Miscellaneous Articles

The following Miscellaneous Articles are provided below:

(1) Emily’s Top 10 Feminist Songs

(2) Atlas of Women in the World

(3) Traveling with a World View


Emily’s Top 10 Feminist Songs

(posted by Emily on May 3, 2010)

This was a hard list to compile. I tried to select from different genres, and choose ones that were my personal favorite jams, but I’m sure I missed some important ones. Anyway, here’s my top 10, in no particular order:

10. “Not A Pretty Girl,” Ani DiFranco

This was one of the first really strongly feminist songs I encountered when I was a teenager. Ani sings, “I am not a pretty girl / that is not what I do / I ain’t no damsel in distress / and I don’t need to be rescued.” Pretty girl, in this context, isn’t so much about physical appearance as it is a performance of the stereotype of, as she puts it, a maiden fair.

9. “Sisters Are Doin‘ It For Themselves,” Aretha Franklin and Eurythmics

This is basically the quintessential feminist anthem of the ’80s. It’s nice to watch two powerful women in different musical genres perform this classic. The ‘inferior’ sex / Has got a new exterior, yeah/ We got doctors, lawyers / Politicians too.

8. “Black Girl Pain,” Talib Kweli and Jean Grae

I’m a huge Jean Grae fan. I think she’s the greatest, most interesting female hip hop artist since Lauryn Hill. I love a lot of her songs, but I picked this one with Talib Kweli, because it’s the most blatant confrontation of the intersection of race and gender.

7. “Just A Girl,” No Doubt

No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom album largely defined my 5th grade life. “Just a Girl” is both a feminist song and a really accessible pop song. Before I was even really aware of my identity as a feminist, I used to rock out to Gwen Stefani. And hey, so did my little brother.

6. “Pretty Girls,” Neko Case

Neko Case wrote this song about young girls in a Planned Parenthood waiting room, about to get abortions. She sings about saving them from the blame others impose on them, and from their lovers that don’t understand. She tells them not to let it break them, and that she can show them how they’ll change the world. “…And I won’t say that I told you so.”

5. “Your Revolution,” Sarah Jones

This song is a really clever take-off on Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Sarah Jones sings that “your revolution will not happen between these thighs,” and invokes just about every famous sexist hip hop lyric of the past decade to make her point.

4. “Human Nature,” Madonna

There’s no way I couldn’t put this song on here. It’s a mainstream classic, both song and video. She sings about being censored, particularly with regard to her sexuality, and asks, “Would it sound better if I were a man?”

3. “The Pill,” Loretta Lynn

Released in 1975, this song is considered to be the first about birth control. It’s sort of funny lyrically, but it’s also a pretty emboldened proclamation of women’s autonomy over their reproductive lives.

2. “Glass Ceiling,” Metric

Metric is one of my favorite current indie bands, and the lead singer Emily Haines frequently incorporates gender into her lyrics. This song’s title obviously refers to the glass ceiling and she addresses women of her generation: “There’s no knight in silver armor, shining.” It’s a wake-up call that although we may be making incremental improvements, “every speed on our knees is crawling.”

1. “You Oughta Know,” Alanis Morissette

I couldn’t help myself. This song may not be about the feminist movement, but it’s a really fierce, unapologetic rant over personal pain that turned into an anthem of girlpower for a generation. There’s no woman my age I know who hadn’t at some point put this on a post-break-up mix tape. So, thanks, Alanis. I dig your rage. There are a few really killer lines that I won’t post on here. (Hi, mom!)


Atlas of Women in the World

(posted by Mike on June 22, 2009)

About 10 years ago, I bought a copy of the book “The State of Women in the World Atlas” by Joni Seager. I recently bought a copy of Seager’s fourth edition of the book, which is now titled “The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (Fourth Edition)” (Penguin Books 2009). This is a fact-filled, informative book of statistics and graphics about the state of women in the world. I highly recommend it.

Gloria Steinem has stated:

When is an atlas a page-turner? When it makes the female half of the world visible in reliable statistics and glorious graphics. Nobody should be without this book.

Others have stated:

‘A wonderfully illuminating and clear sighted book. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the reality of women’s lives worldwide.’ Melissa Benn

‘A fascinating atlas. It is not only an invaluable reference book, but also throws up questions about why a woman’s lot is not as good as a man’s.’ The Independent

To improve the state of women is to improve the state of the world. Global events continue to reveal the importance of understanding how women live across continents and cultures.

Using maps and graphics in this new revision of her eye-opening book, Joni Seager uses up-to-the-minute research and data to show what shifts have occurred in the ten years since the first edition was published – the strides made by women and the distance still to be travelled. She explores the current status of women in relation to such key issues as:

Equality * Government * IT literacy * Feminism * Women’s health * Motherhood * Women at work * Household trends * The global economy * Domestic violence * Refugees * Lesbian rights

Other reviews include http://www.myriadeditions.com/Women and http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/review-36.html2)


Traveling with a World View

(posted by Mike on June 6, 2009)

Rick Steves is a well-known author of travel guidebooks and host of TV shows on travel. He is also considered to be very liberal/progressive. I recently picked up one of his books and looked at a section titled Back Door Travel Philosophy that comes from his book Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door. I was struck by the world view espoused by Steves and how it fits in very well with the views stated by President Obama in his June 4 Cairo speech.

From Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door

Travel is intensified living–maximum thrills per minute and one of the last great sources of legal adventure. Travel is freedom. It’s recess, and we need it.

Experiencing the real Europe requires catching it by surprise, going casual…“Through the Back Door.”

Affording travel is a matter of priorities, (Make do with the old car.) You can eat and sleep–simply, safely, and enjoyably–anywhere in Europe for $100 a day plus transportation costs. In many ways, spending more money only builds a thicker wall between you and what you traveled so far to see. Europe is a cultural carnival, and time after time, you’ll find that its best acts are free and the best seats are cheap ones.

A tight budget forces you to travel close to the ground, meeting and communicating with the people. Never sacrifice sleep, nutrition, safety, or cleanliness in the name of budget. Simply enjoy the local-style alternatives to expensive hotels and restaurants.

Extroverts have more fun. If your trip is low on magic moments, kick yourself and make things happen. If you don’t enjoy a place, maybe you don t know enough about it. Seek the truth. Recognize tourist traps. Give a culture the benefit of your open mind. See things as different, but not better or worse. Any culture has much to share.

Of course, travel, like the world, is a series of hills and valleys. Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic. If something’s not to your liking, change your liking.

Travel is addicting. It can make you a happier American, as well as a citizen of the world. Our Earth is home to six and a half billion equally precious people. It’s humbling to travel and find that people don’t envy Americans. Europeans like us, but with all due respect, they wouldn’t trade passports.

Globe-trotting destroys ethnocentricity. It helps you understand and appreciate different cultures. Regrettably, there are forces in our society that want you dumbed down for their convenience. Don’t let it happen. Thoughtful travel engages you with the world–more important than ever these days. Travel changes people. It broadens perspectives and teaches new ways to measure quality of life. Rather than fear the diversity on this planet, travelers celebrate it. Many travelers toss aside their hometown blinders. Their prized souvenirs are the strands of different cultures they decide to knit into their own character. The world is a cultural yarn shop, and Back Door travelers are weaving the ultimate tapestry. Join in!


One Response

  1. Couldn’t this be the ultimate irony? Elton playing a mock-wedding (I give the ‘marriage’ six months, tops) for $1M and then giving the money to his AIDS charity?

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