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Skillfully Probing the Attack on Women’s Rights “Opting-out,” “security moms,” “desperate housewives,” “the new baby fever”—the trend stories of 2006 leave no doubt that American women are still being barraged by the same backlash messages that Susan Faludi brilliantly exposed in her 1991 bestselling book of revelations. Now, the book that reignited the feminist movement is Skillfully Probing the Attack on Women’s Rights “Opting-out,” “security moms,” “desperate housewives,” “the new baby fever”—the trend stories of 2006 leave no doubt that American women are still being barraged by the same backlash messages that Susan Faludi brilliantly exposed in her 1991 bestselling book of revelations. Now, the book that reignited the feminist movement is back in a fifteenth anniversary edition, with a new preface by the author that brings backlash consciousness up to date. When it was first published, Backlash made headlines for puncturing such favorite media myths as the “infertility epidemic” and the “man shortage,” myths that defied statistical realities. These willfully fictitious media campaigns added up to an antifeminist backlash. Whatever progress feminism has recently made, Faludi’s words today seem prophetic. The media still love stories about stay-at-home moms and the “dangers” of women’s career ambitions; the glass ceiling is still low; women are still punished for wanting to succeed; basic reproductive rights are still hanging by a thread. The backlash clearly exists. With passion and precision, Faludi shows in her new preface how the creators of commercial culture distort feminist concepts to sell products while selling women downstream, how the feminist ethic of economic independence is twisted into the consumer ethic of buying power, and how the feminist quest for self-determination is warped into a self-centered quest for self-improvement. Backlash is a classic of feminism, an alarm bell for women of every generation, reminding us of the dangers that we still face.


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Skillfully Probing the Attack on Women’s Rights “Opting-out,” “security moms,” “desperate housewives,” “the new baby fever”—the trend stories of 2006 leave no doubt that American women are still being barraged by the same backlash messages that Susan Faludi brilliantly exposed in her 1991 bestselling book of revelations. Now, the book that reignited the feminist movement is Skillfully Probing the Attack on Women’s Rights “Opting-out,” “security moms,” “desperate housewives,” “the new baby fever”—the trend stories of 2006 leave no doubt that American women are still being barraged by the same backlash messages that Susan Faludi brilliantly exposed in her 1991 bestselling book of revelations. Now, the book that reignited the feminist movement is back in a fifteenth anniversary edition, with a new preface by the author that brings backlash consciousness up to date. When it was first published, Backlash made headlines for puncturing such favorite media myths as the “infertility epidemic” and the “man shortage,” myths that defied statistical realities. These willfully fictitious media campaigns added up to an antifeminist backlash. Whatever progress feminism has recently made, Faludi’s words today seem prophetic. The media still love stories about stay-at-home moms and the “dangers” of women’s career ambitions; the glass ceiling is still low; women are still punished for wanting to succeed; basic reproductive rights are still hanging by a thread. The backlash clearly exists. With passion and precision, Faludi shows in her new preface how the creators of commercial culture distort feminist concepts to sell products while selling women downstream, how the feminist ethic of economic independence is twisted into the consumer ethic of buying power, and how the feminist quest for self-determination is warped into a self-centered quest for self-improvement. Backlash is a classic of feminism, an alarm bell for women of every generation, reminding us of the dangers that we still face.

30 review for Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    This book is worth reading not just to remind us that ‘the women's question’ has not been solved – and it is always timely to be reminded of that – but also because it shows how we are manipulated by the media in a way that is rare in any book. It is an utterly depressing read. I read this at about the time that I stopped watching American films – I have seen only really a handful of them since. Her description of Fatal Attraction ought to be made compulsory reading. Actually, the whole book sho This book is worth reading not just to remind us that ‘the women's question’ has not been solved – and it is always timely to be reminded of that – but also because it shows how we are manipulated by the media in a way that is rare in any book. It is an utterly depressing read. I read this at about the time that I stopped watching American films – I have seen only really a handful of them since. Her description of Fatal Attraction ought to be made compulsory reading. Actually, the whole book should be and come the revolution it will be. I gave this to my eldest daughter to read when she was far too young, but it was lovely watching her come over to me months later after having picked it up again and say, “I can’t believe this, this is just terrible, did you know that…” A very proud moment, I can assure you.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anthony D'Juan Shelton

    Having been raised by a radical feminist mother, "Backlash" (along side Andrea Dworkin's "Woman Hating") gave me an insight into my Mother's frustration growing up. It stands as the most introspective book on feminism since "Against Our Will".

