review: Rad Women Worldwide

Rad Women Worldwide

Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

This follow-up to Rad American Women A-Z includes short biographical sketches of about forty women who have achieved in a wide variety of areas: science, sports, art, social justice, music, politics, and lots more. I was pleased to see women from many cultures and backgrounds included – there are still plenty of white women here, but not as uneven a balance as most of the history books I’ve seen. This book is written at about a middle school level but the design is appealing to this adult and the papercut illustrations work very effectively at conveying a timeless feel while not seeming dated (so many books that try to “make history cool!” are designed to current trends and seem outdated almost immediately). It definitely has a bit of a zine-y feel, which I am admittedly predisposed to. Each of the entries is only a page or two long and it’s easy to dip in and out or read straight through, whichever suits you.

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books

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eff the shave-triarchy

The beauty industrial complex has been out of control for some time, but it seems like it’s only getting worse. Suddenly over the last few months, it feels like every single sponsored post on tumblr is some variety of body-shaming aimed at getting women to spend more time and anxiety on their (perfectly fine, thank you) bodies. The primary products seem to be leg-shaving items (and they’re in support of Pitch Perfect 2, a supposedly woman-centric movie). Some of these ads even purport to say that shaving your legs helps keep your legs healthy, and that NOT shaving them is somehow unhealthy.


That is totally not a thing. Your legs are fine and equally healthy regardless of hair or no hair. Period, the end, done.

 

Eff the patriarchy
So I’ve decided to stop wasting time and money shaving (during the warmer months – I haven’t shaved my legs in the winter in too many years to count). As you can sort of see here, my legs end up looking vaguely Pigpen-ish, but I have officially decided that I do not care if that makes anyone else uncomfortable. (I totally get that my leg hair is sparse and soft and that this is a bit of privilege that makes it easy for me to not shave them. Whatever feels right for your legs is your business and I am not judging.) Same goes for you men, if you want to skip reading the guide to trimming your stubble, be my guest, to each their own follies. And think of all the money I’ll save! Maybe you haven’t heard, but products marketed for women cost more than the same products not marketed for women. Not only do these companies shame you about your body, they’ll overcharge you for the products they claim will help you feel better about it! The bullshit cycle is deep here. If this rant has a point, it’s that (a) whatever you decide to do with yourself is FINE and don’t believe anyone who says otherwise, and (b) if you’re going to buy beauty products, shop around and maybe buy some from small businesses or companies that don’t participate in all this crap.

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Be the Knope you want to see in the world

Have you read this terrific article about Liz Lemon, Leslie Knope, and the significance of their characters in the realm of TV and in the world in general? If you haven’t, go read it now.

I identify a lot with Leslie Knope, especially as I look at the earlier days of my professional career. I also identify with Liz Lemon in some respects, though Leslie’s loves-the-smaller-town, public-service-oriented, hyper-organized enthusiasm is definitely more like my own outlook on life.

One of the points that stood out to me in this article was this:

To be likeable as a woman, it seems, you have to ensure that you’re also non-threatening and slightly useless. You have to point loudly to your “flaws,” but not your, you know, actual flaws.

http://normreedus.tumblr.com/post/87235697255

I have run into this over and over and over! In the past few years I’ve been striving to get better at accepting a compliment sincerely and at recognizing my own talents (FYI: just because you were too lazy to do actual work in math class in high school does not mean that you are not good at math. You might discover that you are actually really good at it when you look around and notice that a ton of the work you do every day requires significant math skills.) but I still find myself making dumb self-deprecating remarks on occasion.

So, ladies, I’m asking you: What are you awesome at? How do you inspire yourself? How do you do feminism?

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let’s hear it for the sisterhood

Last weekend, I went with some lady friends to a cabin up north for some rest, relaxation, and grrl time.

Shade Monger

We went to the beach one morning, which I actually enjoyed, thanks to lots of shade, a good book to read, and great company. (While we were up north I finished the final book in the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series, which I heartily enjoyed. They are the coziest of mysteries, featuring a fictionalized imagining of Beatrix Potter’s life in the Land Between the Lakes, where she in real life purchased and maintained a couple of farms. I’m a little sad to be done with them.) As you can see, I am under a beach umbrella, under a canopied chair, and wearing a large sun hat. Plus lots of SPF, of course, should any stray piece of myself have managed to encounter the sun.

@shinyinfo 's Zen garden

I watched Kristin create a mini zen garden on the beach and enjoyed people-watching as well. There was a BT far down the shore, and someone was paddle-boarding with a boxer/mix! It was lovely.

Cool moth

There was lots of my type of communing with nature (meaning, for short periods of time and without a lot of direct contact) and this moth hung out on the screen for almost the entire weekend. I thought it was quite pretty. Anyone know what kind it is? (We took a group promise to not look things up on our phones for the weekend – we’re all librarians and tend to be the one who seeks out the answer to any question posed, so it was nice to give that a rest for a few days.)

Being outdoorsy, tried and enjoyed a smore #personalgrowth

I also attempted some personal growth in the form of being outside around the campfire each night and expanding my taste to include enjoying a s’more. I’ve been averse to marshmallows for years, but I decided I’d try one since it’d been decades since I last did. Turns out, it was alright! Not a taste I’ll probably pursue on the reg, but when in Rome, I can hack it.

The best part of the weekend was just getting to spend time with some of my closest female friends. We don’t get together often enough! We danced, we sang, we imbibed, we talked about body hair and the patriarchy – what more could a woman ask for?

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Thanks, ladies! I can’t wait to do it again!

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