Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color


Rating: 4 Stars

First I am going to say what every other reviewer has also probably said and that is this book is fucking beautiful.

The broadsides are amazing and so intricately detailed that you can view them multiple times and always find something you missed before. I would love to see them in real-life and not just reprinted for this book. The colors are so vibrant and at times seem to leap right off the page; I can only imagine what seeing an original must be like, and perhaps I will be lucky enough to own one some day.

This book is not in-depth, if that is what you are looking for, so it is best to temper those expectations right away. And so many of the women featured here have (in some cases, multiple) full length biographies already dedicated to them, that too much detailed information is almost moot. Each of the twenty seven women featured are given a brief biography (2-3 pages) and interspersed are additional photos of the creators at work, the women themselves, and/or other relevant information, as well as important quotes from the text. Each broadside has its own full page, and each then each also has its own little biography, giving information about what number it was in the series, which cause it supported (money from the sale of each broadside was donated to that cause/organization), why the fonts, symbols, and colors were chosen, details of the creating, and so on. I like that the biographies focused on what makes these women feminist icons, and did not get bogged down with too much backstory. In other books that would be an issue, but for something like this where the broadside featuring that feminist is the focal point, that other information is simply not necessary. And the reader more than likely already knows a good deal about many of the women featured. You will find some women you are familiar with, especially the suffragettes, but also women from a wide variety of other fields - scientists, royalty, writers, educators, and so on. Each made important contributions to equal rights simply by being themselves and doing what they knew in their hearts to be right - even if it meant obliterating social norms of their time.

I really appreciated the wide variety of cultures and time periods that these women represented. We all know that representation matters, and when people see themselves reflected in what they are fighting for, it gives a much-needed morale boost when things get really tough. We can not just continue to focus on young white women as the only demographic which feminism represents. There are so many powerful stories from women of color, young and older alike. All of these stories matter, and all deserve to not just be told, but to be heard. We are stronger together and we must remember that every time they try to divide us.

Advice: Get a physical copy to browse through. The feel of the book, and the thickness of the paper give it that feel that for a moment you can think you are looking at an original and not a reproduction for the book. Definitely avoid e-readers for this one!

So if the news of the day has you feeling rundown and exhausted because this shit is seriously so tiring and you just want to curl up in a ball, pick this book up and remind yourself that yes indeed, you can change the world for the better.

After all...

Highly recommended.


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