  3. 4 out of 5

    May 舞

    As Rebecca West wrote sardonically in 1913, "I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." While reading Backlash was depressing at times, I can't express how grateful I am to have come across it (Thanks to Olly from Philosophy Tube). As I don't live in America, I was not familiar with the multitude of anecdotes and evidence presented in the book, but unsurprisin As Rebecca West wrote sardonically in 1913, "I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." While reading Backlash was depressing at times, I can't express how grateful I am to have come across it (Thanks to Olly from Philosophy Tube). As I don't live in America, I was not familiar with the multitude of anecdotes and evidence presented in the book, but unsurprisingly I have seen the same arguments made by men (and disappointingly, many women) here in my country with regard to equal rights and feminism, they were just dressed up differently to suit our own situation. Sadly, the "strong and independent woman" brand is used in a derisive manner all around me; and my female peers flee from the "accusation" of being feminists, who are portrayed as men-haters and vicious, selfish women. When in truth feminism only demands that women be free to define themselves— instead of having their identity defined for them, time and again, by their culture and their men. Susan Faludi does a great job in this book. I loved how each chapter has a specific theme, such as the media, the movies, fashion *my favourite chapter*, beauty products, politics, reproductive rights, and psychology. Each was prolific in examples of how women's progress was being impeded and slowed down by insecure men for a variety of reasons, chief of which their fear of being "emasculated". There was also their fear of their jobs being taken over by women. Some anecdotes were outright frightening, especially in the reproductive rights chapter, and I have no idea how cruel some people can get (like in the Angela Carder Case). Here's one really scary example, where the threat of violence was actually used: "[T]he older a man gets without marrying," he writes, "the more likely he is to kill himself." Only a wedding ring, Gilder warns, can "tame the barbarians." But if the typical single man is this unappealing, what woman would consider a date with him, much less a marriage? Gilder's answer to women: You have no choice—wed or prepare to die. "[T]he peripheral men are not powerless," he advises ominously. "They can buy knives and guns, drugs and alcohol, and thus achieve a brief and predatory dominance." They will "rape and pillage, debauch and despoil." Better to march down the aisle with them—than to meet them in a dark alley. I was like: WTF have I just read? I have also learned that the media is not to be trusted and that one should always use their brains before believing anything it spouts. This is especially important in an age where social media allows fake news to spread like wildfire. This is not a cheerful book, but despite its bleakness, it brings hope. Because despite all this, despite the scary, the silly, and the outright ridiculous, and the attacks on women who simply wish for equal opportunities to live fulfilled lives, we have persevered. Backlash is abundant with examples of women who have kept moving forward despite the hardships and the obstacles they faced, and this was truly inspiring. All in all, it was a worthy read, and I recommend it to everyone!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    As others have said, this book should be required reading. Though it deals with the 80's and feminism, the principles behind how to be critical of the press and not believing everything you hear/read are absolutely sound and applicable across all stories in all media, even more so today than in the early 90's as fewer and fewer people are controlling the ethos behind our media. In the lastest bit I'm reading about fashion: the fashion industry does no market research and for the whole the late 80 As others have said, this book should be required reading. Though it deals with the 80's and feminism, the principles behind how to be critical of the press and not believing everything you hear/read are absolutely sound and applicable across all stories in all media, even more so today than in the early 90's as fewer and fewer people are controlling the ethos behind our media. In the lastest bit I'm reading about fashion: the fashion industry does no market research and for the whole the late 80's actually loses billions of dollars of revenue due to trying to force in a trend for ruffled bum skirts rather than suits for the working woman and uncomfortable victorian underwear rather than basic pants and bras. Shops actually took suits off the shelves and basic pants so you had no choice about what to buy. All the execs pushing this look were wearing basic bras and work suits, however. The media just quoted each other as evidence for the 'trend'. Women have the spending power and the industry lost billions. We have the power to do it again. It made me think - if they did this with suits, forcing a trend by withdrawing the style entirely and only having available the thing they want to push - what else have they done this with? I only wear exactly what I'm happy with, that's comfortable, flexible and suited to the task, I also don't shave anywhere, don't style my hair or wear any make-up. Let's think before we criticise someone's appearance next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bloodorange

    A massive work documenting abuses against women who were subjected to glamorisation campaign of love/family life that had little to do with reality, and a very strong campaign - both grassroots and coming from the top - against their presence in the workplace, which, in turn, had very little to do with their very real economic needs. This book is a document of how (at least some) women's health, mental health, and even lives were compromised to keep them at home with children, away from birth co A massive work documenting abuses against women who were subjected to glamorisation campaign of love/family life that had little to do with reality, and a very strong campaign - both grassroots and coming from the top - against their presence in the workplace, which, in turn, had very little to do with their very real economic needs. This book is a document of how (at least some) women's health, mental health, and even lives were compromised to keep them at home with children, away from birth control, away from jobs, especially those coveted by men. An interesting aspect of the book is how Backlash concepts have a delayed release - the books are still being published, the legal solutions proposed in the U.S. in the Eighties inspire conservative lawmakers, for instance in my country. This was a year-long buddy read with Karin -thank you!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}

    First Thoughts: This book shows how LITTLE things have changed since the 80's/90's. How much we still have left to do. To put this in perspective, I was born in 1989, and this book was published in 1991. This book was published about TWENTY-THREE years ago. This book made me angry, and also depressed me at times, because of the above statement. I had to put it down for a while because I couldn't handle it all in one dose. I suggest reading my updates for quotes. First Thoughts: This book shows how LITTLE things have changed since the 80's/90's. How much we still have left to do. To put this in perspective, I was born in 1989, and this book was published in 1991. This book was published about TWENTY-THREE years ago. This book made me angry, and also depressed me at times, because of the above statement. I had to put it down for a while because I couldn't handle it all in one dose. I suggest reading my updates for quotes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I'm giving it 3 stars to put it in the middle. If this was the early/mid 90s then it would have had 5 stars. It was a book that came along just as I was figuring out my place in the world - as a woman. It tapped into things I was thinking and I think helped shape some of my views. Now at age 40 I'd like to read it again to see if it still applies.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    It's been nearly thirty years since Backlash was first released, then as an examination of the backlash to the feminist movement (or women's liberation, if you prefer) in the 80s. After the feminist movement grew in the 70s, the 80s were a whole different story. Faludi opens her books by going through the "facts" that were known in the 80s: the 'shortage of men', that a woman's life & economic situation worsened after divorce (while the man's got better), the infertility epidemic that was harmin It's been nearly thirty years since Backlash was first released, then as an examination of the backlash to the feminist movement (or women's liberation, if you prefer) in the 80s. After the feminist movement grew in the 70s, the 80s were a whole different story. Faludi opens her books by going through the "facts" that were known in the 80s: the 'shortage of men', that a woman's life & economic situation worsened after divorce (while the man's got better), the infertility epidemic that was harming working women, and that working women's mental health had never been worse. Going through them one by one, Faludi shows that the studies coming to these conclusion were not what they seemed; some were plain wrong, used bad methodology, the person behind the study was a fraud, and so on. The most fascinating point about these stories are, however, how the media treated these stories. They were willing to print unpublished studies that agreed with these 'facts' on the front page, but when studies that contradicted them (or revealed the person behind the study as a fraud) the media barely gave them any attention. After picking through these supposed facts, and telling the stories surrounding them as well as studies contradicting them, Faludi goes on to examine the forces that played a role in the backlash. Faludi begins by taking us back, talking about previous backlashes, showing that the arguments are the same ones used as in the late 19th century, the early 20th century, and post WWII. Throughout the following chapters that examine various parts of society -- media, television, radio, and politics -- Faludi shows how the arguments and attitudes are practically the same in each backlash. Faludi also talks about some of the key players in the 80s (and often points out how they rarely live as they preach, so to say). I'd been meaning to read this book years ago, figuring the cultural details would be dated rather quickly -- yes, feel free to blame me for not watching 80s movies/tv-shows all day long -- but it's unexpectedly timely; many attitudes towards women today resemble the ones aired by some people today. Another interesting detail is the economic aspect was that many of the men that supported the anti-feminist movement were younger men: late boomers that missed out on the upswing in the economy and instead found themselves not living up to societal expectations (of being the family provider, hold a steady job, and more). The similarities to today -- in particular since early 2000s and the economic crash in 07/08 -- are striking. So while some pop-culture references were a bit dated, the content of Faludi's work is still relevant, and on its own very impressive.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Hall

