We at WVFC have long admired Edwidge Danticat — starting in 2007, long before she guided us all through the newest turmoil in her homeland of Haiti early last year. As writers, many of us remember our first gasp at The Farming of Bones, more accomplished than any debut had a right to be. We were therefore both unsurprised and deeply pleased to find this video, after she won the Langston Hughes Award, joining a lineage that includes Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Despite the wobbly camera work and fragment-like state of this clip, we were entranced by Danticat as she talks about how “Langston Hughes also loved Haiti..he loved the people without shoes” and describes herself as “an accident of literacy.” There are no happier accidents.
This week, blogland gave us updates on Maria Shriver, Meg Tilly and Alice Walker, while cheering a heroic Afghan-American woman saving lives overseas and challenging women to make stopping sexual harassment a career strategy.
- Remember 1980s movie siren Meg Tilly? Paige Smith Orloff, at the Sister Project, fills us in on what Tilly’s up to now — which includes, of course, blogging. “Who’s not, right? OK,” Orloff writes, but adds that Tilly’s blog is worth the read: “Meg’s blog world includes her own musings, a joint blog with her daughter, Emily Zinnemann, and Emily’s shared blog with her non-friend Sheera. My head is spinning a bit from the meta of it all, but these women can write, and their views of all manner of sisterly relations are fascinating. …” We’ll also go back to the Sister Project, which we found via Dominique Browning’s shop.
- Looking for kindred spirits in Afghanistan, when WVFC’s Mare Contrare‘s not there? Try Shakilla Zikeria, via Jezebel’s Lane Moore. Moore points us to a Sacramento Bee piece featuring Zikeria, an Afghan-American translator recently honored by the U.S. Army for bravery in the field: “’I was in the truck (when the attack began),’ Zikeria said in a telephone interview Monday. ‘Everybody was inside the truck. First, my heart was beating so fast. Later on, I asked my God, I said, “Please help me. Please help my soldiers.”’” Our hearts beat faster just reading that.
- Reading and listening to Alice Walker always makes you feel like your brain just expanded. That goes double for Guernica’s new Q&A with Walker, which encompasses her new book The Chicken Chronicles, what she thinks about the new “Slut Walks” by young feminists, and why she just got on a flotilla to Gaza with the provocative name The Audacity of Hope.
- When all the news broke last month about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “love child” with employee Mildred Baena and the subsequent dissolution of his marriage with Maria Shriver, we could have forgiven Shriver for being a bit … frosty toward the other woman. But actually, Shriver and Baena Defy catfight conventions, explains Lori at Feministing.com. When Baena talked to Hello! magazine, she described something very different from what’s been imagined by the media: “‘She was so strong. She cried with me and told me to get off my knees. We held each other and I told her it wasn’t Arnie’s fault, that it takes two.’ Finally, she [Baena] expressed her sympathy for Arnold and what he must be going through: ‘He’s a good man and I know he’s suffering too. He loves Maria. I hope with time they work things out.’” We can’t decide if we’re in awe or not.
- Victoria Pynchon, at the Forbes blog She Negotiates, takes on the biggest negotiation of all: sexual harassment. Pinging off some insensitive comments about Lara Logan in an online arts magazine, Pynchon lacerates the idea that anyone is “asking for it” by how she dresses. But she goes on to offer some practical tips for women facing sexual harassment, telling them to exercise the art of shaming the perpetrator. “How does any of this affect your workplace conditions? If you’re being sexually harassed, you should know that you do not have to suffer alone and in silence. Talk to the other women at whose side you labor every day. Most men don’t pick on just one woman, they choose the people they believe will be the easiest prey and move on when it turns out that the quiet woman in the mail room has a bite much worse than her bark. … Find the others. Form a coalition. Take your demand that the harassment stop to the CEO, not HR, which is tasked with keeping the status quo” even if that status quo includes randy supervisors.
- Speaking of kicking ass and taking names, Loose Garments applauds the women who are revolutionizing the former male preserve of video games. Women make up 42 percent of gamers, she reports, and the game world’s creators are taking note: “The gaming industry is beginning to focus more on recruitment of female developers, and is reaching out to attract, encourage and inform women interested in working in games. David Smith, founder of Women in Games Jobs pointed out that, ‘those looking from outside of the games industry can now see evidence that key figures in the games industry are taking steps to address the gender imbalance that exists in the video and online games industry,’ which is good news.” We agree. Now if they would only let the women characters wear clothes.