I’ll admit it, I have a particular soft spot for personal narratives, especially when they involve women’s perspectives on Islam. It’s just something that I find incredibly fascinating. Being a convert myself, I didn’t grow up in the community, nor is my family Muslim, so it’s kind of like I can live vicariously through the author (and learn more about my faith in the process).
Most of the contributors to this collection were new to me, which turned out to be a great thing. I love being exposed to new voices! And the writers showcased in I Speak for Myself are definitely worthy of the attention.
In this book, Carner gives an extremely intimate look into the lives of Ultra Orthodox Judaism in Israel, something that most of us have never really been exposed to. I learned a lot about Judaism in general from this book, and even more so about the particulars of this very right-wing, conservative branch of the faith.
I grew up too late to be aware of the Riot Grrrl phenomenon – I was only 10 years old in 1995, and was also located in a small Canadian town, where feminist political movements weren’t exactly center-stage. In fact, I hadn’t heard about Riot Grrrl until this book came up in a publisher’s email. It looked interesting, though, and I went for it hoping that I would get a bit more knowledge about feminist history in the process.
Today is December 6th, which is recognized in Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action On Violence Against Women. The reason this is marked on December 6th is because it is the anniversary of the Montréal Massacre in 1989, when 14 young women were killed at l’École Polytechnique de Montréal. Here’s a brief recap of these events for those who don’t know about them: Marc Lépine, a 25-year old student, entered a classroom at the university and separated the male and female students. He claimed that he was “fighting feminism”, then shot all nine of the women in the room (6 were killed). After that, he moved on through the hallways, cafeteria, and into another classroom, specifically targeting women. In less than 20 minutes, he killed 14 women, injured 10 other women and 4 men, and then turned the gun on himself. He claimed political motives in his suicide note, blaming feminists for ruining his life and including a list of 19 Quebec women who he considered “feminists” and wanted to kill. The National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women falls in the middle of the worldwide 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, which runs…