Sunday, March 22, 2015

Feminist Reading Challenge

People told me so many times, “Having a child will change you.” “It'll change your whole life and who you are.” And I think that in some ways this is both true and not true. Having T has brought out the somewhat dormant interests in me and has made them full blown passions. The biggest one is my feminist side. I want my daughter to be raised knowing she can be anything and anyone. She can do any job she wants, she can help anyone she wants, she can love anyone she wants. I want to know that men and women are equal, or would be in the ideal world. As far as our home life goes, I think we do a pretty good job of demonstrating this balance. We both work, we both clean and J is trying so hard to learn to cook (well, I'm still learning too so I guess she'll grow up knowing neither of us can cook).

This has been translated into my reading as well, as so many aspects of my life often are. I tend to go through ups and downs with my reading habits and tend to burn myself out on a genre and then have to make a dramatic shift. Something I've started lately is asking myself, “Would I want my daughter to read this?” Not in a “is this appropriate for a child?” way (because I'm an adult and am capable of reading foul language, and about sex and drugs and don't care if she does when she's much older) but in a “Is there a strong female role model in this book?” way.

Because I'm also working toward my teaching license for elementary school, I apply the same concept to kids' books I've been reading. “Would I want my students to read this? Would they learn to treat one another better and more equally from this?” Maybe this is too much thinking about the purpose of a book, but I'm tired of books with weak women. I'm tired of all the male writers (though it's not their fault), and I'm tired of stereotypical women.

So my new challenge? I have been reading a lot more kids books (and really enjoying them!) and some teen as well (and there are some awesome feminist teen books that I should write a post about at some point). But my “thing” if you will, right now is about graphic novels. I am such a huge Batman fan. Well, I love the other characters from Batman more than Batman himself if I'm honest (Nightwing, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, and lately the Birds of Prey). But I've also noticed that when I read these graphic novels, specifically from DC, I only see male names for the writers. The last time I looked it up, there was exactly one female writer on staff for DC. One. Supposedly they are working toward being more diverse and will soon have six female writers. Yes, you read that right, six would be a step in the right direction for them.

So I thought, “I think I need to actively look for more women in comics.” So that's what I'm doing. And I am truly loving what I'm finding (when I find things). Currently, I'm reading the new Ms. Marvel, written by G. Willow Wilson (after a little research, I found this is a female writer). I have also started accumulating a stack of books from the library. Damn them and their bad ass collection of graphic novels and their easy hold system (request on the computer, get an email, it's right there waiting for you!). Next up on the list are Rat Queens, Y: The Last Man, Saga, and Earth's Mightiest Hero: Captain Marvel. The criteria for what I'm looking for are either comics written by women or ones that can be written by a man but feature a bad ass woman (more points if she's not drawn as a stereotypical comic lady). Once I read a few, I'm sure I'll write another post about some awesome (and perhaps not awesome if I come across them) graphic novels that fit these criteria.

Any suggestions for what else I should read? Looking for teen, kids or graphic novels!

And may we read about them.