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Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism Paperback – August 1, 1995

3.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Pollitt, a prize-winning poet whose incisive political and social commentary appears in the Nation and other journals, here gathers previously published works that have in common a "concern for women's entitlement to full human rights." She brings a lively wit and considerable erudition to analyzing topics ranging from date rape to media-bashing of Hillary Clinton, and she consistently sees past the ephemeral quality of specific newsmaking events to locate issues of enduring importance. For example, in her 1987 essay about the famous Baby M case, Pollitt focuses not on the characters and morals of Mary Beth Whitehead and William and Elizabeth Stern but on the nature of the transaction between them, "an inherently unequal relationship involving the sale of a woman's body and a child." One wishes only that Pollitt had taken the occasion of book publication to supply the sources of her data or to direct the reader to the salient passages in the works she cites. These, however, are minor lapses in a collection of major interest.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Poet and journalist Pollitt's book is a collection of witty, enlightening, and highly entertaining essays and social commentary on how events concerning women-the Lorena Bobbit case, the Baby M case, and the William Kennedy Smith trial-are portrayed by the media. From prochoice to menopause, "family values" to Hillary Clinton, Pollitt takes her readers on an interesting tour of the milieu in which women are judged in American society: judged for being feminist, judged for wanting to keep their babies even after signing a surrogacy contract, judged for being raped. Although all these essays are about current events as they pertain to women's issues, Pollitt's views will have a wider appeal than to women alone. The title may limit the potential audience, but this book deserves a wide readership because of the humor and intelligence with which Pollitt delivers her views. Recommended for larger public libraries and women's studies collections.
Patricia A. Sarles, FDR H.S. Lib., Brooklyn
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679762787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679762782
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #812,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
So I'm reading through the other reader reviews posted here, and what strikes me is that the people who don't like it have the same critique, delivered over and over, generally in about 2 lines. "She doesn't talk about race and class," they whine. "She's white and middle class, so she doesn't speak for ALL women EVERYWHERE."
Ok, she's white and middle class. But first off, she actually does address race and class at various points in the book. Maybe not on every page. But is that the duty of every feminist essayist on earth? Can we not specialize? If she were a working class woman of color writing about working class women of color, would we be complaining so vociferously? And why do these people not have anything better to propose? I mean, I'm all for studying race and class, but my goodness, I learned to expand on that standard complaint after about one semester at Wesleyan. What I mean is, anyone can complain that those things are missing. Tell me where you'd put them in. Tell me, specifically, what's missing here.
So let's take the book for what it does. Has someone ever said something perfectly stupid and offensive to you and 4 hours later you came up with the perfect comeback, having had little to say at the time? This is a book of those perfect comebacks. To address another complaint I saw in some reviews, yeah, it's basically liberal feminism -- a fairly left version of liberal feminism, but not truly radical in any way -- but here's the thing. We have to acknowledge that there's a use for that. You can love Judith Butler's work, but it's not very often going to help you have discussions (or win arguments) with people who aren't kind of on your page already. Katha Pollitt will help you get people on that page.
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Format: Paperback
Editor and columnist Katha Pollit may be the sanest person on earth. She also has some ninja-like ability to cut through all the garbage and get to the crux of things while never letting go of the big picture. God I admire her. Anyway, to quit gushing for a moment, even though the essays in here are by now a couple years old, the issues are (sadly) still relevant and so are most of the people and policy-makers. And talking heads (hi Camille). Her awesomely intelligent response to Katie Roiphe's _The Morning After_ is worth the price of the book. If watching idiotic "post-feminists" and conservative pundits and activists makes you want to smoke crack after you break your television, sit back and let Ms. Pollitt reassure you the population has not completely gone to pot. I was educated, I was inspired, I think my young life was saved.
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Format: Paperback
I had no sense of the extent of the restriction of reproductive rights in our country before I came across Pollitt's analysis, which combines a social scientists' hard headed empiricism with the beautiful phraseology of a poet. If in certain circles feminist understandings of the centrality of the struggle for reproductive freedom, the demonisation of poor mothers, and the shallowness of Roiphe's or Paglia's anti feminism, etc have become common sense, it is in large part due to Pollitt having been so decisive and eloquent in her treatment of these and other issues. Of course not all will appreciate the light of reason and clarity with which she investigates controversy. But please do not mistake that for middle class or conventional feminism. At any rate, anyone who follows her column in The Nation will be astonished by the range of topics she treats with solid empirical knowledge and great insight. The charge oft repeated here at amazon.com that Pollitt is somehow insensitive to class or race can only be based on profound ignorance of what she has actually written. I look forward to what other readers have to say after having read the book.
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By A Customer on November 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Pollitt wanting the "dark folks to quit whining"? Huh? Where does she ever say this? Yes, she's a white, middle-class Ivy League liberal, but where and how does that excuse the excellent points she makes in her essays? "The Smurfette Principle" alone is worth the price of her collection.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was my introduction to feminism several years ago, and over the years I have re-read it many times. The poor reviews clearly come from people who were threatened by Pollitt's intelligence and wit. I did not agree with all of her stands on the wide variety of issues she covers, but regardless of her opinion, the presentation is with great intelligence and wit. I was often rolling on the floor in laughter. The Smurfette Principle and On the Merits are among my favorites.
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Format: Paperback
Those who have any intelligence and discernment realize that this woman is a first-class thinker and a clear, concise and witty essayist. Conservatives just wish they had somebody this smart and talented on their side. She puts the simplistic and smug Katie Rophie to shame in her incredible essay "Not Just Bad Sex"
"It may be that Roiphe's friends have nothing to tell her. Or it may be that they have nothing to tell *her*. With her adolescent certainty that bad things don't happen, or that they happen only to weaklings, she is not likely to be on the receiving end of many painful, intimate confessions. The one time a fellow student tells her about being raped (at knifepoint, so it counts), Roiphe cringes like a high-school vegetarian dissecting her first frog: 'I was startled... I felt terrible for her, I felt like there was nothing I could say.' Confronted with someone whose testimony she can't dismiss or satirize, Roiphe goes blank." ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Katha Pollitt's work will be read and valued long after mental midgets like Roiphe have cashed in their 15 minutes of fame.
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