After about a year of solid grey skies and rain the weather shows no intention of changing. It’s not yet warm enough to ditch the woollen winter coat, which means everything smells like a damp sheep. To further dampen the spirit, Elizabeth Warren stepped down and after years of predictable everything, it seems the whole world is in a weird turmoil which no longer can be blamed on mercury on retrograde.
It is also the International Women’s Day. It’s early morning in Brussels but I have already been convinced by the politicians of the world who have communicated via their designated social media editors how “we have come a long way, but much still remains to be done for gender equality” and “I call on everyone -men and women – to join the fight for gender equality”.
This warms my heart. Such once a year -tweets are the kind of action the world desperately needs.
But we do what we can. A much recommended pastime that does not require travel, human contact or encourage child labour and/or wage dumping is reading. On the occasion of the IWD herewith some suggestions that include both new and old.
The latest issue of The Gentlewoman is excellent (they always are, actually). Long interviews with Hilary Mantell and the forever fabulous actor and screenwriter Kathy Burke. The cover star is Caster Semenya, who gives a very candid and stunning interview about her decision to refuse hormonal treatment to reduce her testosterone levels so that she’d able to compete at her game. We’ll likely see her in Tokyo this summer, but not running her main distances because of the ban put on her.
I also came across the latest by Rebecca Solnit, Recollections of My Non-Existence. Solnit is an extremely productive writer whose brilliant columns are regulars in the Guardian, for example. Her collection of short stories, Men Explain Things to Me, is an excellent beginners guide to both feminist writing and Solnit. I’m yet to read the latest, but look very much forward to it.
Another rather recent collection of columns by Solnit is called Whose Story Is This? which has the best of her latest, in case you don’t want to start googling her contributions to various newspapers. À propos Warren, one of my favourite quote from that collection is this:
“Kanye West, wearing his MAGA-hat, said “But this hat, it gives me power in a way. My mom and my dad separated, so I didn’t have a lot of male energy in my home. There was something about putting this hat on that made me feel like a Superman.”
West is not white, but he does ace unconscious bias with his widely shared male idea that a presidential candidate should have the same general effect as Viagra, and he does remind me that the 2016 election sometimes seemed to be an erectile referendum.”
Don’t feel like reading non-fiction because world? I put together five of my favourite feminist dystopias last year, here’s the link, although you will see that Atwood’s Testaments was not yet out and thus not included. Also am not sure it would have made the list given it’s a sequel and while it is very good, Handmaid’s Tale it is most certainly not.
Finally, I got me some wool (ironic, I know, given that I complain in the beginning how everything smells of damp sheep). There’s nothing particular to mention about this except that the wool is Japanese Ito Sensai, and even that is not really the point, but rather how it is packaged.
Skeins of wool often take terribly much space because they are coiled loosely. The Japanese, masters of packaging things snugly so as to save space, extend this to wool as well, and indeed the small skeins of wool not only spark joy but are also Marie Kondo-approved in that they are basically airtight, stackable and literally stand upright on their own (unlike my socks, underwear or anything else in my wardrobe).
On other news, I have not yet seen the Hulu document about Hillary Clinton, but so much about it has been written already that I am not sure whether watching the full 4-hour saga will in fact be necessary. What caught my eye was Bill Clinton’s widely reported brain farts about his bygone relationship with Monica Lewinsky, which he said was to help him manage his anxieties.
“…here’s something that’ll take your mind off it for a while. Everybody has life’s pressures and disappointments and terrors, fears or whatever, things I did to manage my anxieties for years.”
So much wrong in one sentence. But given the current situation in the White House… Oh well.
So, cheers to our lives’ anxieties. May we, too, find help to manage them.
I wish you an excellent rest of the International Women’s Day.