“Relationships between women have either been ignored or commodified, or sexualised.” Laura Marling 2017
In our first KITE resources series, we highlight three works that challenge, explore or recontextualise this notion.
Helen Lewis – Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights
Segmented into causes rather than individuals, Helen Lewis’ book deals with some incredibly weighty topics. The victories won in regards divorce, voting rights, access to education, participation in team sports, access to abortion, ability to escape violent partners and more are detailed here framed around the women who fought these battles. However, unlike similar studies, Lewis is not afraid to present these pioneering women as complex, multi-dimensional and at times problematic when viewed through a contemporary lens.
Laura Marling – Semper Femina
It was in an interview about this album where Marling, having recently returned from a musical hiatus where she decamped to Los Angeles to teach yoga, put forward the above quote. As such it serves as a jumping off point for this album. On it, Marling deals with a woman’s perspective on women, from close bonds to frayed ones. The song’s narratives blur the lines between Laura Marling the person and the fictional protagonists that she invents, creating a series of instantly relatable vignettes.
Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut suffered from a reductionist marketing campaign upon its initial release, “it’s Super Bad for girls” was the line that sailed wide of the mark. A tender, even-handed and most importantly funny film tells the story of two best friends (played by Beanie Feldstein & Kaitlyn Dever) attempt to fit an entire school life’s worth of partying into one night. What follows is a ‘into the night’ comedy in the grand tradition of ‘American Graffiti’ & ‘Dazed & Confused’ that, through smart direction and knockout performances, offers an original perspective on well worn tropes. The soundtrack is also one for the ages!