Proud to be a Feminist

I’m a feminist from way back. It’s not very fashionable to openly admit to it these days. Young women I talk to don’t see the point, and think they can do anything they want from running a company to jiggling their booty on a music video all in the name of personal choice and have all the freedom in the world. They often don’t realise it has not always been so. I believe the history of the hard fought freedoms and rights we enjoy today needs to be celebrated and known by every generation of women ( and men).

The convention called by the Canterbury Women’s Institute which resulted in the formation of the National Council of the Women of New Zealand
I have a very impressive bookshelf full of all the feminist classics at home, From The Women’s Room and The Feminine Mystique, through to Fat Is A Feminist Issue and  The Scum Manefesto ( A small pamphlet put out by the Society For Cutting Up Men back in the 70’s). I love that I have these important works that track the history and ideals of periods of fundamental change in my life. When I vote I think of the women who still cannot exercise this most basic right in other countries and all the women in the world without basic human rights, such as an education or freedom to go where they wish.

While my views have mellowed from my most fervent and urgent 25 year old days, I am forever indebted to the women who came before me and gave me and all other women the basic rights we were denied in previous generations, such as voting, property ownership and rights over decisions over their own bodies.

Each year, September 19 is known in Christchurch as Suffrage Day or White Camelia Day,  in honour of the women who fought for the right to vote for New Zealand Women. This right was given in 1893 and New Zealand was the first self governing country to grant this right. And while I have always been of the belief it was probably granted when politicians of the day realised they would gain more voters that way, I’ll take it for what ever reason it was granted.

Do you still think women’s rights need to be fought for? What is important to you in the lives of women?

Have I read the best book of the year already?

I was at a meeting yesterday, where we were discussing some of the things that the library will be focusing on in the next few months.  This kind of discussion always tends to make me feel a bit nervous, owing to my inability to even think about the next few days, let alone the end of the year.  To make matters worse, when I returned to my library, there were a set of posters advertising the very popular annual Best & Worst Children’s Books event sitting on my desk.

Now, to be fair, this event isn’t until November, but the combination of the posters and the discussion, and the (not unreasonable) fear that one day soon I will step into a mall and there will be tinsel for sale, and Snoopy’s Christmas playing, all combined to make me think that I really need to be starting to think about my own best and worst reads of the year.

Is it too early to be picking favourites? I hesitate to say this, but I think I may already have found my best read of 2012.  Even worse, I read it in May. Can it really be that everything else is downhill from this book? Or should I be optimistically believing that there are even greater reads just around the corner?  Looking at my holds list, I am thinking maybe not – the list is full, but it seems to be a conglomeration of sequels, regular favourite authors, and things I’ve seen come by at the returns desk.

And what happens if I DO name my picks for 2012 now, and then at the very last minute I come across something even better?  Can I retract my choices and start again, or is that like saying “Til death us do part (or until someonething better comes along)”?

Perhaps I should just stop angsting about it and wait for serendipity, for someone to recommend something, for a book to just catch my eye on the shelf. Or should I instead throw myself into feverishly reading the blog, hunting down reviews, trawling the bookshops, working my way backwards through previous years’ lists, all in search of that most elusive of things – the best book ever.

Your thoughts, please, avid readers?

Fantasy picks from our latest newsletter

Here are some picks from our this month’s Fantasy newsletter.

Book cover: Theiftaker Book cover: Some kind of fairy tale Book cover: Advent by james Treadwell Book cover: Shadow's Master Book cover: Vellum Book cover: Angelology

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