Women Arts: Read Great New Book on Feminism; Nominate Theatres for Parity Awards
Andi Zeisler Tackles the Commercialization of Feminism
Andi Zeisler was born in the 1970s and she witnessed the intense backlash against feminism in the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1995, the same year that WomenArts was founded in Massachusetts, Zeisler co-founded Bitch Magazine: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture in Oregon.
Since pop culture has such a deep influence and is so pervasive, Zeisler and her colleagues believed it had tremendous potential as a tool for advancing feminist ideals.
Twenty years later, we are seeing something unexpected. The word "feminist" has become popular again - it has been embraced by female celebrities like Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Emma Watson, and marketers are trying to use it to sell a wide range of products.
But in spite of the growing acceptance of the word, the cause is still under fire. Women still earn 77 cents or less for every dollar that men earn in the same jobs, women's reproductive rights are under attack, and heaven help us, Donald Trump has won the Republican nomination for President in spite of (or maybe because of) his numerous misogynist and racist comments.
In her new book, We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to Covergirl®, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement, Andi Zeisler calls this new phenomenon "marketplace feminism." She acknowledges that in some ways, it is great that pop culture has embraced the term "feminism," but she is troubled that a substantial movement for social justice is now being presented as "just another consumer choice." In particular, she points out that "marketplace feminism" is about advancing yourself as an individual usually by buying some product. This is in sharp contrast to traditional feminism, which was about lifting up the entire community of women through political action.
Andi Zeisler draws on more than twenty years of experience interpreting popular culture to show us how feminism is being co-opted and watered down. She looks at movies, television, advertising, fashion, and more, and finds that in spite of all the talk about "empowerment," women are still coping with sexist attitudes and institutions every day. She traces our history and suggests positive solutions.
WomenArts highly recommends this eloquent and insightful book. You can get a hardcover or Kindle version on Amazon or buy a signed copy through Bitch Media>>
Nominate Theatres for 50/50 Applause Awards By May 20!
The International Centre for Women Playwrights has established the 50/50 Applause Awards to increase awareness about women playwrights and to applaud theatres that achieve gender parity in their playwright selections. Anyone can nominate a theatre through the ICWP's online nomination form. Nominations must be submitted by May 20, 2016.
You can nominate any theatre that has accomplished the following:
At least 50% of the plays produced by the theatre between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 were by female playwrights.
At least 50% of the total number of performances by the theatre between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 were the work of female playwrights. (Nominated theatres will be asked to provide this information.)
Theatres in any country can by nominated. Please see the awards guidelines for additional rules and restrictions.
The Awards Committee will contact all of the nominated theatres for further qualifying information. The information from the theatres will be due in July 2016. If a theater does not submit the additional information, they will be disqualified from consideration. The recipients will be announced in September 2016.
The Applause Awards are a great way to thank and recognize the theatres that are hiring women playwrights. Please take a moment to nominate any theatres that qualify for this award.