In memoriam

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In memoriam

mar 4, 2016, 10:40pm

The murder of Berta Cáceres:

Berta Cáceres, Honduran human rights and environment activist, murdered

What chance the murderers, and those who threatened her with rape and murder for years, were women?

apr 2, 2016, 1:13pm

Oh, hell. Zaha Hadid has died.

Zaha Hadid: More Than a ‘Female Architect’

But Zaha would be disappointed in the American Institute of Architects, which reported her death by calling her a “ground-breaking female architect.” She would have said that her gender was merely incidental, as was her ethnicity. A stumbling block at times, but nothing to get excited about.

The focus on her gender obscures her real achievements.

Sad. Architecture is a completely misogynistic field--as a woman, you probably have better odds making it as a car repair mechanic than a practising architect (academia and criticism being somewhat easier). Oh, you'll get jobs--drone positions in men's studios.

A more work-focussed article in The Guardian:

'Queen of the curve' Zaha Hadid dies aged 65 from heart attack

apr 2, 2016, 7:45pm

>2 LolaWalser: "Author Kathy Lette tweeted Hadid’s “beautiful, undulating feminine designs proved that u didn’t need a phallic edifice complex 2 be a brilliant architect”.

Redigerat: apr 2, 2016, 8:03pm

Ha, yes.

apr 2, 2016, 8:09pm

To be fair though, Gehry undulates too like nobody's business.

apr 14, 2016, 10:02am

The French press is widely reporting the death of militant feminist Maya Surduts, but I don't see anything in English... However, I still would like to mark the passing of someone by all evidence extraordinary:

Needless to say, I hadn't heard of her or any of other people mentioned in the articles, and reading about them now makes me realise how little--nothing really--I know of our most recent history.

But in some ways I'm very familiar with the story, it seems to be common to many feminists from leftist families. Surduts was born to communist parents and spent decades as a "classical" leftist militant before recognising the urgency and significance of feminism. I suppose experiencing male "comrades" yelling at women about "power" belonging to "the phallus"* would help anyone see the light. From those skirmishes on (early seventies) she dedicated herself to fighting for women's rights.

*C’est peu de dire qu’à l’époque, les relations entre groupes d’extrême gauche et groupes féministes étaient houleuses - en mai 1970, la première réunion féministe non mixte avait ouvert une polémique à l’université de Vincennes - les camarades masculins accueillent les filles de sonores et défiants «Le pouvoir est au bout du phallus».

(It's an understatement to say that the relations between groups of the extreme left and feminist groups were stormy--in May 1970, the first all-female feminist assembly sparked a polemic at the university of Vincennes--male comrades greeted the girls with loud and defiant cries of "The power is in the phallus".)

apr 14, 2016, 11:05am

Wow. It pisses me off that I never heard of her.

apr 14, 2016, 11:28am

I know, what a pity... there should be some way of connecting all these people, some feminist Internationale...

apr 29, 2016, 11:20am

Jenny Diski:


I've only read the short book on the sixties she wrote, but a piece of criticism on Dennis Potter really made me want to read more of her stuff.

An earlier profile: Jenny Diski interview: 'The mediocrity of fiction is really to do with feeling cosy’

Must find that "skewering of Anais Nin"...

jun 21, 2016, 8:21am

Benoîte Groult, who I mentioned a few times recently, is dead at 96:

Mort de Benoîte Groult, grande figure du féminisme

« Rien ne changera profondément aussi longtemps que ce sont les femmes elles-mêmes qui fourniront aux hommes leurs troupes d’appoint, aussi longtemps qu’elles seront leurs propres ennemies. »

"Nothing will truly change as long as women themselves provide men with their supporting troops, as long as women are their own enemies."

Benoîte Groult, délit de vieillesse

«Dans ma jeunesse, c'était "vagin", le mot interdit. Dans le Larousse, on trouvait pénis, testicules, même bite et couilles. Mais pas vagin. Nos organes, par lesquels passe toute l'humanité, étaient innommables.»

"In my youth the forbidden word was "vagina". There were in the Larousse {encyclopedic dictionary} penis, testicles, even prick and balls. But not vagina. Our organs, through which all of humanity passes, were unnameable."

In her last years she joined the fight for the right to assisted dying and it seems she died that way, in Belgium.

