Curgoth (curgoth) wrote,


7.Feminism: Issues and Arguments by Jennifer Mather Saul

When I last tried to read a proper book on feminism, it didn't work out so well. That book seemed to assume a solid background in academic literary/film criticism that I, as a failed CS student, lack.

In the preface to this book, Saul writes

For several years I have taught feminism to students with (in many cases) no background in feminism or philosophy, and no prior commitment to feminism. I found it extraordinarily difficult to find an appropriate text for this group. Because much feminist philosophy begins from a critique of more traditional philosophy, feminist writing tends to assume a familiarity with the basic philosophical literature.

In other words - this is a text on feminism written, more or less, for someone exactly in my position.

It's very much an introductory text, each section covering a broad topic (such as porn) in about 30 pages. This was just the kick start I needed.

The book has nine chapters:
1. The Politics of Work and Family
2. Sexual Harassment
3. Pornography
4. Abortion
5. Feminine Appearance
6. Feminism and Language Change
7. Women's 'Different Voice'
8. Feminism, Science, and Bias
9. Feminism and 'Respect for Cultures'

The chapter on porn gets credit for finally presenting Dworkin and MacKinnon in a way that didn't immediately get me so defensive I couldn't pay attention to the message. I still disagree with them, but at least I feel I have given their position half a chance. A question for my readers, especially the women: Did you, upon first viewing porn, immediately understand it as something that encourages men to be violent towards women and viewing women as exclusively sexual objects? I can certainly think of porn that doesn't seem to me to project that image, but then, I grew up in a world where Dworkin and MacKinnon were already published.

I had a hard time with "Women's 'Different Voice'", primarily because I have Issues with Essentialism - any time someone says "boys are like X and girls are like Y", I will bristle. I recognize that some of that is my Issues while still fighting the point.

There are some fantastic quotes in chapters 5 and 8, but I am not up to retyping them all just now.

I strongly recommend this book for folks who want to get started with feminist theory. mycrazyhair is first on the list to borrow it, followed by neeuqdrazil. The author's brother, of course, would like to encourage everyone to buy their own copy. :)

8.World War Z by Max Brooks

The future history of the zombie war. A sort of documentary novel set about twenty years in the future - mankind has had ten years of being at war with the living dead, and ten years after the war to recover. A creepy book to be reading during The Swine Flu Apocalypse. It starts stronger than it ends, but I suggest all zombie fans read this book - it is essential in discussing anti-zombie survival plans.

Tags: booklog, jennifer mather saul, max brooks

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