B1 Intermediate US 37 Folder Collection
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Hello Emma! Rebecca! Lovely to be hanging out with you!
00:00:12,035 --> 00:00:15,255 This is a dream come true for me. This is genuinely...I love this part
of the world and to get to interview you
in my favorite part of the world is kind of about as good as it gets
so - thank you so much for agreeing to do this.
My pleasure! lovely to hang out with you again
You are one of the most intelligent and
prolific women I know and have had
the pleasure to meet. You've written 20 books on feminism..
Well i've written 24 or 25 books, but
many of them are not about feminism [Yes]
All of them are secretly feminist and some of them are overtly feminist
...I would say! That makes sense! [Yes]
What drives you to write so
prolifically? I successfully
avoided husbands and children and day jobs. [laughter]
Those things can all really interfere
with your productivity. [laughter]
Amazing! and I'm always
fascinated by...
I find if I have anything to write I procrastinate
magnificently. Do you have
a rigorous writing schedule
whereby you write between this hour and this hour
and you eat this very specific thing and...
is there a routine that kind of helps you
get so much done?
I get up every morning and have tea
with milk on an octagonal tray I bought at a thrift store
many years ago...
and like that has to happen fairly early
and then the rest of it is kind of a muddle and a blur
and I often feel like the most distracted, disorganized person
ever...but books do
issue fourth regularly which makes me think
'if i'm this disorganized, what's everybody else
doing?' [laughter] and...
00:01:50,085 --> 00:01:52,735 But , you know I really wanted to be a writer
I love books and writing was
like one way - even more than reading - to be
with books, in books, about books and so
when I learnt how to read, I just decided I was going to write books
...which is a very easy decision until
you actually have to do it, but
somehow, one thing led to another.
In your bio, you cite that you are a
product of the California public
school system from kindergarten to graduate school.
How did that shape you ? Why did you
want to mention it in that way?
It's actually very funny, I was on a panel with two men
just up the road in Monterey about 10 years ago
and they both named dropped
their ivy league universities. I was like 'your older than me,
we don't name drop our universities'
and then I was like 'that's what an ivy league education
is for apparently!
and I was like well.... can Isay bad words on this?
[Yes, I think so] Well I was like well 'fuck it! if they are gonna name drop...
the ivy leagues, i'm gonna name drop
public education in California. [Yes!]
That's so cool! I sometimes worry that
someday they'll say like 'well we should defund that
because it produced her' but... [laughter]
But I just realized, you know...
we've got to name drop these things. That's amazing! I love that you
did that so incredibly specifically.
Was there one specific moment or
a series of moments that led up to you
knowing that you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a ballerina and then I learnt how to write,
how to read, which apparently happened very rapidly
in first grade.
My Mom says the first week; and then I thought
I wanted to be a librarian 'cos they
spar with books all day - what could be lovelier than that?
Until I realized that somebody wrote all those books,
and books for me, you know it's like a magic
box - until you can read them,
you can open it, but you can't actually
see what's inside, or do anything with what's inside, so
just that act of learning how to read pretty quickly
to my third and final career decision which I've stuck with.
Amazing! Yeah
It's very easy to decide to do something,
actually doing it is a whole other thing.
And it must have been like that with you deciding to be an actress?
You had to act? Yeah...well...
It did happen fast! Yes! it certainly did
I mean, it kind of came out of nowhere
to be honest. It was actually
poems and poetry that really got me and I was on the debating team
because I was really nerdy like that! That was what got me into it...
This feels like a ....
it must be a calling for you. I mean you've truly dedicated your life
to doing this, and I love that sometimes I
email you and I get an "out of office" kind of...
'In order to get anything done, I cannot respond to
emails' and I just love that you
create that.. [I try] Yeah!
The really nice people
listen to those things and the less nice people
continue to chase you around.
Really?! As you know, as you know...
[Yeah] But it's a really interesting thing that
nobody calls you up, nobody emails you
desperately urging you to
do the work most central to your life and your vision
and yourself, everybody wants you to do something other than that,
and a lot - some of it's noble causes
and some of it's favors for deserving friends
and some of it.... you know...
and I believe in service and support of the community
I couldn't possibly do everything i'm
asked to do
and if I did
half of it, I would never write another book, so there's
this interesting thing [love that!]
I think if I had been popular as a young woman, I would have
had a much easier time with people wanting things from me, but
you know, I was like hiding in libraries and
reading a book a day.
