September
23rd 2010
Thursday roundup: “postfeminism” and bad reputations edition

Posted under: American history, book reviews, Gender, jobs, wankers, women's history

Come and git it!

UPDATED BELOW 

Hecksapoppin’, friends.  I’ve got too many irons in the fire, again.  Fortunately, other people are keeping the world-wide non-peer reviewed interwebs loaded with feminist news and views you can use: 

  • First of all, Blake at Down and Out in Denver gives Rebecca Traister’s Big Girls Don’t Cry:  The Election that Changed Everything for American Women a rave review,and as promised, he’s loaned me his copy already.  Maureen Corrigan, my former proffie and Fresh Air’s in-house book critic, reviewed Traister’s book Monday and pronounced it “brilliant.”  I’m looking forward to reading it–but geez, why did her publisher make her tack on that ridiculous subtitle?  (Patriarchal equilibrium, much?)
  • via Zuska, we learn about a new feminist blog by Chef Ginny W., “A Kitchen of One’s Own.”   She writes about the problem that in professional kitchens still has no name:  “It isn’t just that women in professional kitchens aren’t exposed to much feminism, it’s that active feminism is actually thought of — although no one I know would phrase it this way — as weakness. Saying that something is sexist and wrong is whining, is complaining, and is therefor weak and bad and something you especially can’t do if you’re a woman, and so already have to prove that you aren’t weak. Feminism — active, educated, considered feminism, not just a vague sense that women should have the same legal rights as men — is a liability. And yet feminism is exactly what’s most likely to provide any kind of solution to the problems we face.” So how’s that hopey-changey “postfeminist” bull$h!t working out for us, again? 
  • Echidne takes on Christina Hoff Sommers, so I don’t have to.  (See also her analysis of that “reverse gender gap” story from a few weeks ago that’s getting so much attention.  Dog bites man, anyone?)
  • Alicia B. Kelly at Feminist Law Professors analyzes the care work women do with respect to the wage gap:  “[T]he frontlines of inequality are shifting now. It’s less about sexism and more about caregiving. Even as women take on more paid work, home life has changed less than you might think. As sociologists and psychologists have observed, a “schema of devotion to family caregiving” for women continues to powerfully influence the way women and men work and care for their families—and how they understand themselves. The impact? Women today still provide the lion’s share of unpaid family work, doing twice the housework and child care as men. And men still do more market work and bring in more income.”
  • UPDATED, later this morning:  Finally, more on women’s exclusion from literary “greatness,” by Meghan O’Rourke, who writes:  “But as I get older, I find it harder to ignore the social friction female writers endure. This is where the anecdotal enters the picture, and to sit with female writers, even ones who never complain about gender in print, is, inevitably, to trade war stories—stories that men probably don’t hear all that often, because we tend to keep them to ourselves, knowing they make us look weaker, or like whiners. There’s the provocative female writer who was asked if she had an eating disorder because she is naturally skinny, and whom reporters badgered for information about the number of men she’d slept with. There is the time I met a former professor at a reading, soon after he’d invited me to apply for a prestigious job. Embarrassed at having not recognized me, he told me that “in my frock” I looked like a “sorority girl.” There’s the author who sent out a proposal about John Lennon and learned that editors worried readers might not believe a woman could write with authority about a musician.” 

Aw, shucks.  What else can I add to all of that fabulousness?  Maybe just this, for Ginny, Echidne, Alicia Kelly, Blake, Rebecca Traister, Maureen Corrigan, Meghan O’Rourke, and all of you bada$$ feminists out there on the intertubes, the radio, and in the meat world:  sometimes it doesn’t pay to give a damn about your reputation! 

6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Thursday roundup: “postfeminism” and bad reputations edition”

  1. Perpetua on 23 Sep 2010 at 10:51 am #

    “Less about sexism and more about caregiving” !?! I’m sorry, but how is the current structure of caregiving in our society that is shunted off onto women and the refusal of businesses to offer flexible schedules so that all caregivers can achieve a successful and profitable balance, NOT sexism? I know what she’s trying to say, but *still*.

    There’s a good but brief review of Big Girls Don’t Cry on feministing too. Maybe we should have a book-club discussion of it? (Not that I can imagine having time to read an actual book – I’m too busy CAREGIVING and insisting on being underpaid for it.)

    And the (relevant) news title today that made me swallow my tongue: http://www.salon.com/news/tea_parties/index.html?story=/opinion/feature/2010/09/22/gene_lyons_tea_party. Yes the subtitle of that article really is: “Everybody knows some poor fool who married a woman like Christine O’Donnell or Michele Bachmann.” Holy sh&t. There is some interesting political analysis buried somewhere in the article, but it’s hard to get there.

  2. Historiann on 23 Sep 2010 at 11:21 am #

    I agree–Kelly’s framing is wrong there. Of course the gendering of caregiving–unpaid or underpaid labor–is all about sex bias. But, she’s got some crunchy data points to consider in the longer article, and she promised to write more about this on the blog.

    And, thanks for the link to the Lyons piece at Salon, which illustrates once again that “the left” is just as sexist and demeaning of women as the right. And, really Salon? Did you have to imply that attractive women politicians are a tasty snack, “crumpets?” HA-ha. I get it. Rhymes with strumpets! Where does he get the intel that there are no male Republican extremists who get air time? What about Newt Gingrich, Ralph Reed, Pat Buchanan, Mike Huckabee, Dick Armey, etc. etc. etc.???

    Like I said back in the fall of 2008, blaming Sarah Palin for the previous 8 years of malfeasance might feel good, but it lets the real miscreants off the hook too easily. Look–over there! Christine O’Donnell said she dabbled in witchcraft?

  3. Kathie on 24 Sep 2010 at 10:35 am #

    Thanks for Joan Jett, great way to start a Friday!

  4. Emma Campion on 24 Sep 2010 at 11:07 am #

    Thanks for all the inspiration (and Joan Jett, YES!) as I sit down to work on a talk I’m giving next month on reconsidering the reputations of 14th century women who’ve been given a bad rap.

    I’m particularly taken by the comments from Chef Ginny W.

    Happened on your blog via a google search for “history reputations”. I’ll be back.

  5. Comrade PhysioProf on 24 Sep 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Joan Jette kickes fucken asse!

  6. Digger on 25 Sep 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    I love that the vid is an epic F-You to the music industry. I’m not surprised that Feminism is considered a liability in the kitchen; isn’t it considered a liability just about anywhere, except among other feminists? Silencing sucks … don’t make waves, don’t rock the boat, don’t make things harder on yourself than they need to be… (the “for your own good” argument is one of my faves).

    Funny, a friend and I were -just- discussing this evening, watching one of the competition shows on Food Network, that the women chefs generally get more harshly critiqued.