The opening paragraph of ‘XX’ by Angela Chadwick is as good as any to sum up the premise of her debut novel published last year: “After years of controversial research, scientists at Portsmouth University’s Centre for Reproductive Medicine have this morning announced plans to create IVF babies from two women. They’re pushing for a change to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act that will make it legal to fertilise an egg with genetic material from a second female.” Lesbian couple Rosie and Jules are quick to take up the opportunity to have a baby of their own through the means of a groundbreaking clinical trial, but a backlash from right-wing movements inevitably creates problems along the way. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Feminism
One of the books which kept cropping up frequently in lots of end-of-year book lists last month was ‘The Power’ by Naomi Alderman and so it got bumped up my TBR list as one of my not-very-festive Christmas holiday reads. The main concept of Alderman’s fourth novel explores what would or could happen in a world where women become more powerful than men in every sense. Due to a mutation caused by a nerve agent used during the Second World War, teenage girls develop the ability to release electrical jolts through their fingertips which can be either harmless or strong enough to kill people. The “power” eventually spreads and although it is initially used by women as a deterrent against violent and abusive men who have oppressed them, it has far-reaching implications beyond that. Continue reading
This week, analysis of 40,000 active Goodreads users (20,000 men and 20,000 women) revealed that readers prefer books by authors of the same gender. The results found that women rate books written by female authors more highly than those written by men and 90% of the 50 most read books by men were written by men.
The shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 was announced today at the London Book Fair. The six nominees are…
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes
Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
NW by Zadie Smith
My postgraduate course is taking over pretty much my whole life at the moment. I am still finding the time to read non-academic books when I commute but I am getting very behind with writing up my reviews (also in the wrong order as I read this before ‘The Unconsoled’). I actually read ‘The Awakening’ by Kate Chopin during Banned Books Week at the beginning of October but have only just got round to writing this blog post. Hopefully, I will catch up by Christmas…!
‘The Awakening’ tells the story of Edna Pontellier, a young Creole woman trapped in an unhappy marriage who is capable of (shock horror) independent thought and marital infidelity. Her modern views on motherhood and femininity even cause her husband, Leonce, to seek medical advice. During a holiday, she meets Robert and falls for him. Inevitably, there are tragic consequences. Continue reading
I am currently battling my way through a 3000 word essay for my French Feminism module about Julia Kristeva (word count so far: 1570). This is proving to be extremely tedious considering that Kristeva’s ideas are highly abstract and that a significant number of critics think that she might actually be anti-feminist given the lack of attention she gives to female subjects in her work about semiotics, psychoanalysis, linguistics and a bunch of other crap that I don’t really understand at all. So it has been a real breath of fresh air to read Caitlin Moran’s memoir/rant ‘How To Be a Woman’ which feels like the first properly feminist book I’ve read this semester. I find it faintly ridiculous that the majority of feminist theorists do not write books that are either helpful for women, relevant to women or even really about women. Moran, however, is a revelation. ‘How To Be a Woman’ is not an academic thesis and there are few references to ‘global’ political issues such as equal pay, but it does address the real everyday experiences of being a woman. And by that I mean menstruation and knickers. It is a funny and honest account about growing up and how to cope with the trials of weddings, rubbish boyfriends, wearing high heels and giving birth. Ok, so this isn’t exactly new stuff, but I think it is refreshing to see a readable feminist ‘manifesto’ that actually has some relevance to the real world for once. Continue reading