- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st edition (August 24, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 140398204X
- ISBN-13: 978-1403982049
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild 1st Edition
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"My hope is that after reading this book, you will have a deeper sense of many of the stories that make feminist history and philosophy, and you will use them to continue to figure out what feminism means to you." - from the foreword by Jennifer Baumgardner"Siegel has her finger on the pulse of one of the main issues concerning women today: generational infighting around the unfinished business of feminism. It's an issue that concerns everyone whether or not they use the f-word." - Catherine Orenstein, author of Red Riding Hood Uncloaked'Sisterhood, Interrupted tells the history of conflicts within feminism without demonizing or blaming.Siegel conveys the excitement of feminism, then and now. She offersan informed and sympathetic perspective on the second wavethat will help younger readers understand what it was like to be part of a movement that planned to change the world.And her framing of contemporary feminism will shape future conversations. Her explanations of what's happening now - the significant trends and controversies within the movement - provide a clarity that's lacking in the work of many feminist authors, from any generation. I couldn't put the book down.' Alison Piepmeier, co-editor of Catching a Wave:Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century
"Someone should make a t-shirt for Deborah Siegel that says, 'This is
what a feminist historian looks like'...a thorough and engaging narrative." - Merri Lisa Johnson, Director of the Center for Women's and Gender Studies, USC Upstate
About the Author
Deborah Siegel, PhD is a writer and consultant specializing in women's issues and a Fellow at the Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership. She is co-editor of the anthology Only Child: Writers on the Singular Joys and Solitary Sorrows of Growing Up Solo and has written about women, sex, contemporary families, and popular culture for a variety of publications. She has been featured in Psychology Today, The New York Times, USA Today, Time Out New York, and more.
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How astonishing to reflect on the many feminist leaders who've emerged and the milestones that have unfolded since this book came out - most of us had never even heard of Sheryl Sandberg or Anne-Marie Slaughter, Amy Schumer, Shonda Rhimes or Rhonda Rousey.
And the debates rage on. At a moment when it seems we might actually be about to elect our first female US president, feminists are arguing over whether it's justified or insulting to vote for Hillary Clinton BECAUSE she's a woman, and whether Hillary's brand of feminism attracts or repels millennial women.
And so we find ourselves asking yet again: Is gender progress marching forward, or stalled?
Clearly we need Deborah Siegel to provide us with an update and some much-needed perspective in her wise, knowing, and insightful way.
Her point is not that younger feminists should simply be more educated, or older feminists more tolerating, but that infighting is as old as feminism and is, perhaps, good for it in that it helps the movement grow, stretch, change, and evolve. Siegel also tackles why feminism is still important, even if "feminism" is becoming increasingly hard to define, for feminists and non-feminists. It's this very erasure and confusion over the word, its history, and its motives that Siegel unpacks so well. She doesn't necessarily want readers to identify with either the "mothers" or "daughters" here, but to gain a clearer picture of who is in each group and what their main gripes with each other are (as well as areas where they've bonded and interacted). The idea that "conflict has long been feminism's lifeblood," along with the need for the more radical and more mainstream strands of a social movement, are ideas that Siegel presents with scholarly yet accessible detail that revisits some of the high (and low) points of second wave feminism, and also explores the various strands of anti-feminism that have sprung up since then.
Some of her examples seem reaching; when she writes, "At the dawn of the new millennium, it was no longer simply a battle between feminists but between older and younger women more broadly," going on to cite The Devil Wears Prada, Chore Whore, and The Second Assistant, I'm not really sure how or where this fits in since these aren't books about feminism and if the idea is that women shouldn't criticize their female bosses or portray them as equally as heinous as male bosses, that seems like a reverse kind of chauvinism. (The example of Citizen Girl hits much closer to home.) To my reading, this is part of a larger conflation of pop culture and "feminism," whereby anything that happened on, say, Sex and the City, is The Truth For Women. While I think art and fiction and television do reflect reality, they are not exact replicas and should not be taken as such.
This leads me to my larger question, which is whether a book like this is speaking to or only trying to reach self-described feminists or a larger audience, the "I'm not a feminist but..." person or (gasp!) even men. I think a lot of what Siegel discusses re: the third wave is in fact about women who don't necessarily need or want labels (including, at times, the feminist one) and how they do or don't relate to "feminism," and though I would definitely call myself a feminist, I often feel that the label is often used as some sort of arbitrary litmus test flung about at random rather than anything concrete. It seems like anyone who publicly calls herself a feminist can, in an instant, be dismissed by other self-identified feminists with some form of "You think you're a feminist, but you're not." Which is precisely as old an argument as the ones Siegel describes, bringing us, again full circle.
Siegel's impassioned argument in favor of a "truce" between the mothers and daughters of feminism is worth reading even if you think you know the whole story. Even if (or especially if) you grew up reading Sisterhood is Powerful. Siegel delineates the various branches of feminism (then and now) and by getting down to the nitty gritty (accusations of feminists being sellouts or, conversely, too radical), she makes it okay to discuss these issues reasonably, rather than simply vociferously.
Don't misunderstand me: Seigel's words aren't an attack on the "f-word." Rather, she's building that tenuous bridge between the young and seemingly unmotivated, feminists and their burnt-out mothers. As a 26-year-old, self-identified woman in America, I can look around and see where the American feminist movement has failed my generation more than I can see it's successes, at times. And that's where Seigel makes her best historical point. I, with all my privilege, have the power of choice based on the historical outcomes of the movement. And I have feminists - past and present - to thank for that choice.
Sisterhood Interrupted is a quick and exciting read; Seigel exposes knowledge on where (and why) the movement split, between the more highly profiled Betty Freidan and Gloria Steinem, as well as the justification for retiring some words, like, "sisterhood." "But now I realize that sisterhood is phony. Even when there's consensus, there isn't," says Amy Richards, co-author of ManifestA, in a conversation with Seigel. "I think younger women have a better sense that it is a big façade." This 'façade' is not a backlash, or an attempt to dis-empower feminism, it's just a reality of the movement. We're not sisters based on gender alone or simply based on feminist history. I believe opening the discussion to a few things that have been deemed `sacred' isn't such a terrible thing at all.
The major part of the book is a detailed history about mainstream feminism in the US. The last section or two were the most useful for my purposes where the author spent more time talking about young feminists today.
There were a few areas where I was surprised with simple errors, the spelling errors of names:
The author of _F Word_ and grrrl (three r's and not two is the correct way).
Besides that, I'd definitely suggest this book to my students, but not peers at the university. I also think the book would work well for a reading group to read and discuss. I'm not commenting too much on the actual content, given the two other reviews that did a great job detailing the book.
Most recent customer reviews
For anyone who has wondered what happened to the feminist movement, this book is a great...Read more