We’re back with the October edition of Equality Now Recommends Newsletter, bringing you a round-up of recommendations from our staff and supporters of books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts, that act as a megaphone for women’s rights.
SEVEN BY FARZANA DOCTOR
When Sharifa accompanies her husband on a marriage-saving trip to India in 2016, she thinks that she’s going to research her great-great-grandfather, a wealthy business leader and philanthropist. But Sharifa’s trip coincides with a time of unrest within her insular and conservative religious community, and there is no escaping its politics. A group of feminists is speaking out against khatna, an age-old ritual they insist is female genital cutting. Sharifa’s two favorite cousins are on opposite sides of the debate and she seeks a middle ground. As the issue heats up, Sharifa discovers an unexpected truth and is forced to take a position.
HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD BY KELLY JENSEN
Have you ever wanted to be a superheroine? Join a fandom? Create the perfect empowering playlist? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the twenty-first century? You’ve come to the right place. Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like.
MECHANICA BY BETSY CORNWELL
Betsy Cornwell’s books are female-centered retellings of classic fairy tales. This one is reminiscent of Cinderella but this time it is Mechanica, the nickname her stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have pushed her into a life of dreary servitude. When she discovers a secret workshop in the cellar on her sixteenth birthday—and befriends Jules, a tiny magical metal horse—Nicolette starts to imagine a new life for herself. And the timing may be perfect: There’s a technological exposition and a royal ball on the horizon. Determined to invent her own happily-ever-after, Mechanica seeks to wow the prince and eager entrepreneurs alike.
And check out these three new MacArthur Foundation Fellows, Jacqueline Woodson, N.K. Jemisin and Tressie McMillan Cottom and their novels.
Based on Gloria Steinem’s book My Life on the Road, Julie Taymor has adapted The story of Gloria’s life — from her childhood in 1940s Ohio to her leading role in the women’s liberation movement through a film full of activism, creative narrative, and magical realism.
This Netflix documentary follows the Indianapolis Star reporters that broke the story about USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar’s abuse of gymnasts like Maggie Nichols and others. The film highlights the sexual violence inherent in educational and non-education athletic institutions in the United States.
TASTE THE NATION WITH PADMA LAKSHMI
In Taste the Nation, award-winning cookbook author, host, and executive producer Padma Lakshmi, takes audiences on a journey across America, exploring the rich and diverse food culture of various immigrant groups, seeking out the people who have so heavily shaped what American food is today. From indigenous communities to recent immigrant arrivals, Padma breaks bread with Americans across the nation to uncover the roots and relationship between our food, our humanity, and our history – ultimately revealing stories that challenge notions of identity, belonging, and what it means to be American.
THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT
In a 1950s orphanage, a young girl reveals an astonishing talent for chess and begins an unlikely journey to stardom while grappling with addiction. According to Mashable, Beth is a brilliantly complex character who walks the fine line between intelligence and eccentricity. She’s the type of flawed hero whom you can cheer on but also sympathize with, and this nuance makes her easy to relate to. As Beth climbs the ladder of competition, she never once tries to be someone she’s not or to silence her traditionally girlish traits in order to be taken seriously. She can be a high-stakes competitor and go after what she wants in life while rocking perfectly winged eyeliner and the most stylish period dresses you’ve ever seen.
Podcasts & Music
GURLS TALK PODCAST
Your regular source of fierce female chat. Hosted by Adwoa Aboah and featuring different guests like the author, Bernardine Evaristo, and singer, Dua Lipa. Listen as they talk, share, and take control of their lives.
After a sexual assault case in the District of Columbia, one woman’s public warning ricochets all the way to Birmingham, Alabama, where another woman gives voice to a devastating allegation. This seven-part investigative series from The Washington Post follows the Alabama woman’s decision to come forward with a claim of sexual assault against a high-ranking figure in the D.C. criminal justice system, and the spiraling effects of that choice.
Do you have any suggestions for us to share next month? Please send them to us, we’d love to hear from you.