    So I just read Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, by Susan Faludi. I had this book on my list because I considered it required reading for anyone who wants to understand the current landscape of women’s rights; when the book was published in 1991, it was hailed as a feminist mythbuster, a possible catalyst for change. And indeed it should have been—this book demonstrates the ways in which culture (news and entertainment media, fashion, politics, and popular psychology) has push So I just read Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, by Susan Faludi. I had this book on my list because I considered it required reading for anyone who wants to understand the current landscape of women’s rights; when the book was published in 1991, it was hailed as a feminist mythbuster, a possible catalyst for change. And indeed it should have been—this book demonstrates the ways in which culture (news and entertainment media, fashion, politics, and popular psychology) has pushed back against the changes in women’s lives brought about by the historic events of the 1960s and 70s. Faludi exposes the false messages women have received, the ways in which our culture—both consciously and unconsciously—has sold us the idea that equality causes misery, that in gaining power we’ve lost femininity. After reading this book, I do indeed consider it essential: it gave me the history that happened after history, the backdrop for our current lives. And it gave me a deep understanding of the forces at work, socially and psychologically, when power dynamics change. Although the cultural specifics—the TV shows, the news stories, the ad campaigns, the accounts of individual women’s lives—are from the 1980s, this book doesn’t read like old news. As I was reading it, I understood why Faludi used “war” in the title—often, I felt as though I was reading battle accounts. Sometimes the battles were consciously fought, but more often, it has been a silent, unconscious war. As Faludi asserts, “The backlash is not a conspiracy, with a council dispatching agents from some central control room, nor are the people who serve its ends often aware of their own role; some even consider themselves feminists.” (p. 13) If the backlash isn’t a coordinated attack, what is it? At its core, it is a reaction—a stance, sometimes ferocious, sometimes insidious—against the idea that a woman’s place isn’t solely in the home, serving as a willing incubator and curator for children. Depending on who’s doing the reacting, it can be violent—as in the case of Operation Rescue, the antiabortion group that bombs abortion clinics and intimidates pregnant teens—or it can be intellectual, as in articles with incomplete or misinterpreted data. Faludi details backlash in: - Print news media: You know that oft-quoted adage that a woman is more likely to be killed by a terrorist than to get married after 40? Classic backlash. It was a joke floated by a bureau reporter that was picked up by the mainstream media— the joke was based in misinformation, as the whole idea of a “man shortage” for women who delayed marriage was based on a flawed, unpublished study that was touted in the media, which ignored more credible data that said no such shortage existed. Similar misinformation existed around claims of infertility, the misery of single working women, and the economic status of divorced women. The misinformation became common knowledge, taken for granted—and the facts, which presented a very different picture (one in which male, not female, anxiety took center stage), were not widely circulated. - TV and movies: From Fatal Attraction to Murphy Brown, Backlash details the ways in which entertainment media excoriates the single working woman. The story of Fatal Attraction is particularly telling—in the original script, writer James Dearden “…wanted to understand how this man who inflicted pain, no matter how unintentionally, must eventually hold himself accountable.” (p. 130) After the studio executives, director Adrian Lyne, and Michael Douglas finished with it (both Lyne and Douglass espouse decidedly non-feminist views about the roles of women, including their sexual empowerment), the film went from empathizing with single women to demonizing them. - Fashion and beauty: “The beaten, bound, or body-bagged woman became a staple of late-‘80s fashion ads and editorial photo layouts.” And she still is—but the internet has upped the ante on the sex and violence theme. Read Backlash to hear the thoughts of Paul Marciano, the misogynist behind the Guess jeans ads who abused his models. A real charmer, that one. But of course it isn’t just the sensationalism of objectification and violence that the beauty industry uses: “…the formula the industry has counted on for many years—aggravating women’s low self-esteem and high anxiety about a ‘feminine’ appearance—has always served them well.” Indeed. - Politics: Here is where things get mighty conscious, and manipulative, as the “New Right,” (which today holds the same ideology and uses the same tactics, but is far from new) formed an agenda against equality. Faludi quotes a New Right minister: “We’re here to turn the clock back to 1954 in this country.” (p. 242) And oh, the ways in which they try: cutting programs, undermining women in politics, making stars of women who verbally espouse patriarchy, living feminist lives while undercutting the opportunities of other women to do the same. - Academia: TV talk shows and morning news shows were filled then, as now, with experts espousing their opinions. And many of them painted a picture of women as inferior to men, women who preferred not to work or who were miserable because they were trying to “have it all,” and of feminists who caused all the trouble. In fact, many feminists began to publish works that recanted or revised their former statements about women and equality. Faludi examines Betty Friedan’s The Second Stage: “She is reacting to the backlash rather than setting her own agenda, even referring to the women’s movement now as ‘the feminist reaction’.” (p. 335) - Popular psychology: “In an era that offered little hope of real social or political change, the possibility of changing oneself was the one remaining way held out to American women to improve their lot.” (p. 347). And examples abound, most notably the victim-blaming of Robin Norwood’s Women Who Love Too Much. - Work: Faludi exposes media myths about working women—the closing of the pay gap, women invading the male work force—with the facts. The pay gap was worsening, and the few inroads women had made, both in the white-collar and blue-collar workforces, were under consistent attack. Here, the stories of individual women loom large: Diane Joyce fought for seventeen years before she could become the first skilled female crafts worker in Santa Clara, California. The sexism and threats she endured along the way would have sent many people packing. The road to equality in work is paved with the blood, sweat, and tears of women like Ms. Joyce. Let us never forget it. - Reproductive rights: And here, we arrive at all-out, bloody war—one that is still raging, pitting women against our own wombs, our own progeny. As Ms. Faludi puts it is so succinctly: “If the early judicial decisions separated mother and fetus, then the later ones set mother and fetus against each other.” And so it goes. This book is comprehensive—I have only been able to give you a sampling here. At 466 pages, it is not a quick or a light read, but it is well worth the effort. This is one of those books, like When Everything Changed, that allows you to place yourself in history: here I am, now. And this is why. In the preface to the 15th anniversary edition of the book, Faludi says that backlash isn’t still happening—but something worse is: “Yes, there are still periodic reprimands, though generally they are presented as the products of a woman’s ‘choice.’ The backlash is now said to be a strictly self-inflicted affair.” I’d agree that choice has become the language of choice for arguing away the impetus for social change, but I think there is still a form of backlash going on. Backlash, as Ms. Faludi says, occurs in a “….closed system that starts and ends in the media, popular culture, and advertising—an endless feedback loop that perpetuates and exaggerates its own false images of womanhood.” That system is alive and well—so well that backlash itself has become a buzzword, often used to describe a manufactured catfight. For those who want to know precisely what the war on women is, and how to overcome it, I highly recommend this book. It is, as I suspected, an absolute must for understanding the zeitgeist in which we all live, breathe, and struggle toward equality.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liam

