The Busy Life this November by Sheila McMullin.
  • Women Who Rock museum exhibit makes it way to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.
  • Through @SoToSpeakJrnl we tweeted our favorite feminist poetry and nonfiction pieces and collections. Start preparing your favorite fiction works!
  • October 29, 2012: Hurricane Sandy hits Fairfax, Virginia. Federal offices, universities, and schools are closed. If you’re on the east coast and feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy, stay safe and care for one other! For safety preparedness go to ready.gov.

Upcoming in November: VOTE!!!!!! Go out there on November 6th and exercise your right! Here is your chance to create the world you wish to live in!

Be well,

♥ Sheila

Where in the World is Wonder Woman?

by Jennifer Mach, George Mason University undergraduate student

Many people throughout the world know who Wonder Woman is. Her real name is Diana Prince and was created from clay on the beach of Themyscria—the Amazonian Island by her mother Hippolyta. Once coming to New York City to fulfill her duty as a hero, she teamed up with Batman and Superman, creating the Justice League. Wonder Woman is a legacy that many men and women look up to due to her strength. However, she is one of the only women on the team, is easily undermined when standing next to her co-founder, Superman and Batman. Diana is a great character that society does not see much of. There are a lot of movies and TV shows about Batman and Superman, but never about Wonder Woman. In the past, Wonder Woman has been an iconic idol for women, so where has she disappeared?

It all started during the 1940’s. World War II was at its peak and many U.S. soldiers were sent out to fight against the Axis Powers. Many women in the United States became more independent and took a more leading role around this time. This is also when the creation of the Wonder Woman comics and her iconic image became huge. However, once the men came back from WWII, women had to give up their jobs, and the Wonder Women era died down.

During the 1970’s-80’s the boys had Star Wars and Indiana Jones. All the character had some damsel to save, and easily won the women over. However, not every woman enjoys bring treated that way. When Wonder Woman (the television series) aired, women finally had something just like the men. They had the opportunity to stop the bad guys and be the one saving the man in trouble. However, once the television series was cancelled, Wonder Woman was rarely heard from again, and Star Wars and Indiana Jones became more iconic than Diana.

So, the question is: Where in the World is Wonder Woman? Where has she gone? Well here is the answer. She is dead. Not figuratively, but literally. In Diana’s story, the writers killed her off, making her a goddess of truth. This is surprisingly very common is the comic book world for female characters. A website called “Women in Refrigerators” was established in 1994 listing all the female characters who have been brutally murdered. The number of deaths is significantly higher compared to the male character population. Many of the women such as the Huntress and Black Canary have been raped, murdered, zapped, tortured, and maimed by villains. It has caused so much outrage in the public view that a few character had to be revived. Even though Wonder Woman was a character that was killed, she ended up being resurrected and continued her role as heroine, pretending as if nothing happened. Yet, ever since then, has there been any notion to her existence?

Even though it can be sad to see that Wonder Woman may be “dead” in today’s society, that are certainly other women who have picked up her role. The feminist movement has made a big change, and more women are taking charge. Lately, Michelle Obama has been stressing the idea of healthy living for children. She has been making inspiring campaigns, talks, and visits to the people about this problem. However, the media saw her eating ribs and instantly called her a hypocrite and liar. Thus, this has made her a strong female role that was also thrown into the “refrigerator” by the media. In addition, Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has made great changes in trying to improve and focus on Foreign Policy. However, the media cannot stop their faultfinding and call Clinton out on her looks and naivety, causing her to be another woman wrongfully placed in the “refrigerator.” Angelina Jolie is a strong female actress who states who mind and doesn’t seem fazed by the media. Although she is a strong woman who many can look up to, she is also seen as an immense sex symbol, and can be a difficult role model for young girls.

Even though many women are making great and positive movements to helping the country, many of the young girls today are getting side tracked. This is a critical moment when more powerful women need to be in pop culture and not seen as only sex symbols. Just about every girl grew up with Wonder Woman, either reader his in comics, watching her in cartoons, and seeing her on merchandise. She is the most famous heroine in the United States, and she doesn’t need a man to prove her worth. Girls need a woman like Diana in their life to know that there is more to makeup, clothes, and boys. The world is in danger, and women need a reminder by Wonder Woman to show how much strength they have.

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“What are the consequences for women when they are strong?” Watch this video for interviews with pop culture excerpts and feminists about female superheros.

Generation Y and Feminism

September 17, 2012 by So to Speak · 1 Comment
Filed under: Literary Resources, Opinion, Starring Local Feminists 

My Metaphorical, Meandering Truth

by John Dwyer

My mother complains that she has a chauvinist for an eldest son but nevertheless, when pressed I call myself a feminist. I write for the Good Men Project, embrace everything that goes along with being a man, and have even used the term “misandry” with a straight face. Yet, when asked, I admit that misogyny and misanthropy are much greater problems which still plague my generation Y as much as my parents ’. So where does such a serious dichotomy or disconnect come from?

I argue that there are two reasons, one particular to me and the other more general, but both affect my generation greatly and adversely. Before continuing, however, full disclosure: I have absolutely no interest in defining my feminism much to my girlfriend’s chagrin, but she’s a woman, so who cares about her opinion, right?

That joke (it was a joke, by the way) brings me to why my mother shakes her head over her chauvinistic son. At a young age I learned to interact with the world through the protection of sarcasm. I was brought up religious and so I believed every real question had already been answered (and answered correctly!) and when the real world ran counter to my expectations, I embraced verbal irony.

If you’re in on the joke, a sarcastic comment says a lot; by capitalizing on the absurd space between expectations and reality, it subtly reveals the speaker’s wishes and hopes while never fully exposing them to direct sunlight. The problem is that not everyone is in on the joke (and that has been addressed wonderfully over here by Lindy West on Jezebel, with race as a focus in place of gender). I don’t think my jokes are funny, I think they’re tragic but tears in your eyes can blur the lines and my generation often sees life as a tragicomedy.

That brings me to the general issue: my generation of writers has a collective problem with self-identifying as feminists and as much as I hate admitting that I’m a “Millennial,” I’m no different in this respect. Even here in So to Speak’s sacred hyperspace, unabashedly visceral writers like Amanda Graham hesitate before throwing out the word like it’s the new f-bomb and should be approached only with caution.

I admit that I can only conjecture on what causes my peers to pause before labeling themselves feminists – and I do believe a vast swathe of us are, at least on an intellectual level. However, if I extrapolate from my own experience, I don’t think the problem is a secret chauvinism or fear of pigeonholing but an ingrained aversion towards speaking the truth, or anything approaching an absolute.

That men and women are equals is a capital “T” Truth – even as they still are routinely treated unequally is true – and Truth with a capital T is a rather difficult thing to say and doubly difficult for a writer. Burying the Truth at the bottom of a spoonful of saccharine, making it palatable and sneaking it past your defenses through artificial constructs, alliterations and conceits, is what writers do. This is not a bad thing and what writers do is not a bad thing (it’s glorious!) even if it’s technically dishonest.

I will steal Anne Sexton’s words to admit that I often “lie / as all who love have lied,” and I believe that dishonesty is something a good person has ready at his or her disposal. However, as writers, and more importantly as Millenials, we need to remember to occasionally cut through the bullshit and admit the unadulterated and sometimes bifurcated Truth.

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John Dwyer writes over here at the Good Men Project and you can follow him on Twitter: @JohnCDwyer where he tweets about anything from technology to public health. He works for a non-profit in the D.C. area.

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