The Ones to Read: February 2018

Here is this month’s list of recommended reading – the best writing on women, gender, music, and art from all over the internet.

Compared to January, where big headlines and the #MeToo movement abounded, there have been fewer big news-based stories concerning gender rights in the entertainment industries. Instead, some of the most exciting writing comes in the form of interviews with artists whose next albums we eagerly await, including Janelle Monáe and Courtney Barnett, and reviews of other cultural releases, such as journalist Dolly Alderton’s memoir Everything I Know About Love, food writer Ruby Tandoh’s glorious ode to eating for happiness, Eat Up!, and the Greta Gerwig-directed and Oscar-nominated film Lady Bird.

The last few days have seen some wonderful news, though: 45 international festivals have committed to having a 50/50 gender balance on their line-ups by 2022. Here’s hoping.

 

  • Everything I Know About Love is a shockingly intimate memoir from former sex columnist Dolly Alderton

Julie Burchill, New Statesman, 13 February 2018

https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/books/2018/02/everything-i-know-about-love-shockingly-intimate-memoir-former-sex-columnist

 

  • Courtney Barnett Talks About Taking on Misogyny and Self-Doubt With Her New Album 

Devon Maloney, Pitchfork, 15 February 2018

https://pitchfork.com/features/interview/courtney-barnett-talks-about-taking-on-misogyny-and-self-doubt-with-her-new-album/

 

  • The Grammys Need to Accept That They Have a Woman Problem

Lauren O’Neill, Noisey, 16 February 2018

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/8xd5dz/the-grammys-need-to-shut-up-and-accept-they-have-a-woman-problem

 

  • I’m Not With Her: “We’re about camaraderie, not Hillary”

Emma John, Guardian, 18 February 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/feb/18/im-with-her-band-interview-bluegrass-music-aoife-odonovan-sara-watkins-sarah-jarosz

 

  • Rihanna Is 30 So Now I Want to Be 30 Too

Lauren O’Neill, Noisey, 21 February 2018

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/zmwqb8/rihanna-is-30-so-now-i-want-to-be-30-too

 

  • The revolution is here – and young women are leading the change

Leonie Cooper, NME, 23 February 2018

http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/2247565-2247565

 

  • Janelle Monáe Steps Into Her Bisexual Lighting

Sasha Geffen, Vulture, 23 February 2018

http://www.vulture.com/2018/02/janelle-mone-steps-into-her-bisexual-lighting.html

  • “Going viral taught me that scepticism is another schism between the sexes”

Moya Lothian-McLean, 23 Feb

ruary, Stylist

https://www.stylist.co.uk/long-reads/viral-kebab-photos-sexism-cynical-men-women-online-troll/191903

 

  • ‘Black Panther’ Was Great Because of Women, But Its Soundtrack Sidelined Them

Kristin Corry, Noisey, 23 February 2018

https://noisey.vice.com/en_uk/article/qveew7/black-panther-soundtrack-movie-review

 

  • ‘The world is infested with evil!’ When Kathy Acker met the Spice Girls

Hayley Campbell and Kathy Acker, Guardian. 26 February 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/feb/26/when-kathy-acker-met-the-spice-girls

 

  • BBC Proms among 45 festivals committing to 50/50 gender balance

Laura Harding, Independent, 26 February

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/bbc-proms-among-45-festivals-committing-to-5050-gender-balance-36643652.html

 

  • ‘Lady Bird’ Shows That It’s Ok for Women to Be Hungry

Ruby Lott-Lavigna, Munchies, 26 February

https://munchies.vice.com/en_uk/article/j5ba9b/lady-bird-shows-that-its-ok-for-women-to-be-hungry?utm_campaign=global&utm_source=vicefbuk

 

And, finally, something to listen to:

  • Dolly Alderton’s Love Stories, with Ruby Tandoh

 

Written by Ellen Peirson-Hagger (@ellen_cph on Twitter).

The Importance of Intersectional Feminism

When promoting her autobiography Brave earlier this year, Rose McGowan was confronted by a transgender woman, who accused her of being a ‘white cis feminist’, following her comment on RuPaul’s What’s The Tee? Podcast, where she stated “That’s [feeling like a woman on the inside] not growing as a woman, that’s not living in this world as a woman and a lot of the stuff I hear trans [women] complaining about, yeah, welcome to the world.”

