Faculty Writing: On Feminist Legends, and on Barbie and Global Capitalism

Writing in n+1 magazine, Jessie Kindig reflects on what it has meant, and might yet mean in the future, to be a feminist in the United States. A paean to the generation of the second wave—from Vivian Gornick to Joni Mitchell—Kindig moves from a reflection on “the feminism they fought for” to “the personal and political losses” that have since piled up: “Roe, unthinkably, overturned—the Comstock Act that had once muzzled Margaret Sanger’s efforts to distribute birth control now renewed with vigor to block abortion pills—Toni Morrison’s writing, and Margaret Atwood’s, banned in school libraries…” But perhaps not irrevocably: publishing feminist writing “is where,” Kindig finds, “there is feminist work that I can do.”

Also writing in n+1, as part of its recent symposium “Who Was Barbie?” Christine Smallwood pokes serious fun at the idea that “an uncanny piece of molded plastic has the magical power to resolve the contradictions of girlhood and global capitalism” and presses instead on the monetary and especially material questions glossed over in Gerwig’s film: “The sad truth is that we didn’t need a movie to make Barbie live again… Barbies never die. They live forever in our oceans, and our lungs.”

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