Author: Theresa C. Dintino

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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The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, by Ursula K. Le Guin – “Revolution begins in the Thinking Mind”

It felt like a good time to read some Ursula K. Le Guin, wise thinker of our time, who passed recently, in 2018. A woman whose mind was always not only questioning but positing; imagining different scenarios for humans on a variety of alternate planets and creating characters within which to let them play out, to ultimately inquire what it means to be human. What mistakes will humans always make due to their inherent nature? What common human values remain in any scenario? Is it possible to get away from our egos? To truly care for one another over...

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Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine (2020): Fact-Checking and Footnoting Her Own Pain

This book was hard to read. It is full of raw pain. I so appreciate Rankine’s willingness to expose her vulnerability. I am struck by how hurtful it is for a black woman to live in the culture of the United States. She is brave to expose herself this way. Rankine, a professor at Yale teaching classes on the history of whiteness in the U.S. wonders one day,  “What it would mean to ask random white men how they understood their privilege. . . . I found myself falling into easy banter with all kinds of strangers except white...

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Memorials to the Victims of the Middle Passage

In several interviews after the publication of her 1987 novel, Beloved, Toni Morrison laments the lack of awareness and homage to the victims of the Middle Passage. What is the Middle Passage? Brittanica defines the Middle Passage, as “the forced voyage of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. It was one leg of the triangular trade route that took goods (such as knives, guns, ammunition, cotton cloth, tools, and brass dishes) from Europe to Africa, Africans to work as slaves in the Americas and West Indies, and items, mostly raw materials, produced on the plantations (sugar, rice, tobacco, indigo, rum, and cotton) back to Europe. From about 1518 to the...

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Toni Morrison’s Beloved: Slavery and the Haunting that Persists.

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is a novel about the enslavement of Black Americans and its lasting emotional, physical and psychic effects. It takes place in Cincinnati, Ohio right before and after the Civil War. Beloved is the story of Sethe, a woman so strong, she survives the unthinkable, over and over and over again. Beloved is the name of the angry baby girl haunting the home of her younger sister, Denver, and Sethe, the mother who murdered her. The ghost, in her eighteen-month-old, non-physical form has driven everyone else out of the house, including Sethe’s two sons whom she tried...

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Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights: Calling Out White Supremacist Patriarchy for over 170 Years.

Wanna read a novel that tells the truth? Check out Wuthering Heights (1847). It is so brutal in its exposure of life in the white supremacist patriarchy that it has left readers shaking their heads for close to two centuries. How could this little lady (Emily Brontë 1818-1848) who lived a quiet life in a parsonage on the Yorkshire Moors write such a dark tale? What got into her? What is she trying to say? What would move her to write of such dark happenings and grim hauntings? I guess it’s because she lived in the white supremacist patriarchy...

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How Ursula K. Le Guin Got Her Feminist Groove On

Before George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, I was reading only Ursula K. Le Guin. It was the initial Covid-19 lockdown and in that strange, restless time, I found Le Guin’s books helpful. Availing myself of her wisdom was water in the political and social desert of wise elders and leadership being experienced in the U.S. I read The Left Hand of Darkness, The Disposessed, and The Lathe of Heaven. There were three other books that had been hanging out together as a set in a little box on my bookshelf for many years, which I was...

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Toni Cade Bambara: How to Care for Oneself While Healing The All

While reading adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism for #NastyWomenWriters, I was stopped in my tracks by the praise coming forward in that book for black feminist, writer, activist, film maker and mentor Toni Cade Bambara (1939-1995). brown writes: “Toni Cade Bambara, author of The Salt Eaters, the one to tell us writing was a tool for the revolution, that our task was to make revolution irresistible. Bambara is a main stream in the lineage of pleasure activism, not just because of what she put on the page and into words, but also because of the ways she wove community,...

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Pocahontas was a Powerful Medicine Woman with a Plan

#Nastywomanwriter Paula Gunn Allen (1939-2008) sets the record straight about another #nastywoman from history in her book Pocahontas: Medicine woman, Spy, Entrepreneur, Diplomat Gunn Allen rescues Pocahontas (childhood name) Matoaka (adult name) Amonute (medicine woman name) Rebecca (Christian name) from the story told and sold about her and in so doing opens the setting of this story wide and large enough to include the reality, place, time and belief systems of all the players involved. The Powhatan Alliance (people of the Dream-Vision), the loosely allied group of 30-35 Algonquin speaking tribes settled in what we now call Chesapeake Bay, then known as...

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