Feminism Fizzles !?!

It’s the CHE again. The author, Rachel Shteir, maintains that Friedan’s book was wonderful, energizing, liberating, etc, but few people read it today, and contemporary stuff is uninspired and narcissistic.

A taste of now and then:

Friedan wades into women’s lives, painting a picture of how myriad forces created the feminine mystique. It is as though she is reworking one of the great reform classics of the early 20th century, like The Pit or The Jungle. You believe completely in the vortex sucking women under: In the first few pages, the reader is swept into birthrates, education, India, kitchen design, and diets.

Compared with Friedan’s 1963 book, the new W(orks)onW(women) also fall short as works of writing. They seem to either chirp or thunder rather than evoke, as Friedan does. They do not offer her sweeping take on women and society, and not only do they reject psychology, but they seem not to understand it. Slaughter is outraged when some female assistant professors asked her to stop talking about her children in public, telling her that it detracted from her “gravitas.” She reflects: “It is interesting that parenthood and gravitas don’t go together.” She goes on to insist that her colleagues add her children to her bio when they introduce her.

The article seems to me to be a mishmash of ideas. She writes as though a revolutionary book must be followed by revolutionary books, and does not seeem to realize that the next step will likly be the details, with lots of mistakes, etc. And there is no mention of vibrant feminism outside the US borders.

I think the article is available to all.

3 thoughts on “Feminism Fizzles !?!

  1. Pioneers like Friedan (or de Beauvoir) are very special people and not everyone is special.

    It takes a tremendous act of creativity and courage to write a book like Friedan did, a book which opens new worlds for the reader, but that is no reason to belittle books or authors who a bit less creative and courageous than Friedan (or de Beauvoir again) were.

  2. Writing a book like that of Friedan (or de Beauvoir), a pioneering book which opens new worlds for the reader, is a tremendous act of creativity and courage, but that is no reason to belittle books which are a bit less creative and courageous.

    It’s like putting down all dramatists after Shakespeare because they don’t match up to him.

  3. A pity that Shteir falls into the same trap she criticizes WOW of falling into: superficiality, sensationalism, and lack of rigorous argument. While I was really eager to read her article, since I too disdained the two sensationalist and poorly argued articles she mentions, I was disappointed she didn’t exercise more subtlety along the way. Why is her generalization that “all WOW are self-serving” any better than those made in the articles she references? Why are her ad hominems superior to the brazen generalizations found in WOW?

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