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121. Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics
122. Chicana Feminist Thought: The
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123. Pregnant Virgin: A Process of
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124. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence
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125. Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures:
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126. An Introduction to Women's Studies:
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127. Women and The American Experience,
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128. Mama Gena's School of Womanly
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129. The Good Women of China : Hidden
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130. Girl Culture
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131. Defying Gravity: A Celebration
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132. No Constitutional Right to be
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133. Composing a Life
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134. The Meaning of Wife
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135. A RETURN TO MODESTY: Discovering
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137. My Mother/My Self : The Daughter's
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139. The Grits (Girls Raised in the
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121. Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in a Modern Muslim Society
by Fatima Mernissi
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Asin: 0253204232
Catlog: Book (1987-04-01)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Sales Rank: 59641
Average Customer Review: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very compelling, just a bit too academic
This book is like going through someone else's medicine cabinet. A fascinating look into the homes and bedrooms of the Middle East from a scholarly feminist perspective. The only problem is, it's a bit too scholarly to be a really quick and concise read. Still, Well worth buying.

5-0 out of 5 stars A much needed book
Excellent book on the female condition in many Muslim societies. ... More books like this need to be written to stimulate debate and hopefully change.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Study in Male-Female Relations in the MidEast
The topic of male-female dynamics in Muslim society is one of the main issues covered in the book, Beyond the Veil, by Fatima Mernissi. Mernissi covers a wide range of categories, all of which pertain to the female position in a Muslim society. Though much of the data comes from Moroccan society, the general subject matter attempts to describe all Muslim society. This book has two parts, one of which focuses on the traditional view of women, and the second, which focuses on a more modern and changing view of women¡¯s place in society. A fascinating look at women in Muslim society, this book pushes the reader to question previous biases, and take a look at women in a Muslim society from a Muslim perspective.
Beyond the Veil starts out by contrasting views on female sexuality. One view is that of Imman Ghazali, and the other view is that of Sigmund Freud. Ghazali claims that the female sexuality is active, and equal to the male sexuality. Therefore, females need to be restrained in order to prevent fitna (chaos) in the social order. Freud, on the other hand, sees female sexuality as passive, and therefore masochistic. Ironically, both theories attempt to prove the same point: that women, as uncontrollable beings, are destructive to the social order and need to be restrained.
Part two of the book starts out with interviews and data collection from Moroccan society. This information is mostly focused around sexual desegregation. Mernissi¡¯s conclusions basically say that the traditional/older generation is more sexually desegregated, while the more modernized/younger generation encourages desegregation. She also points out that rural societies are more sexually traditional than urban societies.
This book reveals much about Muslim society in a simplified manner. Mernissi draws her writings from various sources, including historical viewpoints, other writers on the topic, and interviews with Muslim women.
Beyond the Veil is not simply a one-dimensional view of male-female dynamics in Muslim society. The book covers all aspects of relationships between males and females, as well as the various positions women can take in a Muslim society. Mernissi allows for the reader to look three-dimensionally at the Muslim society, especially in regards to sexual space boundaries and desegregation, and form his or her personal opinion about the topic. Mernissi makes it somewhat simpler for the reader to understand the goals of the book by outlining the various dimensions as well as writing conclusions that draw from the section but also incorporate other ideas.
The objective of this book, explaining male-female dynamics in Muslim society, was quite clear and the writings of Mernissi certainly operationalized that objective. A non-fiction book that relied heavily on breakdowns of various interviews, Beyond the Veil, was more analytic than descriptive. However, this was an extremely effective way of scrutinizing the subject at hand. The information provided in the book would be particularly significant to those who are not familiar with Muslim society and wish to learn more about the ways in which males and females interact in this society.
Beyond the Veil explained many things to me, including the reasons behind female desegregation in Muslim society. Mernissi is thorough in her dissertation of male-female dynamics, and encourages the reader to form his or her own opinions about the topic. Beyond the Veil is a captivating look at the past, present, and future positions of women in a deeply complex Muslim society.

2-0 out of 5 stars Feminism against Islam
Book is in two parts . First section is women in Arabia before and after Islam, second part women in Morocco and some expantion into other muslim contries. Basically argument goes that women did not have any respect before and during Islam including during Prophet Mohammed (pbh) and only now they started to get some respect. I gues the argumet goes what is Islam and what is women's position in Islam. If you value women's position from Western standards that is a wrong stick to measure with. I was also dissapointed the way she was talking about Prophet Mohammed (pbh) with lack of respect.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sexuality within Islam
I thought this book was excellent and very informative concerning the issues Muslim women must deal with and the way in which their sexuality is viewed by themselves and other members of the Islamic community. ... Read more

122. Chicana Feminist Thought: The Basic Historical Writings
by Alma M. Garcia, Mario T. Garcia
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Asin: 0415918014
Catlog: Book (1997-08-01)
Publisher: Routledge
Sales Rank: 371125
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During the turbulent 1960s, Chicanas who funneled blood, sweat, and tearsinto Mexican American protest movements such as La Raza were often relegated tosupporting the men who leapt to the ramparts. Stung by such sexual discrimination anddisheartened by--or disinterested in--the largely middle-class Anglo agenda championedby the women's liberation movement, Chicana feminists fought to carve out a niche.Though dry at times, the outspoken essays and writings collected in Chicana FeministThought record this struggle as it occurred. Not surprisingly, the writers' voicesoverlap but don't necessarily blend: one rationalizes machismo and seeks only to redirectit, while another impatiently calls for its end. These writings, from the 1960s to the1990s, chronicle the development and dissension of Chicana feminists faced with thehigh-wire balancing act of saving a culture while serving their own needs. The result is anenlightening, thought-provoking piece of feminist history. ... Read more

123. Pregnant Virgin: A Process of Psychological Transformation (Studies in Jungian Psychology By Jungian Analysts)
by Marion Woodman
list price: $20.00
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Asin: 0919123201
Catlog: Book (1985-09-01)
Publisher: Inner City Books
Sales Rank: 131470
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars So good I stayed home to read it for 4 days
This book spoke directly to me. I read it first in the mid 1980's, so much of the contents is now irretrievable, but I wanted to let other shoppers know how much this book helped me. I am so happy to find it again. ... Read more

124. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence (Live Girls Series)
by Inga Muscio, Betty, Ph.D. Dodson
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1580050751
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Seal Press (WA)
Sales Rank: 12118
Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An ancient title of respect for women, the word "cunt" long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim "cunt" as a positive and powerful force in their lives. In this fully revised edition, she explores, with candidness and humor, such traditional feminist issues as birth control, sexuality, jealousy between women, and prostitution with a fresh attitude for a new generation of women. Sending out a call for every woman to be the Cuntlovin’ Ruler of Her Sexual Universe, Muscio stands convention on its head by embracing all things cunt-related. This edition is fully revised with updated resources, a new foreword from sexual pioneer Betty Dodson, and a new afterword by the author. "Bright, sharp, empowering, long-lasting, useful, sexy...."—San Francisco Chronicle "... Cunt provides fertile ground for psychological growth."—San Francisco Bay Guardian "Cunt does for feminism what smoothies did for high-fiber diets—it reinvents the oft-indigestible into something sweet and delicious."—Bust Magazine ... Read more

Reviews (83)

5-0 out of 5 stars a life-changing book
I'm a feminist in the sense that I want women and men to have equal rights, but I've never realized how insidious this culture is in propagating subtly misogynistic messages. This book is about giving women back our choices. We have a choice to use cost-effective and earth-friendly tampons and pads. We have a choice to use birth control that does not manipulate or damage our bodies. We have a choice to protect ourselves AND other women from rape. The author goes on about how oppressed Iranian women have far more love for one another than the average American woman, how in some countries genital mutilation is forced on girls, but in America we PAY to mutilate ourselves. There's more than just women's issues, however. She gives evidence on how corporations are lying to us, how the media is lying or shading the truth, the sheer idiocy of our president, etc. I didn't used to be a very politically aware person, but this book made me realize that we NEED to know what's going on in this world. So, ladies, do yourselves a favor and read this book, and guys, read this book so you don't become one of the silly men simply because everyone else is.

4-0 out of 5 stars Surpassed all my expectations
Sick of academic feminism, I really thought this book was going to be a slipshod piece of etymological scholarship. I picked it up to laugh at it. Imagine my shock when it turned out to be a smart, feisty, personable, positive, constructive, angry, liberating book - oh yeah, and fun. The sheer pleasure Musico finds in life and words is exhilarating. Reading her book is like talking to your best friend - she's stubborn, kind of crazy, and I still don't agree with all her politics, but it's damned hard not to like her or to respect where she's coming from. Also, she has some sound, specific, and clearly stated advice on how to keep from being raped/mugged - that alone is probably enough to make the book worth reading.

I do think the majority of college-educated, pro-choice American women will get a kick out of this, if they can get past the embarassing cover (buying this book felt very much like buying a box of tampons - this is fallout from the author's relentlessly sex-positive attitudes). However, extreme feminists will probably find it overly personal, insufficiently rigorous, and too focused on the lives of women of the demographic I mentioned above.

1-0 out of 5 stars the only thing striking about the book is the title
the book seemed promising at first, but it turned out to be an immature angry rant that regurgitated every paranoid consciousness-raising session i had with my gal pals in high school. it offers no solutions, and puts forth a paranoid, unrealistic view of gender relations. additionally, she seems to be rather down on anyone who has a Real Job and doesn't sponge off feminist friends by living in their basement.

her thoughts on the birth control pill and abortion strike me as utterly obnoxious. to wit: if you're a *real woman*, you should be able to spur a miscarriage with your mind. and, the Pill is evil and wrong because it disconnects women from their cycles. that this diatribe is coming from a woman who has had three abortions strikes me as ironic, to say the least. if she used the damn Pill, she wouldn't be in that spot to start with.

the bad grammar is rather disempowering too, i might add.

and, perhaps most obnoxiously, the entire book is largely about writing the book, a bit of solipsism that indicates the writer has few original ideas. if you're a high school student, this book might be on your level. if you're a more mature reader, there are many feminist authors out there who do a much more cogent and in-depth analysis of patriarchy, gender relations and power.