I love that 'the work most central to your vision.'
That's such beautiful way of
putting it - which makes sense
because you're a beautiful writer! so, that makes
sense. In 'Whose Story is This?
Old Conflicts and New Chapters', you
talk so brilliantly about how
power determines who gets to tell their story
and who gets to be believed.
Are there
stories, or
people that you really wish we were hearing
more of right now, beyond those that you cite
in your book?
I think everybody in this room,
everybody listening to this recognizes that
women, people of color, non-straight,
non-cisgender people
have not been sufficiently
allowed to take center
stage to the stories, to determine what matters
to set the priorities, and that's changing in some ways,
but something I always feel, and I read about in
the introduction to this book, before we get all like
'they were a disaster, but now we're
awesome and we're so damn woke is...
I feel like...
next year, next decade, next
century, we'll be like 'Oh my God
those people in the year 2019
so completely missed this and now we see...
now we include this thing we excluded, so I feel
there are things we don't see yet and we always have to
recognize how finite
our vision is and how much more is out there
and you know there are other things coming along
and we have to be grateful to the people who woke us up
and who taught us to see these other things as i've
been taught so much by indigenous activists,
black lives matter, feminism
a life blessedly spent among the gay men of San Francisco
and, you know etc...and the drag queens
and the dykes.
Have there been moments, are there things that you've written
that you look back on that you feel
gosh, I ...you know...
I had a blind spot here? or...
Are there things that you would, you wish
that retroactively or in retrospect you could go back and add more
context to? It's interesting because
there are a bunch of things, including my first book which was
about the visual artists who are part of beat culture, who I feel like
I kind of surfed a specific layer of
the culture and you go deeper...
you know I didn't have the
equipment to go after the massive misogyny of that era,
although some of it, as I was talking to
people of that generation was being targeted at me.
The memoir I have coming out that's in your lap
you know, takes care of the beats very
thoroughly as
people will presently see. So you revisited?
Yeah, so I feel like there were things I
understood better and that were clearer
you know, and I don't feel like any of those things is a misrepresentation
but it often feels like I both
have space to say things I might not have earlier
and that it's really
kind of when you tell a story you decide which layer
you're going and that i've been spending
a lot of time the last decade on the feminist layers,
the gender politics and
things which I was gentler about in some of
those earlier books. Interesting.
Of those 20 books
that are part of this
anthology, is there one
particular one that
stands out to you as the one you are most
proud of? Or that you feel...
If, you know... Oh Emma! Impossible, it's like choosing children!
I know, I know!
and it's really ...they did different things
like, my book 'Hope in the Dark'
I wrote in the bleak era
after the bombing in Iraq started and it was
written to
encourage people of what a writer friend of mine reminded me doesn't
to, you know pet people on the head, it means literally to
instill courage and
it played a role in people's own
political lives that was really important to me
my book 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost'
is a much more introspective personal book
that has also been meaningful to people
and a lot of artists have made art in response to it
and stuff - so there's that.
You know, I love the swath
'Men Explain Things' has cut through the Universe
and....you know
and right now the book i'm writing
after the memoir comes out
that i'm working on now, that'll be out
possibly in 2021, maybe in 2022
I'm just like madly in love with,
but they all have a function and they all represented something -
all of them are something I really wanted to say
and I really wanted people to think about,
so, there's a couple that I think didn't turn out
great, but there's a lot of
you know...
I strongly disagree but...
[laughter] You just haven't read those ones yet! [laughter ] Okay...
I chose 'Whose Story is This? Old Conflicts, New Chapters'
as the book for my book club
'Our Shared Shelf' along with your take
on Cinderella.
The bit that I loved so much, well
I mean you talk about this across your work really - you quote George Orwell
in 'The Prevention of Literature' where he writes "totalitarianism
demands in fact,
the continuous alteration of the past and in
the long run, probably
demands a disbelief in the very existence of truth."
It seems that we've crossed over into this
truthless world that Orwell
Do you see a way back?
I don't know where we go from here but I have to
say that Orwell's sentence could have described
hearings this morning for those of you who were listening to them.
There was actually a moment where one of those Republicans
...and there's a great old saying like
'if the facts are on your side, argue the facts.
