II. Interpretive Choices Past and Present: O'Connor's Spatio-Topical Focus
The collective recommends vegetation is no higher than one metre, so you can see behind it, and that trees are maintained so as not to block lighting. And on occasions where creepy old developments are to be rebuilt, the collective is ready to make sure they become spaces for all ages and genders. It was a square women used to avoid. Another key aspect, says Ortiz, is how women are represented in the streets.
Waiting alone at a bus stop displaying a sexist advertisement can feel like a hostile environment rather than a place of respect for women. To combat this, across Spain there have been pushes to name streets after women or female-associated professions. Murals or public art, especially feminist works remembering the contribution of women, are encouraged. In these poorly serviced, cheek-by-jowl settlements, one in four girls are raped every year, according to the rape prevention organisation No Means No Worldwide.
Boys, meanwhile, are taught to challenge rape myths, seek consent and to recognise when women are in danger and stand up for them. Ten months after completing the course, more than half of female participants reported that they had used their new skills to avert sexual assault. Three-quarters of boys trained by No Means No have successfully intervened in a violent or sexual assault on a woman. In May, the Cairo-based actor and former activist Amal Fathy complained publicly about being sexually harassed on a visit to her bank. She uploaded a video detailing the event saying the government was failing to protect women, only to be promptly arrested.
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She was also fined for making public insults. A UN survey in found that It was this climate of fear and denial that spawned HarassMap. Like SafetiPin, it crowdsources data from its users, only instead of safety ratings, it is for logging sexual harassment and violence. When a user reports an incident, they receive an automated response with advice and contacts to help get support and justice.
The aim is to make plain the scale of the epidemic, show that it affects all women and it is not their fault, and reveal where harassment occurs mostly in the streets and on public transport. Since the launch of HarassMap in , sexual harassment has finally been recognised as a crime in Egypt , and the HarassMap concept has been replicated in 80 other countries, including Greece, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
American author Madeline Miller, who won the prize in for her debut The Song of Achilles, is again nominated for her follow-up, Circe , while Diana Evans, who won the now-obsolete new writers category in for her debut 26a, is chosen for her third novel Ordinary People. And Mexican author Valeria Luiselli is nominated for the first time for Lost Children Archive, which follows one family making a car journey south from New York to Arizona, while the news is reporting on migrant families from Mexico desperately trying to reach the US.
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And of course, amazing storytelling and gripping plots. It was first awarded in to the late Helen Dunmore. We pass the ghost of the restaurant where she met her husband, a documentary filmmaker. It closed at the beginning of this year. We pass the house where Strayed and her family lived while she was finishing Wild : a modest, pleasant, Arts-and-Crafts-style home whose white trim, she informs me, was purple during her tenure. It is called the Lone Fir, but there are trees everywhere, the tombstones below like an understory.
The path is covered in the yellow fans of ginkgo leaves. It is continuing, so far, to not rain. Her father was abusive. Her mother was hardworking, optimistic, patient with adversity, vocal and unconditional in her love for her kids.
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When Strayed was 5, the family moved to Minnesota; the next year, her mother left her father. Eventually she remarried, this time to a man who doted on the family and helped build them a home in rural northern Minnesota. Strayed graduated from high school, went to the University of Minnesota, fell in love, and got married while still a student. Her mother, who had missed out on higher education earlier in life, enrolled in college when Strayed did.
Strayed herself, also a senior at the time, would not graduate for another six years. She started having affairs. One of the men she slept with got her pregnant. That same man introduced her to heroin. She and her husband got divorced. In effect, she and herself got divorced. Only the first few words of the lines below are legible: A precious … A voice … A place ….
Time works strange changes on the world. Some things grow dull, some grow wild, some erode past legibility.
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After Strayed saved her life, after she told her story, after that story became a best seller, strangers started asking her what she would say if she could go back in time and talk to her mother. As she describes in the book, Strayed grew up on the economic margins.
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Her mother cleaned buildings and waited tables to support the family. The leanest years ended when she remarried, but money remained tight, and the home in rural Minnesota lacked indoor plumbing. Strayed worked from adolescence onward to put herself through college and, later, an M.
That education, in turn, put Strayed into an entirely different universe. She bought a second home — a cabin in the mountains east of Portland — and has traveled all over the world; last year, she and her family vacationed with Oprah in Hawaii. We have a name for what Strayed experienced: the American Dream. With living-wage jobs declining and class stratification increasing, that dream is ever more elusive, but Strayed is among those who achieved it.
Through hard work, higher education, and very little in the way of outside help, she raised herself out of poverty and into the middle class. Eventually, of course, she rose even higher, into the kind of glamour — text messages from Oprah — that even the American Dream can only dream of. But it is the basic bootstrapping from poverty to self-sufficiency that we observe in Wild, and that helps make its story so automatically appealing. It is not. But the book succeeded in part because of the way it fits into the prevailing stories we tell about three things: about class, about women, and about suffering.
Those stories are not separable, of course. The American Dream, for instance, is a fantasy of self-reliance, but our culture is iffy on self-reliant women. The way Wild handles that problem became most clear to me while watching the movie version. Witherspoon kept those promises. As the star of Wild, she is grubby, unglamorous, and convincing.
As a producer, she delivers a film that passes the famous Bechdel Test: At least two women talk to each other about something other than a man. In fact, it also passes a kind of Advanced Bechdel Test: A non-crazy woman talks to herself about something other than a man. In it, Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, a scientist on a NASA space shuttle who must find her way back to Earth after a debris strike destroys the shuttle and kills her colleagues.
Gravity is fiction while Wild is a memoir, but both offer the experience — extraordinarily rare in popular culture — of watching a woman teach herself how to get from A to B under very difficult circumstances and entirely alone. What struck me most, though, is the symmetry of the backstories in Wild and Gravity. Strayed sets out on her journey after the loss of her mother and husband, stepfather, father, and childhood home , Stone after the loss of her 4-year-old daughter.
There is no Mr.
Granted, men, too, sometimes seek out extreme environments in response to psychic wounds, in life as well as in literature. But for them, the wound is optional; men are free to undertake an adventure without needing trauma or anything else to legitimize it. As a literary device, the destruction of the home front silences these concerns. But it has another advantage: It is universally familiar — not from stories about independent women but from stories about independent children.
In real life, the death of a parent is an agonizing loss.