1-0 out of 5 stars Oh.....OK
Titles like this really exemplify what the term REALLY means:
Can't Understand Normal Thinking

5-0 out of 5 stars This is why im proud to be a woman....
For the longest time I've been afraid to express sexual feelings, or even talking about femininity for fear that I would be looked down upon or opressed. This book has opened my eyes to see what beauty ALL women posess, and actually made me proud to be one. I am no longer afraid to discuss menstration, or sex with anyone else, and it has made me value my body for the temple that it really is. I would recommend that everyone read this book, espcially women, and you too will understand the power that women can have under any circumstance. ... Read more

125. Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures: Funny Women Write from the Road (Travelers' Tales)
by Jennifer Leo, Jennifer L. Leo
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1885211929
Catlog: Book (2003-03)
Publisher: Travelers' Tales Guides
Sales Rank: 7710
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Button your blouse, here comes a sandstorm of laughs!

Travel isn't always what we dream it will be, but oh, the stories that follow. Share in the hilarious, bizarre, and unforgettable misadventures of 29 women whose trips went comically awry. From Australia to Zambia, up Nepal's mountains and along Mexico's beaches, the true stories in this collection will make you laugh, groan, and sympathize with these travelers who took a trip on the lighter side.

Lose your panties on a city street in Abu Dhabi with Christie Eckardt

* Dodge beer bottles and punches with Alison Wright as she serves up brew at a wild pub in Australia

* Enjoy the nutty nitty-gritty of Burning Man in the Nevada desert with Christine Nielsen

* Feel the delicious freedom to be fat in Tahiti with Sandra Tsing Loh

* Turn beet red with Kate Crawford in Paris, locked out of her boyfriend's apartment in a t-shirt and nothing more

* Toss your cookies with Deborah Bear as she tests alternative seasickness remedies on a Pacific voyage

Including stories by Anne Lamott, Ellen Degeneres, Sarah Vowell, Margo Kaufman, Sandra Tsing Loh, Adair Lara, and many more... ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining
I enjoyed reading this book. I am planning on taken another adventure on my own and needed the extra kick in the rear to getting it going. All the stories were comical and shared a insightful encouragement about how truly needed travel and the misadventures there in are to a woman. This book allowed me to discover some really talented writers as well. I recommend this book. And believe me, before I leave on my next trip I'm definately going to make my mother read the first story entitled 'Mom's Tavel Advisories'. I hope there will be a volume 2, Sand in My Crack or Still Finding the Sand, who knows but I will keep my eye out for it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Funny ! Funny !
I was laughing until tears into the first 12 lines. Yes, true some of the stories are not so funny and I feel some of them really didn't belong. Over all it is a pretty good read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good to get a laugh at travel "odd-I-sees"
I thought the intro to this was laugh aloud funny, as were a few of the stories. I especially liked the authors' observances of things in the Middle East and Asia, places I haven't yet visited. I got a real laugh out of the story about the women's river trip on the Colorado River, on several levels.

1-0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed
Out of the 28 stories in this book, I found only about 5 to be well-written and humorous. The majority of the rest consisted of stories about intimate bodily fluids and functions that just happened to occur on foreign soil, and frankly, I found them disgusting and boring. After a while, I started skipping stories entirely after reading the first paragraph or two and seeing where they were headed. I was very disappointed.

If you enjoy travel narratives, a much better compilation of women's stories can be found in "A Woman's Passion for Travel" edited by Marybeth Bond & Pamela Michael. Although that book doesn't claim to be a collection of funny stories, "Sand in my Bra" really isn't a collection of funny stories, either.

4-0 out of 5 stars funny women traveling
The title piece in this pocket-sized anthology of humorous travel pieces by women features Christine Nielsen stressing over costumes for a week at Burning Man, a festival "based on creative self-expression." Originating in San Francisco, the event has grown so big it's now held in the Nevada desert where showering is just a means to cake up with a thicker layer of dust and a major highlight is the topless bicycle parade of 4,000 women. I identified more with the sidebar piece by Jennifer L. Leo, describing her coma-stress response to a hearty call for Naked Basketball.

Other pieces focus on more mundane female conundrums like underwear with tired elastic (yikes!) menstrual surprises (even worse!), sanitary facilities, euphemisms in foreign languages, attempting to pass unnoticed in a chador in Kuwait, finding a book in a French airport with a teenager in tow, dealing with the runs, bad hair days in Hong Kong. Ellen Degeneres does a piece on fear of flying and Adair Lara packs for the fantasy person she expects to become halfway around the world. There are men, like Germaine W. Shames' eloquent Mexican lover, though not so many as you might expect in an anthology by women. There may be more pieces on squeezing excess flesh into bathing suits.

Mostly these are good-natured women finding the funny side of mishaps in places as far flung as the red-light district in Bangkok and the 50-pound sack race in small-town Nevada. There are plenty of laughs and - a side benefit - some handy warnings on what not to do when traveling. ... Read more

126. An Introduction to Women's Studies: Gender in a Transnational World
by InderpalGrewal, CarenKaplan, Inderpal Grewal, Caren Kaplan
list price: $56.25
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Asin: 007109380X
Catlog: Book (2001-09-25)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
Sales Rank: 21491
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Book Description

This anthology for first and second year students introduces them to the history of key ideas in the modern period related to sexual difference, gender, race, class, and sexuality. While most introductory Women's Studies textbooks focus on the United States, even if they add multiculturalism to the discussion, this book looks at the history of important differences between women in diverse locations around the world and continually challenges students to think through the issues that are raised.

This transnational approach to understanding gender brings Women's Studies into an era of globalization and connects women’s issues in the United States to women’s issues elsewhere. The book shows how colonialism and imperialism, as they spread across the world, shaped ideas about gender as much as other modern phenomena. It addresses issues of power and inequalities and focuses on links and connections rather than commonalties. The readings are truly interdisciplinary, drawing upon scholarly work in many disciplines and interdisciplinary fields as well as non-scholarly sources. ... Read more

127. Women and The American Experience, A Concise History
by NancyWoloch
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Asin: 0072418214
Catlog: Book (2001-07-23)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
Sales Rank: 84696
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The 2d edition of this concise history has been revised to incorporate continuing research in the fast-growing field of Women’s History. Additions to the text include an exploration of women’s experiences and roles in various ethnic groups as well as three new sections: "The Trans-Mississippi West", "Migrants and Immigrants" and "Women and the Law". Woloch’s lucid, lively and thorough survey retains the same comprehensive style that has made it the best-selling narrative text in American Women’s History. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Pleasant Read!
I had to read this book for a history course, and I was prepared for another dry, dusty history tome. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was not dry and dusty! It is packed with incredible information about women from all walks of life, including personal stories about hardship and tragedy. It really gave me a new appreciation for the feminine struggle for equality and civil rights. ... Read more

128. Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts : Using the Power of Pleasure to Have Your Way with the World
by Regena Thomashauer
list price: $11.95
our price: $8.96
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Asin: 0743439937
Catlog: Book (2003-06-02)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 10008
Average Customer Review: 3.94 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Relationship expert Regena Thomashauer teaches the lost "womanly arts" of identifying your desires, having fun no matter where you are, knowing sensual pleasure, befriending your inner bitch, flirting (in a way that makes your day, not just his), and more -- because making pleasure your priority can actually help you reach your goals. So if you need a refresher course in fun -- and you know you do -- come to Mama. ... Read more

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Yo mama
This is an electrifying read. It grabs you from the start and takes you on a how-to journey to having it your way--with all the frills. Women from teenagers to those who are post-menopausal in age can gain important insight in how to have a life that they've only dreamt about before. Men can learn how best to relate to goddesses and in turn become god-like themselves. A must-read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Too bad my mama didn't talk like this
I highly recommend this book, and Mama's classes for women who need to focus on pleasure being a part of daily life. Instead of us taking care of the rest of the world, it's time for some focus on ourselves. Take the time to get a journal to do the exercises, watch the movies and do the assignments --- afterall it's all for you ! Enjoy

5-0 out of 5 stars Please yourself, flirt with others, and change the world!
Despite our lip service to the contrary, and that great Cyndi Lauper song, most girls don't love to have fun, because we live in a pleasure-fearing Puritan culture that is still highly, highly, suspicious of women's pleasure...especially, you know, down there. Mama Gena is here to change that. Mama Gena is a flirty feminist in caribou boas, a hedonist/ activist who deeply believes that a woman's desire is her power and her pleasure. In a series of exercises, she leads the reader to answer the question that Dr. Freud answered WRONG: What does a woman (you) want? When you can answer that--and you will--you will find your life changing in big and small ways. I am usually the biggest doubting Thomasina in the self-help book world, but whether it's energy, vibes, or the fact that you're smiling more, things have certainly shifted for me since I read this book. Who knew fun could be this

5-0 out of 5 stars The power of the P-U-S-S-Y
This is a great book for anyone who needs help raising their confidence level, getting a man (or anyone)to do what they want, or getting a job. Don't expect a complete transformation unless your have some type of self-esteem about yourself! The exercises may seem corny, but they really do work if you do them properly. On a scale from 1-10, it raised me from a 10 to a 20!

1-0 out of 5 stars For the sad, lonely, and disdainful.
If you liken men to primitive trainable dogs, then this might be a good book for you - but if after reading it, you still find yourself disdainful and manless, you will most likely realize that no bulls**t book or classes can give you self esteem (or a satisfying relationship). Put your time into concrete projects like volunteering. Men don't owe you anything, no matter what a class or book tells you and they especially don't like it when you keep reminding them that you are a "goddess".. YUCK!!! I was given this book as a gift, and promptly placed it where it belongs - in the trash. ... Read more

129. The Good Women of China : Hidden Voices
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
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Asin: 1400030803
Catlog: Book (2003-11-11)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 8537
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to “open up” China took root in the late 1980s, Xinran recognized an invaluable opportunity. As an employee for the state radio system, she had long wanted to help improve the lives of Chinese women. But when she was given clearance to host a radio call-in show, she barely anticipated the enthusiasm it would quickly generate. Operating within the constraints imposed by government censors, “Words on the Night Breeze” sparked a tremendous outpouring, and the hours of tape on her answering machines were soon filled every night. Whether angry or muted, posing questions or simply relating experiences, these anonymous women bore witness to decades of civil strife, and of halting attempts at self-understanding in a painfully restrictive society. In this collection, by turns heartrending and inspiring, Xinran brings us the stories that affected her most, and offers a graphically detailed, altogether unprecedented work of oral history. ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful, heartbreaking, fascinating book!
Once I picked up the book and began reading, I couldn't put it down. The stories of these women who are so different, and yet so much like us, made me weep, laugh, and be astonished at their lives and history. Xinran Xue is a gifted writer who captures the poignancy of these womens' lives, whom she came to know through her radio program in China. In a time when most reporters would have left well-enough alone, she goes out into her world to interview women from all walks of life, and expresses their stories of incest, brutality, achievement, and daily survival with a simplicity that is dynamic and powerful. This book is a MUST-HAVE for anyone's library.

