n. gamble endquestionmark. manic pixie nightmare girl. has a penchant for leather and the homoerotic.

FLORES ROCKS




MASTERPOST OF FEMINIST AND GENDER ROLES BOOK RECS

because, holy shit, that was a lot of recs!  thank you so much, guys.

all links lead to a wikipedia or amazon page.

the feminine mystique

basics: 

In 1957, Friedan was asked to conduct a survey of her former Smith College classmates for their 15th anniversary reunion; the results, in which she found that many of them were unhappy with their lives as housewives, prompted her to begin research for The Feminine Mystique, conducting interviews with other suburban housewives, as well as researching psychology, media, and advertising. She originally intended to publish an article on the topic, not a book, but no magazine would publish her article.

criticisms:

Historian Daniel Horowitz points out that although Friedan presented herself as a typical suburban housewife, she was involved with radical politics and labor journalism in her youth, and during the time she wrote The Feminine Mystique she worked as a freelance journalist for women’s magazines and as a community organizer.

Historian Joanne Meyerowitz argues (in “Beyond the Feminine Mystique: A Reassessment of Postwar Mass Culture, 1946-1958,” Journal of American History 79, March 1993) that many of the contemporary magazines and articles of the period did not place women solely in the home, as Friedan stated, but in fact supported the notions of full- or part-time jobs for women seeking to follow a career path rather than being a housewife. After interviewing 188 women who read the book when it was first published, historian Stephanie Coontz concludes that the mixed messages of the era were “especially paralyzing” for many women.

In addition, Friedan has been criticized for focusing solely on the plight of middle-class white women, and not giving enough attention to the differing situations encountered by women in less stable economic situations, or women of other races. She has also been criticized for prejudice against homosexuality, although such prejudice was extremely common when The Feminine Mystique was written.

the beauty myth: how images of beauty are used against women

basics:

The basic premise of The Beauty Myth is that as women have gained increased social power and prominence, expected adherence to standards of physical beauty has grown stronger for women.

criticisms:

Christina Hoff Sommers criticized Wolf for publishing the claim that 150,000 women were dying every year from anorexia. Sommers claimed that the actual number is closer to 100, a figure which others, such as Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, claimed to be much too low. In the same interview, Sommers stated that Wolf had retracted the figure. Jeanine Cogan, PhD, claims that the death totals may be underreported because death certificates don’t cite eating disorders per se as a cause of death.

Humanities scholar Camille Paglia also criticized the book, arguing that Wolf’s historical research and analysis was deeply flawed.

women who run with the wolves

Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species. In WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES, Dr. Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, and stories, many from her own family, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine. Dr. Estés has created a new lexicon for describing the female psyche. Fertile and life-giving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.

bodies that matter

In Bodies That Matter, renowned theorist and philosopher Judith Butler argues that theories of gender need to return to the most material dimension of sex and sexuality: the body. Butler offers a brilliant reworking of the body, examining how the power of heterosexual hegemony forms the “matter” of bodies, sex, and gender. Butler argues that power operates to constrain sex from the start, delimiting what counts as a viable sex. She clarifies the notion of “performativity” introduced in Gender Trouble and via bold readings of Plato, Irigaray, Lacan, and Freud explores the meaning of a citational politics. She also draws on documentary and literature with compelling interpretations of the film Paris is Burning, Nella Larsen’s Passing, and short stories by Willa Cather.

the second sex

basics:

One of her best-known books, it deals with the treatment of women throughout history and is often regarded as a major work of feminist philosophy and the starting point of second-wave feminism. Beauvoir researched and wrote the book in about 14 months. She published it in two volumes and some chapters first appeared in Les Temps modernes. The Vatican placed it on its List of Prohibited Books.

criticisms:

