A who’s-who list of indie musicians and artists are contributing to a new e-book of essays published to help raise money for the Pussy Riot legal defense team. Three members of the Russian feminist punk band were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism” last month after they staged a protest inside a church and spoke out publicly against Russian president Vladmir Putin. Yoko Ono, Le Tigre’s JD Samson and Johanna Fateman, Justin Vivian Bond, and others will contribute essays to the $2.99 Pussy Riot! A Punk Prayer For Freedom, which is out September 21. [Gallerist NY]
“Boston Marriage” was a term used in the 19th century and early 20th century to refer to two single women living together, independent of men. The term was originally coined in Henry James’ novel The Bostonians, which told the tale of an intimate companionship between two wealthy, Boston women. Rumored to have been based on his sister’s relationship with a woman, James referred to the novel as “a very American tale.” Whether he was referring to the notion of homosexual relationships or the promise of gender equality is unclear. Interestingly enough, Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. So perhaps Henry James was on to something.
David Mamet brought the concept to popularity again in the year 2000 with his play of the same name, “Boston Marriage.” According to the New Repertory Theatre’s notes on the Mamet play, “[Boston Marriages] potentially fostered rather than interfered with the heady and exciting new ambitions of the early generations of professional women … Most likely, the Boston Marriage was many things to many women: business partnership, artistic collaboration, lesbian romance. And sometimes it was a friendship nurtured with all the care that we usually squander on our mates.” Keep reading »
I’m sure you know a person like me. I’m one of the maybe five people in this country over the age of 16 who’s seen every episode of a teen gymnastics show called “Make it Or Break It.” At 29 years old, I do my own taxes, pay my own bills, put my own furniture together from Ikea, and generally exist as a functioning adult, without problem, complaint or repercussion. I wear nerdy glasses, have bangs and feel very strongly about nail art. I have a job, a career path and a vested interest in things other than J.Crew flats and kittens. I am a grown-ass woman, a one-woman miracle — not a “woman-child,” the latest, freshly hatched archetype from Deborah Schoenenman’s piece, Sparkly Nail Polish, Katy Perry and Frozen Eggs: Meet the Woman-Child, an excerpt from her ebook. What is a “woman-child,” you might ask?
According to Schoenenman, she’s a woman who’s “aging backwards,”a girl who likes nail art and kittens and cupcakes, a girl who has deep and long-lasting female friendships that she values, a girl who maybe isn’t afraid of a polka dot or two. You know the type. The bangs of Zooey Deschanel; that girl in high school who totally knit her own scarves and still gave out store-bought Valentines well into senior year. In Schoenenman’s words:
“She doesn’t have to go into a Tower Records (if they still existed) to buy a Taylor Swift album.She can just download it and blog about her favorite songs on HelloGiggles, a new popular website devoted to all things tween. A ‘woman-child’ is the type to prioritize her female friendships as if she were in a high school clique by posting pictures of her girls’ birthday dinners or boozy vacations on Facebook while her peers post wedding and baby pictures with similar zeal. She truly believes that women are in it together and is all about helping her friends start businesses, meet guys and pick out a cute outfit for a big event. Competiveness among females in the workplace is perceived as totally ’80s. ‘Women-children’ are increasingly looking back to create a new common ground and it’s a warm fuzzy ground.”
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At this point, I’m absolutely over the phrase “having it all.” It’s been beaten to death, taken out of context, used as link bait, etc… And I’m over it. I’m mostly over it because it’s a convoluted concept. “Having it all” doesn’t have one universal definition and it is something we only lord over the heads of women. It’s problematic on many levels, yet that doesn’t stop folks from hammering the point over and over and over again. But because the concept of “having it all” is so entrenched in our society, when an accomplished professor (of a feminist anthropology course, no less) ends up bringing her sick baby to the first day of class, and at one point nurses her, it becomes fodder for an investigative story.
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“With ‘Bachelorette,’ I thought of these really thin, beautiful women, who if you saw walking down the street you’d think, ‘These girls have their lives together and it makes me feel bad about myself.’ I wanted to examine how they are gluttonous through drug addiction, materialism, sexual voraciousness, eating disorders — literally take, take, take, consume, consume, consume. Then there is their friend, Becky, who is moving into adulthood. She’s the one who appears to be the gluttonous one, who you might point at and say she has a problem because she’s overweight. You might feel better about yourself and move on. But she’s the one who’s getting out of the prison that these characters have created for themselves. … I couldn’t for the life of me think of one good moniker for these women and who they are that wasn’t punitive. You know what I mean, like ‘Sluts’ or ‘Bitches,’ and who would see a movie called that? All we’ve got is this feminized version of this male idea, that’s, by the way, a great thing if you’re a man. If you’re not married and you’re a straight guy, the world is your fuckin’ oyster, but if you’re single and you’re a woman and you’ve got something going for you, it’s just so sad you’re not married yet. It doesn’t make any sense to me. But what do I know? I’m sad and alone.”
Watching “Bachelorette” on Video On Demand is on my to-do list this evening, so I was interested to read this Q&A with the writer/director Leslye Headland. “Bachelorette,” as you’ve probably heard, is about four high school friends who reunite for one of their weddings — and the other three freak the fuck out because they’re still single and childless. And snorting loads of cocaine, apparently. As someone who is gearing up for her 10-year high school reunion and is also “sad and alone” according to societal standards, I have to say it’s a topic of interest! The subject of the movie, I mean. [BlackBook Mag]