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DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland views activism and feminism as they play out in one writer's political, artistic and spiritual life. A distinguished semifinalist for OSU’s 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize, De Facto… is a cross between Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Jean Toomer's Cane, blending essay, poems, graphics and literary criticis DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland views activism and feminism as they play out in one writer's political, artistic and spiritual life. A distinguished semifinalist for OSU’s 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize, De Facto… is a cross between Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Jean Toomer's Cane, blending essay, poems, graphics and literary criticism. An act of self-definition spanning four decades, the central person in DeFacto... is the writer herself, a feminist foot soldier. With the feel of memoir, these essays align with female thinkers Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Lorde, Alice Walker, Michelle Wallace, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Paula Giddings, Michelle Alexander, Roxane Gay and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Much like the central character in her semi-autobiographical novel, Virgin Soul, whom Juanita calls a female foot soldier, the voice herein is a feminist foot soldier, processing major shifts in American society through the portal of her own artistic development. The essays are set chronologically, beginning with a picture of her Tuskegee Airman father, and an account of a not altogether idyllic childhood in Oakland, California. A patchwork narrative emerges: Growing up in Oakland in the fifties and sixties. Comparing her burgeoning sexuality to young white females in 1964 having orgiastic responses to the Beatles. Formulating an erstwhile womanhood based on Black Nationalism. Deconstructing the infamous N-word controversy. Looking back acerbically at her romance with The Gun and the black power movement. Paying homage to Black Arts Movement poet Carolyn M. Rodgers. Celebrating 21st century feminism in unexpected places. Examining race and micro-aggression in liberal Berkeley. Living with a ghost/mentor for a year. The book's format moves from essay to poem to epistle, utilizing the genre of letter writing in the final essay, “Acknowledge Me,” a true ghost story in which a dead playwright, once her teacher, pushes her to succeed. “Whatever Happened to Carolyn M. Rodgers?” pays homage to a poet who became a phantom of the Black Arts Movement (BAM). Rodgers utilized the militancy of the era to draw attention to larger social issues. She mixed slang, nostalgia, curse words, sociology, raw revelation of sexual intimacies to address the abyss between black men and women; she became a near pariah for reviving her Christian faith. “Report from the Front” indicates how America’s most liberal city still channels racism. “De Facto Feminism” tallies the ways feminism finds its way in a country that counts black women out, from fighting/finding contingency, building bridges, breaking bread, doing bizness the old fashioned way, and myriad other examples. “Cleaning Other People’s Houses” considers the value of physical labor as the author works as a domestic for a living; Juanita leaves that job remembering that Zora Neale Hurston worked as a domestic in the last impoverished decade of her life. In the wake of Trayvon Martin, “The Gun as Ultimate Performance Poem” looks at the gun’s power and role in the African American community from the Panthers to the present. “Five Comrades in The Black Panther Party, 1967-1970” is the author’s recollection on joining the Black Panthers and revisiting the movement some 40 years later. “All The Women in My Family Read Terry McMillan” finds the newly minted novelist asking what to do about black literature, as she finds that it doesn’t quite fit with the chick lit and black chick-lit books her friends and family are reading. “Putting the Funny in the Novel” was written after her agent said her novel (about the Black Panthers) wasn’t funny enough. Juanita learned standup and lived to tell the tale (and jokes). “The N-Word.” In an age of trigger warnings and multiple N-Word explosions, Juanita blasts its premature burial…with qualifications, considerations – and calling it on white cops.