4-0 out of 5 stars A must read for all feminists
Once I started reading, I could not stop until I finished it. The true stories of the lives, experiences, pain and suffering of the women described by the author are unforgettable. I am a second generation Chinese American, raised in Chinatown in Los Angeles. I was raised watching movies from China and Hong Kong where the stories were always about the suffering of unnoticed, unappreciated women. I have always been grateful that I was not born in China. Members of my family had to live through the nightmare of the "Cultural Revolution" and my aunt who was persecuted and sent to the countryside for "reeducation" because she was the daughter of a merchant, died as a result of starvation and neglect.
The only criticism I have of the book is the relentlessness of the sadness and misery of these women's lives. It makes the reading hard work. I hope the author is encouraged to share more true stories that are not always so tragic and depressing.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Modern" China
This startling collection of stories offers a remarkable insight into the lives of women in the country that threatens to become the most powerful in the world in the 21st century. Communism promised equality for all in China, but like all political systems it is no match for traditions and customs that have lasted for thousands of years. These stories painfully explore what happens when the modern and the traditional collide, crushing women in the middle.

Living in a culture where revealing the most personal aspects of our lives on TV is a daily occurance, it is hard to envision how revolutionary Xinran's radio show "Words on the Night Breeze" was in China. For the first time, women had an anonymous way to tell their stories to the world, and what spilled out was heartbreaking. There were stories of true disaster, like the mothers who suffered through a devastating earthquake and watched their families swallowed up whole. But these things happen in every country. Much more disturbing to me were the stories of arranged marriages by party officials--in this nation of "comrades," a woman still has no choice but to stay with a husband who is lord and master, and treats her much as her female ancestors must have been treated long ago. Or the story of the young girl who is abused for years by her father--when her mother finds out about it she is told to put up with it to avoid angering him! Stories about the massive cruelties of the Cultural Revolution abound--I never cease being surprised and shocked at the pain this country visited on itself during the rule of Mao in the 1960's.

Surely things are changing, one asks. But after reading about the university student I wasn't so sure. Women in university are the cream of the crop. But Xinran is shocked to learn that many choose what sounds like a new twist on an ancient tradition--they become "personal secretaries" to high powered businessmen, some foreigners, who need help navigating the Chinese system. They are totally cynical and businesslike, and view these relationships as a way to earn money and security. Woe to the woman who falls in love with her boss, however--she is cut off as cleanly as a concubine might have been abandoned in ancient times.

This is a painful, sobering book. Progress and freedom are elusive concepts, and again and again after reading of other parts of the world, I realize how lucky Americans are that we got to "start fresh" a mere 200+ years ago. This is a wonderfully written book, well deserving of 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Page Turner Alert!!!!!!!!
This book was written so beautifully. It was very sad but depicted the strength of not only Chinese women but the Human spirit in general.
I have an adopted daughter from China and I will give her this book when she is old enough to understand it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book but just one point to make...
The Good Women of China is wonderful collection of vignettes that each give the reader a glimpse of what it is like to must have been like to be a woman in modernizing China. Xinran met each of these women through her radio show. Each of their stories paints a painful picture of the hardships that they continue to face throughout their day-to-day living.
However, in the chapter "What Chinese Women Believe", I was sad to see "Falun Gong" so inaccurately portrayed, as I knew that her words would affect readers, who may not ever read another source. I am a Swedish reader and I have practiced Falun Gong for two years now. Falun Gong is a popular qigong practice that people do in over 60 countries worldwide. It is based on the values of Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. As I understand it, the aim of the practice, as explained by the founder, Li Hongzhi, is to do your best to embody these three principles everyday and in everything you do. The practice has truly changed my heart and I feel that I have become a much kinder and considerate person as a result. My health has also vastly improved as a result of practicing it.
Unfortunately, practitioners in China are currently suffering terrible persecution, as I write this, because the number of practitioners rose to between 70 and 100 million by 1998 (almost a thirteenth of China's current population). Jiang Zemin, former Chinese leader, after failing to win popularity similar to those of his predecessors, Mao Ze Dong and Deng Xiao Ping, initiated the persecution out of jealousy at Falun Gong's popularity, vowing to "Defame their reputations, bankrupt them financially and destroy them physically."
The US government has already passed two resolutions condemning the persecution (H.Con. Res. 118 & 503). Jiang is now facing lawsuits in 13 different countries for "genocide and crimes against humanity," as are several of his main "accomplices", including Luo Gan, head of China's gestapo-like "6-10 Office."
The inaccuracies in the woman's account are likely due to the lack of accurate information regarding the practice in China in general. Since the persecution began in July 1999, the state-run media has been utilized to vilify Falun Gong on a daily basis. Falun Gong books are burned and web sites and blocked, making it very difficult to obtain accurate information. This might explain why the author seemed to know more about the practice than the woman giving the account.
. I hope I have included enough information to give at least a sense of both the nature of this wonderful practice and the scope of this human rights disaster. However, just in case, more information can be found if you are interested at -
Otherwise, I found Xin Ran's book to be a good read. Well done!
Take care and good luck book shopping. There is many a fine one her at J.
Jacob :D ... Read more

130. Girl Culture
by Lauren Greenfield, Joan Jacobs Brumberg
list price: $40.00
our price: $25.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0811837904
Catlog: Book (2002-10-01)
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Sales Rank: 7656
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Renowned photographer Lauren Greenfield has won acclaim and awards for her studies of youth culture. In Girl Culture, she combines a photojournalist’s sense of story with fine-art composition and color to create an astonishing and intelligent exploration of American girls. Her photographs provide a window into the secret worlds of girls’ social lives and private rituals, the dressing room and locker room, as well as the iconic subcultures of the popular clique: cheerleaders, showgirls, strippers, debutantes, actresses, and models. With 100 hypnotic photographs, 20 interviews with the subjects, and an introduction by foremost historian of American girlhood Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Greenfield reveals the exhibitionist nature of modern femininity and how far it has drifted from the feminine ideologies of the past. ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars ARTWEEK REVIEW - FEBRUARY 2003
Lauren Greenfield's photographs from her most recent project, Girl Culture,
represents an important return to traditional photography and a break with
the popular, staged work of the past decade. Using a 35mm camera and
working intuitively and spontaneously, Greenfield returns to the basics -
picturing that which is important and reorganizing the chaos of the real
world into compelling and complex images that speak to our experiences as
emotional beings. This may sound simple, but over the past ten years,
photographers have moved far from the traditional approach and into the
imaginative fictions of Hollywood films, utilizing elaborate productions
crews and massive digital prints. Greenfield, in a powerful and compelling
exhibition and book, brings photography back down to earth, and in doing so,
signals a shift in contemporary picture making.

Greenfield has spent more than five years photographing young women and
girls, plumbing the zeitgeist for clues about body image, self-esteem,
consumerism and sexuality. As you can imagine, the results are not pretty.
They are skewed toward the complicated psychological arena where
self-awareness is mixed with victimization. The exhibition and book are
quite different experiences due to the fact that the publication included
interviews with the subjects. For a full appreciation of how vital this
work is to photography and to women¹s studies, it is important to see them
both. I found a pervasive sadness to the interviews, wherein women spoke of
the pressures to be thin, stylish and sexual and then expressed admiration
for these ideals, like an alcoholic who continues drinking, encouraging
others to join in.

The exhibition at Stephen Cohen Gallery is immediately remarkable due to the
intimate scale of the photographs. The prints range from 11 by 14 inches to
16 by 20 inches with only a few being larger. This changes the experience
of the work by drawing the viewers in close to read and interpret the
images. Besides the modest print size, when we get close to the
photographs, we can see the tiny specks of grain and notice that some of
them are a bit out of focus. This may seem sound like a criticism, but
these imperfections are a refreshing departure from the majority of
contemporary photography, suggesting the haphazard complexity of real life
and the medium¹s dependence on the artist¹s unique vision.

Greenfield¹s photographs are well known from major magazines and often
display a biting criticism and acerbic wit. These characteristics are used
mercilessly in some of the images. Lillian, then 18, shops at Kirna Zabete,
New York shows the pretty blonde sitting in an upscale boutique, holding a
red shoe. Her mouth hangs open in mid-sentence and its red-lined, oval
shape is echoed in the red, open-toed, ankle-strapped slingback she is
holding. Lillian reeks of having too much money and too little taste, and
the photograph is an indictment of her shallowness and vanity. In the
interview, Lillian says she hates being a blonde but claims to be so only
because she¹s an actress. Her awareness of the burden of beauty is
outweighed by her greedy consumerism. Another highly critical image shows
pornographic film star Taylor Wayne, who, dripping in jewelry, strikes a
clichéd pose, her massive breasts practically bursting from her dress. She
looks like a parody of herself, more of a mannequin than a real woman.

Greenfield¹s tone is more forgiving when she examines subjects who have less
control over their lives. The photographs of kids and teenagers, some at
weight-loss camp, exude a compassion that is balanced with the artist¹s
critical eye. Paula, 11, at weight-loss camp, Catskill, New York is
heartbreaking but empowering. Apprehensive of the camera, the pudgy girl
with crimson cheeks turns her body away, clasping her hands in front of her
chest defensively. Greenfield photographs her in the shade without a flash,
and the soft, cool-cyan light bespeaks the girl¹s vulnerability. Using
wide-angle lens and slightly tilting the camera, she keeps our attention on
the girl¹s face and accents her expression and wide body. The image is
gentle but also has the effect of suggesting her inner power and creates an
optimism not seen in the more critical pictures. So too with the image of
Joyce, Elysia and Alison at their friend¹s sixteenth birthday party.
Instead of primping or showing off, the three girls embrace and comfort each
other. The picture is so intimate that it reveals an emotional support
system so vital to many of the younger women pictured here.