    Feminism is a word that has inspired various conflicting emotions for me throughout my life, and has meant different things depending on the situation or conflict at hand. As such, I went into Backlash with my eyes open and my mind confused - would it be a pot-banging feminist treatise, or overwhelmingly a book built on things I would associate with common sense? In the end, it ended up being a bit of both. "Backlash politics ... may be defined as a reaction by groups which are declining i Feminism is a word that has inspired various conflicting emotions for me throughout my life, and has meant different things depending on the situation or conflict at hand. As such, I went into Backlash with my eyes open and my mind confused - would it be a pot-banging feminist treatise, or overwhelmingly a book built on things I would associate with common sense? In the end, it ended up being a bit of both. "Backlash politics ... may be defined as a reaction by groups which are declining in a felt sense of importance, influence and power" Lipset and Raab, Backlash, p243 Of course I was aware of the negative, sometimes violent, reaction to feminism and the rise of women's lib in the latter part of the twentieth century - however something I wasn't aware of that Faludi spends some time going into in depth at the beginning of the book is that backlash is cyclical. Whenever women are beginning to penetrate the workforce, exercise their independence of men, or otherwise shun the 'feminine wife' stereotype applied to them, society at large rushes to right this unnatural wrong. In the late 1800's when women were pushing for rights, they were labelled as 'hysteric' or suffering from neurasthenia, locked in dim, quiet rooms to 'cure' them of their ill. In the 40's, when the majority of men were unavailable for the workforce due to World War 2, women stepped into the void and showed that they were every bit as competent and industrious as men across every industry. When the men came back from the war and found their jobs filled by their wives, their sisters, their children, the stereotype of the 50's housewife was created and pushed incredibly hard. Every woman was expected to be the perfect, smiling, pie-making Stepford Wife. And then of course we have the Women's Liberation movement of the 70's which swept the world, but specifically America, by storm - and Backlash is dedicated almost entirely to analysing the decade following this rapid growth of women's rights, the 80's in the United States of America. Backlash is split into four parts. Myths and Flashbacks opens the book, explaining in detail the various 'epidemics' that were plaguing career-focused and single women in the 80's - 'man shortages' and 'birth dearths'. A woman who prioritises her career and doesn't nail down a man early on in life has next to no chance of finding a husband past 30, a woman who is consistently stressed and focused on her job will be unable to conceive, or will encounter problems during pregnancy. These myths were touted and repeated ad nauseum, and as Faludi shows, patently untrue - marriage statistics of women in their late 20's early 30's were far better than suggested, and if anything the dip in male sperm count during the 80's caused more issues conceiving than any woman's career. Part Two, the Backlash in Popular Culture, goes into detail on the portrayal of women (again, specifically career-focused or single women) in TV, film, and the fashion and beauty industries. The bias is clear if you look at it right - single men in media during that time were happy bachelors, enjoying their lives and as many women as they could get their hands on. Single women, on the other hand, were often neurotic and desperate with the idea of finding 'Mister Right'. Any woman who behaves as men did with their spinsterhood were labelled as 'irresponsible' - Magnum P.I. could have a new girlfriend every week - Cagney, of Cagney and Lacey, was problematic to 'portray as vulnerable'. "And why did she need to be portrayed as vulnerable? 'Because that's the way the vast majority of Americans feel women should be ... I wonder how many men there are in the U.S. today who'd be anxious to marry a hard-boiled female cop.'" p163-164 Along with this push for women to return to a more 'natural', maternal role in the family came also a change in the portrayal of children in film and TV - whereas in the 70's children were shown predominantly as early teenagers with thoughts of their own, smart alecs and certainly not easy to deal with, the majority of children portrayed in 80's media took the form of swaddled, adorable, cuddly babies who barely cried. Wouldn't you want one? The focus of Part Three, Backlash Movers, Shakers and Thinkers, are those people who dominated the bookshelves and the TV sets of the decade, perpetuating the idea that women, in fact, can't have it all. Anti-feminists took many forms but what surprised me was how many of them were either women, or husband/wife partnerships - indeed these became the most popular, as the backlash could point to them as evidence that even women think that feminism has gone too far. These women, coincidentally, saw no issue with them evangelising women to return to the kitchen and not to put their children into evil day care centres - whilst simultaneously 'neglecting' their own family, home and womanhood to be successful media personalities. The final part was possibly the most confronting and distressing to read - Backlashings: The Effect on Women's Minds, Jobs and Bodies. Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts attempted to talk women down from their independence - their high standards, their feminism is ruining men and society for them. They were the problem - not men. This culminated with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders voting to include 'masochistic personality disorder' and 'premenstrual dysphoric disorder' within their pages of legitimate mental ailments - the latter would give fresh legitimacy to any boyfriend or husband who advised their partner was acting 'crazy' whilst in the throes of PMS or PMT. The former, far more troubling, suggested that any woman who did not immediately leave a relationship or situation that was causing them distress, could be legally labelled to have a 'masochistic personality'. A wife who doesn't leave her abusive husband because she's afraid of his revenge, a woman who stays in a job where she is regularly sexually harassed - all of them free game, legally. Throughout the 80's, women's penetration into the workforce was touted as evidence that feminism had 'worked' and that they could all go home now. This ignored the fact that women were still horribly underpaid compared to men, and that the majority of women's growth was in traditionally 'female' industries - secretarial, typists, salespersons, etc. With the Raegan's traditionalist government of the 80's cutting almost all funding to Equal Employment Opportunity federal programs, there were very little reasons for employers to truly strive for equal opportunity in their employees. Any women who complained or attempted legal action as a result of being sidelined, demoted, or fired wrongly was targeted and often found it impossible to land another job - they were 'troublemakers'. The final portion of this chapter, Bodies, was most sobering - the anti-abortion movement, fetal protections, and workplace 'reproductive protections'. The latter two included two of the most distressing anecdotes - fetal protections, of a pregnant woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer being overriden with her requests for chemotherapy and treatment because it may have hurt her fetus, and ultimately a judge ruling that dangerous caesarean section be carried out to 'save' the fetus, despite numerous doctors saying that this would likely kill the woman. The fetus was delivered, still and cold - the mother slipped into a coma as a result of the procedure and, two days later, passed away. Faludi stresses that in the latter half of the 80's, the predominant medical and legal opinion was that the fetus was already an independent, willful patient - the mother, however, was simply room and board for this person temporarily. Fetal rights were more important than the rights of the women who carried them. Finally, American Cyanamid's 'reproductive protections' in one of their plants - several women who worked with chemicals daily, most of them either single mothers or mothers with 4+ children who took the jobs in the first place because they were traditionally men's jobs and were paid as such - due to the risk that the workers went through with their constant contact with lead, and the potential for birth defects in future pregnancies, the women workers were issued with an ultimatum - either be shifted to a lower-paying position in a different part of the plant, or be sterilised. Five women chose the latter, only to lose their jobs when the government shut down their section of the plant months later regardless for health violations. Despite the fact that lead exposure can just as easily cause birth defects through contact with the father, through their sperm, this was never considered a problem, and the men were never issued such an ultimatum. I came out of Backlash somewhat uneasy and unsure what to think. My instant reaction is that this all deals with a time three decades past, in a different country, and whilst well written and incredibly fascinating it doesn't really relate to me and mine. But another part of my mind notes the similarities between the 80's backlash, and the current situation regarding the LGBT community and other 'fringe' groups who are struggling for rights and acknowledgement. And all I can do is hope that we've moved on. TL;DR Good book, clearly biased, but still very powerful. Highly recommend to anyone.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Okay I can't really write a review because it seems like everything Faludi talked about is happening again. I need to buy an island.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deirdre