Redigerat: jun 21, 2016, 8:28am

More regarding the murder of Berta Cáceres (>1 LolaWalser:):

Berta Cáceres's name was on Honduran military hitlist, says former soldier

The US is involved. American military men train Hondurans simultaneously with US aid coming in, some of which is meant to support "human rights".

Last week, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights Act in Honduras – which would suspend US security assistance until human rights violations by security forces cease – was introduced to Congress by Representative Hank Johnson.

“We provide millions of dollars in security assistance to Honduras but these same forces have been found to attack and kill environmental, labour and human rights activists like Cáceres without any effective response from the authorities,” said Johnson.

Cáceres’s daughter, Bertita Zúñiga, said Cruz’s testimony strengthened the family’s calls for an independent international investigation to find the intellectual authors.

“This shows us that death squads are operating in the armed forces, which are being used to get rid of people opposing government plans. It shows us that human rights violations are state policy in Honduras.”

Redigerat: jun 22, 2016, 10:30am

The New York Times obit for Groult:

Benoîte Groult, French Feminist and Writer, Dies at 96

Ms. Groult attributed her belated awakening to feminism to her “bluestocking” Roman Catholic upbringing, which she said had given her few female role models.

“I discovered that freedom isn’t just picked up naturally,” she wrote in her autobiography. “It’s something you have to learn, day after day, and very often painfully.” For that “apprenticeship,” she added, “I needed other women, those models who had been carefully hidden from me during the course of my education.”

One trivial fact I picked up from the French press and which I want to record here "for reasons" ;) is that Marie Laurencin (described here as Groult's godmother) and Groult's mother, Nicole Poiret, had been lovers.

jun 22, 2016, 1:52pm

(Ah. Did not see this separate thread earlier. Will mark to follow from now on.)

Redigerat: dec 15, 2016, 9:01pm

Esma Redžepova (1943-2016):

Djelem djelem

Serbian + Romany

Čerga mala luta preko sveta
Kao pčela od cveta do cveta
Topot konja daleko se čuje
Al´ još dalje pesma odjekuje

Haj cigani
S pesmom rodjeni
S pesmom živeli
S pesmom umirali

Čerga mala luta preko sveta
Kao pčela od cveta do cveta
Gelem, gelem lungone dromensa
Maladilem shukare romensa

Haj romale
Haj čavale
Haj romale
Haj čavale

U grudima svakog ciganina
Sve dok živi vatre uvek ima
Ne može ništa da je zgasi
Čak ni suza koja obraz kvasi

Haj cigani
S pesmom rodjeni
S pesmom živeli
S pesmom umirali


I walked, I walked

Little tents roam the world
Like a bee from flower to flower
The tramp of horses is heard far away
But the song echoes even farther

Ah, Gypsies
With song born
With song live
With song die

Little tents rove the world
Like a bee from flower to flower
I walked, I walked long roads
I met beautiful Roma

Ah, Romale
Ah, friends
Ah, Romale,
Ah, friends

In the chest of every Gypsy
As long as there's life there's fire
Nothing can extinguish it
Not even the tears that wet the cheek

Ah, Gypsies
With song born
With song live
With song die

sep 7, 2017, 8:21am

Kate Millett, pioneering second-wave feminist, dies aged 82

There's a new edition of Sexual Politics out that I've been meaning to get, I'm currently reading the old one. One of those books that make me go "why did nobody put this in my hands thirty years ago?!"

sep 7, 2017, 1:55pm

>15 LolaWalser:

Sorry to hear this. After I read Sexual Politics in my 20s I was never able to read the same way again. Her take on Henry Miller was more than smart; it was wise. And much of the book, unlike so much lit crit, was very well-written.

sep 7, 2017, 2:39pm

Weirdly enough, while I read Sexual Politics in college when I was coming into radical feminism, I never picked up anything else by Millett. Why, I wonder?

sep 8, 2017, 9:12am

>16 krolik:

She made that unspeakable asshole Norman Mailer hopping mad; guaranteed she was onto something real. :)

>17 southernbooklady:

Maybe Sexual Politics felt like everything she could possibly say on the subject? I have Flying somewhere but as it is a memoir or memoirish, I'm not in a hurry to get to it. I'm sure there'll be a lot of pain in it, what with the aftermath to S.P. and the pigs coming after her with long knives.

Redigerat: sep 8, 2017, 9:34am

>18 LolaWalser: Maybe Sexual Politics felt like everything she could possibly say on the subject?

