Tag Archives: books

World Book Day 2013: Where I found Feminsim.

I was reading about the rise of the teenage feminist today and while I didn’t have the internet at that age I had books, these two in particular had a huge impact. My Mam got them for me when I was 15, they were bundled together on a stall outside a secondhand bookshop and were a bargain she couldn’t pass.

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The first is Never Jam Today by Carole Bolton, it deals with the struggle for women suffrage in the USA. The main protagonist is Maddy Franklin is a seventeen-year-old middle-class girl in 1917.
She gets swept up in the tides of change, between her arch conservative father and her activist aunt, it tells of her leafleting and picketing, and even being arrested and held in appalling conditions; going on hunger strike and being forced fed, all cos she wanted to be able to vote and choose her own future. This period in American history was later made into the film Iron Jawed Angels. It made me aware of suffrage and how women world wide fought to get the right to vote and to throw off the restrictions of having to be ‘Ladylike’.

The second is C. C. Poindexter by Carolyn Meyer written in 1982 about a 15 year old who’s parents are getting divorced and how much her world is changing for her, from hitting 6ft in height and all the self consciousness and not fitting in that brings, to her mother setting up her own business and her father getting re married. The only unchanging constant in her life is her aunt, who she previously didn’t have much time for, but is an ardent activist feminist.

When I read this book I had never seen the feminist symbol of the clenched raised fist within the female gender sign. The description on it on her aunts van was hard to figure out what it was and the slogan with it was “up from under” it was several years later that I saw the icon and then it made sense. Her aunt talks about feminism to her and so do her aunt’s friends when she spends time with them, in an easy and accessible way; even if C.C. could not bring herself to read The Feminine Mystique, I managed to do so after ordering it into the local library.

C.C.’s story is not as dramatic as Maddy’s, but they are both trying to find out who they are and what they want to do with their lives in face of their worlds changing. Each of them figuring out that no one else has the right to define them or make decisions for them.

In an Ireland which only had suffragette and women’s libbers it was the stories of two American girls living at either end of the same century which introduced me to feminism.

World Book Day 2013

There are a series of World Book Days which happen around the world, here in Ireland we celebrate it on the first Thursday of March, which is today.

I have mentioned how in searching out about my name I ended up reading lots and lots about the witchcraft trials but the first book I ever read with the goal of starting to work towards becoming a witch myself was, A Witch Alone by Marion Green.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Witch_Alone

A Witch Alone is the best-known book by the prolific pagan author Marian Green. Subtitled Thirteen moons to master natural magic, it is a teach-yourself course for people wanting to rediscover and follow the path of the old village witch or cunning man.

The witchcraft described in the book differs from modern Wicca in two main ways. Firstly it is solitary rather involving participation in covens. In this respect it is similar to paths advocated by authors such as Rae Beth and Scott Cunningham. Secondly it avoids complex rituals for a greater emphasis on the natural magic of the old crafts and contact with nature.

Originally published in 1991 by The Aquarian Press, the latest edition, still in print, is from Thorsons (2002).

I got my copy when I was 17, so a little over 20 years ago, it made me look within and without in different ways and ask so many questions. It also I think is why I separate witchcraft from Wicca so easily, from the start I knew anyone could become a witch by themselves but Wicca was a priesthood you have to be brought into.

It is still a book I recommend to people who are starting out and want something helpful and practical which is overly academic.