These comments are undeniably transphobic and unacceptable and McGowan has a history of making offensive remarks such as these ones . She has previously stated that Caitlyn Jenner “doesn’t understand” being female and claimed “I have an indictment of the gay community right now…gay men are as misogynistic as straight men”. Considering that she is a public figure who has the ability to influence the masses, these comments are beyond irresponsible.

The woman who called out Rose was escorted out of the event, whilst she continued to chant ‘white cis feminism’. Girls Against wants to address and respond to this incident in explaining the importance of intersectional feminism.

The term ‘intersectional feminism’ was first used by civil rights advocate and scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989. Whilst studying to become a lawyer, she noticed that gender and race were perceived as two separate issues. She believed that studying them in isolation made no sense. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines intersectionality as “the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect”. So, to put it simply, intersectional feminism recognises that the discrimination women face does not exist in one bubble – different kind of prejudice can be amplified in different ways when combined. Thus recognising, with regards to this situation, that the prejudice and discrimination a transgender woman might face is undoubtedly different to the prejudice and discrimination that a white-cis woman would is extremely important.

To assume that feminism is only for white, cis-gendered women is wounding to the movement itself and feminism that promotes this idea is not really feminism at all. Akilah Hughes, also known as Akilah Obviously on YouTube, has created a great video that explains intersectionality in the form of pizza – it is well worth a watch!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgK3NFvGp58&feature=youtu.be

Laverne Cox, who considers herself a feminist demonstrated how important it is that feminism is inclusive and for everybody, “I think the trans movement and the LGBT movement in general really has to be a social justice movement where we look at issues of race and class and xenophobia in general”.

Another example of someone who has wonderfully demonstrated the need for intersectional feminism is sixteen-year-old Rowan Blanchard who wrote an essay on the topic:

“White feminism” forgets all about intersectional feminism. The way a black woman experiences sexism and inequality is different from the way a white woman experiences sexism and inequality. Likewise with trans-women and Hispanic women. While white women are making 78 cents to the dollar, Native American women are making 65 cents, black women are making 64 cents, and Hispanic women are making 54 cents. Kimberlé Crenshaw said it perfectly in 1989 when she said “The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.”

What I have (very briefly) discussed about the importance of intersectional feminism reinforces that feminism is not feminism if it is not for all. Girls Against truly believes in this and as a campaign we are always here for everyone.

 

Written By Megan Ryder-Maki (@ixxmcmxl on Twitter.)

Women Of Modern Rock- Edith Gervin

http://girlsagainst.org.uk/2018/02/12/women-of-modern-rock-edith-gervin/

As the title suggests, this is a little piece I did that showcases the women of modern rock. These are just a small percentage of the women that are here to inspire the current and next generation of artists, musicians, fashion-bloggers and any person that loves music. Featuring Ellie Roswell of Wolf Alice, Alana Haim Of Haim, Dua Lipa and Becky Blomfield Of Milk Teeth” – Edith Gervin

‘Someone Out There’- Rae Morris Album Review

‘Someone Out There’ is the sophomore album from the ridiculously talented Rae Morris. On this new album, Morris has expanded her sonic horizons and ventured into new areas of production, creating a record that is ambitious and adventurous, whilst retaining some of the character that attracted fans to her debut album ‘Unguarded’.

Opening with ‘Push Me To My Limit’, Morris’ vocals are pushed right to the forefront, sounding better than ever. This track builds and builds before slowly fading out. After this point, the album could take one of two directions. It could’ve stayed in the lane of her debut and continued with more piano ballads, but instead, we are launched into ‘Reborn’ – the first single lifted from ‘Someone Out There’, which Morris described as “a sort of Europop banger”. She’s not mistaken, the track delivers the emotional depth of a typical Rae Morris song through its lyrics, but introduces us to a more pop direction with its electronic production and catchy chorus. The song has a positive message of self-reinvention and being content with the possibility of changing as a person.

Following this, ‘Do It’ is (arguably) one of the best tracks released in 2017 and in my opinion, should’ve been at least a Top 5 single on the charts. But alas, we live in a world of great injustice… It also has a positive message, encouraging people to try new things and pursue their gut instinct.

Before listening to the full album, I was slightly concerned that it would not be able to live up to the hype created by the singles, but ‘Dip My Toe’ is the first of many tracks on the latter half of the album which proved me wrong. It’s an infectiously catchy song about experimentation, the excitement of being single and finding a new relationship and the production is absolutely stellar.