If the law is on your side, argue the law and if the
facts and law aren't on your side then pound the table with a shoe!'
and this Republican said indignantly "are you saying
President is lying?" Which is king of like saying
'are you saying water is wet?' which it
generally is and,
you know and it was really interesting seeing how they
were able to use the conventionalities
where you can't say 'he's the biggest Goddamn liar
you know ever to...
00:12:02,035 --> 00:12:04,905 but it's interesting that basically their defense
of Trump is based on
the ability to make inconvenient facts
go away and to write any story they want
and to really kind of
divorce themselves from the...
enlightenment project
of Science, and fact and evidence
based reality. I feel like it's a huge
struggle, I don't
prophecy much, I don't know
where we go from here, but I feel as a writer who has trained as a journalist
but, you know as a storyteller
constantly adhering to the
accuracy and precision
and factuality as
values is really important, and also something that
00:12:44,975 --> 00:12:47,865 all of us do in our lives. Do we share a story that we haven't
verified? Do we repeat
unsubstantiated stuff? Do we check
stuff out? Do we know
you know, beyond the kind of
soundbite, who the candidates are we are supposed to vote for?
and there's a quality of thoughtfulness...I don't know where we go
from here. My happiest times I think
that social media and...
you know personal devices,
smart phones - are to our generation,
to our era what
crack was to the 1980's, suddenly we're the next...
that totally caught up a generation that had no
kind of preparation for it, no immunities
and that a later generation will be like,
...I don't want to go there,
I don't need to do this. There's some other way to be,
there's some things i'm not going to let go of
But the fact that Silicon Valley, because you
look at these terrible things happening around the world
I mean, why are the rainforests burning in Brazil? because
Bolsonaro is President. Why is Bolsonaro
President? Well YouTube did a huge amount to
aid his rise to power.
What is the role of Facebook in the
Rohingya genocide in Burma?
You know, YouTube is
now playing Hindu nationalist videos
that are helping this anti Muslim sentiment, you look at
so much of this stuff and it is coming from
a place that I really used to be proud
of being from this San Francisco Bay area which is now Silicon Valley
00:14:17,315 --> 00:14:20,355 and it's an absolute nightmare what they've created
and, you know for example
Mark Zuckerberg's decision
that Donald Trump can rent bald face lies
which, because their political advertisements they'll leave alone.
So I don't know where we go from here.
I'm very excited Elizabeth Warren wants to break up
the monopolies that are Google and Facebook and Apple
and Amazon and kind of like
take a little something back from the oversized billionaires
but, I don't know
what else we do, the bigger project is cultural.
Where do we get our information? How do we communicate?
Who do we believe?
How do we learn to sort data as data comes out
as faster, and harder and weirder than before?
I love how you said 'gaslighting is a collective cultural
phenomenon, and that
being accurate even in our personal encounters and
conversations consistently is
resistance that matters' and you
speak so beautifully as well about lies
being kind of, aggressions. Yeah,
well I have that, as I called they think they can bully
the truth. Where I realized what Brett Kavanaugh
- now our Supreme Court justice,
Trump, and so many other 'Me Too' men
have in common is
that they assume they are so powerful
they could insist on
versions of reality that were convenient for them,
that weren't necessarily based on what had actually happened.
You see so many of these men who
assume they could do whatever they wanted to a woman or a child
and then just insisted that it didn't happen - you shouldn't listen
to that other person, and who prevailed over and over
and over
until something shifted and i'm not saying that
everything's great now, but something profound has shifted
I saw it shift in the 1980's,
you know we've had these moments where something cracked open
but, we do suffer...
and I think this is a democracy problem.
In a culture where everyone
is valued equally, your version is not more
valuable than mine. We don't have
a culture in which one category of people are
routinely believed in one category
or routinely disbelieved
which means that we don't have a culture in which
officially we're against rape,
but we overlook it all the time because men say they didn't do it.
So I feel that
that democracy part of it is huge.
How do we...
Whose story is this? How do we create a world in which everyone
gets to tell their own story in which people have
equal audibility
and so a kind of democracy of stories from which everyone gets
I think is
a lot of what the project of feminism, the project
of anti-racism,
the projects of Intersectionality
and inclusion. The projects of getting
over heteronormative everything
are about, and it is a democratic and it is
a storytelling project. You
mentioned Brett Kavanaugh in your essay
Did you ever think that 28 years
after Anita Hill
that we would sort of see history
repeat itself in a similar situation to that
Anita Hill achieved...because often people are like
oh she lost! and the first thing I wanna say
I am so grateful to her, I have so much respect for her,
she changed the country, she created a
space for thousands
upon thousands of stories about workplace
sexual harassment to appear
actual legislation
on sexual harassment was passed
in 1991 after she spoke up.
