Portal:Feminism/Selected article

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Selected articles list[edit]

Portal:Feminism/Selected article/1

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (1792), written by the eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, is one of the earliest works of feminist philosophy. In it, Wollstonecraft responds to the educational and political theorists of the eighteenth century who wanted to deny women an education. She argues that women ought to have an education commensurate with their position in society, claiming that women are essential to the nation because they educate its children and because they could be "companions" to their husbands, rather than mere wives. Instead of viewing women as ornaments to society or property to be traded in marriage, Wollstonecraft maintains that they are human beings deserving of the same fundamental rights as men. Wollstonecraft was prompted to write the Rights of Woman by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord's 1791 report to the French National Assembly which stated that women should only receive a domestic education; she used her commentary on this specific event to launch a broad attack against sexual double standards and to indict men for encouraging women to indulge in excessive emotion.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/2

A Song Dynasty painting of an outdoor banquet

Chinese society during the Song Dynasty was marked by political and legal reforms, a philosophical revival of Confucianism, and the development of cities beyond administrative purposes into centers of trade, industry, and maritime commerce. The inhabitants of rural areas were mostly farmers, although some were also hunters, fishers, or government employees working in mines or the salt marshes. Contrarily, shopkeepers, artisans, city guards, entertainers, laborers, and wealthy merchants lived in the county and provincial centers along with the Chinese gentry—a small, elite community of educated scholars and scholar-officials. The military also provided a means for advancement in Song society for those who became officers, even though soldiers were not highly-respected members of society. Although certain domestic and familial duties were expected of women in Song society, they nonetheless enjoyed a wide range of social and legal rights in an otherwise patriarchal society. Women's improved rights to property came gradually with the increasing value of dowries offered by brides' families. Daoism and Buddhism were the dominant religions of China in the Song era, the latter deeply impacting many beliefs and principles of Neo-Confucianism throughout the dynasty. The Song justice system was maintained by policing sheriffs, investigators, official coroners, and exam-drafted officials who acted as magistrates.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/3

Plaque on exterior wall of École Polytechnique commemorating victims of massacre

The École Polytechnique massacre occurred on December 6, 1989 at the École Polytechnique de Montréal in Montreal, Quebec. Twenty-five year-old Marc Lépine, armed with a legally-obtained semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, shot twenty-eight people, killing fourteen (all of them women) and injuring the other fourteen before killing himself. He began his attack by entering a classroom at the university, where he separated the men and women students from each other. After claiming that he was "fighting feminism", he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot. He killed fourteen women and injured four men and ten women in just under twenty minutes before turning the gun on himself. Lépine's suicide note claimed political motives and blamed feminists for ruining his life. The note include a list of nineteen Quebec women whom Lépine considered to be feminists and apparently wished to kill. Since the attack, Canadians have debated various interpretations of the events, their significance, and Lépine's motives. The massacre is regarded by most feminists and many official perspectives as an anti-feminist attack and representative of wider societal violence against women; the anniversary of the massacre is commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. The incident led to more stringent gun control laws in Canada, and changes in the tactical response of police to shootings, which were later credited with minimizing casualties at the Dawson College shootings.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/4

Girl Scouts learning at NASA

The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) is a youth organization for girls in the United States and American girls living abroad. The Girl Scout program developed from the concerns of the progressive movement in the United States from people who sought to promote the social welfare of young women and as a female counterpart to the Boy Scouts of America. It was founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 and is based on the Scouting principles developed by Robert Baden-Powell. The GSUSA uses the Scout method to build self-esteem and to teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship through activities including camping, community service, learning first aid, and earning numerous badges that can teach lifelong skills. Girl Scouts are recognized for their achievements through rank advancement and various special awards. GSUSA has programs for girls with special interests, such as water-based activities. Membership is organized according to age levels with activities appropriate to each age group.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/5

