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women

Photo by Eman Helal

Power Jam

Nouran Elkabbany’s family wasn’t thrilled about the idea of her joining a roller derby team. They worried about all the ways she might damage her body. 

<i>Toni Erdmann</i>. Directed by Maren Ade. Sony Pictures Classics, 2016. 162 minutes</p>

Professional Lives

“Career woman” is a term that enjoyed a certain vogue across the latter half of the twentieth century. An American idiom much bound to the eighties but coined in the thirties, under the guise of defining what a woman is, the phrase points emphatically to what she is not: “a woman whose career is more important to her than getting married and having children.” An archetype born of its time, the career woman is bound to that era’s signature medium: The movies helped midwife her into Western culture; on film she was made unruly (and almost always white) flesh, fed on drive and solo popcorn dinners, dressed in power colors, and sent into an unreconstructed world, where her success or failure typically depended on her willingness to obey a more natural order. There is, of course, no such thing as a career man.

<i>Double Bind: Women on Ambition</i>. Ed. by Robin Romm. Liveright, 2017. HB, 336p. $27.95.

Bound to Succeed

I once asked my mother, a well-educated, exceedingly competent woman, why she served as someone’s assistant for the majority of her professional life, yet always took a leadership role in volunteer organizations (president of the PTA and director of nearly every church committee on which she’s ever served, for example). Her response was unequivocal: “Your grandmother always told me that I would never be anything other than a secretary.” Mothers—“They fuck you up,” Philip Larkin wrote. “They may not mean to, but they do.”

Women of Troy

In Women of Troy, poet Susan Somers-Willett and photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally look at the lives of young, working-class women in Troy, New York.

A Call to Arms

Don’t make the mistake of calling her
angel or saint. The tremendous broad crowning
Troy’s war monument grips her sword

Just a Girl

Billie Jean  Her sister’s water broke this morning and her Cymbalta’s not working and she’s soon to be homeless because those twin nephews are fast on their way but today her ex-lover’s baby mother is going to be at the Flag Day parade [...]

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