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Search tags: i-am-a-feminist
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review 2017-04-16 00:00
Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto
Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto - Jessa Crispin This book makes you uncomfortable for sure but is there other way for progress?
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review 2016-07-02 04:52
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman - Lindy West

The tragedy of books like these is that the readers are basically the choir to which the author sings. 

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review 2016-06-24 02:27
what happens when a group discusses a book about women? mansplaining!
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women - Geraldine Brooks

I read this as part of a bookclub discussion. The book was selected by a lovely woman who fled Iran 24 years ago, and had lived through the revolution, war and economic sanctions against her country. She said she started reading it a year ago but it was just too emotional and so she thought with the support of the bookclub she could get through it. I was grateful for her choice as this was interesting, informative and a unique perspective on the topic. Instead of a classic 'book report' I have decided to share the bookclub discussion experience.


So, the group met yesterday evening, 9 women and 5 men. The group on the whole is well educated, well informed, well read and generally progressive. After everyone has takes a turn to give their impression of the book, open discussion follows. And guess what followed? MANSPLAINING! The book was about women in Islamic middle eastern cultures, told through very personal stories. Some were positive, but many very illustrative of how women are subjugated, abused and repressed. While political and economic policy are relevant to such a book, this wasn't a book about politics or policy. Nevertheless, a subset of the men in the room hijacked the discussion into that. When the woman from Iran (who lived through the revolution) explained that Iranian revolution in 1979 was not entirely rooted in the rise Islamic fundamentalism, she was corrected. When she described the economic disparity in Iran (no middle class) she was corrected. When I brought up my opinion that it's not the Islamic faith that leads to repression of women, but rather patriarchal cultural practices, I was corrected. The irony of the whole situation was not lost on me, nor was it lost on many of the other women in the room.

To be fair, these men aren't misogynists and they are probably sympathetic to feminist causes. But they have also been raised to be more assertive and are better skilled at inserting their opinions into the discussion. They may not consciously discount a woman' s opinion, but they probably are oblivious to their subconscious biases. Even in 'so called' enlightened western culture, in one of the most liberal cities in America, you can find micro aggressions against women in the context of a book discussion about the oppression of Islamic women. ¯_(ツ)_/¯


Now, turn a subconscious bias against women into one that is culturally sanctioned through religious interpretation and you have the plight of many many Islamic women in the Middle East. Even though this book is 20+ years old and not without flaws, it is informative a worth a read.

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review 2016-04-28 07:32
the dubious choice between staying and leaving
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay - Elena Ferrante
My goodness, could these get any better.  There is something so raw and exposing about these characters, you almost feel embarrassed for them.  
In my review of the first book, I mentioned how the books were woman-centric without being feminist themed.  Strike that.  Lenu and Lila are all grown up and are tackling their complicated lives during a complicated time.  They make interesting choices in life, love and career.  
As usual, the author has artfully titled the book, and is reflected in so many facets of the book. Leaving and staying in the neighborhood, your marriage, your career, your family, your destiny. 
2016 reading challenge checks the box for  24. A book with a protagonist that has your occupation (or an occupation you have had in the past).  I'm so excited that I could weave these books into my reading challenge and I was worried about finding a book that fit this item.  Lila has become computer programmer and systems analyst in the era of IBM.   Granted, I don't do too much programming myself these days, i analyze the fuck out of lots of things.
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review 2015-09-25 07:44
guaranteed to make you angry
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town - Jon Krakauer

5 stars for the message, but come closer, I don't want to say this too loudly... it felt like garden variety investigative reporting, nothing that transcended the subject matter in a profound way.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great book either. So 3 stars for the book.

Now that I got that out of the way, let's discuss the subject matter.  It's about rape and how these crimes are prosecuted (or more often not).  It about how the victims of these crimes (mostly women) are treated both in context of the formal justice system, the college/university disciplinary system, and in the court of popular opinion.    It's about myths that are propagated and used as tools to blame the victim.   Anyone reading this book should become angry.   Even though there are several reviews here on goodreads that spell out these myths and facts, they are worth stating. 

Myths about rape
* A woman will physically fight their rapist
* A woman will scream for help when being raped
* A woman will go through the pain and humiliation of reporting a rape just to ruin a man's reputation

Facts about rape https://rainn.org/statistics

While it seems like poor Missoula Montana is being singled out, it only serves as a microcosm of what is happening all over college campuses in the US.  Especially ones where male athletes are revered and their bright futures are fetishized so much that anyone who dares to knock them off their pedestal must surely has a grudge to bear.

Worst of all, deeply seeded biases in law enforcement and the judicial system make it so women who report rape are met with skepticism. Are you sure you were raped?  Just because he didn't cuddle with you afterwards doesn't mean he raped you.  Sady, the rape apologist people who need to read this the most are probably the ones who will never read it.  For the rest of you, if you don't have time to read a 300+ page book about rape culture, I do recommend this article, the one that seemed to be the catalyst for the author's investigations into the rape culture.


Whether you read this book or not, please make sure you call people out on their BS when they are perpetuating the rape culture.  While there are many genuine asshats out there (George Will, I'm looking at you) who will be impervious to criticism, there are many people who haven't really thought about what the rape culture means and some gentle recalibration will help everyone.

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