International Women’s Day: Feminist links, Part 1

Today is International Women’s Day. Now I know what you’re thinking: we get a WHOLE DAY?! Yes, a whole day for 50%+ of the human population! A day for all teh ladiez.

But wait, that’s not all! We get a google doodle!

Sarcasm aside, today is as good a time as any to start sharing some of our favorite links on women, feminism, gender issues, et al. Some will be timeless classics to be read and forwarded to people when you get tired of, you know, explaining to them for the millionth time what institutional sexism looks like. Some will be current event-ish things that you may or may not remember the context of in a month’s time. And some are even funny!

But let’s start with some basics. For now.

Feminist classics

Shakesville’s Feminism 101

This ultimate compendium of feminist issues covers anything and everything you could think of and several things you would probably never think of. Within this collection of blog posts there are subcollections of posts on rape culture 101, helpful hints for dudes, and fat shaming. If all of this sounds like a brand new language to you, I suggest reading journey of an envious girl, which has a certain kind of resonance that is hard to describe but easy to appreciate when you read it.

The Original “Mansplainer”

The term “mansplaining” came up in a group of friends the other night and surprisingly few knew what it was. Thus the original link to Rebecca Solnit’s essay “Men Explain Things to Me.” She never used the term, but her story of a man trying to “explain” her own book to her (a book he coincidentally hadn’t read) while not realizing she was the author has become a classic. Also worth checking out: the academic mansplainer tumblr.

mansplaining Paul Ryan

As long as we’re calling this category “feminist classics,” we might as well go into women’s history mode and bust out some of the key texts of second wave feminism for you—yes, all free and accessible on the interwebs!

The Problem That Has No Name

The first, of course, is the first chapter of Betty Friedan’s 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Its post-WWII story of white, affluent, college-educated suburban housewives feeling trapped may seem like a world away now, but it’s still required reading if you want to understand what it was like when many ideas we take for granted could seem so pathbreaking.

Betty Friedan

Why I Want a Wife

Also required reading is Judy Syfers’ 1971 essay “Why I Want a Wife.” Believe it or not, most college students still get a kick out of reading it. Syfers’ humor and succinct summary of  married gender roles as she saw them is both witty and to the point.

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No More Miss America!

Finally, ya can’t leave out the radical feminist protest of the Miss America Pageant in 1968.The top ten list of things they were protesting began with “The Degrading Mindless-Boob-Girlie Symbol” and just got better from there. Although contrary to popular belief, no bras were ever burned—that would have been a fire hazard on the wooden boardwalk, so they only threw them into a freedom trashcan.