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DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland views activism and feminism as they play out in one writer's political, artistic and spiritual life. A distinguished semifinalist for OSU’s 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize, De Facto… is a cross between Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Jean Toomer's Cane, blending essay, poems, graphics and literary criticis DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland views activism and feminism as they play out in one writer's political, artistic and spiritual life. A distinguished semifinalist for OSU’s 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize, De Facto… is a cross between Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Jean Toomer's Cane, blending essay, poems, graphics and literary criticism. An act of self-definition spanning four decades, the central person in DeFacto... is the writer herself, a feminist foot soldier. With the feel of memoir, these essays align with female thinkers Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Lorde, Alice Walker, Michelle Wallace, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Paula Giddings, Michelle Alexander, Roxane Gay and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. Much like the central character in her semi-autobiographical novel, Virgin Soul, whom Juanita calls a female foot soldier, the voice herein is a feminist foot soldier, processing major shifts in American society through the portal of her own artistic development. The essays are set chronologically, beginning with a picture of her Tuskegee Airman father, and an account of a not altogether idyllic childhood in Oakland, California. A patchwork narrative emerges: Growing up in Oakland in the fifties and sixties. Comparing her burgeoning sexuality to young white females in 1964 having orgiastic responses to the Beatles. Formulating an erstwhile womanhood based on Black Nationalism. Deconstructing the infamous N-word controversy. Looking back acerbically at her romance with The Gun and the black power movement. Paying homage to Black Arts Movement poet Carolyn M. Rodgers. Celebrating 21st century feminism in unexpected places. Examining race and micro-aggression in liberal Berkeley. Living with a ghost/mentor for a year. The book's format moves from essay to poem to epistle, utilizing the genre of letter writing in the final essay, “Acknowledge Me,” a true ghost story in which a dead playwright, once her teacher, pushes her to succeed. “Whatever Happened to Carolyn M. Rodgers?” pays homage to a poet who became a phantom of the Black Arts Movement (BAM). Rodgers utilized the militancy of the era to draw attention to larger social issues. She mixed slang, nostalgia, curse words, sociology, raw revelation of sexual intimacies to address the abyss between black men and women; she became a near pariah for reviving her Christian faith. “Report from the Front” indicates how America’s most liberal city still channels racism. “De Facto Feminism” tallies the ways feminism finds its way in a country that counts black women out, from fighting/finding contingency, building bridges, breaking bread, doing bizness the old fashioned way, and myriad other examples. “Cleaning Other People’s Houses” considers the value of physical labor as the author works as a domestic for a living; Juanita leaves that job remembering that Zora Neale Hurston worked as a domestic in the last impoverished decade of her life. In the wake of Trayvon Martin, “The Gun as Ultimate Performance Poem” looks at the gun’s power and role in the African American community from the Panthers to the present. “Five Comrades in The Black Panther Party, 1967-1970” is the author’s recollection on joining the Black Panthers and revisiting the movement some 40 years later. “All The Women in My Family Read Terry McMillan” finds the newly minted novelist asking what to do about black literature, as she finds that it doesn’t quite fit with the chick lit and black chick-lit books her friends and family are reading. “Putting the Funny in the Novel” was written after her agent said her novel (about the Black Panthers) wasn’t funny enough. Juanita learned standup and lived to tell the tale (and jokes). “The N-Word.” In an age of trigger warnings and multiple N-Word explosions, Juanita blasts its premature burial…with qualifications, considerations – and calling it on white cops.

37 review for De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mari LivTollefsonCarlson