    You look at this book, my edition was published in 1992 and you kinda ask what relevance there is to this book, I mean it's over 20 years old, yeah, and we've learned nothing. We're revisiting the same old tired shite again and again, being told that feminism is over, that people are tired of hearing about it that we have equality, why are we still fighting? Because 20 years later we still: Have inequity in wages Have poor representation in TV and film and if we speak out less than men in debates w You look at this book, my edition was published in 1992 and you kinda ask what relevance there is to this book, I mean it's over 20 years old, yeah, and we've learned nothing. We're revisiting the same old tired shite again and again, being told that feminism is over, that people are tired of hearing about it that we have equality, why are we still fighting? Because 20 years later we still: Have inequity in wages Have poor representation in TV and film and if we speak out less than men in debates we're perceived as trying to dominate the conversation. Have people try to tell us that domestic chores are innate, that we should prefer them to working out of the home Have people say that pink is the colour we should choose Even though, and this kinda shocked me, research in the 1970s (by John T Molloy, see pages 209-211) show that women get more respect and time in a business environment. That "dressing to succeed in business and dressing to be sexually attractive are almost mutually exclusive" and that maybe this needs updating but maybe also more choice in women's business clothing might be a good thing, that maybe dressing in the same suit for a year (with different shirts/blouses) might be accepted? That it shouldn't be a choice between 3" and 4" heels for court shoes and that "women in comfortable shoes" wouldn't be a veiled insult? Have women giggle about how they're not good at maths because they're women. Have girls out perform boys in STEM subjects in school but be actively discouraged from a career in these disciplines Have a majority of doctors female but still imagery for young girls is that they're nurses, and rejection of male nursing. The over-sexualisation of Halloween costumes for both adults and young girls (hey if you want to wear it, fine, can I have a choice too?) Radio stations announcing that they are cutting down on female voices because people don't like them, not that they schedule them against popular choices. This book looks at some of the backlashes and shines a torch on them and asks why we put up with it. So tell me, why do we?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    My favorite thing about Susan Faludi is the strength and accuracy of her BS-o-meter. My next favorite thing is her brilliant writing. The sad thing to realize after reading this 20-year-old book is that she could write the same book -- with all new but similar material -- today. *sigh* Faludi laid the groundwork for many authors who followed. Twenty years ago, she wrote " ... women in the '70s who were assertive and persistent discovered that they could begin to change men's views. By vigorously c My favorite thing about Susan Faludi is the strength and accuracy of her BS-o-meter. My next favorite thing is her brilliant writing. The sad thing to realize after reading this 20-year-old book is that she could write the same book -- with all new but similar material -- today. *sigh* Faludi laid the groundwork for many authors who followed. Twenty years ago, she wrote " ... women in the '70s who were assertive and persistent discovered that they could begin to change men's views. By vigorously challenging the conventional definition of masculinity, these women allowed men to start to question it, too." Nineteen years later, Joan C. Williams published Reshaping the Work–Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter, in which she challenges the masculine norms at work. Faludi quoted Kate Rand Lloyd, editor of Working Woman: "Women are not taking advantage of the power they already have ... What is regrettable to me is we don't yet see what it is we have done, how badly we are needed, how we really do have tools for changing our own future in our own hands." Nineteen years later, Gloria Feldt published No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Faludi mentioned Peggy Orenstein in the acknowledgments. Twenty years later, Orenstein published Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, which I'm reading now. If sexualized girlhood isn't about backlash, I don't know what is. ... "No matter how many times women have been told to sit down and keep quiet, they have struggled to their feet." (p. 455) "American women have always fought the periodic efforts to force them back behind the curtain. The important question to ask about the currect backlash, then, is not whether women are resisting, but how effectively." (p. 455)

