Inspiration via Salma Hayek

Never thought I’d find myself quoting an A-list Hollywood actress for her wisdom but hey, life is full of surprises. Salma Hayek’s advice to “ambitious women” is too brilliant to not share.

You have to believe in yourself. You have to take care of yourself, work for yourself, believe in yourself, and also be patient with yourself. Learn when not to push too hard, and give yourself a break. Make sure that what you want is what you want, and not what society expexts of you, or how you can impress the idiots.

Quote of the Day – Arundhati Roy

Thanks to a dreadful Guardian interview I have discovered the incredible Arundhati Roy. I had vaguely filed her in my mind as a contemporary novelist. How wrong. She is an artist, feminist, social activist and genius for life. This is an excerpt from her essay The End of Imagination.

There are other worlds. Other kinds of dreams. Dreams in which failure is feasible. Honourable. Sometimes even worth striving for. Worlds in which recognition is not the only barometer of brilliance or human worth. There are plenty of warriors I know and love, people far more valuable than myself, who go to war each day, knowing advance that they will fail…. The only dream worth having… is to dream that you will live while you’re alive and die only when you’re dead.

F-Word Britney Spears Daddy’s Little Girl

Britney Spears & dad Jamie

Britney Spears & dad Jamie

Posted by Cila Warncke

I wrote this feature on Britney’s conservatorship titled Britney Spears, Daddy’s Little Girl? for UK feminist blog The F-Word.

When Britney’s life went into a flat spin two years ago, the tabloid knives came out, not just for her, but also for ‘stage mom’ Lynne.

Anytime anything goes wrong with a child (even a grown-up child) bad mothering is an instant blame button and Britney’s hard-drinking, head-shaving, fanny-flashing antics were taken as classic delayed teenage rebellion.

The tabloid press had a field day when Britney served her mother with a restraining order in 2007. Obviously it was Lynne’s ‘pushiness’ that finally sent Britney to the brink. After Britney was twice-sectioned in early 2008, the courts made dad Jamie her conservator and Lynne, once a constant presence at Britney’s side, pretty much vanished from the scene.

Jamie’s absolute control over Britney’s finances, property, business ventures and person (she reportedly isn’t even allowed phone calls without his permission) has been widely lauded as a very good thing. “Too bad he didn’t step in years ago when Lynne was in charge. Britney might not have been this much of a mess!” is a typical fan-site comment.

Luckily dear old dad, a big, silent, crumple-faced man whose only previous public role was standing at the back of the occasional family photo-op looking awkward, has done what any good paterfamilias would and stepped in to set things straight
The minor matter of Britney’s human rights, or rather her total lack thereof, is accepted on the basis that the conservatorship is ‘working’ and that she is ‘stable’. The courts said as much when they made the situation permanent in late 2008, meaning unless Britney – who isn’t allowed to hire her own lawyer – is able to challenge it, Jamie will be her legal guardian until he dies.

This ties up the loose ends in a neat, patriarchy-approved package. According to the script, Britney is a flighty, irresponsible female who cracked under the strain of overzealous mothering. Luckily dear old dad, a big, silent, crumple-faced man whose only previous public role was standing at the back of the occasional family photo-op looking awkward, has done what any good paterfamilias would and stepped in to set things straight….

To continue reading click here

New Feminist Magazine – Agendered

Agendered

Agendered

I’m very proud to be contributing to Agendered, a new online-feminist magazine aimed at the Oxford Unversity student community.

My first two articles are up, one on women writers and the other on my perpetual bugbear – the shittiness of women’s magazines. Lots of other great features too… read it!

More on Essential Feminist Literature

Posted by Cila Warncke

Bringing up to date my post on Essential Feminist Literature… a look at where “Outlier” Malcolm Gladwell nicked his latest money-spinning idea from: Virginia Woolf


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Outrageous Acts and Insidious Critical Notes

Posted by Cila Warncke

The irony of it needles me every time I pick up my 1983 paperback edition of Outrageous Acts And Everyday Rebellions. Inside, Gloria Steinem writes about the wastefulness of ‘valuing myself and other women according to the degree of our acceptance by men.’ Outside, the back cover leads with the critical approval of… Alan Alda. I will forever wonder if Steinem herself was insensible to this off-message inclusion (Jane Fonda’s praise is printed in smaller letters on the lower half) or whether — despite it being a book about feminism by a leading feminist thinker the publishers just couldn’t risk sending it out into the world without the seal of paternal(istic) approval.

Fellow second-waver Germaine Greer suffered the same slings and arrows as late as the 1993 edition of The Female Eunuch. Only one critic is identified by name in its half-dozen critical blurbs: Kenneth Tynan (who writes he is ‘coverted to Women’s Lib, as much by her bawdy sense of humour as by the bite of her polemic’ — did anyone still call it ‘Women’s Lib’?)

Perhaps my ‘favourite’ is the comment appended to Joanna Russ’ wonderful How To Suppress Women’s Writing (also originally published in 1983). From a Washington Post review: ‘Her polemic has all the cunning merciless clarity of fine art.’ They couldn’t have picked a finer way of illustrating Russ’ argument that once ‘informal prohibitions’ have failed to stop women creating art the patriarchy looks around frantically to see ‘what can be done to bury the art, to explain it away, ignore it, downgrade it?’


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