What does it mean to be an individual? How do you define your individuality under the spotlight of cultural traditions? While reading Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, I was struck by the author’s translucent scrutiny of the oppression of women’s individuality. Yezierska calls into question the limited roles offered to women in traditional families and the […]Read more "Bread Givers and the Oppression of Individuality"
“It says in the Torah, only through a man has a woman an existence”.  Groan. Throughout Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, Reb Smolinsky makes multiple, groan-inducing comments about women needing men to become more than what they are. Such remarks likely elicit groans in nearly every reader. Yet, regarding the novel’s protagonist Sara Smolinsky, some […]Read more "I Struggle, Therefore I Am"
There’s no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But everyone knows the Pill, whose FDA approval 50 years ago rearranged the furniture of human relations in ways that we’ve argued about ever since. This weekend, I ran across an article on Time.com memorializing the 50th birthday of the birth […]Read more "The Pill Turns 50"
After reading about how relationships were a popular subject for female blues singers, I wondered how their male counterparts approached the subject. How did they feel about infidelity, love, and the opposite sex? Expecting to have to search hard for examples, I was surprised to find many male singers of the era broaching these topics. […]Read more "“My Baby Left Me All Alone”: Blues Men and Relationships"
If you ask a performer which is easier, acting out a scene or acting out a song, hands down the answer will be the song. When trying to convey emotion into a scene devoid of music, all you have to rely on is your own ability to interpret the situation. A song gives you emotional […]Read more "“No one is as deaf as the man who will not listen.”- Jewish Proverb"
In “Blues Legacies and Black Feminism,” Angela Davis exposes an issue that has long plagued the feminist movement as a whole. The movement has often struggled within itself because of differing ideals of womanhood and goals of the feminist cause. In the African American women’s community, as in the women’s movement as a whole, class […]Read more "Oil and Water in Feminism"
After reading Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, I wanted to know what happened next, in the decades after “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday dominated the blues genre. Did the style and themes of their music manifest themselves years later, and if so, how? Despite being a generation or two apart, there are clear […]Read more "They Will Survive: Lasting Legacies of the Classic Blues Women"