Monday, March 29, 2010

Feminist bookshelf: "The Ladies' Room Reader" by Alicia Alvrez

As a rule, I'm not a fan of bathroom reading -- but that's how I discovered "The Ladies Room Reader" by Alicia Alvrez (2000).

Just for fun, my cousin, Karen, placed the volume in her guest bathroom when Chris and I visited her in Kingwood, Texas some years back. I was hooked, and the volume somehow made it into my suitcase for the return trip home. (I hope she didn't mind.)

This volume is a compilation of fun facts running the gamut from cosmetics, food, pets, chocolate, and sex -- all in a woman's day ;)

Here are some fun things I learned in just a few minutes in the reading room:

;) The folks at L'Oreal claim the average woman brushes her eyelashes over 300 times with mascara every morning.

;) Films featuring women and food: "Babette's Feast," "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and her Lover," "Eat, Drink, Man, Woman," "Eating: A Very Serious Comedy about Women and Food," "Home for the Holidays," "Like Water for Chocolate," "Tampopo," and "The Wedding Banquet."

;)Overwhelmingly, women are responsible for pet care -- in 72% of pet-owning households, the task falls to females.

;) When 105-year-old artist Beatrice Wood was asked the secret of her longevity, she replied, "Chocolate and young men."

;) Studies continue to confirm that men reach their sexual peak in their early 20's and then slowly decline, while women peak in their early 30's and stay that way until their 60's.

Alicia Alvrez is a pseudonym of a San Francisco Bay area writer who specializes in compiling facts about women and writing for and about women. She is also the author of "Big Book of Women's Trivia (2008), "Mama Says" (2004), "The Ladies' Room Reader Revisited" (2002).

Feminist content -- there's some, but we don't expect to find serious feminist theory in the powder room anyway.

Even though this volume is dated, it's fun to see how things have changed -- and how they've stayed the same.

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