Morris is particularly proud of the production on the album’s penultimate track ‘Rose Garden’, which is the most experimental song she has ever released. She also stated in a Twitter Q&A that it is “very special and particularly moving” for her to listen to and told fans that she intends to explore this new avenue of electronic production on future releases.

The album closes with my favourite track, ‘Dancing With Character’, which tells the tale of an elderly couple who used to go dancing together. The husband lost his wife, but the song tells us that he continues to go dancing without her, retracing their steps. It showcases the beauty of love, how we remain connected to those we have lost through things as simple as movement. The song closes in a beautiful moment that sounds just like an Elton John track, a gorgeous ending to an emotional rollercoaster of an album.

All in all, this record is totally stunning and is definitely a contender for the ‘Best of 2018’ lists. If you’re a fan of Björk, Kate Bush or Grimes, then you’ll probably adore this record as much as I do. This album isn’t a grower, it’s one you fall head over heels in love with upon first listen.

 

Written by Conor Giblin (@conorjgiblin on Twitter.)

How Anteros are Empowering The Girls at The Front

Photo taken by Harriet Brown (hatphoto.co.uk).

Empowerment through music is such an amazing and important thing, especially for girls. Anteros, an indie rock band from London who formed in 2014, proved the importance of this at their show at Jimmy’s in Manchester on Sunday 4th February.

Ready to spend my, usually chilled and centred around going to bed early, Sunday night singing and dancing away to the music of Anteros, I headed to Jimmy’s in the heart of the Northen Quarter of Manchester. Anteros were playing in this venue as part of Jimmy’s Independent Venue Week gigs and, although I didn’t attend any of the other shows, I feel like this energy-filled show was the perfect way to end this celebration of live music in unique venues.

The band were really friendly, making their way on to the stage by way of the crowd, chatting and hugging members of the audience on their way there. But as soon as the music started they were transformed into something out of  a music video; their performance started as soon as they stepped on to the stage.

Laura, the lead singer, especially was incredibly confident and entertaining. I was genuinely shocked at how amazing her voice sounds live and this accompanied by her energy-filled dancing made for an amazing performance. Her engagement with the audience was also really nice to see, holding her hands out to girls on the front row and putting her arms round them whilst allowing them to sing the songs together.

I turned to my friend at one point and told her ‘It’s amazing how much confidence she has, I’d never be able to get up on stage and do that!’ I’ve always admired women in bands who are so comfortable on the stage and entertain the audience effortlessly by completely allowing themselves to let loose and be who they are. Whether its Izzy from Black Honey, Rakel in Dream Wife or Wolf Alice’s Ellie Rowsell, I always feel so empowered after watching women in bands perform and Laura’s performance was no different!

Towards the end of the gig, Laura spoke directly to the audience about her experience of lacking in self-confidence throughout her life and the troubles constantly comparing herself to the girls and women around her have caused. After assuring the audience that she now accepts and loves herself for who she is, she invited all of the girls in the audience onto the stage to dance with her to ‘Bonnie’, a song she wrote with the hopes of empowering the women listening to it.

Being on the stage and dancing around with all the other girls was SO empowering. After telling my friend minutes earlier that I’d never be able to get on the stage and be myself, there I was without a care in the world ‘dancing in the middle’, as the song lyrics go.

It made me realise how important it is for musicians to empower girls of all ages, but especially young girls, to be themselves and love themselves for who they are. Laura inviting us up on stage on Sunday night might have made even one girl realise that being in a band or creating music is what she what she really wants to do. Or made another girl who was feeling bad about herself regain confidence and feel empowered. It certainly kickstarted my week in a really positive way.

This encouragement is also vital within the indie/rock music scene, a scene that is dominated by male artists. Young girls who are just getting into this type of music and go straight for the ‘big bands’ will find themselves with little other choice than to listen to music by white male artists, providing them with little to look up to in terms of relatable role models. And although most of the music I listen to is by female-led indie/alternative/rock bands, most/all of them do not get the attention they deserve. This is a problem throughout the entirety of the music industry, as illustrated by some of this years festival line ups that are lacking completely in all aspects diversity (read our post on the Wireless line up here) and one that will not be solved overnight. However empowering girls and women to ‘pick up a guitar’ (as the saying goes), start a band or even just get involved with the music industry is such an important step in moving towards a more diverse community within music and actions like Laura’s really do make all the difference.

