I am not certain my exact thoughts on this book but I'm gonna try and put them into words anyway. If nothing else than to remind myself what I was thinking when I read it.
The author would be what is termed a radical feminist, despite the books title. She believes in a new world order, that our current one is flawed and that women should be aiming to build a better society rather than trying to be successful in the current patriarchal one.
That we as a gender are perverting the name of feminism into one of marketing 'girl power' for the masses.
She believes that we should be using the feminist cause to further all of humanity vs furthering our white middle class comfortable lives and making ourselves feel better without actually doing anything.
At least this is what I got out of the book.
And I think she has a point. A good point. That is the effort to be equal we've really just bought into the existing system and we haven't used the power we've obtained to make the world a better place, we've just made our individual lives a little better, if we can.
She goes so far as to include social justice, environmental concerns, beauty standards and capitalism as items that should be fought for or against with the feminist cause. That our aim should be to create a better world all round, without any patriarchal system.
She also states that us western, middle class white women should not be forcing our version of feminism on other cultures, specifically in regards to Muslim women and their traditional dress. While also denigrating the Christian right, shaving your legs and consumerism.
There is much to admire about these thoughts and much to take pause and wonder about.
Such as, if it's alright for Muslim women to wear their hijabs, for religious reasons, why so vitriolic to the Christian right? Do they not have a as much right to their traditional belief system as any Muslim? Why is is necessary for a feminist to be Pro-choice? Why can't I wax my legs (and anything else I want to wax)? Why is it necessary to fight the theory that women are more compassionate? And why does that automatically mean men aren't? Why does the feminist movement need to include the environment? Why is the feminist movement global anyway? If white middle class western women don't understand other cultures, maybe we should let those other cultures be? Let them have their own revolutions instead of forcing our versions on them?
I've always considered myself a feminist. Though I have doubts about using the word these days. There are so many versions and it could mean anything from I am female and automatically a feminist to women should rule the world and it would be a better place, and many versions in between. I resent the exclusion of the Christian right from the liberal women's feminism. Just because they are pro-life and have a different view of sex, relationships and morals does not make them unworthy of being part of the cause. Yes, absolutely, the Christian right is extremely good at banding together and creating a united front. But they are also being stereo-typed. And some of the strongest feminist women I know belong to this group. Do you think it's easy to go against the social and cultural grain? To be ridiculed for everything you believe in?
But then, I am pretty conservative and I have many of the same views of life and I find it annoying that differences of opinion have to be mocked, that you must be oppressed if you don't want to be like everyone else.
It has been a thought provoking book and I hope that was the intention of her writing and publishing it. I don't agree with all her ideas and theories but I like that I got another perspective other than the pervasive media version.
Jessa Crispin, the founder of Bookslut and contributer to the gleefully contrarian "Baffler," is trying to provoke. Just look at the title and subtitle. What she is rejecting is the shallow, girl power, brand feminism of so many celebrities. She wants to reclaim feminism's radical, intellectual, and dangerous roots and launch a new assault on patriarchy, as well as the capitalist system. You many not always agree with her, but you will be challenged by her fierce intellect and take no prisoners style.
The Critics' Comments sure do make this book sound appealing.
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