CULTURE ON THE OFFENSIVE Recommendations
Our editorial team’s recommendations
We are interested in cultural artefacts that challenge preconceptions from all over the political spectrum. We are interested in people who hold a mirror up to contemporary society and re-examine it’s background narratives. We may or may not agree with all aspects of what is expressed in our recommendations. However, we recommend them because they are insightful and provocative.
1. VLOG: Me, a Feminist? No Way. By Karen Straughan.
When many people think of anti-Feminists, they think of people who oppose gender equality. They think of people of people who want women to stay in the kitchen and resent the fact that women have joined the workforce. They think of people who think a woman’s natural role is to be subservient to a man. They think of people promoting traditional or religious values. They think of straight men. This Vlog presents the viewer with an alternative to most of the stereotypes about what an anti-feminist is supposed to be. This Vlog is also an outstanding example of syncretic political thinking: It borrows elements from all over the political spectrum to weave an explanatory narrative of gender inequality that can both appeal to and repulse individuals of all ideological stripes. Karen doesn’t toe cheap or easy party lines.
2. Film: Nymphomaniac by Lars Von Trier
This is a film that questions the double standards contemporary society has internalised for judging male and female sexual behaviour. It’s also a film about the tensions between sexual desire and love, the problematic consequences of self-denial, and the damaging effects political correctness has had on Western society. So far, this is the pre-eminent film about gender and sexuality made in the 2010s. It’s also perhaps the first satire of contemporary Feminism. No film made in the last five years has so rigorously tested the political sympathies of it’s (presumably) left leaning audience. The film warns us against the pitfalls of dogmatism and blinkered ideological thinking. One of it’s central themes is that there is always more than one way of explaining a person and explaining a person is never easy.
3. Book: Sylvia Pankhurst: Suffragette, Socialist and Scourge of Empire by Katherine Connelly (http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745333229)
Oh, how the SLITS changed lives! Political self-expression without earnestness was rife. Grabbed kicking and screaming from the grip of Lady Di haircuts, high heel shoes and wonder bra’s, they gave a voice and inspiration to those that saw through it all. This book is a raucous romp about a time when the serious challenging of gender stereotypes was taking place. It also explores the aftermath of that pioneering change in consciousness. Women in that generation had grown up expecting to be wives, mothers, hairdressers, nurses or air hostesses, but the Slits showed that something else was in the air. Sexiness was no longer confined to passivity, women no longer wrapped in cotton wool, fashion no longer confined to other’s expectations. These girls were “ON THE OFFENSIVE.” Today there is understandeable nostalgia for the days when we looked at gender oppression as something that impacted both sexes, when we used humour and irony and were not easily offended, when we didn’t have “who is the most oppressed” competitions, and united in each other’s struggles around race, class, gender, sexuality and social and economic exclusion. How did this period of new found volatile freedom of expression impact on it’s generation of creative women? How did it impact on the female artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers who were influenced by this new thinking? Read and learn. http://vivalbertine.com http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0571297765