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BITCHfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine Paperback – August 8, 2006


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BITCHfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine + The Essential Feminist Reader (Modern Library Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (August 8, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374113432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374113438
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This often mind-stretching, occasionally predictable and generally entertaining collection of articles from Bitch magazine has something for every feminist, postfeminist and reactionary. Bitch was founded in 1996 in response to "post-feminism" by "freshly minted liberal arts graduates with crappy day jobs and a serious media jones." With refreshing depth, literacy and humor, these essays explore questions surrounding puberty, gender identity, sex, "domestic arrangements," beauty, pop culture and mainstream media, and media literacy/activism. Tammy Oler examines menarche and female puberty in horror films; Gaby Moss analyzes the media's obsession with "mean girls"; and Lisa Jervis gives a rundown of sex scenes and pride in YA lesbian novels. Leigh Shoemaker puts down Camille Paglia's contention that males are superior due to their urinary "arc of transcendence" by evoking the Virgin Mary's breasts squirting milk through the air into Jesus' mouth. Audry Bilger protests the use of "guys" as gender neutral. Conspicuously absent is any discussion of women and aging. Maybe we'll just have to wait for Bitch's 20th anniversary, when its editors will be pushing 50. (Aug. 15)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

"Whenever anyone has called me a bitch, I have taken it as a compliment," writes comedian Margaret Cho in the foreword to this anthology from the self-proclaimed Queen Bee of Grrrl Zines. Positioned as an antidote to the patronizing pages of Cosmopolitan and Vogue, Bitch revels in its power to provoke as it ponders the landscape of popular culture from a feminist perspective. In honor of the magazine's tenth anniversary, founding editors Jervis and Zeisler have amassed essays (including some specifically commissioned for the collection) on a bounty of brazen topics, from the ramifications of sexual abuse and rape to the lesbian tendencies of Japanese macaques. Its writers are no wallflowers: Leigh Shoemaker's "stand-up" discussion of female urination, for example, adds new meaning to the expression, "Looking out for #1." From transsexuality to body image to gender-bending "slash fiction" that amorously pairs the likes of Captain Kirk and Spock, there's plenty here to amuse and enlighten the target audience--and plenty to rattle the cages of card-carrying macho men and women who might find the racy rants a bit over the top. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
It turns out that I was missing a lot!
Azer Binnet
It touches on a wide range of topics and while there is a lot of interesting feminist analysis, most of it is at a very easy level to read.
Akeso
When I saw this book at the university bookstore, I bought it and savored reading through the book.
J. Aragon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amazonian on August 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
What a remarkably smart and satisfying collection of cultural criticism! Whether you're into gender theory, feminist historicism, questions of identity, or simply the deeper consequences of pop cultural phenomena, this book has it all. I studied gender and sexuality in college, and while I love reading more serious philosophers such as Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, and even Freud, sometimes I wish there were something appropriate for beach reading that is as intellectually gratifying. Each article in this anthology runs approximately 5 or 6 pages, and touches upon so many key themes in gender/sexuality studies that it leaves me feeling buzzed! The scope and breadth of the articles truly offer a representative vista of contemporary feminism. If you're looking for something lighter than Lacan but heavier than the NOW (National Organization for Women) newsletter, this is the answer. I would strongly recommend it to men too, since any critical view of women inevitably touches upon the tensions between genders and various sexualities. There are more than a few articles that discuss masculinity and identity, including a few that I got my boyfriend to read, simply because they were *that* good, and he enjoyed them too.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Edward Aycock on August 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Presenting...

"Bitch" magazine - insightful, educational, hilarious - has been exploring "feminist response to pop culture" for the past decade and, at long last, several essays from the magazine have been collected into a book. The advent of "Bitchfest" is a blessing: the earliest issues of "Bitch" are nigh impossible to find anywhere due to the magazine's non-glamorous beginnings at a copy shop in the Bay Area (no glossy, Midtown Manhattan celebrity-laden launch for Bitch -- and we're all the better for it). I'm glad to finally have the opportunity to read some of the earliest essays.

Plus, you also get ...

How cool is it that some of my favorite essays are together at last? From Lori Tharp's well thought out rant on the absence of black characters from contemporary sitcoms to the snarky and oh-so-funny "Ten Things to Hate About JANE" (a dead-on critique of JANE magazine), each essay proves how all-pervasive pop culture has become, and why feminist thought can not afford to ignore it.

Buy now and we'll send you ...

"Bitchfest" also succeeds as a critical history of the feminist movement - one of the most incisive pieces in the book discusses the disconnect that occured when the feminist movement (at various times in its history) refused to single any one person out to be the "spokesperson" (for lack of a better word) for the movement. The result? The media anointed their own person, leading to infighting and yes, even pettiness that showcases the frustrations that can arise while trying to promote an egalitarian movement in a sensationalistic, media-controlled world.

But wait - there's more!
Read more ›
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Aragon VINE VOICE on December 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
Disclaimer-I subscribe to Bitch Magazine and have for a number of years. I love it! When I saw this book at the university bookstore, I bought it and savored reading through the book.

What I really like about Bitch Magazine, more so than Bust, is that the articles are more theoretical and erudite. I don't consider them dry, but I am WS educator and view BM as more a cutting edge zine that demonstrates the various feminist strands that exist today in the 3rd Wave, No Wave era of the feminist movement.

Buy this book! Subscribe to the zine for thoughtful, well-written articles about all sorts of issues.

After that plug, let me just say that I don't always agree with the essays. Some will definitely leave you with that sense that you want to grab a coffee with a friend and hammer out some of your thoughts.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Lynn on October 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Gotta hand it to Bitch:

- All of the articles are well written, if a bit dry at times.

- Even if you don't agree 100% with what the author is saying they usually make some good points and at least make you think.

- Many different views of feminism are offered.

I highly reccomend this along with a subscription to Bitch Magazine.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Azer Binnet on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had quit writing reviews for books for a long time now. I live in Turkey so I do not get the magazine, but I purchased the book after reading many favourable reviews here on Amazon.com. It turns out that I was missing a lot! This book has great, great articles, some are very original in essence and it keeps you interested. Although I, too, skipped a few of the articles, 90% of them are really good ones, about many different subjects. The articles are sharp, witty and it is good that the subject variety is satisfactory. If I could, I would translate it to Turkish so it can reach more people over here. Great, great stuff, if you are interested in popular culture as well as gender issues, this is the essential reading for you. Can't recommend it enough!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Y. Shin on October 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be rather eye opening,
really talks about feminism in depth through a series of high-quality articles provided from the "Bitch" magazine.

For everyone interested/passionate about feminism/women's rights
or anyone simply looking for an enjoyable book to read,
this is a must!
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