Girls supporting girls and women supporting women is SO important. Watching Anteros play on Sunday night reminded me to always support the women in my life in whatever they’re doing and I hope the smiling faces of all the girls on the stage had this same effect on everyone else at the gig too.

If you have the chance to see Anteros live, take it! This was my first time seeing them live and I had such a fun night. The band’s interaction with each other is incredible to watch and Laura is seriously cool- her voice and overall stage presence will have you captivated from the minute the show starts.

 

Written by Alice Porter (@aliceporterx on Twitter.)

January Newsletter: Hello 2018!

Welcome to 2018!

Girls Against have so many plans for this year and we can’t wait to reveal them all over the next few months. Over January we released some new playlists on our Spotify, including one filled with amazing WOC that we think deserve a spot on the Wireless line up. As well as a ‘RIOT GRRRRL’ themed playlist with artists like Girlpool and Pussy Riot. We hope you check those out and hope they’re inspiring, finding new amazing women to listen to is always a big aim of ours!

Our rep Meg wrote a lovely post on the blog as part of our ‘Everyday Heroes’ series, all about her mum. It’s really heartwarming and well worth a read. We also reached out on our twitter for Spoken word artists/poets for an exciting event we have planned. Thank you so much for all your recommendations, we’re so grateful as well as learning so much and finding so many new artists. We’ll keep everyone in mind and want you to keep in touch! Our rep Ellen wrote a piece on Halsey’s incredible speech at the Women’s March in NYC. It really was a powerful poem and the full thing can be found on her post, as well as her thoughts on it and what it meant to her. Find it here

Our favourites in Dream Wife released their self-titled album this month. Neive, our rep, did a great album review on the blog full of praise for their amazing album and we love it so much. The girls are going on tour in March so make sure you check them out. Read it here.  Also on the blog, our rep Emily, wrote a piece on the lack of female representation at Wireless. Here at GA, we were furious about the lack of RnB/Hip Hop acts that were women. 3 women across 3 stages were announced, none were headlining or that high up the bill. We know that it wasn’t the full line up but we are really expecting better from such a high profile festival. Represent women, we/they deserve it!

We’re also featured in Metal Hammer. Our rep Sophia spoke some great words and featured in their ‘Girls to the front’ article with many great metal artists. Our rep Ellen (Peirson-Hagger) wrote a list of essential reading about women in music/the arts, it’s a great list and can be read up on our blog right now.

BOOK CLUB

During January the Girls Against Book Club has been reading ‘Women & Power: A Manifesto’ by Mary Beard. Beard is a classicist and in this book she traces the origins of misogyny to their ancient roots. The book is split up into two sections, each of them developed from lectures she has given. I thought this book provided a really unique discussion and I really enjoyed it; you can read more about my views on it by heading to the ‘Book Club’ section of our website. During February we will be reading ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’, the autobiography of Maya Angelou. I’d love it if you joined us in reading this, what I’m sure will be amazing and inspiring, book and be sure to join our GoodReads group for regular discussions and updates. 

MUSIC & ALBUM REVIEWS

Sophia has put together a playlist for January including Jorja Smith (a real favourite of ours at the moment), Dream Wife and Tonight Alive. Find it here.

Our rep Clarice has written 2 amazing album reviews for our newsletter this month.  Read them below. Both albums are well worth checking out.

Marmozets ‘Knowing What You Know’: ‘After a long four years since their debut album ‘The Weird and Wonderful’, Marmozets have finally released their second studio album ‘Knowing what you know’, and it was undoubtedly worth the wait. We are instantly struck with the opening track ‘Play’, giving the listener a stark reminder of the bands previous album and reaffirming that Marmozet’s are one of the most exhilarating and lively bands in the U.K. This is consistent through most of the album, with tracks like ‘Major System Error’ and ‘Suffocation’, which are rememberable for their immense energy and catchy lyrics. Alongside these explosive tracks, we are given softer songs like ‘Insomnia’ which complement Becca’s vocal range perfectly. The coexistence of softer and heavier tracks on the album illustrates a maturing band willing to take risks and who are continuing to defy the boundaries of a typical rock album. The unpredictability of the tracks could be viewed positively or negatively; never the less it is a well-constructed album that screams the unconventional and ambitious. This is an album which is emotionally captivating inside and out, whether you prefer the softer harmonics, the gritty angrier tracks, or both.’

