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text 2017-11-24 19:59
Puuuhh.
Unorthodox - Deborah Feldman,Christian Ruzicska

Nachtzug, aloha. Presse & Buch betreten mit dem inneren Auftrag eine Schmonzette für die lange Zugfahrt zu kaufen und stattdessen dieses Buch mitgenommen, das schon länger auf meiner Bibliotheksliste stand. Das mit den Schmonzetten (woraus der Computer übrigens "Schonzeiten" macht :D So kann man es auch nennen!) muss ich wohl noch etwas üben...

 

Nun gut. Ich habe ein Interview mit Deborah Feldman in Deutschland Radio Kultur (seinerzeits) gehört, deshalb wusste ich schon was mich erwartet. Tatsächlich muss ich sagen, dass ich die Geschichten an sich gar nicht so schlimm finde, schlimm im Sinne von unerträglich zu lesen. Am Ende des Buches standen mir trotzdem nahezu durchgehend Tränen in den Augen. Der Wandel von Kind zu Frau ohne dass die Frau (bzw. das Kind) lernt, was Frau sein mit allen Aspekten bedeutet oder sein kann ist für mich ein ziemlicher Schlag in die Magengrube. Die Vorstellung, dass einem der eigene Körper fremd ist, beziehungsweise verheimlicht wird, empfinde ich als unglaublichen Missbrauch (Wo es in den Medien gerade rumort. Wo runter fällt das eigentlich?!). Das war für mich der eindrücklichste Teil des ganzen Buchs.

 

Ich habe gelesen, dass es einige gibt die den Wahrheitsgehalt dieses Buches anzweifeln. Nennt mich naiv, oder ich nenne diese einige naiv, doch selbst wenn die Autorin nicht bei der Wahrheit geblieben ist (aber warum sollte sie? Nur Wahrnehmung ist eine subjektive Sache, darüber lässt sich natürlich streiten), so fände ich es überhaupt nicht abwegig, dass eine solche "Parallelgesellschaft" existieren sollte. Traurigerweise.

 

Es ist wieder Zeit für Sir Huddleston Fuddleston und Osborn, dieses Schwein. Vorher höre ich mir jedoch vielleicht noch mal das Interview an.

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text 2016-04-12 17:00
TTT: Top Ten Herstory books every new feminist should read
The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace - Lynn Povich
At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power - Danielle L. McGuire
The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution - Jonathan Eig
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban - Christina Lamb,Malala Yousafzai
Narrative of Sojourner Truth (Dover Thrift Editions) - Sojourner Truth,Olive Gilbert
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman
Fragments Of Gender - Lisa Lees
Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War - Leymah Gbowee
Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World - Rachel Swaby
Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women - Catherine Thimmesh,Melissa Sweet

This is my first Top Ten Tuesday! 

I've always been a bit of a history nerd, but as I became comfortable with calling myself a feminist, I realized I didn't know nearly enough about women in history. Or women's accomplishments in general. Or about people who don't identify as women or men. Or that people even existed that didn't identify as women or men. Or how bad the struggle still is all around the world. 

As I delved into feminist ideology, I also found the herstory genre. Here are my top ten herstory books for new (or any) feminists!

 

  1. The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace - Lynn Povich  This was a great one for me becaue I have always thought of myself as a good girl too. I don't want anything special, just not to be held back by someone else's antiquated ideas about what I'm capable of. These girls loved their jobs and where they were working, they just wanted to be treated fairly and they were willing to go after that together. Loved it!
  2. At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power - Danielle L. McGuire  I had learned a lot of the things covered in this book in Black History Month specials in middle and elementary school, but history just wasn't real to me back then. Of course, all these stories also get sanitized for children in schools so it's never as poignant as it should be. By the time we get to high school, we can recite the key points but it almost feels too late to actually digest and understand it. Then I read this book and it was like I heard it for the first time. More than the key points, this is a peak behind the curtain. It all finally made sense in a way that I never thought it could. 
  3. The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution - Jonathan Eig I'd had no idea how bad it was before the mighty pill. I took it for granted. That'll never happen again. There are just too many things that we don't have to deal with or worry about or can take a stand against now that I can't even begin to explain the impact that little pill has made. Reading about it coming to fruition was fascinating. 
  4. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban - Christina Lamb,Malala Yousafzai I have been in awe of Malala since I first heard her story. She is an amazing young woman who has already done more with her life than most. What do you do after being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize? I can't wait to find out.
  5. Narrative of Sojourner Truth (Dover Thrift Editions) - Sojourner Truth,Olive Gilbert  I had heard the name of Sojourner Truth countless times. I knew it from those same February showcases mentioned above. I just never knew much about her. It wasn't until I listened to one of the many famous actresses recite her "Ain't I a Woman?" speech that I realized I had to read her narrative. I love that speech. You can find it here, read by my favorite of the actresses who has done so. 
  6. Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman I never knew much about Hasidic Jews but this had sounded interesting when I first saw it and it was. I know it isn't the picture of modern Jewish life and probably doesn't paint the kindest of pictures about being a Hasidic Jew, but it was still interesting to read about a world that was so foreign and yet not so far from where I am. 
  7. Fragments Of Gender - Lisa Lees This is a collection of essays that explore life along the gender spectrum, rather than stuck on one side of it or the other. I knew relatively little about transgender and non-binary gendered people, so this was a revelation at just the right time. Don't get me wrong, I still don't have all the answers and make faux pas around people about this sort of thing, but I know more than the average cisgendered person, I think. I hope. I'm still learning, but as I said at the beginning, this was a great place to start. It gave me that first idea about what people went through and that was invaluable. 
  8. Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War - Leymah Gbowee  Another Nobel Laureate, Gbowee has accomplished great feats by what seems like sheer will. She is amazing beyond belief and hearing her story was remarkable. She just understands so much about everything, especially healing. If you have ever doubted what women could be capable of if we just stuck together, pick up this book! 
  9. Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World - Rachel Swaby I LOVE a good anthology! I've even talked about it a few Femme Fridays ago. The thing about these anthologies is that they prove that while we may not have been prevalent, we have always been present in STEM and war and other places some say we don't belong. This book has one woman for every week to learn about that did great things in science. I tore through it much faster than that, though. It's one of my favorites. 

