Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Some thoughts on the Sept/Oct 2007 Issue of Women’s Review of Books

Edited to Add: I recieved an email from Carol Bere and the editor of Women's Review of Books, Amy Hoffman, in regards to this post. There will be a correction in the November/December issue.

In the Sept/Oct 07 issue there is an article-review, actually-on a book about Assia Weevil: The Other Woman, Lover of Unreason: Assia Weevil, Sylvia Plath’s Rival and Ted Hughes’s Doomed Love by Eliat Negev and Yehunda Koren (reviewed by Carol Bere).

What I found even more interesting than the article, and even the book itself, were the photographs chosen for the article and the captions that went along with them.

The pictures chosen are two very well known images of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.

When I first read (eh, skimmed) the article I thought, how strange that there would be no pictures of the subject of the book herself, and gave it no more thought than that.

Later, after reading the paper in more depth (when I didn’t have a toddler clamoring at my side), I noticed upon closer observation, the captions underneath the pictures-the first: “Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes” and the second… “Ted Hughes and Assia Weevil”.

The second picture is obviously not of Hughes and Weevil, but that of Plath and Hughes.

My first reaction was, Wow. Even here, 40 + years after Plath’s death, in a review on the first book published of her so-called 'rival', she asserts her position as the Alpha Female within the Plath-Hughes story.

Then again, take away the romanticism (or whatever you want to call it) and it’s just an
editorial mistake, something that slipped by the proof reader’s eye.

Other articles to check out in this issue:
-Reinterpreting the Ancients: Portrait of a Priestess: Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece.

-The Bush Countdown: George W. Bush and the War on Women: Turning Back the Clock on Progress

If you haven’t already, check out this publication. It is very much worth it.

So many “women’s magazines” –those geared specifically at women- are, more often than not-slightly condescending towards women. Surely we have interests beyond the latest fashion and beauty tips (i.e. 10 ways to stay hot, How to keep the fire going in the bedroom, etc.) which apple is the best for pie. Not to mention the women’s publications that seem ‘empowering’, intelligent and going beyond the norm, yet miss the point entirely (We’Moon…..).

As for review mags (well, let’s face it, most main stream mags and papers), they have a tendency to write to the ‘general public’, mostly viewed as male. (Hello, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, etc). Yes, this is the 21st Century, but we still have a bit to go concerning bias of audience gender.

The Women’s Review of Books does not fall into the category of the traditional “women’s magazines” nor does it make it into your traditional review magazine. It is geared towards women, but is certainly an accessible read.

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