Possibly. I think it might have been a casualty of my general immaturity as a reader while exploring feminist at the time. It was part of kind of "required reading" list -- I've always been the kind of person who reads everything she's assigned as homework. It took me awhile to get out of that habit and into one where I read for more personal fulfillment. And when that happened, it was Mary Daly, Audre Lorde , Adrienne Rich and Dorothy Allison that became my touchstones. Kate Millett was just sort of left behind. I should revisit it, because I bet, like my experience re-reading The Second Sex, I'd find much worth rediscovering.

sep 11, 2017, 9:10am

She spoke at my college early in my first semester and then talked with a small group of us after. I'll never forget how excited she made me feel, how generous she was with her time. She really walked the walk.

sep 19, 2017, 10:46am

I read Sexual Politics last year (two years ago?) based off the recommendation of someone somewhere in one of the threads here (or maybe based off of a link that someone posted somewhere here) and then read an article somewhere about Millett talking about how the disruption and attack of fame (she got backlash from feminists and from Mailer) had her retreat away from everything, which could be why re: >17 southernbooklady: you never read anything else by her.... I may have read the article before the book, it's been a long while.

I remember by primary thought after reading it was, "Why did I not have to read this at some point as an undergrad." Most of my undergrad courses were lit courses with a heavy emphasis on gender/sexuality. Honestly I would have used it for so many papers if I had known it existed. I also wish I had read it before reading anything by DH Lawrence as she so perfectly described what I felt reading him.

nov 7, 2017, 9:09am

nov 7, 2017, 10:02am

Do you know, I'm not sure it isn't still news that women have sexual appetite and fantasies.

Otoh, I'm 100% sure men are perfectly "dispensable". ;)

nov 7, 2017, 10:36am

>23 LolaWalser: From the article: "It's still hard for most men to believe that women enjoy sex"

I think she left off "...with them"

nov 7, 2017, 10:49am

Haha, yeah!

jan 23, 2018, 9:21pm

Oh, sadness. Great writer.

jan 24, 2018, 3:05am

Such a tremendous loss.
I mean, I knew her health hadn't been great the last few years, but...
Her writing had such a formative effect on me as an adolescent, and as an adult there are still some of her stories that remain touchstones. It feels like the end of an era.
She was also one of those writers, who you just knew, reading their work, that they had to be just as wonderful in person.
I need to go reread some of her writings now...

jan 24, 2018, 3:20am

I actually just read one of her short story collections earlier this month because it begins Earthsea, and Earthsea: the first four books is on my plate for sometime soon. Her writing is amazing and I'm so heartbroken that she's gone. :(

aug 31, 2018, 10:33pm

An era ends... more light extinguished...

The Village Voice ceases publication after 63 years

Picking up a copy of the VV from the box in front of my apartment building was for years first thing done on Thursdays, even before breakfast (and yes, sometimes wearing a robe and slippers). Except on those occasions when I returned home late enough on Wednesdays to catch the distributors. The Voice represented to me the best of America--intelligence and seeking, integrity, city life and city love, a reminder of the better, radical, iconoclastic, humane side existing at least somewhere in a basically unbearable, cannibalistic society.

apr 3, 2019, 9:40am

Vonda McIntyre

Her first novel, Dreamsnake, fell into my hands in high school and is one of the reasons I began to gravitate towards womanist science fiction.

aug 6, 2019, 11:23am

What a loss. The world really needs voices of wisdom & kindness right now.

aug 6, 2019, 12:52pm

A respectable age, but feels awfully sudden. She will be missed.

aug 21, 2019, 8:36am

And now, Paule Marshall, dammit to hell.

I read Brown Girl, Brownstones the year before I went to high school, because a librarian at my local branch told me I'd like it if I liked A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

aug 21, 2019, 9:54am

Ahh, I just bought that the other day...

feb 12, 2020, 8:18pm

Not sure how many of you would know her work, but I do know her comics were published in the US in the 1970s...

Celebrated cartoonist Claire Bretécher dies aged 79

jul 29, 2020, 11:52am

So many battles...

Gisèle Halimi, trailblazing French feminist MP and lawyer, dies aged 93

(...) She was born Zeiza Gisèle Élise Taïeb in July 1927 to a poor and conservative Jewish family in Tunisia at a time when the birth of a girl was considered bad luck. So dismayed were her parents that they hid her birth for weeks because her father was reluctant to admit he had a daughter. (...)

okt 7, 2020, 1:29pm

Ruth Klüger died in the night from Monday to Tuesday.