You know, I sometimes think she casts
(you would know about this) cast a spell on Clarence Thomas that
silenced him for those 28 years and... [laughter]
because he's only spoken ...
he's really only spoken up once in this century and it was to defend
the right of domestic violence abusers to have guns.
Interestingly enough. So, but...
there's a way in which what happened with
the Kavanaugh hearings were almost worse because
it was a more...
it wasn't just harassment it was a physical assault,
there were, you know...and....
you could understand in 1991
why these men didn't get it, in
the only reason they didn't get it is because it wasn't convenient
and they didn't want to...
you know, 1991 I remember I actually had great
weird experience with handsome bikers
in a Denny's on the road North
on the i5 from L.A
and actually I convinced them that
Anita Hill was telling the truth. It was an early victory for me!
But people didn't ....
all this stuff was really new in 1991, people
who had not been sexually
harassed in the workplace, and I think a lot of people who had been
harassed, knew it happened to them, but might not even have
a name for it. Feminists gave us the words 'sexual
harassment' in the 1970's,
when you don't have a name for something
it's very hard to do something about it,
it's like not knowing what disease you have, so you don't have a cure.
the reality of this and how it impacts you and why was really
in 1991 - it was old in 2018, so I feel like
what happened was much worse. You ask a great question:
'How (without idealizing and entrenching anger )
can we grant non-white and non-male people
an equal right to feeling and expressing it?'
I loved that! Can you say more?
Yeah, there's been a bunch of stuff suggesting that women's anger
is this wonderful, magic, awesome power...
and I think on the one hand, women have not been allowed
to be angry
and it happens to me in my life...
I am a feminist
but that does not mean my experience in life has been feminist - but quite the
opposite at times. Many of them.
Like the first 30 years for starters!
You know, we often
treat women's right to express anger
as liberation and there is a
liberation being free to express things and having equal
access as a democracy of communication
but being angry is actually an
experience that makes you physically and
emotionally miserable. Usually you are
shutting down in some way, we used to talk about seeing red,
and there is a way in which you
no longer are perceptive
receptive person. You really
don't know ...often you don't know what's going on
as a chronic state
it can actually cause severe health problems
and elevate things that
bring on diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks etc
I'm not pro-anger
and so I think there's a question, do we need more
women's anger?
I think everyone should have the right to express it
as one point, another thing is
I think we need less white male anger because
it's like an easy go to fun thing for them to do and it's all treated like
'Oh! he's angry
there must be a really good reason for it, he's very manly
an action hero when he's angry'
I think we should delegitimize some of that
rage, but I also think finally,
that we call a lot of different things by the same name
....the book before this
was called 'Call Them by their True Names', I think language
- i'm with Orwell on this - language is really important.
I think there's a kind of righteous indignation where it's like
'How dare you do that to those refugee children'
which is not like
'I wanna punch you in the face, i'm full of personal rage
I want to harm things' It's actually the opposite, like
I don't want those children to be harmed, I want to protect them,
I wanna dismantle whatever harms them.
and so there indignation,
there's outrage - like that's completely unacceptable...
you know, there's like the sort of short term
rage, which is like 'Oh my God you just hit my Mercedes and now
i'm going to yell at you until I collect your insurance
information - and not my Mercedes you know,
the theoretical Mercedes..
My Prius C is less exciting!
You know, and then
there's this kind of like...
I am here to solve the problem of these people
I'm here to free the slaves, i'm here to get women the vote,
i'm here to stop police from shooting black men,
i'm here to get women equal pay,
i'm here to prevent...
to stop
discrimination against Trans people - and that can
be a kind of fire that
drives people, but their not angry at anyone.
So we call of these kind of
things that I think can be a life purpose and dedication,
a kind of defensive
protective reaction, which is really a kind of form of
love, you know
and your adrenaline glands
going volcanic - all by the same name and it doesn't help.
[inaudible audience member] Thank you, Thank you...
Wow! so being more specific ... [laughter]
I want to ask you
about this -
your new memoir which is out in March,
which is called 'Recollections of my Non-existence'
and you were very kindly earlier telling me
about this image of you that's
the cover, which is such a great image.
