It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
The first half of the year is over! This July to September, we are pleased to share with you our reading theme:
Reinventing Womanity, Redefining Womanhood
Thus, we are looking for books written (and/or illustrated) by female creators on the following themes:
- Traditional portrayal of females in classic literature: old, vintage, outdated books
- Books showing how portrayal of women/ females have evolved through the years in recently published literature
- Contemporary faces of womanity as compared to stereotypical representation of femalehood
- Redefinition of womanity – including LGBT issues – transgender portrayals
- Books depicting female concerns and issues – and the struggle for voice and representation
I have always wanted an excuse to read a few of the classics in literature. It is good to revisit them and see how things may have changed (or have they, really?) over the years.
These books that I am featuring for our launch are a little tongue-in-cheek – but sis, do they celebrate womanity at her finest.
Written and Illustrated by: Jacky Fleming
Published by: Square Peg (2016)
ISBN: 1910931098 (ISBN13: 9781910931097). Borrowed a copy from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Told with biting sarcasm and deadpan humour, this book highlights the absurdity that women are forced to endure since time immemorial, blaming it on the women of course, hence the title: The Trouble With Women. So nasty and so troublesome, these females of the humanoid species.
The typography takes a bit of getting used to, but once the reader recognizes the strokes and the lines and the curves, it becomes fairly easy enough to understand. As can be seen in the image above, it shows how women have always been confined to the domestic sphere – for their own good, naturally, as mandated by well-meaning men who know better.
Hence, it is not surprising that there were no female geniuses studied in school. How could there be when women are too weak and emotional and only good at birthing babies – and yes, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching. All this is scientifically proven and explained, so that there can be absolutely no doubt about it.
No arguing with that size of the female brain. The differences between men and women and the latter’s inferior abilities are likewise manifested physiologically, providing further evidence of men’s superiority:
How could females ever be considered intellectuals or even good at science when they don’t have a genius hair or a “naturally selected beard?” Of course, there are things women are good at: clapping at men’s achievements, or being famous artists’ muse:
Now, if you truly insist in doing science and math, and you are a girl, be prepared to assume the look that is expected of you:
This book transformed that which is tragic into something comic – even more fully capturing its tragic consequences. It enraged me and entertained me and disturbed me to no end. Find this book and give it to all the bright, bold, beautiful women in your lives.
Written and Illustrated by: Bev Williams
Published by: Summersdale (2012, first published 2010)
ISBN: 1849530203 (ISBN13: 9781849530200). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
This illustrated book is slightly more entertaining and lighthearted, compared to the dark humour depicted in the first book above. Created by cartoonist Bev Williams, originally from New Zealand but a UK resident until she died a few years back, this collection of quotes and drawings shows the gradual evolution of females into a creature older, wiser, sexier as the title indicates.
I love how sassy these women are. While it still pokes fun at very clear societal expectations of women to be fit, thin, and glam (see below):
… there is also a recognition of women’s queenly sensibilities, fully deserving of adulation, obeisance, and chocolates, lots of them.
One of the pages that really made me laugh out loud, having turned a year older myself is this:
This is a perfect book to give to your mothers, mother-in-laws, and fab grandmothers. Here’s to growing wiser and sexier, women of the world!
#WomenReadWomen2019: Both authors are from the United Kingdom.