The power and importance of Greenfield¹s work arises from its combination of
poignant subject matter, powerful compositions and framing, and the profound
connection between the subject and tradition the artist creates through her
masterful technique. The only weakness in the work is the dense contrast
between shadows and lights in many of the prints which takes away from their
emotional strengths. Greenfield is often referred to as a photojournalist,
which understates her importance in the art world. She is certainly not
driven to make pictures just because she is on assignment, but more likely
out of the desire to express her personal vision through relevant subjects.
Like Nan Goldin who, in 1987, showed that there was more to photography than
postmodern intellectualism, Greenfield takes us away from the monotonous,
digitized unreality of so much contemporary fine art photography. In so
doing, she reestablishes the primacy of the individual artist¹s vision in
connecting passion and subject matter.

5-0 out of 5 stars American Photo Review Jan/Feb 2003
They are always blond, it seems, and always thin: the Popular Girls of every woman's haunted teenage memories. They are named Monique or Sandy or, of course, Heather, and their lithe legs stretch a mile from their fashionably rolled-up shorts to their totally cool sneakers - a degree of stylistic perfection unattainable by mere mortals. They seem so preternaturally gifted that you wonder whether such grace can persist into adulthood. (Maybe you hope it doesn't.) You also wonder whether these girls are happy.
Lauren Greenfield wondered just that when she traveled to Edina, Minnesota, in 1998 to photograph a story for The New York Times Magazine on the expansive topic of "being 13." Her pictures of the glorious blond Alpha Girls ruling over the seventh grade there began to provide an answer. The photos also began to convince Greenfield that there was much to be revealed about the real lives of American girls. It all led to a new book, Girl Culture (Chronicle Books, $40), an ambitious effort that blurs the distinction between photojournalism, art, and social science. (An accompanying exhibition of the images opened in October at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York and will be traveling to the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles in December and the Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco in January.) "What I learned shooting the 'popular girls' in Edina was how hard it was to stay on top," says Greenfield, "and how insecure they felt about their social position. One said she was afraid she would come to school one day and suddenly find that she wasn't in the popular group anymore. Another girl said that if she could do it over again, she'd rather have real friends who liked her for who she was." Instead, she was rewarded for who she appeared to be.
That raw truth - the tyranny of appearance in the lives of young girls and women-lies at the center of Greenfield's book. The girls in Girl Culture range from four-year-olds playing dress-up in spangly princess outfits to awkward teenagers arriving at a weight-loss summer camp to Las Vegas showgirls and strippers plying their trade. In one way or another, all of them are defined by how they look. Like the photographs in Greenfield's first book, 1997's acclaimed Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood, the images in Girl Culture are often weighty with unflinching detail. In one shot, a showgirl named Anne-Margaret is seen reflected in her dressing-room mirror at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. Taped to the side of the mirror is a handwritten note that reads I APPROVE OF MYSELF alongside pictures of models the dancer admires. That picture, shot on assignment for Stern magazine, got Greenfield thinking "about how girls construct their identities, how they use pieces of the outside world to express themselves."
Soon, Greenfield, who recently became a member of the VII photo agency, began seeing aspects of girl culture all around her: on an assignment in Florida shooting a story on spring break, with its "girls gone wild" partying; while photographing Chattanooga, Tennessee, debutantes who complained about being fat as a size four; and while shooting the Edina teenagers, whose unforgiving social structure was described by one of their mothers as consisting of "tier-one, tier-two, and tier-three girls." Putting the book together, Greenfield says, was an intuitive process. "I made a lot of different pictures that seemed like pieces of the puzzle," she says, "but I didn't know until I was editing it whether they would all fit together." The puzzle included some surprising juxtapositions, tying together the worlds of girls and adult women. "When I looked at the exhibitionism of strippers, it reminded me of little girls and how they perform, how they look for approval," the photographer says. "In pictures, you can't help seeing the similarities in dress and body language."
The work was also cathartic. Greenfield was once, after all, a little girl who grew into a woman in the American body culture, and she recounts her own teenage years of chronic dieting, anxiety about her own popularity, and a conviction that her outer appearance reflected the imperfections that lurked on the inside. In this Greenfield has plenty of company. One eating-disorder clinic estimates that 85 percent of adult females wake up each morning dissatisfied with their weight and appearance, determined to somehow replicate the ever-shrinking dimensions of "lollipop" actresses and models (so called because their heads look oversized atop their sticklike frames). Joan Jacobs Brumberg, a historian at Cornell University, who wrote the introduction to Greenfield's book, feels that the current cultural environment, fueled by commercial forces outside the family and community, is actually toxic for adolescent girls "because of the anxieties it generates about the developing female body and sexuality."
One bright spot in this dispiriting landscape of insecurity and self-blame is the rise of girls' athletics, which is credited with giving at least some girls a body identity that arises from their abilities rather than their decorativeness. Greenfield says that the athletes she photographed-including tennis star Venus Williams, members of the Stanford University women's swim team, and players on the Little Indians softball team in Naples, Florida, where girls' softball is a local tradition-had a sense of a goal broader than themselves. "They have a larger and more important context in which to see themselves," she says, "that has to do with making a faster time, or coming through for their team, rather than simply looking good when they walk out the door."
The book also features Greenfield's bracingly honest interviews with some of the girls she photographed, such as Stephanie, 14, whom the photographer met at the weight-loss camp, and Sheena, a 15-year-old struggling with her body image (see page 56). "I think it's a challenging culture for girls to grow up in," Greenfield admits. "My role isn't to condemn it, but to try to show the pieces, to put them together. This book is a subjective view of one aspect of the girl culture. It's not the whole story, but it's the part of the story that leaves no one untouched."

4-0 out of 5 stars Very chic and lovely!
The photographs taken in this book were wonderful and fun, but the only reason why I gave it a 4 was because it didn't have much variety [and, to be honest, was a bit cliché]. However, I did find the book very interesting and the stories for each photo made it twice as good. I definitely would recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars What It's Like for a Girl
I first saw this exhibit at the CCP at the University of Arizona, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I have not been able to erase Greenfield's images from my mind. Not only are her photographs beautiful and powerful, but the testimonials that go with each photo are heartbreaking. After I saw the exhibit, I had to have the book... but I didn't end up buying it until years later. I was happy to find that the book has expanded content--more pictures, longer testimonials, an introduction by JJ Brumburg (excellent!) and an essay written by Lauren Greenfield herself. I highly, highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the psychology and sexuality of America's female population.

5-0 out of 5 stars Flash Art Magazine Review, February 2004
American photographer Lauren Greenfield's recent exhibition is entitled "Girl Culture". The artist's stunning documentary photographs are prompting comparisons to other female photographers such as Tina Barney and Nan Goldin.

Like Barney, also a documentarist of the social realms of contemporary America, Greenfield painstakingly monitors subtle variations of self-representation, made congruent with commonly accepted ideals at the earliest possible stage in a person's development. The rites Greenfield are watching are those of the common girl. In this way, "Girl Culture" presents the opposite of the body-hiding conventions of Barney's East Coast WASPs. Greenfield focuses on the procedures of preparing and presenting the body in a body-fixated mass culture.

"Girl Just Want to Have Fun" springs to mind as a disturbing euphemism for living the life of a little girl, an adolescent, or a grown woman in the United States today. Oscillating between overeating, starving, and self-mutilation, these girls become conditioned at an early age (even as young as four) by dressing up (and looking frighteningly grown-up) in a brutally competitive environment filled with drastic misconceptions of beauty.

The radical affirmation of the standardized ideal sometimes results in travesty, such as when we look through the photographer's eyes at both Las Vegas showgirls and minors wearing too much makeup. Greenfield knows her craft. Her eye is never hurtful or brutally revealing, but instead allows her subjects to present themselves the way they like, the way they live - knowing that the production of the self in front of the camera can be more revealing than any pose the photographer suggests.

Beauty, for most of these girls and women, is used as a weapon. It seems to grant self-esteem and acceptance. The outer appearance supports and covers the self simultaneously until the individual is no longer indistinguishable from the masses, until it seems to blend in smoothly. The American body is a body for the masses that results in mass display of the manipulated, operated, augmented body on such ritual occasions as pageants and spring breaks. Greenfield shows the way that these rituals conceal a rigid subtext of pain, suppression, and denial.

Remarkable is the sheer absence of men in all of these scenes. With the exception of a spring ritual, in which a group of men hold up a woman like a broken Barbie doll, they are almost invisible. They occupy the women's fantasies, their longings, their projections. Thus, they are included in every picture that Greenfield takes, with a girl culture unfolding in front of the backdrop of dominant male culture. In this respect, Greenfield's seemingly objective photography contains a tangiable, important critique. (Written by Magdalena Kroner) ... Read more

131. Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
by Prill Boyle
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578601541
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Emmis Books
Sales Rank: 124865
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For some women, marriage and children mean putting their dreams on hold. For others, stifled confidence, lack of opportunity, or simple uncertainty cause them to abandon their life goals.Author Prill Boyle didn’t graduate from college until she was 38, and only took up writing full-time at age 47.But after finally finding herself, Prill was intent on finding others who shared her vision; so she went in search of women who made the same brave leap into the future.The result, DEFYING GRAVITY: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women recounts the stories of 12 inspiring women from all walks of life who changed paths and achieved the kind of career success and personal fulfillment that at a younger age, none of them thought possible.

Included alongside these profiles is the journal Prill kept of her own journey and thoughts while writing DEFYING GRAVITY.In these entries, she shares her feelings not only about these amazing kindred spirits she has met, but also her insecurities about writing, her thoughts on aging, the bittersweet ache of watching her children grow and pursue their own lives, and more. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Prill's book captures this for me: that we are all the star of our own show.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and enjoyable.
Defying Gravity is an honest and charming account of twelve (actually thirteen) women's belief in themselves at a time in one's life when many of us merely settle. The book is truly inspirational, empowering and a delightful read. Reminds us all of the wonderful and unique opportunities ahead if we're just willing to look... and put in a little effort.

