Righteous Reading

I yearn for Brigit Books in Tampa, where the scent of incense reigns, and where I felt a sense of community. So now I am reduced to web shopping or supporting Barnes&Noble. There are two B&Ns here, one the aptly named Corporate Drive and the other in the LSU Union, which some people call Barnes&Fogle after the provost who sealed the deal to close the independent bookstore and replace it with the corporatized B&N despite widespread campus outcry.

Lately I have been avoiding Amazon, choosing instead to support small bookstores or presses on line. I’ve had a couple of interesting finds. Seal Press, which publishes Listen Up: Voices from the Next Generation of Feminists, has a cool website and they ask people to order online through Brigit. I also stumbled onto Girl Press, which seems to have some interesting fare geared toward Gen Y girls, particularly a cool book about how to make your own ‘zine. And then there are the women’s magazines that you cannot buy at Barnes&Nobles like On Our Backs, the pro-sex, pro-porn feminist mag, which has an EXCELLENT website. I haven’t found the website for Off Our Backs, though. Women’s Review of Books has a website and they do post selected essays from the current issue and the content of back issues. But it’s not the same as physically being in Brigit and standing in front of the tight corner that held the news stand and thumbing through the pages. As much as I like surfing the internet at Amazon and as much as I proclaim the internet as a valid site of community and culture, I’m surprised at how I’m waxing nostalgic about Brigit Books.

With all my surfing, it’s hardly surprising that I stumbled on to some excellent VoXYgen type reads lately, however. First, I found “Babes In Action” by Katherine Brown in Friction Magazine. This zine is another entry in the long list of leftist cultural politics zines that populate the web but it is worth the surf, especially for the commentary on the recent WTC crisis. In any case, “Babes in Action” talks about female action heroes, making the point that Barbie-bodied action heroines can be transgressive or progressive because they show females kicking boys’ asses. *POW* Now women can be sexy AND strong at the same time. It’s a controversial claim.

I also ran into an article in the Village Voice on-line about Asian feminists who use the web to fight orientalized pornography of Asian women. Of course, I found this link from surfing Slander. The article is called Nude Japanese Schoolgirls! Lotus Blossoms! Radical Feminists? The article refers to an amazing website by Bindi Grl sort of harem. It’s worth the surf.

When I surfed Feminist Studies, I found two useful VoXYgen-type articles. The first is called U.S. FEMINISM-GRRRL STYLE! YOUTH (SUB)CULTURES AND THE TECHNOLOGICS OF THE THIRD WAVE by Ednie Kaeh Garrison. This article gives a solid introduction to the issues of third wave feminism. The second article is called RADICAL FEMINISM, LESBIAN SEPARATISM, AND QUEER THEORY by Kathy Rudy. This article talks about the tensions between radical lesbian feminism and queer theory from a position that is sympathetic to “both sides.” (Note: These links are now all dead 6/04.)

In any case, I will have to win lottery so that I can retire and open my own feminist bookstore here (which is bound to fail since there are so few feminists here). In the mean time, I will surf the net for my feminist reading fix.

See you in the lottery ticket line….

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