    DE FACTO FEMINISM: ESSAYS STRAIGHT OUTTA OAKLAND begins with several reprinted works mostly from The Weeklings (theweeklings.com), an online forum dedicated to essay, and ends with an original piece comprised of letters between Faith, a writer, and Alexis, the wife of Faith’s deceased teacher. The latter brings all the formers to an intense close filled with both grief and joy, making a story of what started out as a manifesto. Essays on the N-word, guns, cleaning, the Beatles, black chick-lit, DE FACTO FEMINISM: ESSAYS STRAIGHT OUTTA OAKLAND begins with several reprinted works mostly from The Weeklings (theweeklings.com), an online forum dedicated to essay, and ends with an original piece comprised of letters between Faith, a writer, and Alexis, the wife of Faith’s deceased teacher. The latter brings all the formers to an intense close filled with both grief and joy, making a story of what started out as a manifesto. Essays on the N-word, guns, cleaning, the Beatles, black chick-lit, growing up in Oakland, and the Black Panthers flesh out what Judy Juanita means by de facto feminism: women who define feminism simply by doing what they must do, and what they do best. They make the word, not it them. So, too, the author, like the heroes and heroines she describes, exploits what might exploit her when she uses words and music as tools for change in her high school and college years and later, her own life as a source of creative material. In the final piece, “Acknowledge Me: a true ghost story/epistolary essay,” instead of cowering beneath a powerful, successful, charismatic, not to mention alluring, older white male teacher, the author (Faith) becomes his medium. She writes to his widow about their unconventional conversations and through him they become not only friends but collaborators. This last piece is a brilliant play within a play, showing Juanita’s true talent for showing (not telling) character development while also developing ideas she explores in the previous essays - the artist/writer lifestyle, the role of “the establishment” in her work, friends/loved ones’ support and the spirit world. At first, I felt threatened by this book. How could I relate as an affluent, caucasian, Midwest woman? Even as fellow artist and writer, am I the establishment even if I don’t intend to be, because I’m white? But, as the essays became more personal (and when she mentions a fellow writer she likes because she is Midwestern, with a dry sense of humor), I felt inspired. We’re not enemies. The enemy might lie within us or outside us, but whatever it is, it keeps us apart, not together, as we are when we work for a common cause, listening to one another as Judy Juanita so graciously and wittily does with herself, her peers, students and those who have blazed the trail for her, to whom she dedicates the book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I jumped into this book quickly, too quick to really reflect on the title, De Facto Feminism. The sub-title, Essays Straight Outta Oakland, I understood, so half way through the book, I stopped to understand what the main title meant. As I read the author's definition of the title, I understood with my own life experiences what it means to survive difficulties as a woman, a Black woman. The author presents a platform of her own survival and how to change difficult situations into experiences of I jumped into this book quickly, too quick to really reflect on the title, De Facto Feminism. The sub-title, Essays Straight Outta Oakland, I understood, so half way through the book, I stopped to understand what the main title meant. As I read the author's definition of the title, I understood with my own life experiences what it means to survive difficulties as a woman, a Black woman. The author presents a platform of her own survival and how to change difficult situations into experiences of growth. How encouraging and motivational! We all enjoy reminiscing about our past, reliving experiences, situations, friends and situations. However, the author recaptured the rapture in such detail, I thought I was at her house, at her school, with her friends, and with them all at a concert, or dance, or right there with them in the living room watching The Ed Sullivan Show. I so enjoyed her teen years, dancing with the door knob, and learning how not to lead your partner on the dance floor. I’m just in awe that she remembered such details, like it was yesterday. Living in a household with two parents, was an experience that I and many of my neighbors did not enjoy or understand. The picture of the father being the head of the family, created this woman of strength. The layout of the book is unique and offers tidbits of surprises when you least expected it, the quotes, pictures, and dialogue, helps you seek more. I however, longed for more personal experiences that were learned from the author’s readings and writings. “I learn through making big, fat mistakes vs. reading/perfecting in my mind.” P73 I’d love to hear the mistakes and the victory of such. What were the feelings on December 5, 2011 when her long awaited novel sold? What were the inner feelings of this renaissance woman, when her book sold? Many years, and much pain had occurred, what was learned? It had to be more than, “I’m A Novelist”? However, it took courage, lots of it, to continue with her dreams, through unemployment, cleaning houses, substitute teaching and raising a child. These were all paths to the end, but what does it feel like to WIN?

