Monday, November 2, 2009

WOMEN UNBOUND: A Reading Challenge

I just found out about this interesting challenge called, Women Unbound.
Basically, it is a challenge devoted to reading texts, both fiction and non-fiction, that are related to the concept of 'Women's Studies'. As a women's studies major I am most definitely interested in this challenge and think its a wonderful way to get more people interested in writings that focus on the culture of women and their roles within society.

Here are the details for the challenge:

The challenge runs from November 1, 2009-November 30, 2010, but you may join in the fun whenever you wish! Participants are encouraged to read nonfiction and fiction books related to the rather broad idea of ‘women’s studies.’ The definition according to Merriam-Webster is,
"the multidisciplinary study of the social status and societal contributions of women and the relationship between power and gender".

For nonfiction, this would include books on feminism, history books focused on women, biographies of women, memoirs (or travelogues) by women, essays by women and cultural books focused on women (body image, motherhood, etc.). The topics I’ve listed aren’t meant to be exhaustive; if you come across a nonfiction book whose subject is female-related, it counts! Of course, if you’re not sure you can always ask about it in a comment. And if you need some ideas for specific books, check out the ‘Reading Lists’ page.

It’s trickier to say what is applicable as fiction. Obviously, any classic fiction written by a feminist is applicable. But where do we go from there? To speak generally, if the book takes a thoughtful look at the place of women in society, it will probably count. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to explain in your review why you chose this for the challenge and its connection to women’s studies. Once again, if you need some specific ideas, check out the ‘Reading Lists’ page.

One quick note about author gender. There isn’t a rule if a book’s written by a woman it counts and if by a man it doesn’t count. I firmly believe that men can be feminists and that not all women are feminists. As long as the book adheres to the definition of women’s studies I’ve shared above, it counts.

Interested in participating? Great! There are three levels you can choose as a reader (you can count books for other challenges as well):

  • Philogynist: read at least two books, including at least one nonfiction one.
  • Bluestocking: read at least five books, including at least two nonfiction ones.
  • Suffragette: read at least eight books, including at least three nonfiction ones.
You can sign up for this challenge over at Women Unbound.

For any other questions regarding this challenge head on over to Women Unbound.

I don't have a list yet, but I am going to read at least 8 books for this challenge. So, I guess I'll be participating at the Suffragette level. Here's to some great reading!!


Unknown said...

This is a neat idea! I just finished Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, which is a memoir. Although, its not based on feminism at all - its about her time in foster care.

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Hiya Blakelyn! It is a pretty cool idea. I'm glad you mentioned that book, it sounds really interesting. I've always believed that whatever the book, you can always find ways to connect it to feminism. I've always thought that a big part of feminism has to do with our experiences as women, and therefore this book will provide a unique look at life in foster care (which I believe is an issues that women face on a daily basis). Thanks! I'll be looking out for this book. Cheers!

Karen said...

This sounds like such a great challenge and I would really like to join in but I think I might have to be an unofficial participant - I just have so many other books on my TBR pile at the moment that they are taking over the house!! I'm really looking forward to hearing about everyone's reading though.

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Karen, join in the challenge in any way you can - comments or quotes or reading the reviews (anything!). I think it'll be interesting to read what everyone else is reading and what they think about these books in relation to women's studies.