Since July 21st, not a day has passed that I have not read about or discussed Barbie. Having finally seen it, I can say with certainty that I get the hype. Margot Robbie proves her incredible talent and range once again as stereotypical Barbie in the film. The sets and costumes lived up to every Barbie fantasy my 6-year-old self could have dreamed of. And the cherry on top was the use of the iconic Indigo Girls song, “Closer to Fine” as the anthem for Barbie’s journey from Barbieland to the real world.
Barbie as a product sold girls like me the dream that we could be anything, but as a 17-year-old woman, I now know the situation is a bit more complex. The Barbie movie plays with this contrast in ways that help us see the hollowness of American feminism, but the question remains what to do about this hollowness, and the movie doesn’t offer much help with that question.
Well, hello my donor activist friends! Welcome to another week of exciting feminist philanthropy news, as well as my weekly discussion of happenings related to gender equality at large.
This week I took a deep excursion into literary culture and read Assembly by Natasha Brown. This novel caught my eye because it was by an author who had a background in financial services and math, yet when I picked up the book and read a few lines, I felt a deep sense of kinship with the words.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers about this book because it’s really a wonderful process to absorb the story without any preconceptions in mind. The story takes a narrative path that I can only describe as an anti-romance, and yet it felt strangely rich and satisfying to me as a reader.
Editor’s Note: Philanthropy Women is proud to announce Real Women, a new fiction series by author M. A. Sheehan, to help our audience immerse in fictional works that relate to women’s experiences. The first story in the series explores a fictional pros and cons list of a sexual assault survivor.
Reasons Not to Share Being Sexually Assaulted:
1. Never have to associate self with his name, his difficult identity, and be a target for his fans to ravage.
2. It almost always looks bad to reveal something negative about someone after they have died.
3. Most people will blame me, because it’s inevitably the woman’s fault.
Editor’s Note: This dual interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke, who are, respectively, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of the Pop Culture Collaborative, a philanthropic resource and funder learning community.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
Bridgit Antoinette Evans: I wish that I’d been introduced to Octavia E. Butler much earlier in life. Octavia wrote about this concept of “positive obsession,” which she described as “not being able to stop just because you’re afraid and full of doubts.” My mother and her siblings were leaders in the Civil Rights movement in Savannah, and while she fiercely believed that her daughters could be anything we wanted to be in the world, she was very clear that we needed to be improving the world while doing it. I wanted to be an artist, and so, as a teen, I became obsessed with one question: “What is the relationship between a great story and widespread cultural change?”