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The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism Paperback – September 7, 1994

3.4 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

When Katie Roiphe arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1986, she found that the feminism she had been raised to believe in had been radically transformed. The women's movement, which had once signaled such strength and courage, now seemed lodged in a foundation of weakness and fear. At Harvard, and later as a graduate student at Princeton, Roiphe saw a thoroughly new phenomenon taking shape on campus: the emergence of a culture captivated by victimization, and of a new bedroom politics in the university, cloaked in outdated assumptions about the way men and women experience sex. Men were the silencers and women the silenced, and if anyone thought differently no one was saying so. Twenty-four-year-old Katie Roiphe is the first of her generation to speak out publicly against the intolerant turn the women's movement has taken, and in The Morning After she casts a critical eye on what she calls the mating rituals of a rape-sensitive community. From Take Back the Night marches (which Roiphe terms "march as therapy" and "rhapsodies of self-affirmation") to rape-crisis feminists and the growing campus concern with sexual harassment, Roiphe shows us a generation of women whose values are strikingly similar to those their mothers and grandmothers fought so hard to escape from - a generation yearning for regulation, fearful of its sexuality, and animated by a nostalgia for days of greater social control. At once a fierce excoriation of establishment feminism and a passionate call to our best instincts, The Morning After sounds a necessary alarm and entreats women of all ages to take stock of where they came from and where they want to go.

About the Author

Katie Roiphe received her Ph.D. from Princeton in English literature. Her articles have appeared in the "New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, Esquire, Vogue, Harper's, "and the New Yorker. Her previous books include "The Morning After, Last Night in Paradise," and a novel, Still She Haunts Me. She lives in New York.

"From the Hardcover edition."


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (September 7, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316754323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316754323
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By TheBanshee on February 13, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished rereading The Morning After. In it, Katie Roiphe makes no claim to having all the answers, but she notes (in a quietly expressed, earnest, rational and refreshingly non-shrill style) that the notion of "feminism" she developed as a young girl growing in her home had no resemblence to the "feminism" she encountered at college, which was obsessed with women solely as the victims of men. She points out - with good reason, judging by the venomous remarks of those who've given her bad reviews here, that it was acceptable for these feminists to stifle dissent and pass that off as an argument. It was acceptable to lie about being raped, as one female student admitted doing, until the alleged rapist, who didn't even know her, threatened legal action.
As for Roiphe's "making fun" of rape victims, that's just hooey.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and if Roiphe is correct - that the most visible feminists tolerate no straying from the party line (and Roiphe makes a damned good case for that), one has to wonder why.

In any event, wherever you stand, you should read this book. One should NEVER be afraid of reading dissenting opinions. That is one of the things college is supposed to be about.
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Format: Paperback
Not that anyone could call Katie Roiphe "balanced"...her debut, written while still in college, reads like a long talk with a loquatious new aquaintence at the campus coffee bar. She is not a sophisticated writer, and this book has no research to support it, really. And yes, it can be damn insensitive to people who have experienced sexual trauma.
However, it also bring up some very commonsense point which makes you wonder -- "Why has no one else thought of this?" Perhaps the key is Roiphe's writing style, which caught the attention of critics, because people have been worrying about the perpetuation of "victim mentality" with women for a while.
Roiphe explores the issues that she encountered at her insular, Ivy League college, which makes those experiences privleged ones. However, the same issues of which she speaks are prevalent at colleges around the country, an inherently privleged environment, but not unimportant to the rest of society. (Though, if there's one thing Roiphe is most guilty of, it has to be classism, which I chalk up to her age, her life experience, and her affluence. Her complete tunnel vision cripples the book significantly.)
But Roiphe gives voice to the ostracized in the mainstream feminist movement, and she articulates that alienation well. Sure, she believes that women should get equal pay for equal work, she knows about the glass ceiling, and she is aware & horrified by sex crimes. But she also feels like she can overcome those obstacles without placing herself in the role of victim of sexism. And she likes nail polish and reads fashion magazines too, probably. She wants to join the feminism club, but she feels that she can't.
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Format: Paperback
Even though there is no formal research behind this book, I feel that it would be worthwhile to examine Roiphe's argument more in depth. Roiphe argues that many aspects of modern feminism infantalizes women thereby stripping them of their hard-won autonomy and power. She also argues for a more pluralistic definition of feminism.

This is a very thought-provoking book, but it does have drawbacks. I believe that Roiphe wrote this when she was a young grad student; although one can argue that she writes ith an extraordinary amount of confidence, for many, her writing may seem cocky, which can irritate the readers at times, especially since she is making provocative arguments with little support. She also has a tendency to draw her arguments from literature, which may be best left in a literature critcism class. Nevertheless, I suppose we may forgive her for such weaknesses as she does admit that this is a book of her personal observations without any scientific research.

There are times when one feels that the book is complete conjecture due to the lack of academic research behind this book, but that also makes it more accessible. You will either agree with this book or view it as some young student's attempt to gain attention, but it's worth a read and deeper analysis of some of her arguments.
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This book, while written by a young, sometimes cocky, graduate student, is nonetheless very interesting. It asks us to look at the culture of fear and victimization that feminism has become in recent years, compared to the ideology of freedom it once was. Comparisons are made between victorian ideology and new feminism, and readers are asked to question the idea of the voiceless woman that must always depend on the watchful eye of a higher authority to protect them.

Almost as interesting as the book however is the response to it. Her critics accuse her of being conservative while virtually everything she says has to do with personal freedom and having the right to make one's own choices. They accuse her of insensitivity to rape victims, yet she never derides rape victims, only a culture that defines "rape" as virtually any heterosexual sex, even when the women in question were willing participants. Her critics accuse her of being elitist and out of touch with society, yet clearly the problems she discusses are at the forefront of social issues throughout every level of modern culture, and the inequality and injustice in laws regarding sex/gender are common areas of criticism for both men and women. Her critics even accuse her of a lack of scientific backing when the book is stated to be only a record of her personal experiences, and despite the fact that she does give convincing, rational arguements that debunk her opponents' statistics and provides research from other sources to support her opinions.
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