Saturday 30 April 2016

Reading list, 30 April 2016

I read Sarah Jaffe's New Republic review of Andi Zeisler’s We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrl to CoverGirl, the Buying and Selling of a Political Movement, which introduced me to the term 'marketplace feminism', just before I read Robert McCrum's article on Germaine Greer's The Feminist Eunuch for the Guardian's '100 Best Non-fiction Books' series.  They make an interesting and illuminating pairing:
In a way, [Zeisler's] book is most useful as a work of media criticism, when it turns the lens onto feminist media itself, and particularly onto the burgeoning “thinkpiece” industry, which she calls “one of marketplace feminism’s biggest triumphs: women who act on the illusion of free choice offered by the market and then offer it up to corporate media to capitalize on.” The endless personal essays wondering if this or that or the other act is feminist, excoriating it for being unfeminist, or confessing to liking said unfeminist thing wind up circling back around to the writer’s personal choices and feelings. Those writers, it should be noted, are paid a pittance to feed the content mill: the personal essay industry itself could be the site of collective struggle for labor rights. - Sarah Jaffe 

Greer’s explicit liberation struggle focuses on the self, not the collective. She wants a new society in which women write their own script, set their own agenda, and make their own deep personal choices. The “women” Greer addresses are not the majority of womenkind – she concedes that she does not “know” poor people – but people like herself, university graduates, the comparatively privileged members of the western democracies. - McCrum
This also motivated me to google the designer of the iconic cover of The Female Eunuch, John Holmes, who died in 2011.

Speaking of pairings: Ed Rodley's short piece on the dominant binary analogies for describing the purpose of museums (temple and forum; cathedral and bazaar) could have interesting things to say in light of George Monbiot's recent and influential analysis of neo-liberalism as the invisible framework of the Western world - when I have time to properly think about it.

The Canada Council, in contrast to our own Creative New Zealand, has been assured of increasing funding for the next five years. A new five-year plan has been released,  prioritising "reconciliation through the arts, ... helping Canadian artists thrive in a digital environment, raising their profile internationally and giving them more money."

Saved up for my own weekend reading: Jerry Saltz and Rachel Corbett have created an illustrated timeline of how identity politics conquered the art world.

(For the record: this is the 1525 entry posted on this blog. I like big square numbers.)

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