A prostitution "reeducation center" at a former brothel in Beijing, 1949

Since the loosening of government controls over society in the early 1980s, prostitution in the People's Republic of China has not only reappeared, but can now be found throughout urban and rural areas. In spite of government efforts, prostitution has now developed to the extent that it comprises an industry, one that involves a great number of people and produces a considerable economic output. Prostitution has also become associated with a number of problems, including organised crime, government corruption and sexually transmitted diseases. Prostitution-related activities in mainland China are characterised by diverse types, venues and prices. Sellers of sex come from a broad range of social backgrounds. While the PRC government has always taken a hard line on organisers of prostitution, it has vacillated in its legal treatment of the prostitute herself, treating prostitution sometimes as a crime and sometimes as misconduct. Despite lobbying by international NGOs and overseas commentators, there is not much support for legalisation of the sex sector by the public, social organisations or the government of the PRC.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/6

First page of the first edition of Thoughts (1787)

Thoughts on the Education of Daughters is British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft's first published work. Published in 1787 by her friend Joseph Johnson, Thoughts is a conduct book that offers advice on female education to the emerging British middle class. Although dominated by considerations of morality and etiquette, the text also contains basic child-rearing instructions, such as how to care for an infant. An early version of the modern self-help book, the eighteenth-century British conduct book drew on several literary traditions, such as advice manuals and religious narratives. There was an explosion in the number of conduct books published during the second half of the eighteenth century, and Wollstonecraft took advantage of this burgeoning market when she published Thoughts. However, the book was only moderately successful: it was favourably reviewed, but only by one journal and it was reprinted only once. Although it was excerpted in popular magazines of the time, it was not republished until the rise of feminist literary criticism in the 1970s. The book encourages mothers to teach their daughters analytical thinking, self-discipline, honesty, contentment in their social position, and marketable skills (in case they should ever need to support themselves).


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/7

he Supreme Court which decided the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson case

The Equal Protection Clause is a part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, providing that "no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." In the broadest view, the Equal Protection Clause is part of the United States's continuing attempt to determine what its professed commitment to the proposition that "all men are created equal" should mean in practice. Before its enactment, the Constitution protected individual rights only from invasion by the federal government. After its enactment, the Constitution also protected rights from abridgement by state governments. For a long while after the Clause became a part of the Constitution, it was interpreted narrowly. During and after World War II, however, the United States Supreme Court began to construe the Clause more expansively. During the 1960s, the other two branches of the federal government—the executive and the legislative—joined in, as Congress and the President passed and enforced legislation intended to ensure equality in education, employment, housing, lodging, and government benefits.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/8

A pro-choice rally on the steps of the Supreme Court

Roe v. Wade was the landmark 1973 United States Supreme Court decision that recognized abortion as a constitutional right, overturning several state laws against abortion. It remains one of the most controversial decisions in Supreme Court history. The decision in Roe v. Wade has sparked a decades-long national debate over when abortion should be legal; the role of the Supreme Court in constitutional adjudication; and the role of religious views in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade became one of the most politically significant Supreme Court decisions in history, reshaping national politics, dividing the nation into "pro-choice" and "pro-life" camps, and inspiring grassroots activism. Roe sparked widespread opposition, from those who viewed the Court's decision as illegitimate for straying too far from the text and history of the Constitution, as well as from those motivated by religious and moral beliefs about the inviolability of fetal life. It also attracted widespread support, from those who view the decision as necessary to achieve women's equality and personal freedom.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/9

Map showing origin nations of Tahirih Justice Center clients

The Tahirih Justice Center is a United States-based non-governmental organization that serves immigrant women and girls who are fleeing from gender-based violence and persecution through pro bono direct legal services and social and medical service referrals. Tahirih helps women who are attempting to escape from such abuse as female genital cutting, domestic violence, human trafficking, torture and rape. The organization also conducts public policy initiatives designed to achieve legislative change for women fleeing from human rights abuses, to highlight problems faced by immigrant women in the United States, and to end the possible exploitation of mail-order brides by international marriage brokers. The organization is named after Táhirih, an influential female poet and theologian in nineteenth century Persia who campaigned for women's rights. Tahirih is a Bahá'í-inspired organization, although its clients and employees vary widely in ethnicity, religious identification, and nationality.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/10