5-0 out of 5 stars loved it!
I loved Defying Gravity because it had all the elements of a terrific book. It was a great read. I was moved to cry and laugh and most of all it inspired me! Prill's journal entries intertwined between the first person accounts of women's lives and accomplishments tied the whole thing together for me. Prill's honest account of her own life experiences is courageous and touching. Her ability to capture the sprit of these 12 women and share their stories is amazing. It's a beautiful book that I can't wait to share with my Mom, my sisters, and my cousins, friends and colleagues. ... Read more

132. No Constitutional Right to be Ladies : Women and the Obligations of Citizenship
by Linda K. Kerber
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0809073846
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Sales Rank: 470050
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This pioneering study redefines women's history in the United States by focusing on civic obligations rather than rights. Looking closely at thirty telling cases from the pages of American legal history, Kerber's analysis reaches from the Revolution, when married women did not have the same obligation as their husbands to be "patriots," up to the present, when men and women, regardless of their marital status, still have different obligations to serve in the Armed Forces.

An original and compelling consideration of American law and culture, No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies emphasizes the dangers of excluding women from other civic responsibilities as well, such as loyalty oaths and jury duty. Exploring the lives of the plaintiffs, the strategies of the lawyers, and the decisions of the courts, Kerber offers readers a convincing argument for equal treatment under the law.
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars I had trouble putting it down.
This is an absolutely fascinating book. The material in it is interesting, detailed and very well written. She uses legal cases as a starting point to discuss women's civic obligations. It becomes very clear that people's obligations have an enormous effect on their rights and the roles they are expected to play in society. The individual cases help keep things grounded in people's lives and not just legal theories. There is an amazing amount of information that I never knew which really helped me understand how things were and how they changed.

One case study was two women who felt that they were being charged more in property taxes that the other land owners in the area. They decided to stop paying property taxes using the slogan "no taxation without representation". These two women had received training in political activism with the abolition and temperence movements which was common among the people who worked for women's sufferage. The "no taxation without representation" was one of the first legal arguments used to try and obtain voting rights for women and initially it was a strong one. It had certainly worked to increase the various classes of men that were allowed to vote. With women, unfortunately, the courts chipped away at the legel precident rather than following it. This one case allowed Ms. Kerber to talk about how women were hurt by being kept out of the political system, the women's sufferage movement, and the response of the courts and politicians.

This book gave me an immense amount of food for thought. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Kerber -
I have read a lot of women's and Constitutional history, and still my jaw literally dropped open several times while reading this book. Her use of real scenarios made the book readable and enjoyable. People have said lately that we are focused too much on our rights and not our responsibilities; it's scary to see that whether women must bear the responsibilities of citizenship is still in many ways an open question.

5-0 out of 5 stars Readable, well documented and informative
I'm definately interested in reading and understanding more about the situation women face today. This book was an incredibly informative education on the evolution of debate about what exactly is a woman's place in society. It helped clarify vague confusion I've felt about things being not yet fully equal, but not having the background or vocabulary to explain why.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fascinating stories.
This is that rare history book that can keep one up late, utterly unable to wait til the next day for the end of the story. Kerber focuses on little-known women and their conflicts with government over their rights and obligations as citizens: loyalty during wartime, voting, serving on juries, paying taxes. She brings these stories to life with dramatic, clear writing. If you're interested in American history, don't miss this book ... Read more

133. Composing a Life
by Mary Catherine Bateson
list price: $13.00
our price: $10.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0802138047
Catlog: Book (2001-05-10)
Publisher: Grove Press
Sales Rank: 43718
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Mary Catherine Bateson has been called "one of the most original and important thinkers of our time" (Deborah Tannen). Grove Press is pleased to reissue Bateson's deeply satisfying treatise on the improvisational lives of five extraordinary women. Using their personal stories as her framework, Dr. Bateson delves into the creative potential of the complex lives we live today, where ambitions are constantly refocused on new goals and possibilities. With balanced sympathy and a candid approach to what makes these women inspiring, examples of the newly fluid movement of adaptation--their relationships with spouses, children, and friends, their ever-evolving work, and their gender--Bateson shows us that life itself is a creative process. "Well-formulated and passionate ... Offers nothing less than a radical rethinking of the concept of achievement." -- San Francisco Chronicle "Fascinating ... A masterwork of rare breadth and particularity." -- The Boston Globe ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Subtly inspirational.
I can't remember why I investigated, ordered and then read this book other than it was written by Margaret Mead's daughter and I wanted to find out what the woman was like personally. What I found when I read the book was quite different. I felt such affinity with much that was presented about the lives of the women that I recommended the work to a friend. It is interesting that we both highlighted an event in Mary Bateson's life that we both had experienced in similar intensity. Bateson's candid verbalisation of the effect of the experience has helped to heal the wounds in both my friend and myself.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thinking outside the box....
I read Mary Catherine Bateson's book COMPOSING A LIFE when it was first issued some years ago. I had read her mother's biography BLACKBERRY WINTER, and I wanted to know more about the child raised by the woman who wrote COMING OF AGE IN SAMOA. Bateson's mother was married three times -- twice to anthropologists, including Gregory Bateson, Mary Catherine's father and Margaret Mead's third husband.

I was pleasantly surprised by Mary Catherine's strong individual personality and the inspirational tone of her book. Bateson definitely escaped her parents shadow. Having famous parents who study other people's children doesn't mean your life will be perfect or easy. Mary Catherine had to find her own way and compose her own life. Finding her way meant "stepping outside the box" or realizing that she could make choices at any point. She did not have to conform to society's notion of the phases of life (maybe her mother's study of "coming of age" had some effect on her novel thinking?).

Bateson's book helped me to think about my own life differently. I found the courage to go back to school at age 28 (I was a high school dropout with three small children), earn a B.A., M.A. and complete all the coursework for a PhD. Today, I am a a subject matter expert for one of the Federal Government's leading statistical agencies. At age 28, I had no idea how far I could go, or that I even wanted to go there. Mary Catherine Bateson was one of those pioneering women who helped me realize it is possible to change your life.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Accident
I was quite pleased to have accidentally stumbled onto this book in a search to find materials focused on the concept of "corporate anthopology". Like Ayn Rand's ability to model her concepts of epistemology in her fictional novels, Mary Catherine exemplifies the work of a cultural anthropologist by sharing her personal observations of her own life and the lives of others. I was so sparked by the "personal jewels" I was unable to uncover for my own use that I can't wait to follow on to read her next book, which I've just ordered online...

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read for adult learners and educators!
"Composing a Life" is a critically reflecting book on the lives of five women and the challenges they are faced with during their life roles.

Mary Catherine Bateson has woven together several cross-functional areas of study including psychology, anthropology,multi-national studies, and behavioral sciences to explain the societal, ethnic, and economical pressures that women feel in the varying (and ambiguous) roles in their life.

This is not a male-bashing book yet one that carefully explains the external and internal forces of women as they wear several hats as professionals, mothers, girlfriends, wives, lovers, and friends. Just as music can rapidly change in tempo or keys, so can the lives of women and the expectation of immediate adjustment and acclamation.

A five-star book. Easy to read and great to reflect upon and journal your thoughts as they springboard from this introspective book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A lucid and uplifting observation of modern life.
This very thoughtful and subtle book is good for just about anyone to read, although it particularly recounts the contemporary lives of five women. Mary Catherine Bateson is the daughter of two of the greatest of anthropologists, Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead, and her capacity for insight shines through. There is something energizing and exciting about seeing the quandries of modern life with perspective. We are not the first to have days filled with adversity and challenge, all the while trying to live in a way that does justice to ourselves and our world. You will hear about Joan Erikson, wife of Eric Erickson and an artist, a college president, an engineer in the business world, and Bateson herself. The interviews and observations span decades, but are so intriguing you find yourself thinking "and what happens next?" It's nearly impossible to write a book about decades of personal life, and see the kernels of wisdom about how we make personal decisions and deal with adversity, but it's here. In one elegantly slim volume. I'm sending it to one friend of 20 years, one of 40 and one of 80 this week. ... Read more

134. The Meaning of Wife
by Anne Kingston
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374205108
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 48885
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"One part The Beauty Myth . . . and one part Backlash"*--a provocative exploration of who and what a wife really is.

There is a wife crisis in North America, a brewing storm of conflicting forces swirling around what it means to be a wife at the beginning of the 21st Century. The word is so fraught with ambiguity that it has become a litmus test, eliciting from women emotions ranging from longing to antipathy, anxiety to derision. This crisis is at the heart of Anne Kingston's The Meaning of Wife.

Delving into the complex, troubling, and sometimes humorous contradictions, illusions, and realities of contemporary wifehood, Kingston takes the reader on a fascinating journey into the wedding industrial complex, which elevates the bride to a potent consumer icon; through the recent romanticization of domesticity; and across the conflicted terrain of wifely sexuality. She looks at "wife backlash," and the new wave of neo-traditionalism that urges women to marry before their "best-before" dates expire; explores the apotheosis of abused wives and the strange celebration of wives who kill; and muses on the fact that Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart, two of the world's wealthiest and most influential women, are both non-wives whose success has hinged on thier understanding of wives. The result is an entertaining mix of social, sexual, historical, and economic commentary that is bound to stir debate even as it reframes our view of both women and marriage.
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for all women.
I picked up this book mainly because of its cover not knowing that is was a non-fiction book. I almost didn't read it; I'm so glad I did.This book is not a man-bashing book but an uplifting book for women--or more or less a cautionairy tale.

I thought at first that I'm not really a wife. I'm in a long-time (15 years) relationship--engaged but not really looking to get married. However, after reading this book, I realize I am a wife and do fall into the trap of some of the same wifely aspects.

I already recommened this book to a colleague who is several years younger and would recommend it to all young women and men.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book, a not so great institution
Like many career-minded young women my age, I have no immediate plans to marry, and I would certainly read thuis book a second time if I were ever going to. We can yap all we want about the importance of committment and love in modern day marriage, but the fact remains that Marriage, as an institution, can be a degrading, wasteful, and downright evil thing.

