Most helpful critical review
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
I think I would have liked it better if I hadn't been reading Lean In at the same time
on January 7, 2014
I was very excited about this book, read the pre-reviews, heard the interview on npr, placed a hold before it was officially available at the library so I could borrow it first. I am more new to the idea of being a feminist, so I decided to do some reading up on current books with feminist undertones. In general, the book was worth the read - it was very well-articulated and I think Spar takes a lot of nuanced behaviors and patterns and lays it out in a very coherent manner. That being said, I don't really think any of her information is new or innovative - it's just presented better with footnotes.
The main problem and reason I gave this book a 3-star rating, though, was because I read it with Lean In that, together, really emphasizes a very linear message to women: "become powerful and successful like me." It's a bit elitist. I tend to read multiple books at a time, and so I read Wonder Women along with Lean in (Sheryl Sandberg) and Bossypants (Tina Fey). While I was perusing these books, there were many parts where I honestly could not tell the difference between Lean In and Wonder Women, and both authors would reference one another in their book. The juxtaposition just made it so obvious that these women have a similar type of upbringing, education, opportunity, and perspective...even the same type of politically correct, disclaimer-giving academic essay style of writing. All very careful with little neutral jokes that don't offend but show they can be funny and relatable, advising the rest of the girls like them in the world how to succeed and become the CEOs of the company, partners in the firms, or surgeons of the medical field. Overall, it kind of felt like they were part of a private girl's club, telling other girls how to be like them. And like another review mentioned, it brushed off anyone else that didn't fit this highly educated audience with a disclaimer in the beginning: "if you're poor, then...you have other problems and I can't speak to that." And out there somewhere, Tina Fey was being hilarious about her life.
I feel like feminism is, at least partly, finding your own personal happiness and success without the prejudices of society deciding for you. The book kind of barely, maybe in a lone phrase, touched on that, but really, the advice was more of a brute force, reach the tippity top so you can change all the rules.
Wonder Women was an interesting read, but I definitely felt a bit ostracized in the end. And as I stated in the title, I think I would've liked it better had I not read it with Lean In. Then it would seem more like Spar's unique view of feminism, not what her and her private school friends think you should do.