5 Things to Read, Watch, and Listen to This Week

You should watch 13th on Netflix directed by Ava DuVernay

13th is a critically important, sad, and infuriating documentary. I took a course called “Women, Activism, Social Change” near the end of university and we spent a substantial about of time on prison abolition and the prison industrial complex. At the time I hadn’t heard of the PIC or prison abolition.  Not much later I got to hear Angela Davis speak for the first time and that series of things has made me permanently think differently about what justice means to me. This movie should be required viewing.

You should read Assata by Assata Shakur

As a follow up to 13th, everyone should read Assata by Assata Shakur. If you don’t know much about Assata prior to reading the book, I may even recommend reading the book without research to begin and then doing a little read up after the fact. I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but I took a course (…) called Black Feminism /Womanism. This book was on our reading list. It was the only class I ever took where there were fewer white women in the class than black women. A few years later I’m still processing the feelings I have about the intersectionalities of class and race and the privilege of education.

You should read Sex Object by Jessica Valenti

I’d particularly recommend this book to men. I’ve been thinking a lot about men and how men are allies and I think one of the things that really hits home for me is when men take it upon themselves to read and think about the stories women are sharing. And that’s it. No thoughtful article about how they’re a changed man now that they understand misogyny. True fact: writing about how you suddenly better understand the women’s struggle isn’t necessarily heartwarming. And I’ve been trying to think about why because at first glance I too have been fooled by the initial gut-reaction of “awwwww, he gets it, finally!” I suppose I get a little chapped that men so quickly get recognition for believing something they should have believed all along.

(Love Valenti? Check out Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & A World Without Rape)

You should read Islamaphobia by Deepa Kumar

We’re currently reading Islamaphobia for my book club. (Grey matter seeping through ears courtesy of BB, thanks for the recommendation. You’re fired.) The full official title of Deepa Kumar’s book is Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire: The Cultural Logic of Empire. That sounds dense, and it is. But it’s also incredibly interesting and more than worth the time if you can take a pause and read slowly and intentionally. For me that means a lot of ELI5 notes on Islam.

Study tip: Reading a dense book? Re-write segments of the book that are complex as simply as you can. On my legal pad there’s just a line that says “Muhammad and Jesus were both prophets. Muhammad could have more than one wife and get divorced and remarry if he wanted to but Jesus couldn’t. Christians thought Muhammad was a pervert.” I know nothing about religion, so tackling a book that discusses religion so in depth is a real task.  (Also my mind is totally blown by how early sex shaming started. Was there ever a time when sex shaming didn’t exist? I am going to default to no and/or maybe, but only before religion.) 

You should listen to Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino 

You’ll never waste time listening to Tristan Taormino impart a little wisdom on your brain meats. If you’re not already well acquainted with Sex Out Loud, now is a great time to make friends. I just listened to the March 17 episode “Kale Gosen and Tracy Bear on Converge Con, Relationship Anarchy, and Indigenous Erotica.” (My favorite app for listening to podcasts is Overcast.)

“Whether it’s relationship styles and structures or generalizations about sexuality identities and practices, the dominant ideas are formed and then disseminated only by dominant groups. And that means they exclude indigenous folks, communities of color, queer people, disabled people, anyone not in a dominant group.”  – Tristan Taormino

Other items of note:

    1. I’m on instagram! Follow me at @speakwithast for behind the scenes snaps and general hi howyadoins.
    2. I am still accepting stories for my upcoming post on infidelity and the act of being unfaithful. Please submit by (3/21) to be included in the upcoming post. I have added a submission form to THIS POST if you do not want to submit by email!
    3. Want more suggestions for good reads? Visit my book (and sometimes other media) blog: Slough Avenue.
    4. Looking for some advice? Submit now and I’ll answer on my blog!

xx st

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Five Things

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Where cell service goes to die and minds go to wander.

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Where stream of consciousness flows through the clickity-clack of a keyboard.

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Ink runs from the corners of my mouth / There is no happiness like mine (mark strand)

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To go places, and see things.

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With special guest, Jenny Lewis.

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