Posts Tagged Simmons College

Beyonce: GO feminist GO

beyonce feminist

Last night I enjoyed the Retro Futura concert at The Wilbur Theatre in Boston with 80s legends Tom Bailey [of the Thompson Twins], Howard Jones, Midge Ure [of UltraVox] and Katrina and the Waves. Mostly men. Big shout-out to Tom Bailey for his all-female backing band. Totally kick-ass and rarely seen. Even female musicians usually tour around with male backing bands. While I shimmied to some 80s tunes and relived my hazy unhappy high-school days, the tween set [and many others] watched the MTV VMAs. I could care less about MTV even though back in the 90s I worked as a music critic for MTV/Viacom.

The big news is that when Beyoncé sang “Flawless” she stood in front of a huge sign that said FEMINIST. Thank you Beyoncé.

Any feminist knows how hard it is to be a feminist. Just last night where I was volunteering before the concert at WGBH (a relatively liberal nonprofit PBS station in Boston), a guy said to me, “don’t tell me, you’re a feminist.” as if that were the worst possible thing I could possibly be. The negative overtones I’ve heard when I identify as feminist are disheartening. Feminism is misunderstood.  I’ve identified as a feminist since fifth grade. It’s not been easy. Guys have steered clear of me since high school. Their problems not mine but I’m still a sensitive person. An ex-boyfriend asked me once: “what’s the point of a women’s college?” I graduated from Simmons College in Boston. Between being a feminist and being vegan, I spend a lot of time explaining my choices. It’s exhausting.

In the song “Flawless,” Beyoncé uses a clip from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk on feminism. When someone as influential as Beyoncé identifies herself as a feminist and she proudly and associates closely with the term, it’s monumental. It breaks down the stigma. It gives women and girls around the United States and world hope that someday  being a feminist won’t be so negative– it will be the best thing ever.

#365feministselfie the day I had to euthanize my childhood pony Easter

#365feministselfie the day I had to euthanize my childhood pony Easter

Today if you say you’re a feminist people make ridiculous and mean assumptions that you’re unfeminine or you don’t like men.  That’s why I’ve been part of the #365feministselfie project to illustrate the Kaleidoscope of feminists out there.  Feminists are beautiful. Feminists can be feminine. Feminists can look however they want. Feminists are doing all sorts of wonderful, creative, productive activities. Feminists are outspoken. Feminists are changing the world. Just the other night I had a date where the guy shockingly told me that “women are doing okay.” Women only earn 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Reproductive, sexual rights and healthcare continues to be of grave concern for women. Hopefully, one day if you’re not a feminist people will look at you negatively.

So  thank you again for standing up and speaking out about feminism, Beyoncé.

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book review: The Island

Title: The Island
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
ISBN: 978-0316043878
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books (July 6, 2010)
Category: contemporary fiction
Review source: publisher
Rating: 3.5/5

Robin had once asked her if she harbored any suicidal thoughts. Yes was the answer, of course; all Chess wanted was to escape her present circumstances. But Chess didn’t have the energy to commit suicide. She was doomed to sit, mute and useless.

But this had always been her problem with men, right? She came on too strong, too soon. She had dry spells that lasted—well, years (the last man she’d slept with had been Andre Clairfeld, who was on the practice squad for the Carolina Panthers, but that had been a drunk, late-night sex things and should probably not be counted)—and then when she found someone she really liked, she was out of practice with ladylike restraint. She was too hungry, too eager, and she frightened men away.

India had, eventually, picked herself up and moved forward—and in rather spectacular fashion. She had, in some ways, made Bill’s suicide work for her. She built a career, a persona; she created a self. And goddamn it, she was proud of this.

India, a widow who works at an art school in Pennsylvania; Birdie, estranged from her husband; and Birdie’s two daughters—Chess, who recently broke off her engagement only to have her ex-fiancé die in a hiking accident; and Tate, a rather socially inept but brilliant computer nerd—gather for a month on the family’s excluded private island, Tuckernuck, off the coast of Nantucket.

In The Island, author Elin Hilderbrand delves into the pasts and presents of these four women, who are at different stages of life—physically and emotionally. All the women are strong in successful in their professional lives, each in her own distinct manner. As often goes, the women struggle with their personal lives. Birdie thought this gathering or vacation would cure what ails her daughters and sister. Perhaps they could all come together and help each other heal.

Chess feels extreme guilt that she had an affair with Matthew’s less successful yet sexier rocker brother Nick. She feels even worse that she broke off the wedding and Matthew died, accident or not. A genius computer consultant, Tate remains in high demand throughout the world. Back on Tuckernuck, her teenage crush on the care keeper’s son Barrett resurfaces. She falls intensely in love with Barrett. Their mother Birdie obsessively calls a guy she’d been dating back home. But then when that unravels she starts to reconsider life with her husband, Grant. And finally India reflects on a relationship with a student.

Hilderbrand writes her flawed and appealing female characters with near perfection. She also gets bonus points for literary references (The Red Tent, Cider House Rules), her choice in music (The Strokes, Death Cab for Cutie and Kings of Leon) and for mentioning my alma mater Simmons College (Barrett’s wife graduated from there with a nursing degree). While The Island may have been a bit too long and unnecessarily wordy at times, I understand why Hilderbrand is so popular and her novels make for engaging summer reads.

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The Island: A Novel

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