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Faludi takes us from the retro-reactionary scriptwriters in Hollywood (mostly men!) to the misogynistic floors of factories during the 1980s, ten years after the feminist revolution, to show how truly anti-women American institutions had become, under the auspices that all of feminism's goals have been achieved. One of the biggest strengths of this book is Faludi's emphasis not only on the words of the people she interviews but their actions. As she interviews women like Faith Popcorn and Tony G Faludi takes us from the retro-reactionary scriptwriters in Hollywood (mostly men!) to the misogynistic floors of factories during the 1980s, ten years after the feminist revolution, to show how truly anti-women American institutions had become, under the auspices that all of feminism's goals have been achieved. One of the biggest strengths of this book is Faludi's emphasis not only on the words of the people she interviews but their actions. As she interviews women like Faith Popcorn and Tony Grant, who insist that women are now into being homemakers again by choice, she describes how these women are at their happiest when they are managing their successful careers. She observes an obnoxious husband and wife academic team and shows how they too behave against what they preach (sharing the household chores). The mark of great journalism is being able to spend time and observe those about whom one is reporting, and the fact that Faludi does this with SO MANY people makes the book pretty amazing. Plus, it is still sadly relevant today, and it is probably worth revisiting almost twenty years later to see whether anything has changed.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Raetz

    I should note that I read the 1992 original version of this book. I'd love to read the updated version. At any rate, I went into this book open minded but by no means sold on her thesis. I came out the other end totally convinced. This is a solid work of well-written, well-researched scholarship that drives home her undeniable theses that career women are not "suffering" for their pursuits and that there is a determined effort to create a public perception of how "dangerous" feminism has been fo I should note that I read the 1992 original version of this book. I'd love to read the updated version. At any rate, I went into this book open minded but by no means sold on her thesis. I came out the other end totally convinced. This is a solid work of well-written, well-researched scholarship that drives home her undeniable theses that career women are not "suffering" for their pursuits and that there is a determined effort to create a public perception of how "dangerous" feminism has been for women and children. I had to put this book down three separate times to read something else and come back to it, because it made me so angry. I got over the anger but remain committed to doing my small part wherever I can to making this world more fair for women and girls. Having a daughter myself only strengthens that commitment. If I ever meet Susan Faludi, I will definitely thank her!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    Since I'm in the process of making my way through the feminist cannon, I couldn't skip over this book. After reading it, I went back and re-read Amanda Marcotte's post on it in which she pointed out that this book is mostly about the reactionary 1980s even though it came out in 1991. Now, more than 20 years later, some of the things Faludi talks about remain so relevant. Marcotte writes, "I do know that feminist blogging as we know it owes more to this book than anything." And it's certainly tru Since I'm in the process of making my way through the feminist cannon, I couldn't skip over this book. After reading it, I went back and re-read Amanda Marcotte's post on it in which she pointed out that this book is mostly about the reactionary 1980s even though it came out in 1991. Now, more than 20 years later, some of the things Faludi talks about remain so relevant. Marcotte writes, "I do know that feminist blogging as we know it owes more to this book than anything." And it's certainly true. If anything, it made me realize exactly how long those obnoxious anti-feminist trend stories have been around. But where this book gets really great is when she tracks down anti-feminist academics and writes about encountering them at home. The great thing about Faludi's writing and reporting, I think, is that she not only engages with the ideas, but she has an eye for detail like a profile writer. She witnesses one anti-feminist academic don an apron and help his son with cooking (currently his son's favorite activity, she reports) because though he engages with the ideas of women remaning subject to their husbands, in his household, this academic is an equal parent with his philosopher-mathematician wife. She also has an eye for anti-abortion activist Randall Terry kicking his feet up after starting the lawn mower for his wife. It's true this book runs longer than most of its kind, but it's engaging, exhaustively researched and reported, and well worth the time I spent with it -- which to be fair, wasn't much since I more or less tore through it. It has some great nostalgia factor: remembering Murphy Brown and Roseanne, deconstructing "Fatal Attraction" in great detail, and recalling some of the momentously awful sexual harassment and discrimination cases of the '80s. Recommended for: The true feminist in your life. If she hasn't read it yet, she should.

  17. 5 out of 5

    SuperCat

    Faludi takes on the 80s, decade of big hair, bad music, and, she claims, a new kind of backlash against feminism. Her thesis is that pop-culture of the 80s told women they had been liberated by the women's movement of the last decade, but were now suffering because of the very gains made by women's lib. She quips: it must be all that equality that's causing all that pain--But what equality? Faludi's book has two main goals then, to bust the backlash myth that feminism is responsible for women's u Faludi takes on the 80s, decade of big hair, bad music, and, she claims, a new kind of backlash against feminism. Her thesis is that pop-culture of the 80s told women they had been liberated by the women's movement of the last decade, but were now suffering because of the very gains made by women's lib. She quips: it must be all that equality that's causing all that pain--But what equality? Faludi's book has two main goals then, to bust the backlash myth that feminism is responsible for women's unhappiness and to expose how what is really hurting women is the lack of equality for women--the work yet to be done by feminists to combat the feminization of poverty, to de-segregate the workforce and change the pink-collar ghetto, the need for more women and feminist politicians in washington, a pop-culture and media that does not encourage women to starve themselves, surgically alter themselves, and spend millions on beauty products, and, of course, a culture that does not insist that a woman without a man is a failure. It's an easy read, and would be quick if it wasn't 460 pages long! It was published in 1991, so it's a little outdated, but many of the same backlash mechanisms are still operating today. Just yesterday I read a real-live "trend" article in the Weekend! section of the Pioneer Press. It claimed that american families are getting larger-"3 is the new 2" but offered absolutely no statistics to back up that claim. That inspired me to haul Backlash out of my bags of books and finish reading what I started during x-mas vacation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matilda

