Contributors Pick the Best of 2012

by | January 1, 2013
filed under Books, Can-Con, Feminism, Politics, Pop Culture

Person on podiumHappy New Year, everyone! As is our tradition, I asked the Gender Focus contributors about some of their highlights from how they spent the past year, and here’s what they came up with:

How to Survive a Plague PosterFavourite Movie:


Ashli Lloyd: Prometheus

Chanel: I have two: How to Survive a Plague is a documentary about the activism around the AIDS crisis. I went in expecting to spend two hours analyzing direct action tactics, and left feeling devastated, but weirdly hopeful.

From the Black, You Make Color is a documentary (yes, I only watch documentaries) about a beauty academy in Tel Aviv and its students and staff, all folks on the periphery of Israeli society. It’s an important, insightful piece about identity and class.

Jessica Mason McFadden: I’ll go with the one movie I saw: Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita.

E. Cain: The Odd Life of Timothy Green. I didn’t watch many movies this year, but this one is a super cute family film.

Favourite Book Read in 2012:


Sarah Jensen: Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream. A fascinating look into curb heights, street widths, and the importance of parallel parking. Really interesting to learn how crucial city planning is to building strong communities.

E. Cain: Prisoner of Tehran, A Memoir by Marina Nemat. My boss gave me this book for Christmas, a powerful memoir written by a strong woman – I highly recommend!

Chanel Dubofsky: The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg. If Jami Attenberg writes it, I will read it. The Middlesteins is her latest book, about a Midwestern Jewish family trying to avoid, deal with and make sense of each other. It’s startling, meaty and gorgeous.

Jessica Critcher: Why Have Kids? by Jessica Valenti. The title is all snark– it’s a rhetorical question. It’s a great read for someone happily living child-free (who occasionally finds herself defending that lifestyle choice). It’s also great for moms because it gets past all of the “mommy wars” crap that the media keeps creating and circulating. My mom loved it too– we recommend it to all of the moms we know.

Issue/Cause That Most Inspired You:



Chanel: Occupy, Occupy, Occupy.

Jarrah: #IdleNoMore. It’s been incredibly powerful to see a grassroots movements led by Indigenous people for Indigenous rights spring up and spread so quickly across Canada. It’s an almost unprecedented opportunity for non-Indigenous Canadians to put action behind our words by standing behind and supporting First Nations people in Canada.

Sarah: Food. In the last year I’ve learned so much about the impact that food has on my own health and the health of our environment.

Jessica Critcher: This is always hard! But since I have to pick, I would say the WAM! (Women, Action and the Media) campaign to build a grassroots direct action network for gender justice in the media. They had an Indie-Go-Go campaign over the summer and raised more than $10,000 to build a new state of the art website. Pretty legit.

Ashli: I’ve been most active in the Body Acceptance movement by doing body image presentations in schools.  I’ve been so inspired by Kate Harding’s blog “Shapely Prose”, which closed up shop in 2010 but you can still access the great resources on it like Kate’s visual BMI Project.       

Best Place You Travelled:


Sarah: Vancouver.

E. Cain: London and Paris. I did my first ever Eurotrip this past summer!

Jarrah: Cuba. Really needed some time to relax on the beach, but we also spent some time in Havana and it was really neat to learn about some of the under-recognized women revolutionaries who fought alongside Che and Castro.

Jessica Critcher: Niagara Falls, Ontario! I accomplished my resolution from last year to get a passport and travel out of the country. I had poutine for the first time. It was as magical as I hoped it would be. Thanks, Canada!

Best Experience of the Year for You Personally:


E. Cain: Flew from London to Ottawa on a plane full of Canada’s parolympians. Was really special to be able to cheer on our athletes and see the reception they received when we got back to Canada.

Jessica Mason McFadden: Finding ways to incorporate gender-represenation issues into my Composition 180 curriculum.

Jessica Critcher: I wrote over 100,000 words this year! After three drafts my “book” is starting to resemble something that makes sense. Maybe by this time next year it will be presentable and I will be able to show it to people.

Ashli: Spending every day of 2012 with the love of my life and building our little family by adopting the most handsome cat Leonard (named after Leonard Nimoy, obviously).

slayersFavourite TV Show:


Jessica Critcher: I went down a Netflix rabbit hole and found Slayers, an anime from the 90’s about a teenage sorceress and her goofy companions. Lena Inverse kicks ass and takes names in hilarious fashion.

Jarrah: I got pretty into Doctor Who in the past few months, feeling like that was an underdeveloped area of my geekdom. I’m only in the 3rd season of the new ones (2nd season of David Tennant) but it’s awesome light, nerdy TV for a weekend. Werewolves threatening Queen Victoria? Witches stealing from Shakespeare? Totally my kind of show.

Sarah: Didn’t watch much T.V. this year, but couldn’t get enough of Breaking Bad.

Ashli: Misfits (a hilariously geeky Brit comedy).

Favourite Band/Song:


Sarah: Letter to Hermione by David Bowie. Picked up Space Oddity on vinyl and fell in love with the thin white duke all over again.

Jessica Critcher: I stumbled upon local bad-ass Kristen Ford while planning a women’s rights rally here in Boston. Her sound is refreshing and upbeat, and she is an awesome human being for playing at our rally.

Jessica Mason McFadden: “Most High” (Jimmy Page, Robert Plant), Joan Armatrading’s “Drop the Pilot”

E. Cain: Maroon Five’s Payphone has been on repeat on my playlist lately.

Favourite Blog (other than Gender Focus):


Ashli: Health at Every Size 

Sarah: Of Another Fashion. An alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color.

Jessica Mason McFadden: and

Chanel: Fat, Smart, Pretty by the great Jenn Leyva.

Jarrah: This is always a tough one. I monitor 40+ feminist and LGBT blogs to write the weekly round-ups and stay on top of relevant happenings. Some of the ones I’ve found most useful this past year are The F Word (UK), TowleroadTransgriot, and Sociological Images.

(image of podium via Wikimedia Commons)

, , , , , , ,