Posted by: Kaley Bachelder
In honor of Women’s History Month, check out these global, talented women and their stories.
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
A novel by Chilean-American author Isabele Allende, Eva Luna follows the titular character, a gifted storyteller. Living in post-WWII Latin America, Eva narrates her own life of brothels, lovers, and guerrilla warfare, weaving an enchanting tale of one woman’s arduous but beautiful journey. As a beautiful and feminine figure, Eva epitomizes that which women surviving in post-war Latin America are expected to be. Yet at the same time, she acts of her own accord, making autonomous decisions that highlight the gender disparity still present in society. Find this captivating read here.
Beautiful Things by Sonia Faleiro
This nonfiction work by Mumbai-based writer Sonia Faleiro sheds light on the veiled and illicit sex industry of Bombay (now known as Mumbai), India. Reading more like a novel than a news report, the book follows Leela, a proud bar dancer, as she squares up against gangsters, other bar dancers, and the sudden sweep of morality that decimates her trade. Providing a look into the yet-unseen underbelly of Bombay, Faleiro rightfully humanizes sex workers, who are often looked down upon by much of society. Find it here.
The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde
Audre Lorde, famed advocate for black, women, and LGBTQ communities, pens her frustration with the treatment of marginalized communities in this collection of poetry. Much of her work focuses on exploring identity, as can be seen in “Portrait.” Other highlights from the collection include “A Woman Speaks,” “Coping,” and “But What Can You Teach My Daughter.” Find this collection and other work by Audre Lorde here.
The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women by Jessica Valenti
In The Purity Myth, Valenti argues that the notion of virginity is given harmful emphasis in American culture, defining women’s worth by nothing more than their chastity. Using her own research on various aspects of American society, such as abstinence-only sex education programs, she examines virginity as a social construct and the ubiquitousness of the term itself. Demonstrating what many suspected but few could put to words, The Purity Myth explains the negative effects of our culture’s fixation on women’s virginity. Download the e-book here.
Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Arguing that the international oppression of women is “the paramount moral challenge,” authors Kristof and WuDunn take to Africa and Asia to report on women around the world. They highlight individual stories, such as a Cambodian girl sold into sex slavery, to advocate the importance of unlocking feminine potential both economically and culturally. Half the Sky is not just a report but a call to arms, inciting readers and activists to take on this challenge. Kristof and WuDunn have inspired a movement of the same name, dedicated to raising money for the liberation of women through cross-platform initiatives, creating websites, games, and educational tools that raise awareness. Find the book here and check out the Half the Sky movement here.
The Beauty Myth: The Culture of Beauty, Psychology, and the Self with Naomi Wolfe
In this TED Talk-esque adaptation of her book of the same name, Naomi Wolfe discusses the prevalence of “beauty” in our culture, and what that definition of beauty means for women. Addressing gendered expectations from both psychological and anthropological perspectives, Wolfe breaks down what it means to be “beautiful” in America, and the harm that standard can have on individuals. Watch the presentation here through Kanopy, a streaming collection available through Northeastern University Libraries.
Posted in: Serendipity