    I'm pretty biased to Faludi, so I can't review this book objectively. I enjoy her style, which is semi-academic, and I like the way she pulls up seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces from under the sofa, the shelf, the dog's slobbery mouth and creates a jigsaw that makes the reader go, "Duh, now I get the big picture." Faludi's classic focuses on the late 70s and early 80s United States, to a time when women's rights were supposedly set. Roe vs. Wade came about, women were entering the work force mor I'm pretty biased to Faludi, so I can't review this book objectively. I enjoy her style, which is semi-academic, and I like the way she pulls up seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces from under the sofa, the shelf, the dog's slobbery mouth and creates a jigsaw that makes the reader go, "Duh, now I get the big picture." Faludi's classic focuses on the late 70s and early 80s United States, to a time when women's rights were supposedly set. Roe vs. Wade came about, women were entering the work force more and more, and equality seemed to be on its way. The backlash of the title refers to the reactions of politicians, the media and popular culture to women's lib. Examples vary from such fluffy items as women portrayed in popular TV series to explicit statements made by Ronald Reagan about women and feminism especially. Although at first one might wonder why the book spends so much time on popular culture ("aren't there more important issues that feminists need to tackle?"), it soon becomes obvious that a backlash does not necessarily mean one clear, defining event of people yelling "No!" at the top of their lungs. Sometimes, it is perpetrated by small jabs, a mocking tone and a cleverly placed ad--and because these are such small things, we do not pay attention to them unless they are listed in one volume. Only then we might realize that we're the proverbial frog in the boiling pot.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Breeding

    This is a demanding read, even if it is wonderfully written. Faludi crafts her scenes expertly, with anecdotes supporting her claims about the forces working against American women. Everything from media to a gangbuster of gendered self-help products are indicted in this war. Women are born into a world that needs them to be soft, submissive and marriage-and-family focused. Faludi builds her nonfiction book to a climax: Beverly LaHaye, the queen of the ultra-conservative Concerned Women for Amer This is a demanding read, even if it is wonderfully written. Faludi crafts her scenes expertly, with anecdotes supporting her claims about the forces working against American women. Everything from media to a gangbuster of gendered self-help products are indicted in this war. Women are born into a world that needs them to be soft, submissive and marriage-and-family focused. Faludi builds her nonfiction book to a climax: Beverly LaHaye, the queen of the ultra-conservative Concerned Women for America and co-author of the blockbuster "Left Behind" series. Here is what Faludi finds: Feminist activists and politicans have done more in support of American families than their conservative counterparts in terms of legislation. And yet feminism has created a whole class of strong women who act like feminists (leaders, activists, game-changers) but decry feminist values. Case in point: Beverly LaHaye is a popular power-broker, a woman at the helm of a large agency. And that agency advises women NOT to act like LaHaye. Better to use that college degree to the betterment of your marriage and family. Excellent read, but far from light.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sheree Wood

    One of the best feminist tomes of all time. Actually, I would call it brilliant. I read it when it was first published in 1991 and 24 years later, this book is still (sadly) relevant. Backlash comes to my mind at least a couple of times a month when I note, again and again, how Ms. Faludi was spot on with her observations of how the media and other forces push back against any (and I mean, any) moves for women to gain equality. Read this book and your eyes will be opened to the myriad and multit One of the best feminist tomes of all time. Actually, I would call it brilliant. I read it when it was first published in 1991 and 24 years later, this book is still (sadly) relevant. Backlash comes to my mind at least a couple of times a month when I note, again and again, how Ms. Faludi was spot on with her observations of how the media and other forces push back against any (and I mean, any) moves for women to gain equality. Read this book and your eyes will be opened to the myriad and multitudinous forces that operate in high gear 24/7 to to keep men, especially white ones, in power.

  21. 5 out of 5

    andrea

    Susan Faludi is an amazing investigative journalist. This is an exhaustive study of American attitudes toward feminism throughout history. I will go as far as to say that this is a book every liberal-minded girl and feminist-friendly (or even feminist-unfriendly) male should read. Backlash is a book that reaffirms history's cyclical, repetitive nature.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Wondering where the backlash against womyn came from this decade? Read this book. The backlash has always been with us and will always be with us. The good news? The backlash can be sent into full-fledged retreat. It's a bully. And what happens when you stand up to a bully? Yes, that's right, the bully almost always backs down and sometimes even flees.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    So incredibly readable. I love the analysis she provides of tv and film. This is definitely a feminist text to be reckoned with. It is most definitely lengthy, but I think each chapter can be read on its own and in no particular order.

