The Musings of a Boho Girl

bōˈhēmēən (noun) 1. a free spirit ; 2. a writer; 3. an explorer of the Avant-Garde.

Tag: Feminism

How Feminism Works for the Privileged

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I’ve often heard Madeleine Albright’s statement “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” I cringed when those words made their way to my Starbucks cup. As someone who didn’t grow up in a generation with women supporting each other, I found it to be confounding.

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Remnants of The Yellow Wall-Paper

Joan Didion, author of

Joan Didion, author of “Play It as It Lays”, and “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, is pictured here on May 1, 1977.(AP Photo)

“It is the strangest yellow, that wall-paper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw – not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul, bad yellow things.” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It’s odd how dreams are conceived and misplaced. Joan Didion’s first novel, Run River, was published in 1963; it’s the same year Sylvia Plath killed herself. Sometimes I think of how Plath’s dreams must have disappeared the day she decided to end her life and at the same time, somewhere across the Atlantic, Didion might have been reading proofs with notes from her editor; she was looking forward to realising a dream as someone else’s ended. I wonder how dreams die so suddenly, beyond the mental illness, something happens in society that breaks us. How did Didion avoid rejection and self doubt? Maybe she hid it beneath the cool girl aesthetic or she was stronger than the others? Plath didn’t live long enough to create the narrative she would have wanted. Culturally Plath will always be framed as the wronged housewife and poet who struggled to divide her time between writing and caring for her young family. Feminists often cite her as the victim of domesticity. Plath became a martyr for the feminist movement and many view her poetry is a symbol of the domestic struggle.

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When Things Fall Apart

My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

– Dylan Thomas

Ophelia 1851-2 by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt 1829-1896

I told myself that I was not Ophelia. Admittedly those are strange words to tell one’s self, but society makes me question whether I am her. Do I lack autonomy? We really only have so much freedom, it is, after all, reduced due to financial circumstances and employment. Those two factors are often linked. Without means how much autonomy really exists? Feminist critics often state that Ophelia lost her identity, but I don’t believe she ever had one. Her sole purpose was to marry well and elevate her family in society. While modern society has changed so much about our identity hasn’t, titles and connections are still important. They make the difference between getting a job or having your interview cancelled days before you’re scheduled to leave for New York City. Read the rest of this entry »

The Lena Dunham Problem

This easily could have been a post on my cosy socks, but I’m drawn to the Lena Dunham controversy. For the past twenty four hours I’ve wondered why Dunham’s sexual assault has been strongly scrutinized; right wing news sites are convinced she weaved a tale of lies. Dunham responded to her critics in a Daily Beast post and while her explanation is reasonable, I doubt she’ll convince her critics that she is indeed telling the truth. Do women lie about rape? It always comes back to two questions: do we listen and accept an account of rape or do we listen and question whether it is in fact the truth. Of course, those conservative writers took an archaic approach; they read Dunham’s story and set out to prove she was a liar. Then there is the larger question of why people tend to dislike Dunham.

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Truman Capote’s Holly Golightly

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make.” — Truman Capote

For a few brief years we existed at the same time, we breathed the same air and we lived. I didn’t know who Truman Capote was nor did I feel the impact of his death in 1984; I was a toddler. Capote was a brilliant literary figure with limitless talents and he knew himself in a way that most people never would. I’m still in awe that we were on earth at the same time.

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1792 and 2014

“The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” – Virginia Woolf

Mary Wollstonecraft called for equality among the sexes in her book, A Vindication for the Rights of Woman, I can’t imagine what Wollstonecraft would think if she could see the world now; she would probably be hospitalised for shock. Seeing mobiles, televisions, computers, Apple, cars, women driving cars, and modern hospitals is enough to frighten any Victorian woman. But then she’d recover, after all this is the same woman who tried to drown herself in the River Thames. Wollstonecraft was truly fearless, she wasn’t fearless in the meaningless way that the word is used now; Mary Wollstonecraft opened a school to make a living and had to close that same school when her friend and partner, Fanny Blood married and left the school. Blood died of complications in childbirth. Wollstonecraft when on to write, despite the fact that few women were able to support themselves as writers, she overcame her struggles. I’m not sure how she survived, sheer determination or her desire to argue women deserved an education.

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Love

“God knows I never sought anything in you except yourself. I wanted simply you, nothing of yours.” – Heloise

Lately I have developed a growing interest in love stories…not passionate ones, it’s the dysfunctional, star-crossed loves stories that intrigue me; the centuries old tales that have been immortalized in sculptures and paintings, operas; yes, I am thinking of Heloise and Abelard, Francesca and Paolo, Tristan and Isolde. Over time these love stories have been reshaped for modern audiences, several years ago I saw Howard Breton’s In Extremis and was struck by the couple’s faith; their faith in philosophy, God and each other. Beneath the tragic love story, I saw the contradictions and character flaws. Each interpretation of their love is retold through someone else’s eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

Gwyneth Paltrow: A Public Shaming

Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you. – David Foster Wallace

Several weeks ago I wondered what my first blog post should be about; it’s a difficult decision, should I share my secret crush on Ronan Farrow with the world? Or should I review Coldplay’s new album? For the past few years I have watched the media bully women in submission or worse silencing them with a public shaming. It’s gone on since I was a little girl but now it is much more apparent with social media. Cloaked in anonymity Twitter and Instagram became the perfect weapon to shame celebrities, but those tools would be nothing without a few well placed articles to incite the public.

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