Ratty (blinger) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books 11 & 12 - 2015

Book 11: Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism by Natasha Walter – 263 pages

Description from bookdepository.co.uk:
Empowerment, liberation, choice. Once the watchwords of feminism, these terms have now been co-opted by a society that sells women an airbrushed, highly sexualised and increasingly narrow vision of femininity. While the opportunities available to women may have expanded, the ambitions of many young girls are in reality limited by a culture that sees women's sexual allure as their only passport to success. At the same time we are encouraged to believe that the inequality we observe all around us is born of innate biological differences rather than social factors. Drawing on a wealth of research and personal interviews, Natasha Walter, author of the groundbreaking THE NEW FEMINISM and one of Britain's most incisive cultural commentators, gives us a straight-talking, passionate and important book that makes us look afresh at women and girls, at sexism and femininity, today.

I sometimes wonder if there reaches a point where you’ve read too much on a particular topic. If so, I think I may have reached that point when it comes to gender politics (for the record, I do not believe such a point actually exists). You see, when reading this book, I found the author referencing in text at least three other books I had on the topic (it gets even more scary when they start referencing academics I know, but I guess that’s to be expected when you work in a university). Anyway, so this book on my beloved topic of gender politics, particularly feminism, actually contradicts a number of those other books I’d read, which though I found disconcerting, I also found wonderful. You see, I’m nothing if not thorough and open to getting every analysis and opinion on a topic in order to ensure I have a well rounded view. In this book, Walter counters numerous other books, including The XX Factor and The Female Brain, which I read this year and a few years ago, respectively, arguing that in fact these books harm the female agenda because they reduce us to our biology and completely ignore the social implications of increasingly narrow definition of what a woman is. Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, though the line moves depending on each individual woman and which country you’re in. Walker focuses on the UK, and from a combination of living there for three months, Walker’s anecdotes, and the various English TV shows I’ve watched, I personally think the situation is more dire there than it is in Australia. Ultimately, what I think this book does is remind us that biology is only one piece of the puzzle, and decisions are made, and lives lived based on a combination of drivers and factors, this being perhaps the most marvelous thing about humanity. It’s a good book, a necessary book, in a genre that people will probably still be writing about long after I stop reading.

11 / 50 books. 22% done!

3586 / 15000 pages. 24% done!

Book 12: DB30Years: Special Dragon Ball 30th Anniversary Magazine by Michael LaBrie – 315 pages

Description from Amazon.com:
Kanzenshuu, the leading Dragon Ball fansite, provides an in-depth look at and celebration of 30 years for our favorite Japanese manga and anime series.

When I was about 14, my younger brother started introducing me to the cartoons he watched on a breakfast program called Cheez TV. This show aired on weekdays between about 7:30am and 8:30am for probably close to ten years here in Australia. For those of us who didn’t have pay TV (cable), this show was basically our first introduction into anime out here in the wild west of Australia (I have so many, mostly guy, friends my age who have very fond memories of this program). Anyway, my brother introduced me first to Pokemon, then to Digimon, and then finally Dragon Ball Z. I’m not sure why, but that last one stuck, and over several months, I watched, and then re-watched Dragon Ball Z’s Cell Saga (still, to my mind, the best saga of the show). I feel absolutely head over heels with that show, and to this day, Dragon Ball Z remains one of the few shows I can watch over and over again and still enjoy. It was probably the first thing I ever felt passionate about, getting into buying the mangas, DVDs, reading and writing fanfiction, and going to conventions (I have met and have the autographs of Sean Schemmel, Mike McFarland and Chris Sabat, so suck on it, people!). As I got older, I left fanfiction behind for writing my own fiction, inspired by my favorite group of aliens, humans and hybrids (for the record, Vegeta is my favourite character – he inspired a lot about my lead character in my novel series; Bulma was my first female role model because, you know, she’s awesome). I probably hadn’t watched any DBZ for about five years, when the same younger brother came up to me earlier this year and mentioned that they’d made a new DBZ movie, 18 years after the show finished its run in Japan (which in of itself was probably a good five years before I ever watched it in its English Funimation dub). I watched Battle of Gods (the new movie) on youtube that night, and feel head over heels all over again, reminded as to why I loved that crazy show. I’ve since re-watched most of the show (well I’ve re-watched everything from the Trunks saga to the end of DBZ, the Bebi saga and part of the Dragons saga in DBGT, the first two sagas of DB, and bits and pieces of the rest), went to see Resurrection F twice in the cinemas and started watching Dragon Ball Super as soon as it started airing in Japan in July. Heavens, I’ve started reading and writing fanfiction again! The show that I grew up with, that so many other kids grew up with around the world and across at least two generations has had an amazing revival, and its awesome. So back into trawling the Internet for DBZ related material in my late twenties, I discover two awesome things: 1) Dragon Ball Z: Abridged (funniest thing on Earth), and 2) that 2014 was the thirty year anniversary of the start of DB. Looking into the second one, I discovered this magazine, a compilation of articles by fans about how they got into DBZ, and what they love about it, as well as further details on the Battle of Gods premiere (they had a premiere for a DBZ movie!!!), and all sorts of other tidbits. It was a fairly fast read, and an enjoyable one for a giant nerd like me. So while my family continues to make fun of me for my totally lame immature enjoyment of a ‘cartoon’ (I struggle to explain anime to them), and while men in the US (where I’m currently on holiday) comment excitedly on my DBZ t-shirts (who knew that was the way to get male attention!!), I will continue on my love affair with the little show that could about a group of unlikely defenders of the Earth. A recommended read for any fan of the Dragon Ball franchise.

12 / 50 books. 24% done!

3901 / 15000 pages. 26% done!

Currently reading:
-        Work’s Intimacy by Melissa Gregg – 198 pages
-        Guernica by Dave Boling – 368 pages
-        Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich – 301 pages

And coming up:
-        The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Volume 3: White Gold Wielder by Stephen Donaldson – 500 pages
-        The Odyssey by Homer – 324 pages
-        Luke Skywalker Can’t Read and Other Geeky Truths by Ryan Britt – 205 pages
Tags: anthropology, cartoon, entertainment, essays, feminist, japanese, sci-fi, women's studies

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