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Laurie Penny

Bitch Doctrine

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“An invaluable case for truth-telling in an age of chaos and lies.” --Emily Nussbaum

“[Penny] bravely keeps thinking and talking and learning and trying to make the world better.” --Caitlin Moran

Smart and provocative, witty and uncompromising, this collection of Laurie Penny's celebrated essays establishes her as one of the most important and vibrant political voices of our time. Bitch Doctrine takes an unflinching look at the definitive issues of our age, from the shock of Donald Trump's election and the victories of the far right to online harassment and the transgender rights movement.

Penny is lyrical and passionate in her desire to confront injustice, and she's writing at the raw edge of a revolution-hungry zeitgeist, a time when it has never been more vital to actively question and fiercely dispute all forms of complacency, including social norms. This darkly comic, often biting yet empathic, revelatory collection will inform, challenge, and engage, and give readers hope and tools for change.
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    dannynicolinihas quoted4 years ago
    reason it seems easier for women, queers and people of colour to come up with nuanced and diverse futures is that, in many ways, the future is already where we’ve always lived. Women’s liberation today is an artefact of technology as well as culture: contraceptive and medical technology mean that, for the first time in the history of the species, women are able to control their reproductive destiny, to decide when and if they want children, and to take as much control of their sexual experience as society will allow. (Society has been slow to allow it: this is not the sort of progress futurists get excited about.) It has been noted that many of the soi-disant ‘disruptive’ products being marketed as game changers by Silicon Valley startup kids are things that women thought of years ago. Food substitutes like Soylent and Huel are pushed as the future of nutrition while women have been consuming exactly the same stuff for years as weight-loss shakes and meal replacements. People were using metal implants to prevent pregnancy and artificial hormones to adjust their gendered appearance decades before ‘body hackers’ started jamming magnets in their fingertips and calling themselves cyborgs.
    But what precisely is it about stories by women and people of colour, stories in which civilisation is built and rebuilt by humans of all shapes and flavours working together, that throws water on the exposed wires of masculine pride? It’s all about how humans cope when their core beliefs are threatened. As Frantz Fanon wrote, ‘When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn’t fit in with the core belief.
    dannynicolinihas quoted4 years ago
    become commonplace to say that science fiction is always, at least in part, about the time it was written in. The twentieth century was a time of seismic change in gender relations, and these stories reflect the anxieties and aspirations of their age – but so does the manner in which they were produced and read. Feminist science fiction has always been of huge literary importance within the field. Writers like James Tiptree Jr, Octavia Butler and Ursula Le Guin aren’t just innovators in how they approach gender – they’re innovators full stop. The stories are gripping. The language is gorgeous. The pieces stay with you. So why are they always overlooked when we talk about the Golden Age of Science Fiction? Because there were people reading in secret whose dreams were considered unimportant. Because these visions had to be written out of the broader story humanity tells about its desires – until now.
    dannynicolinihas quoted4 years ago
    Significantly, while most posit a world in which women take terrible socio-sexual revenge for centuries of male violence and structural oppression, not one of them denies that that violence and oppression actually happened.

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