Title page of the original edition of Aradia

Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches is an 1899 book by Charles Godfrey Leland. The book is an attempt to portray the beliefs and rituals of an underground religious witchcraft tradition in Tuscany that had survived for centuries until Leland's claimed discovery of its existence in the 1890s. Scholars have disputed the veracity of this claim. Still, the book has become one of the foundational texts of Wicca and Neo-paganism. Its fifteen chapters portray the origins, beliefs, rituals and spells of an Italian pagan witchcraft tradition. The central figure of that religion is the goddess Aradia who came to Earth to teach the practice of witchcraft to oppressed peasants in order for them to oppose their feudal oppressors and the Christian church. Leland's work remained obscure until the 1950s, when other theories about, and claims of, "pagan witchcraft" survivals began to be widely discussed. Aradia began to be examined within the wider context of such claims. Scholars are divided, with some dismissing Leland's assertion regarding the origins of the manuscript, and others arguing for its authenticity as a unique documentation of folk beliefs.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/11

Gender symbols

The Baby Gender Mentor test is a blood test designed to determine if a pregnant mother is carrying a boy or a girl. The test is made by Acu-Gen Biolab, Inc., an American biotech company in Lowell, Massachusetts, and is marketed to detect the sex of a fetus as early as five weeks after conception. According to Acu-Gen, the test looks for markers on the Y chromosome and the accuracy of the test exceeds that of conventional methods, such as ultrasonography, amniocentesis, or chorionic villus sampling techniques, and that the test offers "unsurpassed accuracy, unrivaled earliness, and uncompromised promptness". The company has so far chosen not to release details of how the test works or proof of its accuracy, as they consider this information proprietary. Since the test made a prominent media debut on 17 June 2005 on the Today Show, it has been the center of several controversies. Customers and scientists question the accuracy of the test; and legal action is being pursued against Acu-Gen as well as a major supplier of the test kit. Concerns have also been raised by bioethicists that use of the test could lead to practices such as sex selection and Acu-Gen has allegedly used the test to illegally offer medical diagnoses.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/12

A traditional marriage supporter

Same-sex marriage in Spain was legalized in 2005. In 2004, the new Socialist government, led by President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, began a campaign for its legalization, which would include adoption by same-sex couples. After much debate, a law permitting same-sex marriage was passed by the Cortes Generales (Spain's bicameral parliament composed of the Senate and the Congress of Deputies). Same-sex marriage officially became legal in Spain on Sunday, 3 July 2005. The ratification of this law has not been devoid of conflict, despite support from 66% of Spaniards. Catholic authorities in particular were adamantly opposed to it, fearing the weakening of the meaning of marriage. After its approval, the conservative People's Party challenged the law in Constitutional Court. Approximately 4,500 same-sex couples have married in Spain during the first year of the law.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/13

An ovary shortly before an egg is released

The menstrual cycle is the recurring physiological changes in a female's body that are under the control of the reproductive hormone system and necessary for reproduction. In women, menstrual cycles occur typically on a monthly basis between puberty and menopause. Besides humans, only other members of great apes exhibit menstrual cycles, in contrast to the estrus cycle of most mammalian species. During the menstrual cycle, the sexually mature female body releases one egg (or occasionally two, which might result in non-identical twins) at the time of ovulation. The lining of the uterus, the endometrium, builds up in a synchronised fashion. After ovulation, this lining changes to prepare for potential implantation of the fertilized egg to establish a pregnancy. If fertilisation and pregnancy do not ensue, the uterus sheds the lining and a new menstrual cycle begins.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/14

The first edition The Country Wife" (1675)