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lucille Day

    Wisdom for Everyone Judy Juanita is an extraordinary writer. I’ve previously been swept away by her poetry and her novel, Virgin Soul. Her latest book, De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland, does not disappoint. The essays cover such topics as coming of age, political activism (as a young woman, Juanita was a member of the Black Panther Party), feminism, black womanhood, and the process of becoming a writer, but one need not be a political activist, feminist, African American, woman, o Wisdom for Everyone Judy Juanita is an extraordinary writer. I’ve previously been swept away by her poetry and her novel, Virgin Soul. Her latest book, De Facto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland, does not disappoint. The essays cover such topics as coming of age, political activism (as a young woman, Juanita was a member of the Black Panther Party), feminism, black womanhood, and the process of becoming a writer, but one need not be a political activist, feminist, African American, woman, or writer to appreciate Juanita’s insights and stories. She is speaking to everyone, and she has wisdom to impart to all of us. The title essay expands the definition of feminism by making the case that as single parents working hard at low-paying jobs, black women are de facto feminists: they have no one to depend on except themselves. Ultimately, Juanita’s autobiographical stories are about not giving up on our dreams in the never-ending process of creating ourselves. Like Juanita, I grew up in and around Oakland, California, and also like Juanita, I still live there. Moreover, I am her contemporary. Yet I have much to learn from her. For example, I was a freshman at UC Berkeley in 1967 when Juanita joined the Black Panthers. I knew about the Panthers, of course. I read about their activities all the time in the newspaper. In other words, I was on the sidelines, an observer of something she was in the middle of. Both her essays and her novel have given me insight into the black power movement and ’60s radicalism. In addition to being a poet, novelist, essayist, and college instructor, Judy Juanita is a playwright. After reading De Facto Feminism and Virgin Soul, I can assure you that the day I hear that tickets are on sale for one of her plays, I will be first in line.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Judy Juanita

    I love this book. Of course, I'm biased because I wrote it. DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland views activism and feminism as it plays out in one writer's political, artistic and spiritual life. A distinguished semifinalist for OSU’s 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize, De Facto… is biomythography, a cross between Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Jean Toomer's Cane, blending essay, poems, graphics by the late Rini Templeton and literary criticism. It is an act of self I love this book. Of course, I'm biased because I wrote it. DeFacto Feminism: Essays Straight Outta Oakland views activism and feminism as it plays out in one writer's political, artistic and spiritual life. A distinguished semifinalist for OSU’s 2016 Non/Fiction Collection Prize, De Facto… is biomythography, a cross between Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Jean Toomer's Cane, blending essay, poems, graphics by the late Rini Templeton and literary criticism. It is an act of self-definition spanning four decades. The central person in DeFacto... is a feminist foot soldier. With the feel of memoir, these essays follow a long line of female thinkers, including Anna Julia Cooper, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Michelle Wallace, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Paula Giddings, Michelle Alexander, Roxane Gay, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. The central character in my semi-autobiographical novel, Virgin Soul, calls herself a female foot soldier. The voice in these essays is a feminist foot soldier, processing major shifts in American society through the portal of her own artistic development.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Moraa

    Not really my thing but it had a very powerful message. Would definitely recommend for history fans and activists.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ridley Zarate

    Honestly a great read for anyone interested in learning more about feminism, human rights, racism,police brutality. There's something for everyone in this book. Honestly a great read for anyone interested in learning more about feminism, human rights, racism,police brutality. There's something for everyone in this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sonja

  8. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  9. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Pratt

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Ylitalo

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

  12. 4 out of 5

    Allee

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Bailey

  17. 4 out of 5

    Malka Essock

  18. 4 out of 5

    Inventory

  19. 5 out of 5

    April D.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Edie

  21. 5 out of 5

    Serena

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kali

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shaunterria

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ginny Beck

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

  27. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Anne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachael Russell

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lukas Sotola

  30. 4 out of 5

    Negi

  31. 5 out of 5

    SlowReadingJohn

  32. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  33. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  34. 5 out of 5

    Grits Helme

  35. 5 out of 5

    Holly

  36. 5 out of 5

    enoughtohold

  37. 4 out of 5

    Mahdia

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