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Showing posts from January, 2018

Review: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

The stories in this heart-rending anthology open windows into the lives of women from various places and socioeconomic classes, of various races and sexual orientations, with various BMIs and occupations.  Despite their differences, these women share one trait - men tend to find them 'difficult.' They are difficult because they are any combination of frigid, argumentative, gay, promiscuous, angry, melanated, fat, and kinky.  None these traits are flaws, and should actually be celebrated or at least respected.  But instead, these women are regarded as difficult rather than complex.
    My favorite story was probably "La Negra Blanca," because it's the story that upset me the most.  It's about Sarah, a biracial, white-passing woman who strips to pay her tuition, and William Livingston III, the wealthy white dirtbag with jungle fever who lusts after her.  The specifics of Livingston's jungle fever are categorized with nauseating detail - his secret st…

Book Review: Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

This groundbreaking novel was praised (and criticized), at the time of its publication in 1973, for the unapologetic spirit of its heroine, Molly.  As a working-class woman who is attracted to other women, she is rejected by her family and marginalized wherever she goes, from the South to New York City.  Despite these obstacles, she insists that she doesn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks of her.  In fact, she rattles on for paragraphs at a time about how little she cares for the opinions of others.
     At the time of Rubyfruit Jungle’s publication, this was probably the heroine that the lesbian and queer community needed - audacious, unflinching, irreverent, and indestructible.  These are qualities which queer women have historically aspired to in order to survive.  However, as both a modern reader and a modern queer woman, it seems to me that Molly possesses these qualities in unbelievably pure form.  Her careless, blustering rants lend an appearance of two-dimensionality…