Monday, October 26, 2009

Finished: Beyond the Pale

I grabbed this book by Elana Dykewomon off my roommate's bookshelf. She was a women's studies major in college and has lots of "women unite!" books from her years as an undergraduate. This book interested me for a few reasons:

1. It was about Russian immigrants during the early 1900s.
2. It was about the early women's movement in NYC.
3. It told the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company.

It's also about lesbians. Russian lesbians in fact. Now I have nothing against lesbians, but I have never really read anything where they were the main characters. And go ahead and get your mind out of the gutter -- there wasn't any erotic writing in this book at all.

I actually learned a lot. I also began to wonder how many women during that time disguised themselves as men to get better wages. I've always held a soft spot for immigrants who were successful doing whatever they did in their home country and then came to America for a better life and ended up doing a job that was vastly below their education level.

And while I'm not a feminist, I did like reading about the womens' unions during that time and what they fought for. I sometimes get cranky and tired working a 40+ hour workweek. I should be so lucky as to not have to fight tooth and nail for an 8-hour work day. Ah how literature puts things into perspective for me.

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