- Blogging From April A to Z: Intersectional Feminism in Romance Series! – I really enjoy following romance author Olivia Waite on Twitter and I think this series sounds equal parts awesome and frightening. That’s a lot of blogging for one person in a month!
So I hereby welcome you to the April A to Z Challenge: Intersectional Feminism in Romance edition! Every day in April, Sundays excepted, I will post about an author or a book that features something other than the straight white wealthy cis able-bodied mold romance is so wedded to (see what I did there?). These will not be reviews in the usual sense, though I will usually mention whether or not I find a book compelling as a romance. Instead, these posts will be literary or structural analyses with a feminist lens, using as much privilege-checking as I know how to bring. Many of the books are no longer new, so if you can think of more recent releases that grapple with the same issues, please mention them. Comments on how I can do feminism better are both welcome and encouraged, while fedora-wearing trolls (should we trip over any) will be banished back to their Hemingways, Kerouacs, and Orsons Scott Card.
- Open Letter to RWA from a RITA Nominee – When I read about the changes RWA made last year to their award process, it sounded super dodgy to me. Seeing the lopsided finalist list seems to confirm everyone’s concerns. Author and finalist Stephanie Draven shares her thoughts.
When an outside consultant was hired to revamp the RITAs and these changes were propagated, I feared that in combination with the debate about who exactly qualified as a career-focused romance author, we would alienate the romance genre’s closest allies; that power-house cross-over authors would be less likely to attend, support, and promote RWA, our book signings, or serve as ambassadors for the merits of more mainstream romances. I also feared that we would alienate the YA genre, which is creating our readers and book buyers of the future.
Unfortunately, these fears have been borne out. The women’s fiction chapter (of which I am not nor ever was a member) has confronted disbandment. Some have left the organization. The YA category for the RITAs was dropped this year due to insufficient entries. YARWA has fielded expressions of authors feeling unwelcome. The consequence may be a celebration of purer romance, but in an industry where reaching readers is increasingly job #1, it seems short-sighted.
- For young Irish dancers, makeup no longer in the spotlight – A close friend of mine is an Irish dancing teacher and judge and we’ve had lots of conversations about the makeup and fake tanner and wigs that the dancers wear. If it were up to her, I think, no one under 20 would wear it. Pearl-clutching about looking too grown aside, fake eyelashes and heavy makeup coupled with aerobic dancing sounds like an awful thing to do to their skin.
Eight-year-old Jackie was relieved to hear that the Irish Dancing Commission’s new ruling, which went into effect March 1, prohibits her from wearing cosmetics in competitions.
“I don’t like wearing the stuff. I think it looks bad,” said the second grader, who has been dancing at Dunleavy-Shaffer School of Irish Dance in Norwell since she was 3. “The lipstick is the worst part.”
But Jackie’s older sister, Abigail, was disappointed. “I think it just makes me look more pretty. I think I look better and the judges can see me better,” said the 9-year-old, who competes for top prizes regionally.
The makeup ban, which also includes false eyelashes and tinted moisturizer, prohibits children in the Under 10 group and younger from wearing it for solo and group competitions.
- 9 Ways to Argue Against ‘Redskins’ Name Without Offending Other Groups – In light of the Colbert Report snafu, this post on calling for the Washington NFL team to change its name without using other racial groups seemed apropos.
Over the past several months, ICTMN has provided a significant amount of coverage on the ongoing controversy over the Washington Redskins name. As a result of this coverage, ICTMN has seen numerous responses and conversations on social media regarding its coverage of the Washington Redskins. Not all of it has been supportive.
According to several accounts on Twitter, Natives are often guilty of throwing other races under the bus in order to lambaste the Washington team. But Indian Country can fight this fight without bringing in another race or ethnic group. I have taken this opportunity to think outside the box and make several arguments that are “our own.”
- Goodwill paying disabled employees pennies per hour – Maybe it’s just me being a lazy moocher, but I don’t see where someone like me would find dignity in being exploited as cheap labor. I’m pretty sure the “dignity of work” thing happens when you do something useful for a meaningful wage that increases your agency.
“They had me downstairs in their store, trying to hang clothes up on the hangers,” Jones said. “And to make a dollar, I had to hang a hundred pieces. If I was lucky, I made 50 cents. It was a penny per item of clothing. I felt worthless. I just didn’t want to go. They made me feel bad because I couldn’t work fast enough.” Jones is not using her real name out of a fear of retribution.
Jones’ pay stubs, which she shared with Al Jazeera, show the subminimum wages she was paid by Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey Inc. Between September 2012 and January 2013, she made as little as $3.27 for 24.88 hours of work. The biggest check she received was $18.18 for 35.87 hours of work. She paid state taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare deductions, on her wages.
- When You Are Poor, There Really Are No Breaks – This post talks about Shanesha Taylor, the homeless woman who left her young kids in the car while she went to a job interview, and how society sets poor people up for failure. There’s a link to an online fundraiser for her at the end.
There simply are no breaks when you are poor. Everything is more expensive, and you are in the worst position to deal with the additional expense. If you’re poor, you probably live an area with a depressed economy, which means the schools are subpar. You probably live in one of the grocery graveyards (or whatever they are called), which means you not only don’t have access to a variety of healthful foods, but you are paying double for crap at a convenience store. You probably don’t have access to banking and deal with payday lenders and other frauds. On the odd chance you will get a loan, the APR will be astronomical. You can’t afford to shop ahead and buy things in bulk, because you just don’t have the money for the initial outlay, so when you buy toilet paper, you aren’t hitting Costco, you’re paying triple to quadruple price at a Bodega. You probably have to buy shitty appliances and clothes that deteriorate rapidly, and have to replace them constantly simply because they were crap to begin with, and in the long run, spend more money than if you had the capital to buy something decent.
And I could go on and on and on. But let’s not forget the obvious one- if you are poor, you probably don’t have a support system in which someone can watch your kids while you try to, in the term of Republican Paul Ryan Universe, pull yourselves up by your bootstraps. Basically, when you are trapped in this kind of poverty, the only way out is a miracle.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.
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