Month: December 2020

Being Poor While Female in Charlotte Brontë’s Villette (1853)

Nearly eighty years after the publication of Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Villette, Virginia Woolf laments the poverty of women in her classic book, A Room Of One’s Own. In that classic piece is the famous conclusion that “a woman needs money and room of her own if she is to write fiction”(4). But how to attain it in a culture and time in that culture where women were notoriously poor?  Woolf speaks of how she came to having money of her own, five hundred pounds a year, left to her by her aunt “Mary Beton” who “died by a fall...

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Welcome, Controversy. We’ve been expecting you.

We’ve been waiting months for the delayed unveiling of Maggi Hambling’s sculpture honoring Mary Wollstonecraft, “foremother of feminism.” Here’s our post about this sculpture from February 2020, Visibility Matters: A Statue for Mary Wollstonecraft, and one about Mary Wollstonecraft posted earlier, Mary Wollstonecraft: A Wild Wish. This sculpture was finally unveiled in London on November 10, 2020, and, as anticipated, ignited fiery debate. Bee Rowlatt, chair of Mary on the Green, an organization involved in fundraising for over a decade, had this to say following the 2018 selection of Hambling’s work: “This mould-breaking work of art will provoke debate,...

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Edmonia Lewis(1844-1907): An American Sculptor Trapped in Structures Harder Than Marble

Edmonia Lewis had two problems. One: that she was not white and two: that she was not male. She defies classification while at the same time has been classified over and over again. If she can’t be classified, then she is demonized and if she can’t be demonized then she is erased and if she can’t be erased then she is blamed when all this woman wanted was to pursue her art, be taken seriously, be free to compete on a level playing field with other people: meaning white people — and people who were taken seriously by the...

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The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd: The Spirit in You that Rebels and Persists (published in 2020)

When my sister Theresa and I began the Nasty Women Writers project three years ago, we set out to amplify the voices of women, many of whom have been marginalized and erased. We decided to claim the word ‘nasty’ because it was being hurled at powerful women who were unafraid to speak up. Clearly ‘nasty’ was not such a bad thing to be. Sue Monk Kidd in her new novel The Book of Longings addresses the erasure of women’s voices. The main character, Ana, is a spokesperson for this cause: she is a capturer and keeper of women’s voices,...

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Julia Alvarez, Minerva Mirabel and the Embeddedness of Women’s Stories and Identities

My sister, Maria and I began #NastyWomenWriters to amplify the voices of #nastywomen from the past and present who had or were being erased, disappeared or ignored. We wanted to educate #nastywomen about other #nastywomen to draw inspiration from them and realize they were not alone, to understand that feminism has been around for a very long time, that women of all races, classes and religions have been speaking up, fighting to be heard and breaking glass ceilings through all of his-story. Because women’s stories are often erased, forgotten or ignored, we can believe we are the first to...

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