WOMEN UNBOUND: A Reading Challenge (sign up at the dedicated blog by kicking this title)
The challenge runs from November 2009-November 2010, but you may join in the fun whenever you wish! Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of ‘women’s studies.’ The definition according to Merriam-Webster:
the multidisciplinary study of the social status and societal contributions of women and the relationship between power and gender.
For nonfiction, this would include books on feminism, history books focused on women, biographies of women, memoirs (or travelogues) by women, essays by women and cultural books focused on women (body image, motherhood, etc.). The topics I’ve listed aren’t mean to be exhaustive; if you come across a nonfiction book whose subject is female-related, it counts! Of course, if you’re not sure you can always ask about it in a comment. And if you need some ideas for specific books, check out the ‘Reading Lists’ page.
It’s trickier to say what is applicable as fiction. Obviously, any classic fiction written by a feminist is applicable. But where do we go from there? To speak generally, if the book takes a thoughtful look at the place of women in society, it will probably count. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to explain in your review why you chose this for the challenge and its connection to women’s studies. Once again, if you need some specific ideas, check out the ‘Reading Lists’ page.
One quick note about author gender. There isn’t a rule if a book’s written by a woman it counts and if by a man it doesn’t count. I firmly believe that men can be feminists and that not all women are feminists. As long as the book adheres to the definition of women’s studies I’ve shared above, it counts.
Interested in participating? Great! There are three levels you can choose as a reader:
Philogynist: read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction one.
Bluestocking: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones.
Suffragette: read at least eight books, including at least three nonfiction ones.
WOMEN UNBOUND Start of Challenge Meme:
1. What does feminism mean to you? Does it have to do with the work sphere? The social sphere? How you dress? How you act?
I think feminism is a state of mind. I was raised by parents that always told me that I could do or be whatever I wanted...no gender specifics or stereotyping. I feel that feminism is displayed by a woman who is not afraid to be herself and who has a mind of her own.
2. Do you consider yourself a feminist? Why or why not?
Yes...I believe that women are just as smart as men. We can do anything a man can do. I'm not in a profession that is traditionally male myself, but I feel I am a feminist in my beliefs and in my quest to teach my sons to respect women as equals, not as the weaker sex.
3. What do you consider the biggest obstacle women face in the world today? Has that obstacle changed over time, or does it basically remain the same?
I still think that we have a "glass ceiling" problem in this world. I think it has gotten better in the last 20 years or so, but it's still a problem. This problem is a direct result of some men believing that women are the weaker sex, that we cannot and will not be as ruthless as a man in business. Also, that some men believe that women cannot and should not be promoted/make as much money as their male counterparts because, as mothers, we don't have the determination to put in the time and work required. I disagree.
Update: I have to move down to the Philogynist level...at least two books.
1. Orlando--Virginia Woolf
2. A Room of One's Own--Virginia Woolf (non-fiction)
4. Where I've Been and Where I'm Going--Joyce Carol Oates (non-fiction)