I think a lot of women get married nowadays because it is quite simply the thing to do. A book like this would enable them to make a rational decision in that regard!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Great
I don't want to get married. I thought this book would be an explanation into how I feel. It turned out to be so much more, it does not bash marriage as I originally thought it would. The book is a great read right until the end, so rare in non-fiction. It has many historical facts that are fascinating! Great book, I will read it again and again. ... Read more

135. A RETURN TO MODESTY: Discovering the Lost Virtue
by Wendy Shalit
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684863170
Catlog: Book (2000-01-24)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 130140
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Where once a young woman had to be ashamed of her sexual experience, today she is ashamed of her sexual inexperience. Where not long ago an unmarried woman was ashamed to give public evidence of sexual desire by living with someone, today she must be ashamed to give evidence of romantic desire. From sex education in grade school to coed bathrooms in college, today's young woman is being pressured relentlessly to overcome her embarrassment, her "hang-ups," and especially her romantic hopes.

Meanwhile, the problems young women struggle with grow steadily more extreme: from sexual harassment, stalking, and date rape to anorexia and self-mutilation. Both men and women endlessly lament the loss of privacy and of real intimacy. What is it all about?

Beholden neither to conservatives who discount as exaggeration the dangers facing young women, nor to feminists who steadfastly affix blame on the patriarchy, Wendy Shalit proposes that, in fact, we have lost our respect for an important classical virtue -- that of sexual modesty. A Return to Modesty is a deeply personal account as well as a fascinating intellectual exploration. From seventeenth-century manners guides to Antonio Canova's sculpture, Venus Italico, to Frank Loesser's 1948 tune, "Baby, It's Cold Outside," A Return to Modesty unfolds like a detective's search for a lost idea as Shalit uncovers opinions about this lost virtue's importance, from Balzac to Simone de Beauvoir, that have not been aired for decades. Then she knocks down the accompanying myths one by one. Female modesty is not about a "sexual double standard," as is often thought, but is related to male virtue and honor. Modesty is not a social construct, but a natural response. And modesty is not prudery, but a way to preserve a sense of the erotic in our lives.

With humor and piercing insight, Shalit invites us to look beyond the blush and consider the new power to be found in an old ideal. She maintains that the sex education curriculum forced on those of her generation from an early age is fundamentally flawed, centered as it is on overcoming reticence -- what we today call "hang-ups." Shalit surprisingly and persuasively argues that without these misnamed hang-ups there can be no true surrender, no richness and depth to relations between the sexes. The natural inclination toward modesty is not a hang-up that we should set out to cure, but rather a wonderful instinct that, if rediscovered and given the right social support, has the power to transform society. ... Read more

Reviews (170)

5-0 out of 5 stars A tour de force in American letters
Miss Shalit has made a powerful argument that modesty, while not the CAUSE of such ills as date rape, will ensure women a much greater level of freedom in their own life. Moreover, she does us all a great service by pointing out the psychological distortions that a hypersexed culture, and pornography in particular, create in all of us, male and female alike. Miss Shalit hopes to stop us from "sexing the sex right out of sex," as Betty Friedan wrote in THE FEMININE MYSTQIUE. I heartily recommend that both men and women read this timely and insightful book; it explains my generation far better than any work of social science published thus far.

5-0 out of 5 stars Call it "Reviving Solame"
Shortly after I got in to it, I said I had to stop reading Wendy Shalit's "Return to Modesty". The case studies and excerpts from popular literature/magazines the author sites were just stomach churning. I got very depressed. However, I have decided to persevere after I passed the opening arguments in her case for modesty.

I noted that the author draws heavily on the case studies of Mary Pipher, who wrote "Reviving Ophelia" I read this book. I was glad that Pipher "uncovered" the dark world that a lot of teenage girls live in: sex, self mutilation, okay... but I agree with Shalit. Pipher remains clueless as to what's really going on. To her, these girls are pathetic Ophelia figures that are suicidal victims of some sexual drama that is happening outside themselves. They just need to snap out of it and get some confidence in their own sexuality. I was discussing the JonBonet case with a friend recently, and the idea that mothers often push sensuality on their daughters. The images alone of Jon Bonet all made up are shocking and sick. It's like this little girl was killed off before she was murdered. Well, it struck me that all of us girls in this generation (born after mid 1960's) are pushed towards sensuality by other WOMEN. These "mother figures" can be psychologists like Pipher, our professors, magazine advice columnists, whoever. Anyway, the idea is that we are supposed to boldly live the dreams of sexual equality that the women of the past have constructed.

I cant help thinking that this is less like the drama of Hamlet's Ophelia and more like Salome. You know Salome: the young girl that asked Harod for the head of St John the Baptist. Salome's mother is so angry about having her sexual sins revealed that she wants St John silenced in the most morbid way. So she encourages her daughter to perform an erotic dance to seduce Harod into a horrible act of violence. The girl now becomes a participant, not an innocent victim, in the drama. All so the sins of the mother can continue without the judgment of the Saint.

I think Salome dies from a sort of decapitation, a violent separation from her own body, when her mother offers her up to the Male Tyrant (Harod, the baby-killer). Someone should write a book called, "Reviving Salome". Wendy Shalit's "Return to Modesty" may be that book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clearing Things Up
Regarding the ongoing controversy of Wendy Shalit supposedly coming on our show and saying she was living with someone, and hoped to marry the guy:

Wendy Shalit never appeared on "The John and Ken Show." We rarely interview authors, and even then it's only about books that involve major news events.

As good as her book probably is, it's not the kind of subject matter we've ever covered with any author. It's easy to lie on the Internet to discredit someone you disagree with -- this is a great example.

John Kobylt
"The John and Ken Show"
KFI-AM 64, Los Angeles

4-0 out of 5 stars lets be reasonable here, people
I'm sorry, I don't believe that Wendy Shalit went on a radio show and said she was living with someone but so what everyone makes mistakes. What is the source, this anonymous amazon "reviewer" who hates her and her argument and three years after the fact claims she did this? When a Return to Modesty was published it caused a major uproar. She got tons of flack from major publications...New York Times, New York Observer, the Nation...who said she was young and naive, you name it. Many of the reviews were quite cruel and personal attacks. If Wendy really was living with someone at the time, and talked about it on national radio! you can bet that would have certainly come out in the media. I followed a lot of the publicity because we were studying her in my feminist theory class. I'm not saying I buy everything in her book, which is well-written but too extreme for me, but I don't buy this rumor either. (By the way, who cares that she got into a good college? If she didn't, she couldn't critique "elite opinion" like she does. it sounds like you haven't even read her book) Bottom line: good book, she has credibility, but the more extreme parts of her argument can exclude middle-of-the-road moderate people. best chpter: "modesty and the erotic." Worst chapter: "male honor," needs to be developed more.

1-0 out of 5 stars Whoever said "Reader from Cali is an idiot"
is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. You may want to go back and do a little reading comprehension work before critiquing those who disagree with you. Check your own spelling, grammar and capitalizaiton before calling others stupid.

I won't even bother continuing with this book because Wendy Shalit is a hypocrite. First off, she chooses to base her "experiences" on a college full of rich, white kids. Williams is nicknamed "I-went-to-Choate-did-you?" and costs around 40K a year to attend. Everyone bought into this book before finding out she was NOT a virgin (or maybe she's one of those "technical virgins"), and is living with her boyfriend (something she rails against); these facts revealed on a radio talk show where she admitted to "making mistakes in the past" after much hemming and hawing about her virginity and was living with her boyfriend, once again after hemming and hawing, though she said they plan to marry. Here is where I have a can you advocate something that you yourself are not following through on? Now if she said, "Well I did the deed, but choose this path..." I would have far more respect for her as an author. As for blaming date rape on clothes, isn't that like saying someone in a Ferrari deserves to be carjacked and killed? Blame the victim is sooo passe.

Now there is nothing wrong with choosing chastity as a way of life, but there is nothing wrong with embracing your "inner slut" if that is your choice. This is the beauty of this country. I know several women in happy relationships and marriages who slept with their husbands on the first date and I know miserable people who were virgins on their wedding night. There are far greater variables involving relationships to place apremium on one's genitalia. Women are precious regardless fo the condition of their crotch.

The true meaning of sexual revolution is owning your sexuality, whether you remain a virgin or share it with the world. The only way you are truly liberated is by sticking to your convictions, not by saying "do as I say, not as I do." If Shalit had stated this instead of behaving so smugly in interviews, I would have less problem giving her credibility. ... Read more

136. The Gendered Society
by Michael S. Kimmel
list price: $37.95
our price: $37.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195149750
Catlog: Book (2003-08-01)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Sales Rank: 195977
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Designed as a companion volume to Kimmel's forthcoming book, The Gendered Society, the overall purpose of The Gendered Society: Readings is to provide students with a sense of different discourses on gender that have been produced by a wide range of disciplines. In a series of readings, both classic and contemporary, from the biological sciences, anthropology, cross-culture studies, psychoanalysis, developmental psychology, and gender studies, Kimmel focuses on the two major issues in the study of gender - difference and domination - looking at such fundamental questions as: How are males and females different? What do these differences mean? Why does it mean different things in different cultures to be male or female? Why is it that virtually every society differentiates people on the basis on gender? Why is that virtually every known society is also based on male domination?The first sections are organized by discipline, collecting classic statements of different theoretical perspectives and research inquiries. The final sections address various substantive issues such as: sex; gender and work; and love, sex, and the family. In its focus on both empirical and theoretical issues, its broad interdisciplinary perspective, and its emphasis on including both men and women, this reader is both informative and entertaining and appropriate for both scholars and students. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read for anyone studying gender
Micheal Kimmel is already a major positive force in the area of gender studies, especially when it comes to exposing the important role that men play in the feminist movement. Amy Aronson is also a powerful contribution to this collection. This book is a fabulous academic equivalent to his anthology, Men's Lives. The Gendered Society Reader gives readers a plethora of resources on the roles that social construction plays in gender development, looking at it from the essentialist position of biological determinism to the cultural variations around the world. I would highly recommend this book to any researcher or individual interested in recent finds and developments in the field of gender studies. ... Read more

137. My Mother/My Self : The Daughter's Search for Identity
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385320159
Catlog: Book (1997-09-08)
Publisher: Delta
Sales Rank: 31075
Average Customer Review: 4.07 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (14)

2-0 out of 5 stars I've read better...
This book was written for women, as such men will come away feeling that women are "really screwed up" about thier mothers, and while it does attempt to explain certian things, you do get the feeling that the author wants somebody to blame for the things that have gone wrong in her life... One wonders what her mother though on reading it, if she ever has.