The Country Wife is a Restoration comedy from 1675 by William Wycherley. A product of the tolerant early Restoration period, the play reflects an aristocratic and anti-Puritan ideology, and was controversial for its sexual explicitness even in its own time. Even its title contains a lewd pun. Based on several plays by Molière, it turns on two indelicate plot devices: a rake's trick of pretending impotence in order to safely have clandestine affairs with married women, and the arrival in London of an inexperienced young "country wife", with her discovery of the joys of town life, especially the fascinating London men. The scandalous trick and the frank language have for much of the play's history kept it off the stage and out of print. Between 1753 and 1924, The Country Wife was considered too outrageous to be performed at all and was replaced on the stage by David Garrick's cleaned-up and bland version The Country Girl. The original play is again a stage favourite today, and is also acclaimed by academic critics, who praise its linguistic energy, sharp social satire, and openness to different interpretations.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/15

The Preamble of the Constitution of India

The Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles and Fundamental Duties of India are sections of the Constitution of India that prescribe the fundamental obligations of the State to the citizens, and the duties of the citizens with respect to the State. These sections comprise a constitutional bill of rights, guidelines for government policy-making, and the behaviour and conduct of citizens. These sections are considered vital elements of the constitution, which was developed between 1947 and 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of India. The Fundamental Rights are defined as the basic human rights of all citizens. The Directive Principles of State Policy are guidelines for the framing of laws by the government. The Fundamental Duties are defined as the moral obligations of all citizens to help to promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India. Like the Directive Principles, they are not legally enforceable.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/16

Alison Bechdel at a London signing for Fun Home in 2006

Fun Home is a graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, author of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. It chronicles the author's childhood and youth in rural Pennsylvania, focusing on her complex relationship with her father. The book addresses themes of sexual orientation, gender roles, suicide and the role of literature in understanding oneself and one's family. Writing and illustrating Fun Home took seven years, in part because of Bechdel's laborious artistic process, which includes photographing herself in poses for each human figure. Fun Home has been both a popular and critical success, and spent two weeks on the New York Times' bestseller list. In the New York Times Sunday Book Review, Sean Wilsey called it "a pioneering work, pushing two genres (comics and memoir) in multiple new directions." Several publications named Fun Home as one of the best books of 2006; it was also nominated for several awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Award and three Eisner Awards (one of which it won). A French translation of Fun Home was serialized in the newspaper Libération; the book was an official selection of the Angoulême International Comics Festival and has been the subject of an academic conference in France. Fun Home also generated controversy: a public library in Missouri removed Fun Home from its shelves for five months after local residents objected to its contents.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/17

A common scold gets her comeuppance in the cucking stool

Under English common law, a common scold was a species of public nuisance—a troublesome and angry woman who broke the public peace by habitually arguing and quarrelling with her neighbours. The Latin name for the offender, communis rixatrix, appears in the feminine gender, and makes it clear that only women could commit this crime. The prescribed penalty for this offence involved dunking the convicted offender in water in an instrument called the cucking stool, which by folk etymology became ducking stool. The stool consisted of a chair attached to a lever, suspended over a body of water; the prisoner was strapped into the chair and dunked into the water for her punishment.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/18

Catherine de' Medici, by François Clouet

Catherine de' Medici's building projects included the Valois chapel at Saint-Denis, the Tuileries Palace, and the Hôtel de la Reine in Paris, and extensions to the château, near Blois. Born in 1519 in Florence to an Italian father and a French mother, Catherine de' Medici was a daughter of both the Italian and the French Renaissance. She grew up in Florence and Rome under the wing of the Medici popes, Leo X and Clement VII. In 1533, at the age of fourteen, she left Italy and married Henry, the second son of Francis I and Queen Claude of France. On doing so, she entered the greatest Renaissance court in northern Europe. King Francis set his daughter-in-law an example of kingship and artistic patronage that she never forgot. She witnessed his huge architectural schemes at Chambord and Fontainebleau. She saw Italian and French craftsmen at work together, forging the style that became known as the first School of Fontainebleau. Francis died in 1547, and Catherine became queen consort of France. But it wasn't until her husband King Henry's death in 1559, when she found herself at forty the effective ruler of France, that Catherine came into her own as a patron of architecture. Over the next three decades, she launched a series of costly building projects aimed at enhancing the grandeur of the monarchy. During the same period, however, religious civil war gripped the country and brought the prestige of the monarchy to a dangerously low ebb.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/19