It's a photograph of me at 19 when I was very
very thin and very very poor. I kind of made my own way
and i'd just moved into my first
good apartment, it was $200 a month in a black neighborhood -
wonderful black building manager
invited me - made it possible for me to move in
and that was my home for 25 years, the
home in which I became a writer.
It's really, it's about voices and
voicelessness really, and it's about
the kind of experiences
of violence against women. I've so often
written about it in much more objective and impersonal ways
citing statistics, looking at
social tendencies etc, my own experience of it
of constant sexual harassment and threat
as a young woman -
which was so intense that I had a few years where I really...
00:24:17,115 --> 00:24:19,995 kind of had pretty intense PTSD
behavior, but it's also about
what were those circumstances where a man..
where you couldn't say no because...
that deep voicelessness, you couldn't say...
'You can't do that to me' you couldn't say
you know like...
'No, i'm not interested'.
Everyone who's female here knows if you say 'No'
as soon as you say 'No' to those guys they only get angrier.
So I had these experiences of
deep voicelessness, where my words did nothing - first of all
I couldn't set any boundaries and
create the space for me to
choose what did and didn't happen to me
and then often afterwards people
couldn't hear
me, didn't believe me etc so there's another kind of
voicelessness. So it's really ...
the feminism i've been doing for the last dozen years,
since I wrote 'Men Explain Things'
you know, really for the last 35 years
I published my first feminist essay in 1985,
you're looking at that and it's like 'yes and
I was only a bold theory some people had,
that would have happened several years hence! but...
I thought..
with the recent stuff I was writing about violence against women
I realized I was really writing about voicelessness.
What happens when no one believes you? What happens when your voice...
...which isn't just the ability to make
sounds, but it's ability to use your voice to
your path to assert your
will to set your boundaries, to bear witness
you know your voice is your humanity,
your power, your membership in a society
and if you don't have it
and it happens as much, you know I just read Chanel Miller's
amazing memoir. She's the woman who was raped
by the Stanford - or sexually assaulted by the Stanford
swimmer and..
you know, who was anonymous
all those years, but she talks about the way that afterwards
the whole medical, legal
procedure was like a whole other round of being
degraded, discredited, devalued,
treated as not a competent witness to her own life.
So I really wanted to talk about those questions about voice and talk about
becoming a writer while having all those
extremely ordinary experiences young women do,
You know this very specific quest to have a
particular kind of voice that means
writing books, as well as having the ordinary voice people have in conversation
to say 'no that didn't happen, you're not going to gaslight me on that'
So, and to also
to struggle for other people to become a voice
in defense of other people's voices. [right]
So, this is literally the first time i've talked
in anything vaguely
resembling public about it, so
you can see i'm still figuring out
how to talk about it.
It's lovely (as you were saying)
you've done so many of these smaller essay books,
i'm excited to read something of yours that is
more autobiographical.
What I do love though about your essays
is that they are often so generously personal
as well as commentaries on all sorts
of different issues. Just to continue
with what you were saying though, i'm curious about what happens when we
put the word 'sexual' in front of 'violence'
or in front of 'harassment' because
it somehow seems to...
make it...more
debatable? or less serious.
I've been watching
all sorts of men respond
to accusations of sexual violence and sexual
harassment by saying
'Oh well that never would have happened because I didn't fancy her , or..'
There's something about actually removing those words and it's just -
sexual violence is just violence, and
sexual harassment... It's complicated though
because often something consensual becomes non-consensual.
Something non-violent becomes violent.
I want to just before we...
I don't know how much time we've got, I want to make sure I fit this in but,
As someone who has played a princess in a fairytale
I loved that you re-wrote
Cinderella. You call it 'Cinderella
Liberator' which is such an amazing
title. I read in the afterword
about the personal history of your Grandmothers
and, were they
inspiration for this?
Not directly, the actual inspiration for it is not two generations
back, but two generations forward.
I am the Great Aunt of the most
magnificently feisty young person named
But it really began with...
you know, I found a Cinderella illustration
that I thought was wonderful and I turned it over
and it had this very short text on it from
the one telling of the fairytale where
the fairy Godmother says 'What shall we do for
a coachman?' and
Cinderella says 'I will get the rat trap'
and it's so great because
it was...an
epiphany I thought first of all Cinderella
is an active collaborator
in all this transformation, she's not just the lucky one the Fairy
Godmother came down and did everything for
you know, secondly the trans...
