Thursday, July 1, 2010

Deep Thoughts About Books. Well, One Book.

I just finished reading Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism's Work is Done by Susan J. Douglas.  This book has served a two-fold purpose: It was excellent reading and it has served as an excellent conversation / harangue starter for this family.  [I hectored the husband into reading it - the girl just picked it up and is almost done with it.]  It also served as an excellent way to pass the time at the gym - super engrossing.

I am a feminist.  I have been ever since I can remember. This has caused some chafing with my family of origin since a woman is pretty much a shit sandwich who defers defers defers in their scheme of things.  I still get the "You better treat your husband better or he'll leave you" spiel since the husband is also a feminist and believes in stuff like doing his share and wanting me to be the person I want to be. 

Anyway, I loved the book.  Loved it.  Ms. Douglas has a fantastic writing style - smart and biting - and makes cogent arguments and really does an excellent job supporting her hypothesis that society has co-opted the idea of feminism and turned it around to use as an excuse for things like slutty clothes and Hooters [If women weren't equal, then we wouldn't be able to expect them to act like this! is my very quick paraphrase.].

Plus, she talks about 90210 [the original flavor, thank you] and that just takes me back.  Brenda!  Brandon! DYLAN!!!

I don't know who the guy on the end is that Steve has his arm around.  Is he David's friend who killed himself with his dad's gun?  PS - please please please make a 90210 reunion show.  THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.

However, I also have a hard time with the book because reading it just reminds me that oh, my god, society is so full of shit.  Truly.  And it's so pervasive that I don't know how to fix it.  It's disheartening particularly because I have a 13 year old [who proudly identifies as a feminist] and I know she's going to have a difficult time navigating a world that has become so sexualized and hateful toward the very idea that women are equal.

The best idea so far is that the girl and I want to start up a magazine like Sassy used to be.  Now, I didn't subscribe to magazines until I was in my 30s [and now I LOVE THEM!  I am a whore for shiny reading material. And evidently someone who is an adherent to a dying medium.], so I wasn't an ardent Sassy reader, but I remember it being good and now that I have, for some reason, been given a subscription to Glamour [I swear, I still have no idea why I get this magazine], I want there to be something for women - particularly young women - that celebrates them and highlights the damaging expectations of society.  [As an aside, I still kind of like Marie Claire - but even that is so full of garbage about how to please your man and you need this to look better that I skip through most of it.]

So, I think if you want summer reading that is entertaining but will also make you want to punch things, this is your book.

And now I'm off to the gym to read Susan Faludi's Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America.  Because evidently I like to make myself angry.

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