Title page from the first edition (1796)

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (1796) is a deeply personal travel narrative by the eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. The twenty-five letters cover a wide range of topics, from sociological reflections on Scandinavia and its peoples to philosophical questions regarding identity. Published by Wollstonecraft's career-long publisher, Joseph Johnson, it was the last work issued during her lifetime. Wollstonecraft undertook her tour of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark in order to retrieve a stolen treasure ship for her lover, Gilbert Imlay. Believing that the journey would restore their strained relationship, she eagerly set off. However, over the course of the three months she spent in Scandinavia, she realized that Imlay had no intention of renewing the relationship. The letters which constitute the text, drawn from her journal and from missives she sent to Imlay, reflect her anger and melancholy over his repeated betrayals. Letters Written in Sweden is therefore both a travel narrative and an autobiographical memoir. Using the rhetoric of the sublime, Wollstonecraft explores the relationship between the self and society in the text. She values subjective experience, particularly in relation to nature; champions the liberation and education of women; and illustrates the detrimental effects of commerce on society.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/20

Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman

Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman is Mary Wollstonecraft's unfinished novelistic sequel to her revolutionary political treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). The Wrongs of Woman was published posthumously in 1798 by her husband, William Godwin, and is often considered her most radical feminist work. Wollstonecraft's philosophical and gothic novel revolves around the story of a woman imprisoned in an insane asylum by her husband. It focuses on the societal rather than the individual "wrongs of woman" and criticizes what Wollstonecraft viewed as the patriarchal institution of marriage in eighteenth-century Britain and the legal system that protected it. However, the heroine's inability to relinquish her romantic fantasies also indicts women for wallowing in a false and damaging sentimentalism. The novel pioneered the celebration of female sexuality and cross-class identification between women. Such themes, coupled with the publication of Godwin's scandalous Memoirs of Wollstonecraft's life, made the novel unpopular at the time it was published. Twentieth-century feminist critics embraced the work, integrating it into the history of the novel and feminist discourse. It is most often viewed as a fictionalized popularization of the Rights of Woman, as an extension of Wollstonecraft's feminist arguments in Rights of Woman, and as an autobiography.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/21

Title page from Mary: A Fiction

Mary: A Fiction is the first and only complete novel written by the eighteenth-century British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. It tells the tragic story of a heroine's successive "romantic friendships" with a woman and a man. Composed while Wollstonecraft was a governess in Ireland, the novel was published in 1788 shortly after her summary dismissal and her momentous decision to embark on a writing career, a precarious and disreputable profession for women in eighteenth-century Britain. Inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau's idea that geniuses are self-taught, Wollstonecraft chose a rational, self-taught heroine, Mary, as the central character of her novel. Helping to redefine genius (a word which at the end of the eighteenth century was only beginning to take on its modern meaning of exceptional or brilliant), Wollstonecraft describes Mary as independent and capable of defining femininity and marriage for herself. It is Mary's "strong, original opinions" and her resistance to "conventional wisdom" that mark her as a genius. Making her heroine a genius allowed Wollstonecraft to criticize marriage as well: geniuses were "enchained" rather than enriched by marriage.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/22
The Penelopiad is a novella by Margaret Atwood. It was published in 2005 as part of the first set of books in the Canongate Myth Series where contemporary authors rewrite ancient myths. In The Penelopiad, Penelope reminisces on the events during the Odyssey, life in Hades, and her relationships with her parents, Odysseus, and Helen. A chorus of the twelve maids, whom Odysseus believed were disloyal and whom Telemachus hanged, interrupt Penelope's narrative to express their view on events. The maids' interludes use a new genre each time, including a jump-rope rhyme, a lament, an idyll, a ballad, a lecture, a court trial and several types of songs. The novella's central themes include the effects of story-telling perspectives, double standards between the genders and the classes, and the fairness of justice. Atwood had previously used characters and storylines from Greek mythology in fiction such as her novel The Robber Bride, short story The Elysium Lifestyle Mansions and poems "Circe: Mud Poems" and "Helen of Troy Does Counter Dancing" but used Robert GravesThe Greek Myths and E. V. Rieu and D. C. H. Rieu's version of the Odyssey to prepare for this novella. The book was translated into 28 languages and released simultaneously around the world by 33 publishers.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/23