I think the
conventional version of Cinderella is it's about getting a Prince
and it's...
just those two
or three sentences I thought
No, this is a story about becoming
about transformation and the Fairy
Godmother is an agent of transformation, but so is Cinderella,
and then I was like, well how is this...
you know if you foreground that all these things becoming other
what happens if you make it, and you know
i'm not a huge princess fan.
I'm not sure how you feel about princesses having played one or two?
I have very mixed feelings. [Yeah, yeah]
You play them very nicely. [thank you]
I actually took a Great Niece to that movie
[thank you]
00:30:16,675 --> 00:30:18,165 you know, so I was like 'What's Cinderella for our time?'
and it's like 'What does it look like...
what is the point of transformation?
It's liberation. What does liberation look like?
for this girl who's unvalued and exploited and
overworked, and it's also very fun to realize
that the name 'Cinderella' contains the
name 'Ella', you know Cinder-Ella, so
i've written a book for Ella, her younger sister
is getting the next one which is going to be
a Sleeping Beauty re-write. Oh Amazing! I was going to ask if
you were planning to do more. Yeah because also Arthur Rackham
did fantastic silhouette images for
those too. I have to... can I just hold it up? [yes]
because I love it so much. Will I burn my sleeve off
with these genuine candles? I love these silhouette
illustrations so much, because it
felt like they were sort of less racially determined that
you know, a kid from Iran or Brazil
could look at these and they could feel like 'this could
be me, this could be my story too' and they're
also just incredibly beautiful [yes, they are] and out
of copyright because they turned 100 this year.
I love that her happy ending is that
she becomes the truest version of herself,
that feels... Isn't that everyone's happy ending?
It is often not the ending that's told, but yes! [yes]
I'm curious to ask the truest version of yourself,
but that's going too far. Shall I just ask
[laughter] The truest version of myself?
Gosh! I mean... To be
continued in later years over other beverages.
Yes! to be continued! [yes! yes!] I wanted to
ask you about Little Women, you have a new movie coming out, do you not? I do...
I do have a new movie coming out, and it is...
Because it's also, i's a bit like Cinderella Liberator
in that it's a feminist retelling of a classic.
Yes, it is...
Louisa May Alcott....
what I love about
Greta's retelling of this story
is that she addresses what is often very controversial
about Little Women, which is that a lot of
readers, a lot of big fans of Louisa
feel that she was forced by her publisher
to write an ending that was not the ending for the story
that she actually really wanted for it,
and Greta's handling of that
whereby, I don't want to ruin it but,
Greta's handling of that, and the
way that she uses her script
to play out
three different endings for the story, so that the audience get's to
see what it would look like in multiple
different versions, and you don't really know
which one is the real...
the version that she chooses for this story.
I remember finishing the script and just putting it down
and going 'That's Genius!' it's
so clever what she does [wow] and...
so i'm very proud to part of a
retelling of the story that I hope -
if Louisa can hear us - is...
an honoring of maybe part of it that
she maybe didn't get to say, or get to tell.
So, yeah it's beautiful
yeah, thank you for asking me about it. When I saw the trailer
and i'm trying to figure out which girls - there's a lot
girls from 2 to
17 or 18 in my life, which ones am I gonna round up to go see it. [yeah]
I mean I love the trailer, I mean very similar to what address in Cinderella Liberator
is that...is all
the publisher seems to care about is 'Well, which of the guys does choose?'
you know that's really, the ultimate thing that we want to know
is which man does she end up with
Saoirse's response to that in the trailer as Jo is
is so brilliant, which is just kind of this
'Oh my goodness, how am I going to stomach the
patience for dealing with
all of this' I didn't realize
how long I felt like i'd been waiting in a story
or in this specific story to
to hear the step sisters
apologize and reconcile with
Cinderella. It's secretly kind of a Buddhist
Cinderella too. I was wondering about that!
I was reading it and I was like
I smell it! Well I also felt like
the step sisters,
I hate when the sisters are portrayed as funny looking
as the like
we don't really have to like pretty people and
good people are pretty and pretty people are good and...
everyone else can go to hell,
and so we changed it
yeah, but...
You know it was really interesting this kind of a problem, like
how do you take this setup
and it sounds a little bit like what Greta's done with Little Women,
how do you take this setup and get some place else than the usual
you know...
