Grimm, Who’s a Feminist?, and Come for the Lady Gaga, stay for the empowerment

Blogs:
The Rebirth of the Feminist Manifesto: Come for the Lady Gaga, stay for the empowerment – New York magazine has a good article on the expanding world of feminist blogs and how it's inspiring a new generation of young women (and men) who believe in gender equality, much like the consciousness raising groups of 1970's.  There's also list of feminist websites to get you started. Some of my favorites are on the list: feministing, feministe, Jezebel, Shakesville, and Sarah Haskin's"Target Women" videos.  One of my favorite bloggers, Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon.net, is also featured in the article. (Reader warning: There are swear words in this article since it's about the blogging world and the blogging world doesn't sugar-coat things.)

Yes, You Are – What exactly is feminism? Can you shave your legs and be a feminist?  Be a stay-at-home-parent?  Be a man? Yes!  You can do and be all those things and more and be a feminist. Sarah Bunting (a co-founder of Television Without Pity) wrote a classic post that's my favorite response to the phrase, "I'm not a feminist but…"

Here's the start of her essay:

"'feminism n (1895) 1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes 2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests — feminist n or adjfeministic adj'"

"Above, the dictionary definition of feminism — the entire dictionary definition of feminism. It is quite straightforward and concise. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

"Yes, you are.

"The definition of feminism does not ask for two forms of photo ID. It does not care what you look like. It does not care what color skin you have, or whether that skin is clear, or how much you weigh, or what you do with your hair. You can bite your nails, or you can get them done once a week. You can spend two hours on your makeup, or five minutes, or the time it takes to find a Chapstick without any lint sticking to it. You can rock a cord mini, or khakis, or a sari, and you can layer all three. The definition of feminism does not include a mandatory leg-hair check; wax on, wax off, whatever you want. If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist.

"Yes, you are." (Read the rest here.)

TV:
Grimm (***) – A police procedural about a cop who learns his family can see evil fairytale creatures hiding amongst humans.  Grimm's executive producer, David Greenwalt, was also the executive producer for the Buffy spin-off, Angel.  Like the first few episodes of Angel, the pilot for Grimm takes itself too seriously. It's as if the show had forgotten its second "m". I started to see how this show might be fun once the big bad wolf was introduced. Here's hoping there's way more of him in future episodes.

August 2010: In Brief

Audiobooks:
The Boyfriend List, by E. Lockhart (****) – [2006] Fifteen-year-old Ruby Oliver never thought of herself as the type of person who might have panic attacks or need to see a shrink. Now here she is writing a list of all the boys she’s ever dated, kissed, or thought about, trying to figure out what they have to do with the unfortunate events of the spring dance that led to her first panic attack.

This is another of my favorite YA books.  Ruby Oliver is a charming–but very real– teenage girl trying to figure out how to navigate the tricky path of dating and friendship in high school while also learning to voice her own true feelings.  Audiobook reader Mandy Siegfried’s talent for teen speak makes this audiobook an especially good choice.  [Young Adult Fiction for ages 12 and up]

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan (****) – is an utterly charming book about two very different high school boys –each named Will Grayson– who meet by chance in downtown Chicago.  Their story is told in alternating chapters.  One Will Grayson is reconsidering his rule about not caring too much about anything, while the other Will Grayson is starting to admit he’s gay and cares so much about what others think it’s destroying him.  Add to the mix their new mutual friend, the very gay and proud of it, Tiny Cooper, the football team’s best offensive linesman and the author/composer/star of the new high school musical, "Tiny Dance" and you have one very fun story.

This was an especially good book to listen to in audio form.  The two different narrators make each Will Grayson easy to identify, plus one of them does an excellent separate voice for Tiny Cooper, which is great for the musical scenes.  [2010] [Young Adult Fiction for ages 14 and up]

Movies:
My Bodyguard (*** 1/2) – [1980] A clever teen in a rough high school tries to enlist the school’s loner to be his body guard.  Somehow I missed seeing this film when it came out 30 years ago.  It was fun spotting well-known actors in their first movie roles.  Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck) plays the loner, Matt Dillon is the school bully, and Joan Cusack plays a friendly classmate.  Jennifer Beals is even in the film with a non-speaking role as another classmate. [Watched on Netflix Instant]

Kamikaze Girls (***) – [2005] A colorful, quirky movie about the unlikely friendship between two eccentric teen girls, biker chick Ichigo and dainty Momoko, a girl who wears frilly dresses and dreams of living in 18th century France. [Watched on DVD from Netflix in Japanese with English subtitles]

TV:
Mad Men (season 4) – I think this is my favorite season of Mad Men, so far.

Online Language Learning:
Mi Vida Loca – BBC online has an excellent foreign language webpageMi Vida Loca is their latest and most ambitious program.  It’s a 22-episode beginning online Spanish program with videos and interactive lessons, for free.

It uses a story format with you, the viewer, as one of the characters.  You’re a British student on holiday to visit your friend Theresa in Madrid.  Unfortunately, Theresa can’t make the trip at the last minute, so you’re on your own, staying in Theresa’s flat in Madrid with her friendly, but busy, journalist sister, Merche.  Merche’s dangerous story investigation ends up adding a lot of excitement — and Spanish practice — to your trip.

Mi Vida Loca is a fantastic free Spanish program that’s well worth checking out.  There’s enough meat that even intermediate Spanish students will learn new vocabulary, but still introductory enough for beginners.  (As an added bonus you’ll pick up some British vocabulary too.)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca

Interesting Reads from October 2008

I stopped feeling guilty about my blog reading addiction and decided instead to put it to use posting a list of monthly links I like.

 

Here’s my list of October posts worth checking out:

 

1.      Genre-Bending– Laurie Halse Anderson (who wrote Speak and other YA and MG books) explains how she’s able to write and sell books in more than one genre.

 

2.      Cold Hard Facts About the Writing Life– Anderson links to this excellent post she wrote this summer that answers the question all writers want to know: Can I live off my writing?

 

3.      Late Bloomers– A reassuring article from the New Yorker on artists who were late bloomers. I read about it on the Verla Kay discussion boards.

 

4.      Has the Newbery Lost Its Way? – Anita Silver’s Newbery question started a flurry of online discussion. My favorite responses are Liz B’s, The Newbery Means What?, and Fairrosa’s, The Recent Newbery Debate.

 

5. Cybils– Liz B. also has a question-answer post on the two-year old Cybil Awards—a cyber children’s book award that packs in more fun than the Newbery.

 

6. Promotion Gold in Them Thar Links– Laura Purdie Salas and Fiona Bayrock post a helpful list of book promotion idea links on their new micro site, Bubble Stampede!

 

 

7. A Nice Gal’s Guide to Online News and Politics– I started this blog in September to make my addiction to reading progressive political blogs useful too.  This is my favorite post, so far: 5 Progressive Sites for Busy People.