Excuse me, do you know what month it is? December, you say? Actually, it’s Decembeaver — at least according to actress/comedienne Sarah Cooper and her friends.
You’re not familiar with Decembeaver? Neither were we until this video started making the social media rounds a few days ago. It’s basically a spoof on the whole Movember thing — you know, the prostate and testicular cancer fundraising gimmick whereby men grow moustaches for the entire month of November.
Well, if men can toss their razors for a month for the sake of Cancer prevention and research, then why shouldn’t women toss theirs, as well? And just as Movember focuses on letting one particular type of hair grow wild and free, so does Decembeaver. You can probably guess from the initiative’s name what we’re talking about here: pubic hair.
Like many Americans, particularly those who share my gender, I’ve spent a good deal of my spring and summer immersed in new books by (and mostly for) women. But I want to take a break from buzzing about the erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the creepy thriller “Gone Girl” to talk about two other notable books of the year. Because Cheryl Strayed’s memoir “Wild” and Caitlin Moran memoir-meets-manifesto “How to Be a Woman” are both gifts to literature and feminism.
These two tomes have become the literary equivalent of viral sensations. They’re passed from reader to reader, though now, of course, “Wild” has the added bonus of Oprah’s resurrected book club to give it serious commercial heft. They are both excellent reads — page-turners with substance, full of confessional detail and wondrous writing in divergent styles. Each book demonstrates the power of personal narrative as feminist testimony, and together they reveal two aspects of feminism that aren’t strictly political in nature: the deeply compassionate, soul-searching side and the powerfully saucy and defiant one.
“Wild” is the story of Strayed’s long summer hiking the Pacific Crest Trail — of her journey rebuilding her life literally one step at a time after wallowing in dangerous drug use and casual sex in the wake of her mother’s death. In my mind, Strayed’s memoir joins Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild” as a seminal contemporary account of human interactions with nature; it’s a female constructive yin to that book’s male nihilistic yang. Strayed’s descriptions of losing her toenails, being caked in dirt and dehydrated, and feeling her body transform during grueling hikes are all memorable for their vivid physicality. You feel what she feels. At the same time, she chronicles her grief and slow reintroduction to the pleasure and pain of life, and these moments are as deeply emotional and raw as it gets. Strayed, who for a period of time wrote the anonymous advice column “Dear Sugar” at The Rumpus, told Bitch magazine that everything she is and does is informed by her feminism, including promoting her book.
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