Deirdre Bair describes criticism of The Second Sex in her “Introduction to the Vintage Edition” in 1989. She says that “one of the most sustained criticisms” has been that the author is “guilty of unconscious misogyny”: that Beauvoir separated herself from women while writing about them. Bair says the French writer Francis Jeanson and the British poet Stevie Smith had similar critiques: in Smith’s words, “She has written an enormous book about women and it is soon clear that she does not like them, nor does she like being a woman.” Bair also quotes (as “oft-repeated criticism”) British scholar C. B. Radford who thought Beauvoir was “guilty of painting women in her own colors” because The Second Sex is:

primarily a middle-class document, so distorted by autobiographical influences that the individual problems of the writer herself may assume an exaggerated importance in her discussion of feminity.

feminism: a very short introduction

This is a historical account of feminism that looks at the roots of feminism, voting rights, and the liberation of the sixties, and analyzes the current situation of women across Europe, in the United States, and elsewhere in the world, particularly the Third World countries. Walters examines the difficulties and inequities that women still face, more than forty years after the “new wave” of 1960s feminism—difficulties, particularly, in combining domesticity, motherhood and work outside the home. How much have women’s lives really changed? In the West, women still come up against the “glass ceiling” at work, with most earning considerably less than their male counterparts. What are we to make of the now commonplace insistence that feminism deprives men of their rights and dignities? And how does one tackle the issue of female emancipation in different cultural and economic environments—in, for example, Islam, Hinduism, the Middle East, Africa, and the Indian sub-continent?

ain’t i a woman

Ain’t I a Woman?: Black women and feminism is a 1981 book by bell hooks titled after Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” speech. hooks examines the effect of racism and sexism on black women, the civil rights movement, and feminist movements from suffrage to the 1970s. She argues that the convergence of sexism and racism during slavery contributed to black women having the lowest status and worst conditions of any group in American society. White female abolitionists and suffragists were often more comfortable with black male abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, while southern segregationalists and stereotypes of black female promiscuity and immorality caused protests whenever black women spoke. hooks points out that these white female reformers were more concerned with white morality than the conditions these morals caused black Americans.

gender trouble

basics:

Influential in academic feminism and queer theory, it is credited with creating the seminal notion of gender performativity. It is considered to be one of the canonical texts of queer theory and postmodern/poststructural feminism.

the male body at war

Muscular, fearless, youthful, athletic—the World War II soldier embodied masculine ideals and represented the manhood of the United States. In The Male Body at War, Christina Jarvis examines the creation of this national symbol, from military recruitment posters to Hollywood war films to the iconic flag-raisers at Iwo Jima. A poignant selection of illustrations brings together comics, advertisements, media images, and government propaganda intended to impress U.S. citizens and foreign nations with America’s strength.

american manhood

In the first comprehensive history of American manhood, E. Anthony Rotundo sweeps away the groundless assumptions and myths that inform the current fascination with men’s lives. Opposing the views of men’s movement leaders and best-selling authors who maintain that manliness is eternal and unchanging, Rotundo stresses that our concept of manhood is man-made and that, like any human invention, it has a history. American Manhood is a fascinating account of how our understanding of what it means to be a man has changed over time.

miss representation

basics:

..a 2011 American documentary film written, directed, and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. It explores how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in influential positions by circulating limited and often disparaging portrayals of women. The film premiered in the documentary competition at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

The film interweaves stories from teenage girls with provocative interviews from the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Lisa Ling, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Rosario Dawson, Dr. Jackson Katz, Dr. Jean Kilbourne, and Gloria Steinem to give an inside look at the media and its message. The film’s motto, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” underscores an implicit message that young women need and want positive role models, and that the media has thus far neglected its unique opportunity to provide them. The film includes a social action campaign to address change in policy, education and call for socially responsible business.

criticisms:

miss rep. is great except for the fact that it really doesn’t address anyone other than white women. =/

and tvtropes’ useful notes: feminism

(again, i haven’t read any of these except the tvtropes page.  if there are issues here or you feel like i’m missing something, please do let me know!  thanks so much!)

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