Personally I think "Our Mother's Daughters" by Judith Arcana (published by The Women's Press) is a far better book, a far better read for men too, especially if you want to understand the woman your mother is, rather than the woman you would have her be.

I love my mother, I read her copies of both books, her mother is now dead, it took her a lifetime to deal with the pain, don't waste yours doing the same. Forgive and forget, we are only human after all.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Book For Women to Read
In 1989, I had the "opportunity" to be around family more than I had been in my adult years. And it was with the help of this book that I learned to accept my mother, while I still owned every painful emotion that I experienced in her presence.

It was after one of those phone calls where if you are a woman you may be familiar. I just couldn't seem to get the connection that I desired from my mother. And I didn't know how to language the problem, so that I am free to live my own life.

It was after that telephone call, in 1989, that I bought this book, and have read this book many times since then.

The first wonderful experience that I had, as I read this book was the realization that my mother did the best that she knew how to do. That acceptance created a level of peace within myself, because it freed me to stop looking for the perfect mother.

You will learn from reading this book, that your mother really is your first mirror. And by reading this book, by facing your first mirror, in a psychic way, you will give yourself, and your mother permission to be separate, lovable, empowered women.

This book also is great for helping women to treat one another better. Because although we have more opportunities, women still hold one another back in the worst of ways - many women still believe that our opportunities are limited, and that if a woman is successful, she is taking all the power away from other women.

Read this book to love yourself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitions of Mother
What I loved most about this book was that the women who gave birth to us are our mothers, but women who teach us life lessons are also our mothers. The definition of mother grows with our abilities to accept more nurturers and teachers in our lives. It is very important to accept the fact about our mothers that they were only human and did the best they could, but that's another life lesson that can ripple more globally.

Ultimately, this book is about choosing mentors and tolerance for human frailties. I'm glad it's still in print.

2-0 out of 5 stars Dated!
Upon re-reading this book after many years, I found that unconditionally embracing what were once Friday's unique perspectives on our relationships, especially with our mothers, is as bad as buying into society's bill of goods as to who we are and who we're supposed to be as women. There was a time when these ideas were on the mark, but for any person who questions what they read and are told by the "experts," this book can be disturbing in its rigidity. No modern free-thinkers need apply!

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly Very Powerful!
This is an excellent book! Really essential for women whom have trouble with their mothers when dealing with anger, fear and other mixed emotions. You will catch yourself reading some of the passages over and over and over again. This book touches your heart and doesn't let go. I have read this book several times and each and every time I do get something different out of it. This is an excellent self-development book and I highly recommend it to and women alike. ... Read more

by Christina Hoff-Sommers
list price: $23.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671794248
Catlog: Book (1994-05-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 483638
Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (71)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Daring but Dangerous Book
Sommers has done an excellent job of demonstrating some of the problems with what passes for current feminist advocacy studies. Her analysis of what, and more importantly how, things are being taught on many American campuses is cogent and frightening to consider; the idea that colleges may no longer consider teaching students how to think, but rather what they should think. But Sommers book also poses a danger, because many readers who come in with their own opinions firmly established will assume that Sommers' work intends to show that women face no problems in the world, or that all feminists are deceitful or simply wrong. Even a cursory review of the work will show that she in fact acknowledges that there are still problems to be resolved for women, particularly for women who are not currently well represented by prominent feminists: women who are poor or who live elsewhere than the United States. Although this book does speak specifically and well about how a certain brand of feminism (what she calls gender feminism) is alienating many who otherwise support the goals of traditional feminism, it is even better as an example of how advocacy research can twist public policy. Unfortunately, this book is most likely to be used by opponents of any feminism to drag down any attempts to remedy real problems that exist for women. That is a real shame, because Sommers has clearly put a great deal of thought and effort into this work.

3-0 out of 5 stars interesting, thought provoking book with some flaws
"Why are certain feminists so eager to put men in a bad light"? This is one of the first questions asked by Christina Hoff Sommers, philosophy professor & equity-feminist (as she calls herself) in the preface of the book "Who stole feminism?". Sommers makes many interesting points in her book, mainly that gender-feminists are different from equity-feminists: the latter are more mainstream, don't hate men, believe women have come a long way, & oppose the "male hegemony" talk that gender-feminists believe in.

So far, so good....Sommers continues by putting in the spotlight certain studies & reports, all produced by gender-feminists, & proves (or attempts to prove) their fallacy. Good examples of biased studies are the March of Dimes study, the "women self-esteem" study, the depression study & some others, which all prove to have fatal flaws in their reasoning. One valid point that Sommers makes is that radical feminism is a little bit like religion- it tends to accept no criticism, & it tends to see all things through a specific, coloured lense. This is the lense through science itself is seen, as is literature, & even art (which thrives, necessarily, through freedom of expression & cannot & should not be stifled, whatever the reason).

Sommers mentions linguistic reform (a funny example is the ludicrous word "ovular" in place of "seminar"), women's studies classes, & - most importantly- the dangerous idea that western civilization itself, & scientific thinking has something inherently "masculine" about it, whereas "feminine" thinking is "emotional" & "connected". What certain gender-feminists propose, in a word, is that there is a "female way of knowing" which seems dangerously close to phallocentric beliefs: "women think differently, are made for different roles, so they should stay home & raise the kids" etc. So, Christina Hoff Sommers has a point: every social movement has to be able to take criticism, both from within & (most importantly) from outside. On the other hand, Sommers mostly mentions only extreme cases of gender-feminism, & I'm sure there are voices of dissent within the feminist movement, which she fails to aknowledge (except in cases such as Camille Paglia's opinions, which are hardly orthodox feminist opinions).

My major complaint with the book is this: at some point, Sommers mentions how Susan Faludi (a good example of her own definition of gender-feminim) has "painted herself into a position that allows no room for criticism". But how guilty is Sommers of the same sin? Her whole book is full of evidence of one, & only one central thesis. Yes, she says she's a feminist, but she never talks about real problems of real women: she mostly points out how far women have come. It's not enough to just mention that equity feminists have different, more mainstream opinions. She should be able to point out how equity feminists go about achieving change, what their activities & plans are when it comes to fighting for even more equality for women. Unfortunately, Sommers never really gets into this issue.

Also, parts of her own statistics & arguments are flawed, as flawed as some of the gender-feminists' reasoning. For example, she mentions "probably 100 women dying from anorexia a year in the US" (as opposed to the much higher numbers that Naomi Wolf had cited in the Beauty Myth- numbers that she later admitted were wrong): 100 women is definitely not the correct number either though, since most women who die of anorexia complications have a different etiology in their death certificates. So, sadly, Sommers also "overlooks evidence that does not fit her puzzle", as she accuses most gender-feminists of doing.

"Who stole feminism" is a well-written, well-researched book, which, yes, has a political goal, & no, does not present the whole picture. I refuse to accept that gender-feminists (as Sommers calls them) have black & white ways of thinking, as I also refuse to accept that the same is true for any group of people. I'm sure there are different ways of thinking within the feminist movement, & I'm also sure that there must also be extreme, radical feminists who tend to alienate maistream women: but these radical feminists do not represent today's women's movement, as Sommers seems to imply, nor do they have nearly as much power as she shows them to. The book is interesting but in parts exaggerated, probably to prove a point & to leave no room for doubt. Sadly, this is exactly what the author accuses the gender-feminists of doing, & she falls into the same trap herself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bold, insightful, and very politically incorrect!
One of the canned reviews that posted says that "despite claims to the contrary, this book (sic) reads like a right-wing, antifeminist..." blah, blah,blah.

Reviewers such as the one who wrote this insipid comment need to realize that the term "right-wing" does not scare anyone. The American people are tired of disingenuousness, narrow special interests, lies, and deceptions---which is precisely the reason why Christina Hoff-Sommer's book is so enormously popular.

Who Stole Feminism throws the curtain back on the modern day women's rights movement. No right thinking person could possibly be against equal rights for women. But Hoff-Sommer's book is not targeting true, liberating feminism, she is attacking the rabid, attack-dog gender feminism that is largely populated by lesbians, eco-femi-nazis, animal rights activists,leftist literatti and glitteratti--a vast array of fruits and nuts with seemingly disparate interests.

Hoff-Sommers posits that a genuine, worthy, historical movement has been hi-jacked by the aforementioned special interests, and this to the detriment of the cause. She goes in-depth exposing the faux scholarship and non-intellectual "studies" which back into conclusions that men are all bad, the penis is a weapon of oppression, and women are STILL under the thumb of the male-dominated society--facts to the contrary be damned!

She discusses the oft-cited canard that female students are at a disadvantage; this despite the fact that the education establishment is still overwhelmingly populated with females. And so on, and so forth she goes.

This book gives the reader a true perspective on what has happened to the women's movement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sommers understands and exposes bigotry
What is bigotry? Well, a reviewer below for some reason decides to cite a study - or actually more of an evolutionary interpretation of early human existence - which showed that men are more selfish than women! Christina Hoff Sommers' heroism lies in her relentless intolerance for sexism of this kind. Again, what is bigotry? Well, certainly a generalization and condemnation of a large group, attributing negative characteristics would qualify. What if you published a study "showing" that women are more selfish than men, citing women's concern with personal appearance as evidence? Would it be published? No! Who would print such dangerous, misogynist drivel! What about a book, such as Dr. June Stephenson's Men Are Not Cost Effective or Valerie Solanas' SCUM Manifesto, recommending that men be killed or regarded as sub-human? What about the works of Robin Morgan, Andrea Dworkin, Mary Daly - dripping with a kind of venomous, unadulterated hatred towards men, and recommending punitive controls on male behavior. Well, some arch-conservatives might object to these books, but aren't they only trying to deny women their rightful voice? These works were not only published but are widely taught in college courses, and held up as significant, ground-breaking achievements.

The made-up statistics Sommers quoted - and the fact that they have been widely reported and reprinted as truth - should infuriate any reasonable reader. But Sommers scores most by holding to a radical belief, that one gender is not more moral or more innocent than the other. (In fact, no group is superior to any other group.) While not every feminist is a misandrist, the most influential and well-known, some of whom I've mentioned in this review, certainly are. For many years, then, a highly respectable hate group has influenced legislation and media representations. Sommers book - and the many others that have followed - is a small step towards consciousness and change. It may well emerge as the bible of an underground movement that is gradually gaining steam.