Her German language books include books on women as readers and writers.

Redigerat: okt 7, 2020, 1:32pm

>45 MarthaJeanne:

Thanks for noting that.

okt 7, 2020, 1:35pm

>46 LolaWalser: I have her two autobiographical books since the first one was Vienna's One City One Book choice several years ago. (i paid for the second one.)

okt 7, 2020, 1:38pm

>47 MarthaJeanne:

New name to me, so I'll look for her stuff.

okt 7, 2020, 2:09pm

Her book about her experiences in the holocaust Still Alive seems to be the major one in English. I've just reserved Was Frauen schreiben and Frauen lesen anders at the library.

okt 27, 2020, 1:37pm

Diane di Prima, Beat Poet And Activist, Dead At 86

"Revolutionary Letter #4":

Left to themselves people

grow their hair.

Left to themselves they

take off their shoes.

Left to themselves they make love

sleep easily

share blankets, dope & children

they are not lazy or afraid

they plant seeds, they smile, they

speak to one another. The word

coming into its own: touch of love;

on the brain, the ear.

okt 29, 2020, 7:53pm

>48 LolaWalser: I just finished Frauen lesen anders and can recommend the title essay and the final essay Gegenströmung: Schreibende Frauen to those who read German. Most of the rest of the book is hard to get through unless you have a really deep knowledge of German literature. Homer and Shakespeare are also helpful. I will freely admit that I only skimmed and skipped parts that were too literary for me.

'Frauen lesen anders' is a good, and often very personal look at how women (and even more so girls) are constantly expected to read as males to feel with the hero, to ignore the negative picture of women... whereas boys are not expected to make the same effort, or even to try to read books by and about women.

The final essay starts by recognising that most male German authors over the past few hundred years have been Protestant, and many studies have been written on the subject. However, the very environment that nurtured these men did not also bring forth female writings, rather the few women we have in the German canon tend to come from Roman Catholic and Jewish backgrounds. Not that they were particularly encouraged, but at least less prevented.

okt 30, 2020, 12:42pm

>51 MarthaJeanne:

Yes, I think that would be the title I'd find most interesting. Unfortunately not available through the library (they have her Holocaust memoir, though). Thanks for the review.

There's an edition of Hertha Müller's essays that is available, and comes up in the search for Klüger... I might get that by and by.

Redigerat: mar 21, 11:24am

Nawal El-Saadawi died today in Cairo.

mar 21, 11:40am


mar 21, 11:41am

I hate seeing this thread updated. I appreciate everyone's doing it, I just hate the bad news. She was a powerhouse.

mar 22, 10:37am


mar 22, 10:47am

I didn't kill her. Just reporting.

mar 22, 1:14pm

>58 MarthaJeanne: No, I know, it wasn't personal. As I said, I appreciate the updates. They're always just very sad.

jun 18, 6:46pm

Janet Malcolm has passed away. What an icon for me personally when I briefly toyed with the idea of a journalism career while I was in high school.

jun 18, 7:16pm

Thanks for mentioning that, >60 sparemethecensor:. I'm genuinely curious, do people posting here consider Malcolm a feminist?

jun 18, 8:34pm

>61 susanbooks: Hmm, I can't say I know how she identified herself, but her career trajectory is certainly that of a woman with a feminist awakening. She started out writing "women's pieces" and transitioned into more serious reporting, cultural critique, and critique of the profession. I've not read her full oeuvre but her defense of her book on Stein & Toklas (remember, at a time it was scandalous to imply they were a couple) is compelling as is her first book on psychoanalysis (at the time considered a man's profession). My personal favorite of her work is Iphigenia in Forest Hills which grapples with all the complexity of a woman's culpability for crimes committed while she is trapped in a narrowly defined patriarchal box.

Redigerat: jun 19, 1:27am

Thanks for answering! I guess I consider her work on Freud pretty reactionary & so avoided just about everything else she wrote. I was also put off by her tone, too declarative, rather than questioning, like she had all the answers, couldn't be wrong. Maybe I just read her that way bc I felt like she was wrong, lol.

jun 19, 10:31am

>63 susanbooks: Interesting! Thanks for sharing. I read her book on psychoanalysis ages ago so perhaps I would feel differently now but I recall thinking her critiques were relevant. That said, the only Freud I've read is The Case of Anna O.; I read some Jung in college but am nowhere near an expert.