Cinderella gets her man,
everyone else gets punished etc [yep]
and clearly the step mother is a Buddhist hungry ghost
and, you know
but I also identified her as like the voice we all hear
in our own heads, like I can't give you anything
because I need more, it's mine, this is all about me
and, you notice the step
sisters go off and do their
glamour glitter thing.
There was one thing I also, just
while waiting - that I wanted to share that Rebecca bought for me
as a gift, that I was so moved by,
which is that she's been working on - i'm losing my mic -
She's been working on a map, a tube map
of New York, but all of the
names on it are named after famous women
instead of famous men,
and it's profound.
The minute I looked at it I immediately teared up...
Tell me why?
Do I know why I teared up?
Because it's not something that I...
I get to encounter in our culture
and our society. I don't gt to see women
being celebrated in the same way.
Well you call it a tube map because
you were a Londoner before you were a New Yorker [I know! It's a subway map]
But let's...we should do London!
Oh! Please can we do London? Amazing!
Wow! That just happened. I have a cartographer and a designer,
we just have to come up with the names of...how many tube stops are there on
the underground? about...
at least that many probably? Well...
you know what? maybe not... Which tube stop do you see
yourself as, Emma? [laughter - Oh my Goodness] Wow...
I grew up in Islington , so... Where?
There you go! Yeah that would be very meaningful to me
But you cited those two
beautiful quotes that two other women who had similar reactions
to the reaction that I had when I looked at this map said.
Can you please repeat them because... Yeah...
yeah the city of women map was part of my 2016
New York city atlas, but it's kind of a break out map
you know, it's like the singer that's gone solo.
We distributed it separately
because it just
resonated with people and it was so exciting for me to do.
one of the thing's that shocking is
I've lived my whole life in a manscape, I grew up in a town
named after a man, in a county named after a man,
on a continent named after a man
and...almost all
are named after men whether it's mountains,
rivers, buildings, bridges...
Cities, States, we have some exceptions
we have a couple of English Queens in
Maryland in Virginia and a few other things, but it's really
a male world, and I think it tells little
boys you can grow...like, it's like the fact that most
monuments in New York city only until
very recently had only
5 statues of historic women, you know
and hundreds upon hundreds of men, and so there's nothing
for girls that said like 'you can be
a general, a hero...
you know etc and it really....
I think it's one of the infinite things that aggrandize men
and withered away the space for women to be,
but so I taught at Columbia when this map was coming out
and I did a field trip with some students around New York.
I showed them the map and I said 'How would your
life be different if you - and these
mostly not white people either - How would you life be different
if you lived in a city named after people
like you? Where everything was named after people like you?
and these
two young women said the most amazing things to me.
One of them said
I have
slumped over all my life, I would
stand up straight in a city named after people like me,
and the other one just said, would a man
dare sexually harass me on a street named after
a great woman?
and it was really...
they were so smart and so right,
the subtlety
of how this changes our conduct to be
in spaces that aggrandizes or not,
and Harlem named a bunch of streets after black
people, but they're all male.
You know the great Harriet Tubman
statue at the North end of Central Park, but there's still...
we still live in a manscape and it was
really....changing that was so
exhilarating for me. We did
a new version that's got Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez and some other people added,
and I don't see why we shouldn't do a London one, I think it would be really fun.
I would love that! okay!
okay, if you're ready to become a printer and distributor
we're ready to go too! For Sure! I will
figure it out!, undoubtedly! Yes, see this
known as the famous conversation in which
cornered Emma and made her commit to print
projects. [A London tube map!] Or this will be the
fairytale in which I turned her into tube stop! [laughter] I feel very...
I am not a tube stop, i'm a human being. [laughter]
I feel very uncoerced...
Thank you so much for all of your
work! Thank you, I say...
so at the end of the letter I write for my book club
'We all have all different sorts of Mothers and
you have intellectually, politically, spiritually
in all sorts of ways and my understanding, have
been a mother to me, so i'm very, very grateful to you
and thank you! I think of myself more often as an Aunt, but
that is the loveliest thing [laughter] anybody said
That sort of
nonlinear nurture of it, but
Thank you so much! Pleasure! Thank you, and thank you to everyone who came
I would be proud to be another mother, I'm sure you have many..
I know you have an actual one and many others.
Yes, I do, I have many - and a wonderful Mother, i'm very lucky!
Right. Thank you! and thank you all! [applause]
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Emma Watson Interviews Author Rebecca Solnit

37 Folder Collection
Min Hsuan Yeh published on March 24, 2020
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