What you should have read this week

Friday, 24 January 2014

I'm reviving my weekly-ish round-up of things worth reading!

"While some women are fighting not to conceive children—which matters—others are fighting to able to, to not be sterilized, to not be shamed and abused during pregnancy, to not live in poverty with that child and to not worry about State interference and oppression no matter what the choice may be. Whether Black women need abortion or need support for entering motherhood, both choices are valid and both need deliverance from the impact of White supremacist capitalist patriarchy on Black womanhood and Black motherhood."

"I thought about the decision that was mine to make. And surprisingly, solidly, I realised what I would do: I would have this baby. At the time, I didn't know that there is a critical difference between unplanned and unwanted. At the time, I would barely have described myself as “wanting” children. I had never felt that cooing hunger which teenage girls called "broodiness", the longing to put their arms around a baby – even when small, I preferred reading to playing with dolls. And I will never feel the ravenous grief that older women call broodiness, either, the anguish of love with no object. But I did want a child, and specifically I wanted a child with the man I was with. It was ten years premature, but this was that child."

"In the meantime, though, we feminists are stuck with this endless list of reminders from those far cleverer than us. Just in case you’ve forgotten, you shouldn’t worry about banknotes because you should be worrying about Page Three. You shouldn’t worry about Page Three because you should be worrying about every other page of the Sun. You shouldn’t be worrying about the Sun because you should be worrying about the representation of women across the whole of the media. You shouldn’t be worrying about women in the media because you should be worrying about violence against women. You shouldn’t be worrying about violence against women because you should be worrying about FGM."

"After I got married and we left Boulder, a deep-seeded cynicism set in, and every little thing about that former church were all things I despised about Christianity. I mean, really, WHO NEEDS A FOG MACHINE AND LASER LIGHTS? But now, working through that cynicism and suspicion, I've come to have a tender place for churches like that. The glossy evangelical megachurch is a part of my story, just as much as the more gritty, hipster, urban church we're in now.

But, more than missing the worship service and the big-church feel, I miss having an answer for everything and having a checklist to live by. I miss the Christianity of my younger years. I miss that chapter of my story, and in some ways, I truly long for it. Being naive was so much easier."

"I first watched She’s All That back in 1999, at the Stratford Picturehouse some weekend after school. I remember loving it, because it hit all the spots it was supposed to: boy and girl got to have each other at the end, and bad guy kind of got his comeuppance, which is as it should be in real life. The 90s – especially in the mid-to-late period – was a significant time for teen movies. It was a golden period, during which the industry enjoyed a purple patch starting around 1995 with Clueless, continuing into 1996 with The Craft, and exploding in a high point of acne, prom and hormone-fug in 1999, which saw the release of 10 Things I Hate About You, Cruel Intentions, Never Been Kissed, Election, American Pie and of course, She’s All That."

"It is on the windy Sunday evening of October 6 that I make my first contact with the outer ring of this mafia. A big party with VIPs is on the cards; the kind of party an ordinary girl, or rather ‘product’, as we are called by traffickers, is not usually invited to. But I am currently on a fortune ride: Oghogho’s favourite. Additionally, I have been classified as ‘Special Forces’, or ‘Forza Speciale’ as my new contacts say, borrowing the Italian term.  It’s a rule of thumb, I understand, that a syndicate subjects girls to classification through a check on their nude bodies and I, too – in the company of some male and female judges, headed by a trafficker called Auntie Precious – had been checked. I had received the highest classification. “This means that you don’t have to walk the streets. You can be an escort for important clients,” Auntie Precious had told me in a soft, congratulatory tone. The ones of ‘lesser’ classification were referred to as Forza Strada, the Road Force."

And finally...

- This week I finished Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Americanah. Get on it, if you haven't already.
- C. Jane Kendrick is back on the blogging wagon. Hurrah!
- Sunday 26 January is World Leprosy Day (work-related plug alert). If you don't know much about leprosy now's your chance to find out how it's very much a 21st century disease. Watch the video!
- At the Christian Feminist Network we're organising a day conference that's being held on Saturday 1 March in Manchester. The conference will include presentations, workshops and discussion as well as the chance to network with other Christian feminists. Find out more and sign up.

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