Bookstore Adventure

Inside Shakespeare & Co.

2011 has passed entirely too quickly, and what a year it’s been!  The world has experienced its share of tumult and crises, and for the many, buying holiday gifts will be a stressful experience.  Yet it does not have to be so!

Last weekend in Paris, I grumpily agreed to take a bain de foule (literally, a crowd bath) on the Champs-Élyséesto help a friend purchase books for everyone in his family.  The Grinch in me wanted to lobby for ordering online, but once at the store, I realized that I’d virtually forgotten the joys of languishing the afternoon away in a bookstore. ... Read more.

Mina Harker: An Uncooperative Protagonist

From the first time that I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula in my teens, though I revered the work, I just knew that the character Mina Harker, Dracula’s obsession, was not satisfied with the role Mr. Stoker gave her—the quintessentially compliant Victorian virgin.  I knew that there had to be more to her than that.  (I knew that there had to be more to any woman than that.)

Anyone who has read my books knows that I am all about restoring grrrrl power to the historical record.  In Dracula in Love, I decided to tackle a work of fiction, reexamining an iconic female character that had not been given her due.  In a nutshell, my plan was to rescue Mina from Stoker’s sexist fantasy of the nice, cooperative girl, and empower her. ... Read more.

No Supergirls for China

Imagine a television show with 400 million viewers getting the axe?  That is exactly what just happened when the Chinese government put the kabosh on SUPERGIRL, China’s wildly popular answer to AMERICAN IDOL and the UK’s X-FACTOR.  Deploring its corruption of China’s youth, the government says it will replace the show with practical information about—you won’t believe it—HOUSEWORK!

While the Chinese government claims to be concerned over the country’s morals, I suggest that the agenda is more a blatant attempt to control China’s female population, with whom the show was particularly popular.  In fact, it seems obvious that the show’s winner, Li Yuchun, a 21 year-old with a bold personality and an androgynous appearance, was what threw the censors over the edge and caused them to give the show the axe.  Ms. Yuchun apparently electrified hundreds of millions of young Chinese females with her talent and cocky style. ... Read more.

New Roles for Libyan women

Libyan women have been a visible and vital part of the revolution.

Libyan women have demonstrated bold and courageous acts during the revolution.  Will they go the way of Rosie the Riveter once peace is restored?  In Egypt, women were on the front lines of the revolution but NOT A SINGLE female is on the committee to rewrite the Egyptian constitution.  Will this document represent women’s rights?  Probably not.

Historically, once a revolution or war effort has used female talent, intelligence, energy, and drive, it sends those very women back into traditional roles, denying their evolution as active members of civic life.  What a shame it would be if the Arab Spring repeats that mistake.  I am hoping that the brave women of Tripoli are neither silenced not sent back into the kitchens. ... Read more.