Dream Wife:  Grungy and glamorous, Dream Wife’s self-titled album has really set off twenty-eighteen with a bang. The opening track ‘Lets make out’ is mixed with idyllic pop melodies and catchy rock riffs, which is consistently seen throughout the album in tracks like ‘Hey Heartbreaker’ and ‘F.U.U’. Whilst softer tracks like ‘Love without Reason’ shows that the band has the potential transcend from one spectrum to another, highlighting how unique and clean-cut they truly are. Behind the sweet harmonies and energetic roars, the second track on the album ‘Somebody’ vocalises paramount issues of sexism and rape culture. The lyrics ‘I am not my body, I am somebody’ emphasise empowerment and confidence throughout the album, enabling those who do not have the voice to be heard. This album is delicate, yet its gritty, loud lyrics and guitar riffs make this album boisterous, confident and infectiously replayable.

A CAMPAIGN WE WANT YOU TO NOTICE

This month we want you to love My Big Mental Head. We had a chat with them and here is all you need to know.

‘We’re the creators of My Big Mental Head and our names are Hannah and Connie. We met through an apprenticeship course, we quickly became friends when we discovered we shared a love for music. We both work in the creative industry and recently completed our apprenticeships. We started our project, My Big Mental, on the 18th of January so it’s still early days. Our overall aim is to create a safe space for musicians and their fans to talk openly about mental health. We’ve received an incredible response so far and have alot planned for the near future. We’d like to reach out to anyone who suffers with mental health issues who needs support. We’d love to work with charities to help provide the best support we possibly can. Finally we’d like to reach out to musicians to get more people with a platform talking openly about mental health. Hopefully this will stop people from being afraid to talk about how they’re feeling. We hope that with the more awareness we raise, the more understanding we build, which will allow people like parents and teachers to support young people who are struggling’.

We love everything these girls stand for and really want them to get the exposure they deserve. Find them on twitter @mybigmentalhead.

WOMEN’S MARCH 2018

Our rep Emma has written a wonderful piece about the Women’s March that happened this month.

‘The Women’s March held on January 20th, 2018 throughout cities across the world was a huge example of the progress and determination women from across the globe have shown throughout the year. With an array of colourful signs with powerful slogans, marchers were united with all their fellow sisters as they campaigned for equality and a fairer world in which we live. One year on from Donald Trump’s inauguration, the battle for the voice of the woman to be heard was evident in the streets of New York, Washington, Los Angeles and many sister rallies campaigning in London, Canada and Italy. 2017 was a tough year for many women all over the world who have been endlessly scrutinized for their claims of sexual assault whether it being in the work place in the public sphere or at home. However, when the #MeToo campaign was born these women who had been oppressed for so long were able to have a voice in order to speak out. Through the sisterhood and support of many, the women who had been shunned and disregarded have been given a platform to speak on through the ‘Times Up’ campaign created to stand up against sexual harassment. Originally founded in 2006, the campaign came to the surface again in response to the many claims against men in power, such as Harvey Weinstein who used his position to take advantage of many women. In 2017 a letter of solidarity was written to the Hollywood women involved in exposing allegations against Harvey Weinstein. The letter described the experiences of assault and sexual harassment among female farm workers, in doing this the campaign was able to encourage those women who had a high media platform to highlight the injustice and sexual misconduct that has been ongoing. Female solidarity was displayed at the Golden Globes where many women of high profile wore black and spoke out about sexual assault in order to highlight this important issue…’ 

The rest of this amazing piece will be up on our blog this week.

 

As always, thank you for your continued support. We have lots of exciting things to announce very soon and hope that you’ll continue to support us over the next year and beyond. Happy 2018!

GA x

Contributors for January: Alice (@aliceporterX), Sophia (@hurricane_phi), Emma Randall, Clarice Deakin.

Editor: Ellen (@ellcharlotte_)

FIND US:

twitter: @girlsagainst

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/girlsagainstgroping/ 

instagram: @girls.against

email: girlsagainstgiggroping@gmail.com

GA Book Club #7: ‘Women & Power: A Manifesto’ by Mary Beard.

For the first month of 2018, here at the Girls Against Book Club, we have been reading Women & Power by Mary Beard. Mary Beard is a classicist and in this short yet informative book, she traces the origins of misogyny to their ancient roots. The book is split up into two sections ‘The Public Voice of Women’ and ‘Women in Power’ which are both developed from lectures she gave, respectively, in 2014 and 2017.

