Women's History Month is in full swing, and in addition to a full slate of events across all our neighborhood libraries, the Free Library is no stranger to celebrating, showcasing, and empowering women on our blog. The following are excerpts from 10 past posts:
- Let's Hear It For the Ladies (in comics)!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... to be a lady who likes comics. One day you get to celebrate the appearance of the first African American woman to own a comic book store on the cover of a major comic and then the next you have entitled jerks creating impossible and sexist art. It’s a give and take that is not unfamiliar to many of us who present as ladies—whatever form that takes. But let us not be down, let us celebrate the good that there is to celebrate, like the bumper crop of awesome female-led graphic novels and comic books currently available to read! There are literally too many great ones to choose from, yet I made a LONG (and I’m sure incomplete) list for you to check out.
- When I’m Feeling Blue
Some days are just "one of those days", am I right? I feel like this fall has been full of "those days", so instead of hurling myself off the nearest building, I like to indulge in one of my guilty pleasures—pastoral period dramas with a strong female lead. What would fall in to that category, you ask? I’d be ever so happy to tell you…
- Civil War Ladies of Philadelphia’s Own Laurel Hill
The women we learned about who are buried in Laurel Hill were all brave, patriotic, creative, and benevolent. They were also all white. As the lecture wound to a close, someone in the audience raised a hand, and asked what was surely on all of our minds: “Aren’t any women of color from the Civil War era buried here?” The answer was no. Not until a lawsuit in the latter half of the 20th century were African Americans allowed to be buried at Laurel Hill. It was a poignant reminder that slavery, racism, and the Civil War cast very long shadows on both sides of the Mason Dixon line, and even in our own city.
- International Women’s Day 2016: Global Perspectives on Women, Food Security, and Agriculture
One Book, One Philadelphia teams up every year for programming with the University of Pennsylvania, and every year they knock it out of the park for International Women’s Day. This year’s program focused on investing in women in agriculture, a theme we saw in Cold Mountain with Ada and Ruby. The two women in the novel worked the land to live, using what little resources they had to survive through the Civil War. Across the globe, there are women famers who live similarly for their family’s survival. For this year's program, the University of Pennsylvania brought together a panel of local women fighting for the advancement of women farmers, globally and within Philadelphia.
- I Love…
Part confessional memoir, part critical essay, the book blends disciplines and genres. It’s so meta: Chris Kraus is an artist writing about the character Chris Kraus, who is an artist, and the product is a piece of art, which is I Love Dick. This book’s been hailed as a game-changer for how women can write and for what novels can be, paving the way for literary works from some of my favorite writers, like Sheila Heti and Ben Lerner.
- Great Books for Strong Girls
Anyone who has any contact with children is aware of the incredible popularity of Disney’s Frozen. One of the movie’s appeals is the strong female characters, sisters named Anna and Elsa, who save themselves in the end instead of being saved by a prince. If you’re ready to take a break from Elsa and Anna and discover more stories of strong girl characters, read on! The month of March, which is Women’s History Month, provides the perfect opportunity to share some empowering stories of a variety of girl characters. Here are some of my favorites.
- DivaNation Showcase
On Monday July 21st, eleven stunning performers treated an audience of nearly 200 jazz fans to a unique glimpse into the artistic process of an emergent community of working female musicians. The Philadelphia Jazz Project, who organized the event, calls this women-led initiative, DivaNation. The shared goal is to create an empowering space for women working in the jazz idiom to collaborate and otherwise to develop the deep well of local talent here in Philadelphia.
- Cinderella Around the World
To celebrate Women's History Month, Wadsworth Library's Children's area is focusing on one very popular woman: Cinderella. Cinderella is more than a quick bedtime story or Disney movie. The story of a young woman who is abused by her family and eventually finds happiness runs through the oral traditions of many cultures. Many of these stories have been retold as picture books that the Free Library of Philadelphia owns. Let's take a look at some of the Cinderella variations around the world...
- An Instrument Share with Girls Rock Philly!
Think of two or three of the most critically-lauded groups in the canon of rock music. Got some? Now, were there any women in those bands you imagined? It's no secret: historically, the tools of rock and roll have been harder to access if you're a woman or young girl. But fortunately, there’s an organization working to change this: Girls Rock Philly is a nonprofit music and mentoring organization dedicated to empowering girls and young women to start bands and play music. And so, last Thursday, the Free Library was thrilled to host an event with them.
- Finding Inspiration in 2011’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist
In that same breathless, excited interview with the Journal, Egan ended with a call of encouragement to young writers, especially young women writers, to take risks as she has done: “What I want to see is young, ambitious writers. And there are tons of them…My advice for young female writers would be to shoot high and not cower.” Loud and clear, Jennifer, loud and clear.