Natalie Barney, the model for character Valérie Seymour

The Well of Loneliness is a 1928 lesbian novel by the English author Radclyffe Hall. It follows the life of Stephen Gordon, an Englishwoman from an upper-class family whose "sexual inversion" (that is, homosexuality) is apparent from an early age. She finds love with Mary Llewellyn, whom she meets while serving as an ambulance driver in World War I, but their happiness together is marred by social isolation and rejection, which Hall depicts as having a debilitating effect on inverts. The novel portrays inversion as a natural, God-given state and makes an explicit plea: "Give us also the right to our existence". The Well became the target of a campaign by the editor of the Sunday Express newspaper, who wrote "I would rather give a healthy boy or a healthy girl a phial of prussic acid than this novel." Although its only sex scene consists of the words "and that night, they were not divided", a British court judged it obscene because it defended "unnatural practices between women". In the United States the book survived legal challenges in New York state and in Customs Court. Although few critics rate The Well highly as a work of literature, its treatment of sexuality and gender continues to inspire study and debate.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/24

1921 Certificate of Membership from Gamma Chapter at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Alpha Kappa Alpha (ΆΚΆ) is the first Greek-lettered sorority established and incorporated by African-American college women. The sorority was founded on January 15, 1908, at Howard University in Washington, D.C. by a group of nine students, led by Ethel Hedgeman Lyle. Forming a sorority broke barriers for African-American women in areas where little power or authority existed due to a lack of opportunities for minorities and women in the early twentieth century. Alpha Kappa Alpha was incorporated on January 29, 1913. Consisting of college-educated women of African, Caucasian, Asian, and Hispanic descent, the sorority serves through a membership of more than 200,000 women in over 975 chapters in the United States and several other countries. Women may join through undergraduate chapters at a college or university, or through a graduate chapter after acquiring a college degree. Since being founded over a century ago, Alpha Kappa Alpha has helped to improve social and economic conditions through community service programs. Members have improved education through independent initiatives, contributed to community-building by creating programs and associations – such as the Mississippi Health Clinic – and influenced federal legislation by Congressional lobbying through the National Non-Partisan Lobby on Civil and Democratic Rights. The sorority works with communities through service initiatives and progressive programs relating to education, family, health, and business.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/25

Title page from pirated Lea and Blanchard edition

The Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men were five volumes of Dionysius Lardner’s 133-volume Cabinet Cyclopaedia (1829–46). Aimed at the self-educating middle class, this encyclopedia was written during the nineteenth-century literary revolution in Britain that encouraged more people to read. The Lives formed part of the Cabinet of Biography in the Cabinet Cyclopaedia. The three-volume Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of Italy, Spain and Portugal (1835–37) and the two-volume Lives of the Most Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of France (1838–39) consist of biographies of important writers and thinkers of the fourteenth to eighteenth centuries. Most of them were authored by the Romantic writer Mary Shelley. Shelley's biographies reveal her as a professional woman of letters, contracted to produce several volumes of works and paid well to do so. Her extensive knowledge of history and languages, her ability to tell a gripping biographical narrative, and her interest in the burgeoning field of feminist historiography are reflected in these works. Her political views are most obvious in the Italian Lives, where she supports the Italian independence movement and promotes republicanism. In the French Lives she portrays women sympathetically, explaining their political and social restrictions and arguing that women can be productive members of society if given the proper educational and social opportunities.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/26

RuPaul's character wears a t-shirt that proclaims "Straight is great!"