At only 107 pages and the book itself being relatively small in size, I managed to read it within 24 hours and it was definitely a page-turner. Beard develops a strong argument and discusses many important, and less mainstream, moments of history, whether its factual events, mythology or literature. Reading this book truly proved to me that, as Beard states in her preface, ‘When it comes to silencing women, Western culture has had thousands of years of practice.’

As always, I’m just going to discuss some of my favourite parts of the book, although I’ll have to narrow them down a little as I’ve bookmarked more pages than I’m sure you care to read about. Beard begins the first section of the book, ‘The Public Voice of Women’, with a discussion of the Odyssey, a fitting place to start in considering origins. She discusses a particular part of the poem when a mother is condemned by her son to a different room whilst the men are talking,  a scene I have seen repeated many times not only in ancient literature but in literature published right up until the 20th century. Beard states that this is an example of how ‘an integral part of growing up, as a man, is learning to take control of public utterance and to silence the female of the species.’ This stuck with me in the wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns, as it has become undeniably apparent just how often women are silenced by men who are willing to abuse their positions of power.

Another part of this section of the book that immediately stood out to me was Beard’s discussion of how ‘women’s voices raised in support of women’s causes’ are all too often ‘niched’ into that area and dismissed by many as a result. Roxane Gay and Jeanette Winterson discussed a similar phenomenon with regards to literature written by women being specifically and unjustifiably labelled as ‘women’s fiction’ which I discussed when we read Bad Feminist and Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit as part of the book club. The fact that women who are professionals in their fields feel this like they are being ‘niched’, as Beard puts it, like this makes it undoubtedly clear that this is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Women’s art and women’s issues generally should not be pushed into a corner purely because of their authorship or their topic of discussion. Art created by cis-males and issues affecting them are not treated as such.

From her own experience, Beard also discusses how ‘unpopular, controversial or just plain different views when voiced by a woman are taken as indications of her stupidity.’ This is something I totally relate to and experience regularly. I  often feel like this happens to me when I am speaking to older men, but it is definitely an all-too regular occurrence with men of a similar age to me too. In a discussion about politics, for example, often if I say something that the man I am speaking to doesn’t agree with they won’t even consider for a moment what I am saying but will simply laugh and shake their head. This is something that happens so frequently that I am genuinely picturing men who have done this before giving me this extremely patronising shake of the head.

At the beginning of the second section of the book ‘Women In Power’, Beard spends a considerable amount of time discussing the novel Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a fantasy novel about a world with only women that has existed for around 2000 years; the book club will be reading this text in May (click here for our reading list from January-July). I thought it would be interesting to take note in this post of some of the things she says about the novel so we can refer back to them and see if we agree when we read it ourselves. She asks a series of questions the novel provokes, ‘How have we learned to look at those women who exercise power, or who try to? What are the cultural underpinnings of misogyny in politics or the workplace, and its forms…How and why do the conventional definitions of “power” (or for that matter of “knowledge”, “expertise” and “authority”) that we carry round in our heads exclude women?’ These will definitely be things I will be keeping in mind when reading the novel. Beard concludes, with regards to Gilman’s book,  ‘my basic premise is that our mental, cultural template for a powerful person remains resolutely male.’

The remainder of this section of the book discusses how the political power structure that currently exists in Europe and all over the world is one that is shaped and crafted for the benefit of men. Beard gives examples of how women have tried to fit into this power structure, for example Thatcher taking voice lessons in order to make her voice sound more deep, but, ultimately, concludes that this is not the best way to deal with tackling it. She states, ‘You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.’ This is the quote that is included on the back cover of the book and one that I think nicely summarises Beard’s apparent aim in giving these lectures and writing this book. It really did make me think differently about how I can improve my feminism and was a great way to start the new year, inspiring me even more to continuously critique systems that exclude women, LGBTQ people as well as POC.

For the month of February the GA Book Club will be reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, an autobiography by a strong WOC dealing with issues of gender and race. This is a book that I’ve wanted to read for such a long time and I can’t wait to finally tick it off my list this month.

I really hope you’ll join me in reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings! If you do and have any thoughts you’d like to share with the book club, please email them to girlsagainstbookclub@gmail.com. Or/and join our GoodReads group and get involved with the monthly discussion. All contributions will be included in next months post which will go up on Sunday 4th March.

Happy reading!

Written by Alice Porter (@aliceporterx on Twitter.)