bell hooks got quickly tossed aside when Sarah SK finally pushed the first book of this YA trilogy into my hands and I surprisingly couldn’t stop myself from devouring it.
Now, it should be noted that I’m not the most avid reader of young adult fiction. My poor mother has been trying to get me to read the Harry Potters for years now and Twilight just seems like a creepy waste of time. (I don’t care what you say.) But, I take SK’s opinions very seriously and since I’ve finished it, have passed it onto my roommate, my BF, strangers on the street, anyone who’ll listen.
The Hunger Games follows Katniss Everdeen, a seventeen year old woman from a poor district of the nation of Panem (a post-apocalyptic distopian USA) through her performance as a contestant on a compulsory televised teen-aged battle to the death, her political enlightenment and radicalization, her two simultaneous romances, and finally her role as the figurehead of the leftist revolution.
Obviously, it’s an effortless read. Katniss is a badass. It’s equally critical of capitalism as it is of the power seeking left. There’s all sorts of tantalizing softcore that leaves you jonesing for some erotic fanfic–if you were secure enough in your “coolness” to actually allow yourself to indulge in it, that is! And, except for the super boring, super hetero-mono-normative let down ending, is PROBABLY the perfect distopian tale ever.
But, what do I know? Who else has read it? Any thoughts?
Reposted from Nola Anarcha:
Less than a month after Women With A Vision won a victory for sex workers by getting a repeal of the Solicitation of Crimes Against Nature (SCAN) law through the Lousiana legislature, a law which labels sex workers with Sex Offender status meant for sexual assault perpetrators, NOPD continues it’s racist, P.R. motivated sweeps of minor offenders by arresting 9 women and charging them with the soon-to-be-repealed SCAN law.
The average age of entry into prostitution is 13 or 14 years old. Most of these 13 or 14 year old girls were recruited or coerced into prostitution. Others were “traditional wives” without job skills who escaped from or were abandoned by abusive husbands and went into prostitution to support themselves and their children. The fact that New Orleans cops firstly failed to protect these women when they were children from the violence of patriarchy and class society, and then have the gall to ATTACK THE VICTIMS when they use a means of survival that is a visible reminder of this system’s failures is a despicable attempt at obliterating any activities which remind them of where their massive degree of power, control and wealth in our society came from, while simultaneously re-producing and furthering that inequality as these women are forced to pay money to the courts for fines and fees, as their bodies in cells mean daily money to pay the Sheriff to house them, and as they lose the money from Johns to the whiter, more privileged sex workers (“escorts”) not targeted by NOPD. NOPD’s action simultaneously attacks society’s victims, takes away more power from the oppressed and gives it to the more privileged, and blames sex workers instead of Johns for prostitution when most wealth is controlled by men in our society, re-enforcing the system of patriarchy.
The insults against the dignity of the people who live in this city just keep on coming fast and furious.
For me, one of the more exciting aspects of the uprisings in Egypt is that it’s serving as a reminder of how necessary women are to any revolution. From London, to Greece, to Iran we’ve been seeing a lot of bad ass women taking over the streets lately. There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman standing up against a wall of armed and armored men- the very representation of masculine militarization. Everyone benefits from the mass dissemination of images of women resisting and antagonizing the state.
I’ve been greatly inspired by Mona Eltahawy, a reporter and analyst who’s been an outspoken advocate for the Egyptian people on cable news. She’s been calling out mainstream broadcasters for describing the events in Egypt as chaos and disaster, when they should be calling them by their proper name, uprisings, or a revolution. On Democracy Now!, she also described how Mubarak’s attempt to reek more havoc by releasing prison inmates was met with community solidarity. Prostesters are organizing themselves into community watch groups to protect themselves and each other, and to stop looting at libraries and museums.
Many Egyptians have pointed out that there is a great history of woman resistors in their country. During the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, three hundred women came together to denounce colonialism and the British occupation of Egypt. It was March 16, 1919, when they demonstrated, and the event is known as Egyptian Women’s Revolution against Colonialism. Even though the protest was organized by upper class women, other women began to join them, including Hamida Khalil, who became the first female martyr for the cause of national liberation in Egypt.
It’s a shame that often insurrection is seen as a masculine effort. I blame this on the fact that it’s militant male voices who are the loudest and most listened to. Fortunately, there are a plethora of women and queer people who have been declaring that we must reclaim the language and sentiment of revolution to reflect the fact that everyone has a place in it and must be a part of it.