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Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future Hardcover – September 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sexism hasn't gone away, argues journalist/activist Berg, it has simply adapted to our changing culture. Berg offers a refresher course on the 20th-century women's rights movement and its unexpected devolution in recent years, drawing on aspects of culture like advertising and reality TV, scientific research and an online survey of 300 not-so-randomly selected women and interviews with 200 more. Contemporary women, Berg says, are encouraged to imitate vapid media darlings instead of breaking glass ceilings (or breaking even) in academia, business and government. Containing the requisite—and accurate—feminist media criticism and movement history, updates to the 2008 presidential election and Obama's first few months, this is an excellent, easily decipherable text for history, sociology and women's studies students—and even older feminists looking for an update. Berg uses short chapters for flowing discussions on work, reproductive rights, health and activism. She focuses on working women's issues, and more discussion on women who choose to be full-time homemakers and their particular concerns would have added balance. But Berg still offers a wakeup call for young women entering the cultural and career trenches on what went wrong and how to fix it. (Sept.)
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"Berg . . . offers a wakeup call for young women entering the cultural and career trenches on what went wrong and how to fix it."  —Publishers Weekly

"Each chapter of this book offers an impassioned plea: feminism is not dead, but there is still a great need for feminist women and men to fight for the rights of women in America . . . Highly recommended."  —Library Journal

"In no-nonsense fashion, Berg lays out the case for a renewed feminist movement that can be at the center of progressive politics. Her passion and humor demonstrate why feminism is not a threat to us men but a gift."  —Robert Jensen, University of Texas–Austin, author, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

"The time has come for a new wave of feminism and Sexism in America is just what we need to help bring it on."  —Diane E. Levin, PhD, professor of education, Wheelock College; coauthor, So Sexy So Soon

"Reminding us that the 'personal is political,' this book will provide women with an unambiguous understanding of a broader pattern of gender inequality."  —Miriam Forman-Brunell, professor of history, University of Missouri–Kansas City; author, Girlhood in America: An Encyclopedia

"Sweeping vision, sharp wit, and in-depth research . . . a road map to how the Far Right and conservative religious forces succeeded in pushing women's rights back from victories in the 1970s into an era in which women must begin again."  —Rita Henley Jensen, editor in chief, Women's eNews

"Sexism in America is vital reading for everyone to ensure that the quality of life for women continues to transform to ultimately create complete gender equality."  —Dr. Jane Greer, author, How Could You Do This To Me? Learning To Trust After Betrayal


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527760
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #926,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By John Medway on August 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a book I might not have picked up on my own, but my wife bought a copy Saturday night and she kept reading me passages from it. Finally I decided to read it myself and I have to admit I was blown away. I thought: great, another angry rant, but Sexism in America is compassionate and empathetic and a very good read. Berg tells the story of the Second Wave Women's Movement (something I didn't really know much about although I lived through it) with wonderful anecdotes, compelling stories, passion and even humor. Once establishing the rights women achieved, she shows how their progress has been thwarted and, in some cases, halted under different administrations. She draws on sociology, psychology, and history and a remarkable number of interviews to make her case. This isn't about Berg's experiences, but about the lives of women, many from vastly different backgrounds, who opened their hearts to her. This is a highly intelligent, thoughtful study with a novel explanation about how and why women have been losing ground.

As a fiftysomething male who's run his own company for many many years, I was in for quite an awakening about the many practices, comments and lapses that I as well as many of my colleagues engage in that are detrimental to women. And I have two daughters whom I adore and have always prided myself on being pro-women!

This book was definitely a wake-up call for me. It's no longer going to be enough to say, "Yeah, I know women are discriminated against." The important thing is understanding the depth, prevalence of it. (I didn't for example know that women are dying at younger ages than men or about the very successful campaign on the right to grant fetuses personhood which would eliminate choice without a Supreme Court decision.) But once we know what is happening and why, then, we can begin as Berg says, "To make a society that will enhance all of our lives." Everyone should read this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Blumenthal on September 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting, September 9, 2009
By Deborah Blumenthal (Houston, TX) - See all my reviews
If you've sat back complacently thinking that women in America have pretty much broken through most sexist barriers by now, Barbara Berg's Sexism in America Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future, will open your eyes to how the right-wing, phallic politics of both Presidents Regan and Bush have stealthily worked to erode the hard fought gains for women on every front giving rise to a resurgence of sexism in this country. This lively, very readable, fast-paced overview of feminist history is laced with the often shocking confessions of women across the country who responded to hundreds of interviews by Berg, telling their punch-in-the gut stories of abuse. They range from a soldier in Iraq who was knocked unconscious, brutally raped, given no trauma counseling and then asked to take a polygraph exam and get back to work, to a panicked woman who became pregnant from an abusive boyfriend who sought help at a pregnancy crisis center only to find that instead of help getting an abortion, what they offered was the picture of an aborted fetus and the advice to "put her faith in God." The crisis center, it turned out, was a Christian antiabortion facility, the type of place being funded now by the government in many states. There are so many more stories like these and rich detail about how women's rights are being trampled in every area. The book will make you angry. It will also make you want to cry.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Third Waver on August 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Sexism in America is an excellent and very compelling book. Even if you already know that there's prejudice against women in America, this book with shock you with the depth, insidiousness and pervasiveness of the discrimination. For example: women are dying at younger ages for the first time since the 1920s; our country is only 31st in the world in gender equality; a female is assaulted every few minutes; women pay more for their health insurance than men and were the main victims of the subprime mortgage debacle: women are being fired when they become pregnant in stark violation of the law. And on it goes.
Berg begins with a short history of the women's movement in America then shows how and why the gains made have been slowly, but surely eroded in every aspect of our lives, whether it is healthcare, education, including academia, the workplace or popular culture. Berg's explanation of what has happened to gender equity both as a fact and ideal is both a revelation and very persuasive. Her discussion of the entertainment industry is especially fascinating. She combines years of careful research, great story telling, a sense of humor with an impassioned argument for equality. I couldn't put the book down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BooksJJS on November 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I first posted a review when I was about a third of the way into this book and wanted to recommend it immediately.
If it were possible, I'd now give it twenty stars. This is the best book on the subject in many years. The author addresses everything from pay inequity to media imbalance to the insidous anti-woman attitudes once again permeating every corner of American culture. She has an enviable command of current and historical research, and her overall tone is one of hope in spite of everything. That's an attitude I can live with - because it comes with a rallying cry for women, and people who care about women, everywhere.
Until I happened upon this book, I'd been wondering if it was just me... if I was somehow just getting more sensitive, more cranky... but no, that's not it...not at all. That's what the powers that be would like us all to believe. It's not just me, and it's not just you. Things really have moved backward for us, and we must stop it.
Praise to my local library, who set this book front and center on the display by the front doors. I might not have seen it otherwise since it was just a quick trip... I was so struck by the title I grabbed it. I am so glad I did. I could easily become very depressed by the data she presents and the stories she tells - but I won't let that happen. I will let it be the empowering jolt the author intended it to be.
The "Resources" section is great, too. Be sure to take advantage of the many listings. There are listings for many facets of women's lives and political futures.

To the reviewer who made disparaging remarks about the author being "white"... this book clearly addresses issues facing WOMEN of all colors and heritage.
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