But I'm a Cheerleader is a 1999 satirical romantic comedy film directed by Jamie Babbit and written by Brian Wayne Peterson. Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, an apparently happily heterosexual high school cheerleader. However, her friends and family are convinced that she is a homosexual and arrange an intervention, sending her to a residential inpatient reparative therapy camp to cure her lesbianism. At camp, Megan soon realizes that she is indeed a lesbian and, despite the therapy, gradually comes to embrace this fact. The supporting cast features Clea DuVall, Cathy Moriarty, RuPaul, Mink Stole and Bud Cort. But I'm a Cheerleader was Babbit's first feature film. It was inspired by an article about conversion therapy and her childhood familiarity with rehabilitation programs. She used the story of a young woman finding her sexual identity to explore the social construction of gender roles and heteronormativity. The film was not well received by critics who compared it unfavorably to the films of John Waters and criticized the colorful production design. The lead actors were praised for their performances but some of the characters were described as stereotypical.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/27

Madlax originally aired on TV Tokyo

Madlax is a 26-episode Japanese anime television series produced in 2004 by the Bee Train animation studio. Kōichi Mashimo directed Madlax and the soundtrack was composed by Yuki Kajiura. The DVD version was released by ADV Films in North America and the United Kingdom and by Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand. The story revolves around two young women who seemingly have little in common and do not know of the other's existence at the beginning, and later join forces to investigate a powerful crime syndicate. Madlax was produced as a spiritual successor to the studio's earlier project, Noir, and together with El Cazador de la Bruja, these series constitute a trilogy exploring the "girls-with-guns" genre. The production of Madlax began in 2002 but it wasn’t until Yōsuke Kuroda joined the project that the series took its final form. While the critics noted the resulting similarities between Noir and Madlax, they also acknowledged the differences, such as the latter's less episodic and more plot-driven style and, in particular contrast to the predominantly realistic Noir, incorporation of many supernatural elements, which the audience must often interpret without further explanation.


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Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rosetti (1874)

Proserpine is a verse drama written for children by the Romantic writers Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Mary wrote the blank verse drama and Percy contributed two lyric poems. Composed in 1820 while the Shelleys were living in Italy, it is often considered a partner to the Shelleys' play Midas. Proserpine was first published in the London periodical The Winter's Wreath in 1832. Whether the drama was ever intended to be staged is a point of debate among scholars. The drama is based on Ovid's tale of the abduction of Proserpine by Pluto, which itself was based on the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone. Mary Shelley's version focuses on the female characters. In a largely feminist retelling from Ceres's point of view, Shelley emphasises the separation of mother and daughter and the strength offered by a community of women. Ceres represents life and love, and Pluto represents death and violence. The genres of the text also reflect gender debates of the time. Percy contributed in the lyric verse form traditionally dominated by men; Mary created a drama with elements common to early nineteenth-century women's writing: details of everyday life and empathetic dialogue. Proserpine is part of a female literary tradition which, as feminist literary critic Susan Gubar describes it, has used the story of Ceres and Proserpine to "re-define, to re-affirm and to celebrate female consciousness itself". However, the play has been both neglected and marginalised by critics.


Portal:Feminism/Selected article/29
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is the 1969 autobiography about the early years of writer and activist Maya Angelou. The first in a six-volume series, it is a coming-of-age story that illustrates how strength of character and a love of literature can help overcome racism and trauma. In the course of Caged Bird, Maya transforms from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a self-possessed, dignified young woman capable of responding to racism. Because Angelou uses thematic development and other techniques common to fiction, reviewers often categorize Caged Bird as autobiographical fiction, but the prevailing critical view characterizes it as an autobiography, a genre she attempts to critique, change, and expand. The book covers topics common to autobiographies written by black American women in the years following the civil rights movement: a celebration of black motherhood; a critique of racism; the importance of family; and the quest for independence, personal dignity, and self-definition. Angelou uses her autobiography to explore subjects such as identity, rape, racism, and literacy. She also writes in new ways about women's lives in a male-dominated society. Caged Bird has been used in educational settings from high schools to universities, and the book has been celebrated for creating new literary avenues for the American memoir. However, the book's graphic depiction of childhood rape, racism, and sexuality have caused it to be challenged or banned in some schools and libraries.

Nominations[edit]

Adding articles