2-0 out of 5 stars A few important points, but otherwise....
After having read Backlash by Faludi, I bought this book hoping to better understand the counter-argument. I try never to come to a conclusion until I've read a representation from both or all sides. In other words, my disappointment with this book is not due to any political beliefs or preconceptions... The truth is that, while Sommers debunks some extremist myths, the book is riddled with glaring fallacies. If this book gained attention, it was for its "politically incorrect" nature, and certainly not for its academic quality.

As I said, certainly Sommers raises valid questions about extreme statements made by a handful of "gender-feminists" (a label invented by the author). She rightfully points out the fiction of alarmist rhetoric of a few (a very few) feminists, i.e. super bowl Sunday domestic violence rates, # of anorexic deaths per year, and certain rape studies. However, she desperatly tries to make the logical leap that this misinformation discredits all feminists (except for, of course the, "equity feminists," another self-penned category).

Logical fallacies and novice research are found throughout, though nowhere more glaring than in her attempt to refute Faludi's Backlash (the National Book Award Winner). No one should assume Sommers is correct without also reading Backlash. Here are a few of Sommers more memorable misteps:

1)She starts the chapter by arguing that if one finds any doubt in any of Faludi's points, all points must be viewed with caution. A required opener, as it turns out. Of the eighty pages of footnotes in Backlash, Sommers weakly questions four of them... Actually, none of the criticism is her own; she just recycles those written by others.

2)Take the Forbes Mag. critique Sommers borrows. It must be stated that Faludi effectively demolishes Forbes' journalistic integrity time and time again..(remember the Dr. Blotnick's column, whose tirades against feminists continued even after it was revealed to the editors that the "Dr." title was bogus, and that his "current mentor" had been dead for fifteen years.) Here's the logical brilliance we see in Sommers book:
a)Quoting Faludi, she writes "women applying to business schools suddenly began to shrink, for the first time in a decade." This was after a report in Forbes, Faludi points out, that claimed women were "bailing out" of careers to become housewives.
b)But Faludi is wrong, says Sommers and the Forbes critique she co-opts: "But there was no shrinking following the story...the proportion of female business school graduates increased every year since 1967." Hmmmm???? She's grasping at straws here..."women applying" and "# of female graduates" are clearly different...yet Sommers seems to think that a decrease in applicants and an increase in graduates can't happen simultaneously. How was this published?

3) She's at it again in the next paragraph. This time, she argues Faludi is wrong when saying "women were [in the 80's] pouring into low paid female work ghettos." Why? Because, according to the borrowed Forbes article, "the percentage of women executives, administrators, and managers in the work force has risen [since 1983]."

Sommers should give her readers more credit...she seems to believe that if executive jobs for women are on the rise, in no way can the rate of low-paid women be increasing too. Hmmmm?????

So many blatant illogical assumptions and conclusions are made, I frequently wondered how the book was published. And, ironically, Who Stole Feminism was meant as an attempt to point out the fallacies of women such as Faludi. Yet, for every example of careless reasoning I mention above, one finds multiple others lurking close by.

In the end, this book will find praise from those who share Sommers views, but hopefully not from anyone who reads it for the sake of better understanding. ... Read more

139. The Grits (Girls Raised in the South) Guide to Life
by Deborah Ford, Edie Hand
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0452285062
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Plume Books
Sales Rank: 49715
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

They're called Sweet Potato Queens, Steel Magnolias, Ya-Ya Sisters, and Southern Belles, but at heart they're just plain Grits-Girls Raised in the South!

Now, Deborah Ford, founder of Grits(r) Inc., reveals the code behind the distinctive -and irresistible-style of the Southern woman.Equal parts sweet sincerity and sharp, sly humor, The Grits Guide to Life is chock-full of Southern charm: advice, true-life stories from honest-to-god "Grits," recipes, humor, quotable wisdom, and more.Readers will learn vital lessons, including: how to eat a watermelon in a sundress; how to drink like a Southern lady (sip...a lot); and the real meaning of PMS (Precious Mood Southerner).

This charming book is destined to become a bible for the Southern girl-whether born and bred, expatriated, or adoptive-and her many admirers.
... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Grits (Girls Raised in The South) Guide to Life
I was raised in the South in the fifties and I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book nor have I laughed so much in a long time. My daughter gave it to me and I told her she should read it so she could understand her Southern bred Mother better. A truly wonderful read for any woman, anywhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars GRITS (Girls Raised in the South) is a book for everyone
I read The GRITS (Girls Raised in the South) Guide to Life and can certainly recommend this book. I really enjoyed it! There is some good advice for everyone in this gem of the hills book on how to be a Southern belle.
The book is very well designed, illustrated and well organized. There are section on: The Basic Ingredients, Southern Style, Southern Hospitality, Strick'ly Southern and Southern Family. You'll get tips on everything from how to mix a Mint Julep to how to flirt Southern style. Plus Deborah has some good tips on how to succeed in life and reach your dreams.
I liked GRITS as it made the perfect Mother's Day present! Also it gave me some insight into the feminine mystique of what it means to be a Southern belle. That's good to know if you live in the South and wonder what makes these charming, well cultured pearls, these women born, bred and reared in the South, tick!
Deborah's book is a joyful, often humorous read. It will leave you feeling refreshed and inspired! I hope everyone enjoys The GRITS Guide to Life as much as I did! It is a pure delight!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Different Breed - Southern Girls
To say that Southern women are used to looking at their whole existence rather than simply their jobs to provide confirmation of their success would be an understatement. Southern girls have never needed the confirmation that typcial feminists require to determine the fact of their importance, and most have adjusted to the fact of inequalities better for that reason. Perhaps it's because they had always been conditioned to their place as auxiliary to their spouses rather than the main event, or perhaps they recognized long ago that in a world not ideal, graciousness and privileges in subordinate positions are better than the unfairness of contentious inequality. Strong advocates of women's rights, however, they have always been; they simply don't like to sacrifice their entire lives to get it, and can't quite figure out why women in the north would be willing to do so. The pleasures of being a woman have much more to do with the fact of whether one is happy in the gender role given than whether the CEO title is suitably noticed to elevate women to the equality of men. Quality of life resides in the comforts as well as the relationships cultivated and most women are familiar enough with the concept of slavery to know they do not wish that to be their lifestyle, or any semblance of their lifestyle. Most black minorities feel the same! So activity meant to produce equality that merely places one in a sacrificial position that compromises both the objectives and the quality of life is not seen as effective - southern style, though it may be in northern style. Most southern women are very particular with whom they spend their time, the efforts they make, and the positions they place themselves in to accomplish life goals. Having learned the hard way through years of civil war and its aftermath, they know the meaning of war and that appreciate the damage it can cause. The pride born of southern women lies in the fact that they value themselves and do not require the confirmation of jobs to validate them, preferring to have that done by family and friends who are not so rigidly organized to produce exact results. While they desire freedom more than most, they understand the limits in a world that has suffered discrimination for all of its 400 years and then some. They are intimately familiar with slow change, and the perceptions of acceptance in a world that prefers stability and no change. They can appreciate the high cost of risk associated with rapid change because they come from states where quick change has produced chaos, and they value their lives too much to introduce too much divisiveness. It has required not only patience but enormous amounts of GRIT to make transformations stick in the South by both men and women; it is always persistence and determination that result in those attitudinal changes that create real social change upon which one may build a foundation because of the traditions valued.

4-0 out of 5 stars My husband even liked it!
While I don't agree with everything in this book, I did find it hilarious, entertaining, and down-right fun! My husband and I rarely agree on anything (he doesn't even like to read except Sport's Illustrated and "Guns") but he did read this book and loved it. We also agree on two other books that are fun and, yes, he read them too! "Fried Green Tomatoes" and "Bark of the Dogwood"--two other Southern stand-bys.


2-0 out of 5 stars horsefeathers!
If I didn't know better, I'd suspect the authors of being Yankee carpetbaggers bent on exploiting the goodwill enjoyed by southern girls and southern culture, because I'm not convinced these ladies get it.

As a daughter of the deep, deep south, I hope I can set a few things straight.

1) "Y'all" is always plural. "Y'all" used in reference to one person is the mark of a bad screenwriter and a bad mimic, neither of whom has ever ventured below the Mason-Dixon line. Sometimes you may hear someone say to another, "I hope y'all can make it to the party," or "How are y'all enjoying the new lake house?" in which case it means "you and yours (not present)." If a lone Southern neighbor drops by for a visit on a Sunday afternoon, don't say, "Y'all come on in" unless you want your neighbor to suspect you're already in your cups and seeing double.

2) The expression is "A whistling woman and a crowing hen never come to a good end." This book records it as "A whistling woman and a crowing him...." As if that means anything at all.

3) "it's" = "it + is" while "its" = "that which belongs to it"
If these "GRITS" don't know the difference or can't find an editor who does, they should get in touch with me. I know several, in Alabama, no less. The authors aren't perpetuating the myth of southern charm; they're perpetuating the myth of southern ignorance.

Truly, if you want the mysteries of southern charm revealed, stick to King's Southern Ladies and Gentlemen or Rich's What Southern Women Know. ... Read more

140. The Risks of Sunbathing Topless: And Other Funny Stories from the Road
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1580051413
Catlog: Book (2005-05-10)
Publisher: Seal Pr-Feminist
Sales Rank: 24806
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Book Description

If they could do it all over again, they might it's a good thing none of the women in this hilarious collection had the foresight to make good decisions during these travel experiences. If they had, we wouldn't hear the delicious details of how horribly wrong it all went. Like Marrit Ingman's disastrous honeymoon in Maui—and the repercussions of societal pressure for the perfect love escape in paradise. Or of how the entire kitchen of C. Lill Ahrens's new Seoul apartment is literally lost in translation. Or why Ayun Halliday would attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, when her training consisted of drinking beer and rolling her own cigarettes, and her gear cost $14.99 at Sportmart. From Kandahar to Baja to Moscow, these wry, amusing stories capture the comic essence of bad travel, and of the female experience on the road. ... Read more

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