Links We Loved This Week — 11/4/16

Watch Pixar’s adorable short about a baby sandpiper learning to find food: Piper.

The Beauty and the Beast pictures out on EW this week are ridiculously exciting for us.

At LA Review of Books‘ blog Avidly, there is a great piece on why Madame Merle is appealing to contemporary feminism. (To be clear, we are still Team Archer, all the way.)

The cast of Girls performed Emily Doe’s powerful essay about sexual assault in honor of her Woman of the Year award:

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Marriage

…a gulf had opened between them over which they looked at each other with eyes that were on either side a declaration of the deception suffered. It was a strange opposition, of the like of which she had never dreamed–an opposition in which the vital principle of the one was a thing of contempt to the other. It was not her fault–she had practised no deception; she had only admired and believed. She had taken all the first steps in the purest confidence, and then she had suddenly found the infinite vista of a multiplied life to be a dark, narrow alley with a dead wall at the end. Instead of leading to the high places of happiness, from which the world would seem to lie below one, so that one could look down with a sense of exaltation and advantage, and judge and choose and pity, it led rather downward and earthward, into realms of restriction and depression where the sound of other lives, easier and freer, was heard as from above, and where it served to deepen the feeling of failure.

–Henry James, Portrait of a Lady

Links We Loved This Week — 8/19/16

Heather Havrilesky, who writes the fabulous “Ask Polly” columns at NYMag, interviews Winona Ryder and discusses the pathologization of female emotion.

Even if the phrase “fag hag” is so 1999, you won’t care while you’re reading this absurdist ranking of the Top 10 Fag Hags of Henry James. (via LA Review of Books)

As, it seems, always, McSweeney’s lit crit is killing it: Quiz: Are you an unlikable female narrator?

Idiocracy director tells The Daily Beast why his movie has become a documentary.

Freud has a field day as the “subtle” metaphors of the James Bond credits are revealed (via Slashfilm).

When Men Write Women: Success Stories

I think of a man, and take away reason and accountability.

Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets

I’ve had dozens of moments when I’m reading an otherwise great book and a woman says something, or does something, that jolts me out of the world I’ve been inhabiting and reminds me that the author has his own particular notions of women, and not necessarily correct ones. From female characters who fulfill some male fantasy of what women should be like (hot, mostly), or who have no depth at all beyond their looks, to those who have one highly stereotypical personality trait whereas male characters are fully-rounded: the sins committed by authors of all stripes against female characterization are varied, and unfortunately, still frequent.

Sometimes it seems that the feminist internet has rightly given up on even encouraging men to write women at all; if we want a great female character, we assume we’ll need to read Chimamanda Adichie, Willa Cather, Claire Messud. But every once in awhile, a gifted male writer will come along who has an understanding of the unique power structures that affect women, but also is capable of infusing the same vision of humanity into his female characters as he does into his male characters. Here are a few of my favorite female characters written by men. Comment below to share your favorites! (Or to rant about the worst failures. We love rants here at Adversion.)

Aaliyah Saleh, An Unnecessary Woman – Rabih Alameddine

The inspiration for this post, Aaliyeh is the mid-seventies woman with blue hair who narrates Rabih Alameddine’s novel.

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The best books we read in 2015

Janes:

The Portrait of a Lady

Henry James

69-a-Portrait-of-a-Lady

No one delves into a character’s psychology quite like Henry James, and in Isabel Archer, he found a protagonist more than worthy of his meticulous deconstruction. She’s a formidable intellectual who doesn’t see the value in intellectual pursuits, she’s an idealist who isn’t quite sure what her ideals are, she’s an independent who is completely and utterly controlled by the malignant, vicious people in her life. She has a complex, distinctive personality and an indomitable will, all of which is systematically broken down by a small man with “exquisite taste.” It’s as tragic as it is insightful, sensitively portraying the experience of patriarchal oppression through the eyes of a woman who is determined to “behave picturesquely.”

Acquired: through kht, who warned me I would relate to the protagonist to an uncomfortable extent. I’ve thrice been told that I am like Isabel Archer, once as a lament, once as a compliment [To be clear, this was me –kht], and once as a scathing criticism. Only a Henry James character could find so many different ways to be relatable to a real person’s life.

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