The speaker in Rachel Mennies’ first full-length poetry collection, The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards (Texas Tech University Press), takes her faith seriously, using keen rendering of family history, descriptively paired with rituals of Judaism, in a compelling 76-page read.
“She had hardly done any writing lately—not that you got rich from writing plays, at least not the kind of plays she wrote. But something had happened to her writing. There had been—well, you’d call it an incident, and as a playwright she knew that the problem with incidents is that everything gets blamed on them: they become a premise toward which everything else is drawn, as though seeking an explanation of itself. It might be that this problem would have occurred anyway. She didn’t know.”
—Rachel Cusk, from the final installment of Outline. Illustration: Samantha Hahn.
It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.
"We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, ‘You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise you will threaten the man.’ Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors – not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are."
(Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
An essay from Lena Dunham's forthcoming memoir, Not That Kind Of Girl, was released today in The New Yorker. It’s about growing up with various therapists.
"I am eight, and I am afraid of everything. The list of things that keep me up at night includes but is not limited to: appendicitis, typhoid, leprosy, unclean meat, foods I haven’t seen emerge from their packaging, foods my mother hasn’t tasted first so that if we die we die together, homeless people, headaches, rape, kidnapping, milk, the subway, sleep."
Photo of Little Lena found on Pinterest