 

Ok, I only had nine of my herstory books that I could honestly put on this list. The others that are on my shelf are good, but I don't feel like they exemplify parts of the experience quite the same way these do. While I strive for diversity in my reading, I also realized that I don't reach all groups. 

I had hoped to read Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by the time of this post, but it wasn't meant to be. I connected it anyway because what I saw in the table of contents led me to believe that I'll wish I had when I do get to read it. 

 

For more Top Ten Tuesday posts, check out the originator The Broke and the Bookish!

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review 2015-07-27 03:01
Review: Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman

I’ve been a bad bad reviewer. I haven’t managed to read more than a single book this entire year. Okay, one and a half if I’m being honest…I am halfway through another. But, in my defense I did give birth and now have a 5 month old daughter. So I’ve been a teensy bit busy. But I found time to read! While I’m at work pumping milk for my baby, that’s a whole half hour that could be spent reading instead of browsing Facebook or playing Candy Crush.

 

This was a quick read but a good one. Feldman paints a vivid picture with her words and transports you directly to her world. I was engrossed in the story. One would like to think that things like this don’t happen in a free country, but alas it does. I lived through a similar religious experience (with a different religion of course) and was interested to see how much these experiences overlap. Not surprisingly, the answer is quite a lot. Religious abuse is a real thing.

 

While I am aware of the accusations of exaggeration and lying by the author, I personally choose to give the benefit of the doubt. People do behave this way. People in such strict religions do these kinds of things. And when someone dares to leave the flock, their former community throws mud all day long to try and discredit them. I can’t say for sure that is what is happening in this case, but it seems logical.

 

As a woman and a mother, I found the book infuriating. I can sympathize with how utterly out of the place the author felt in the world that she had been born into. Her yearnings for more were palpable. I found myself rooting for her to succeed and break free from what felt like such a confining life. I can’t say much more about this book except that I found it very compelling.

 

And now I hear someone yelling at daddy for a nursing, so I will wrap up. Hopefully I can make at least one more review this year…we’ll see lol.

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text 2015-05-23 05:38
Reading progress update: I've read 99 out of 272 pages.
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman

I've been much too negligent about blogging and reading lately....but then having a three month old will do that to you.

 

So far this book is really interesting. I was raised in a veeery strict religious household and I can identify with a lot of the author's feelings of being suppressed and smothered by what was expected of her as a good Jewish girl.

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review 2015-03-05 20:22
A compelling read, but how true is it?
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman

Deborah Feldman was born to a mentally ill father and a mother who abandoned her at a very young age. She grew up in the household of her grandparents who are part of the Samtar sect of the Hasidic Jews and chronicles her childhood and growing up in such an environment.

 

Some of the book seemed just incredible to someone who did not grow up with any religion: being forced to hide library books, having her grandfather periodically rifle through her personal things to make sure she didn't have anything inappropriate, not being able to have Hershey's chocolate from a fellow Jewish girl because it was appropriately kosher, etc. Same with her marriage: she admits she barely knows her groom, is mortified that her husband spoke to his father about consummating their marriage (!!!!), etc.

 

The first 2/3 of her book dragged quite a bit and tended to go on tangents and musings about her childhood for a little too long. Once she gets married though, the book really picks up. But after finishing the text I could not help but wonder (supported by other reviews and pieces) how much of this is real? Fake?

 

I could not quite understand how she came to the decision to leave her marriage and her religion. It seemed like that although she was unhappy with her marriage, her husband, etc. she wasn't going to leave until the very next page. I'm not sure if it reflects a gradual change of mind, if she's leaving something out, if it's just how I read it, etc. Likewise, there are questions about how the marriage ended (plus the custody issue of her child, which she admits she got comments on her blog stating she'd never get custody) that seem to go unanswered.

 

There's also the issue of husband in general. He's depicted as an oaf in many ways, and is quite possibly unfaithful to her. Feldman alludes to the close relationship he has with his sister a few times prior to the possible infidelity issue, but this is never really explored. I am not sure I would have wanted the author to do so, but after reading the more critical reviews on this book that bring up questions about the truth, I just don't know.

 

It's an interesting story that does bring up a lot of interesting points: isolation, the silence around various issues such as sexual abuse (as an example), arranged marriages, custody issues, the information a family learns about (is consummation of a marriage really the business of the in-laws or rabbis? This was just so cringe-worthy for me!), etc. I knew people who had a similar experiences (although they were not Jewish) and was interested to see how some of the choices were similar (choosing to pursue more education, trying "forbidden" foods, doing "forbidden" things, etc).

 

Although I thought it was a good read, I can't help but be skeptical about how much is true of the story. I got it as a bargain, and would recommend someone borrow it instead.

 

 

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