  24. 5 out of 5

    L.E. Duncan

    Backlash's primary fascination is as a narrative of a narrative; the story spun in the 1980s and early 90s in a thousand ways, implicit and explicit, that women are unhappy in the workforce or are somehow warped by the workforce and are best off safely at home. Feminism was the villain in this tale, an insidious pressure on women to "have it all" and to reject their nature. For a woman to work is to erode her best qualities, to year by year become more and more a portrait of a neurotic breakdown Backlash's primary fascination is as a narrative of a narrative; the story spun in the 1980s and early 90s in a thousand ways, implicit and explicit, that women are unhappy in the workforce or are somehow warped by the workforce and are best off safely at home. Feminism was the villain in this tale, an insidious pressure on women to "have it all" and to reject their nature. For a woman to work is to erode her best qualities, to year by year become more and more a portrait of a neurotic breakdown; to not only disintegrate, but to disintegrate messily and witchily. No man will ever want her, and she will never want herself. This cultural narrative persisted despite statistics and market research. It existed, at least in part, to shame the majority of women who participate in the workplace or otherwise "do not comply" with a strict stay-at-home narrative into compliance. It of course did not reflect and does not reflect even the reality of being a mother with a family to support and insufficient or non-existent husband income, any more than it was realistic to expect 30+ professional women to accept, say, baby-doll like fashion over suits. Faludi's book is a mixture of statistics and studies (often counter-studies to popular studies "proving" women wanted to/needed to be at home with children despite all situational factors, including personality, marriage status, and financial need), interviews, analyses of articles, and anecdotes. Sometimes Faludi relies too heavily on anecdotes, particularly in the media section, but the scope of the book is immense and descriptive, covering everything from "pink collar jobs" and the social and sometimes legal difficulty of breaking into better paid "men's work" to women in politics, both as participants and as a subject. Also included: abortion, psychology ("masochistic personality disorder" and "PMS"), television, fashion, cosmetic surgery, and newspaper and magazine "trends". Faludi's style serves to personalize what could be a solely academic subject, but provides enough hard research (including criticism of sloppy or very limited studies) to back up her overall point and allow for deeper exploration. Much of what Faludi covers is still contentious today (in some cases more contentious); this is a discussion that's ongoing. Faludi has a brief update in the introduction, noting that the pay gap has lessened (at least partly because men are being paid less; wage stagnation and even erosion is a boat we're all in together), but reiterating that many of the issues of the 1980s are still relevant. Certainly, they're still conversations we're having (I've seen recent magazine articles and psychological briefs very similar to what Faludi describes, for example). I'd be interested to see more "narrative histories" like this.

  25. 4 out of 5

    MJ

    In Faludi's book which was published in 1991, she explains that women are twice as likely to draw no pension, that the average woman's salary lags as far behind as 20 years ago, that the average female college graduate earn less than males with a high school diploma and that the average female high school graduaate earns less than the male high school dropout. Why do American women face one of the worst gender-based pay gaps in the developed world? Why are nearly 80% of working women still stuck In Faludi's book which was published in 1991, she explains that women are twice as likely to draw no pension, that the average woman's salary lags as far behind as 20 years ago, that the average female college graduate earn less than males with a high school diploma and that the average female high school graduaate earns less than the male high school dropout. Why do American women face one of the worst gender-based pay gaps in the developed world? Why are nearly 80% of working women still stuck in traditional "female" jobs? Why are women less than 80% of all federal and state judges? less than 6% of law partners? less than 1/2 of 1% top corporate managers? Why do more than half of boards of Fortune companies still lack even 1 female member? Unlike virtually all other industrialized nations, the USS government still has no family leave and child care program. More than 99% of American private employers don't offer child care. In 1990 in a national poll, CEOs at Fortune 1000 companies acknowledged that discrimination impedes female employees' progress yet less than 1% regarded remedying sex discrimination as a goal to pursue. In a 1989 study, 3/4 of all high schools still violate federal laws banning sex discrimination. In colleges, women receive 70% of the aid that undergraduate men get in grants and work study. Women still shoulder 70% of household duties. In 30 states, it is still legal for husbands to rape their wives. Only 10 states have laws mandating arrest for domestic violence. Federal funds for battered women's shelters has been withheld and 1/3 of the 1 million battered women who seek emergency shelter can find none. In 1980 almost half of all homeless women were refugees of domestic violence.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Wow, people used to think single women Feminists were ruining the world, when it's really Soccer Moms emasculating male children and promoting lame, civilization-ending PC shit like teachers can't use red ink to grade papers because it might hurt the kids' feeeelllings. Honestly, I'm a woman and I have to say that, regardless, women need to monitor themselves in the workplace to figure out why they aren't being taken seriously. If you were a man, would you take someone seriously tottering around Wow, people used to think single women Feminists were ruining the world, when it's really Soccer Moms emasculating male children and promoting lame, civilization-ending PC shit like teachers can't use red ink to grade papers because it might hurt the kids' feeeelllings. Honestly, I'm a woman and I have to say that, regardless, women need to monitor themselves in the workplace to figure out why they aren't being taken seriously. If you were a man, would you take someone seriously tottering around on spiky, pinchy-toed shoes? Me either. How about red talons on the ends of your fingers? Nothing screams "frivolous" louder in a meeting than over-manicured nails. I worked with a group of lower level "professional" women in California. Not secretaries. And at lunch time they would all group up in the lunchroom and watch a soap opera on the lunchroom tv that they'd taped the day before. How embarrassing is that for all of us? Not to mention revealing outfits and giant retrofitted breasts proudly sported-then complaining when some male co-worker accidentally looks at them. Check yourselves, ladies, for stereotypical female workplace behavior. Then stop it. Sorry, comrades, the difference may just be that I'm from the conservative work world East Coast, but I can't take some of you seriously, either. And for God's sake, stop talking about your damn purses.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Strömquist

    So this very well known book actually got 20 years old before I got around to reading it. By now it can of course, in addition to its original validity, be read as a time document as well. In building the case for a backlash against feminism and women's lib, it is a lot of hits and a few misses in the book. The misses are comprised by making the classical error of applying statistics based on a huge number of people on a single anecdotal example on a number of occasions. Secondly, a number of un So this very well known book actually got 20 years old before I got around to reading it. By now it can of course, in addition to its original validity, be read as a time document as well. In building the case for a backlash against feminism and women's lib, it is a lot of hits and a few misses in the book. The misses are comprised by making the classical error of applying statistics based on a huge number of people on a single anecdotal example on a number of occasions. Secondly, a number of unrelated examples of discrimination are portrayed as being part of a vast and conscious effort at working against women. No doubt the conscious part may have been a fact in some cases, but I would rather argue that most of the actions, laws and so on negatively affecting the feminist cause were products of a change in opinions and climate. A backlash, yes, but not orchestrated and driven by individual actions. The description in the book sometimes borders on conspiracy theory, and I'm not sure who the conspirators would be. Grievances aside, it is a very well researched and written book and Susan Faludi is a great writer, with a talent for timing, presentation and often dealing with a difficult subject with a healthy dose of humor.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    I tried to read this book 20 years too late, me thinks. Faludi relies on a lot of 80's media references to support her theory of backlash against the feminist movement of the 1970's. I was born in 1981 and unfortunately I'm only vaguely familiar with most of the statistics, events, and movies that Faludi discusses in Backlash. And I'm not really that motivated to sit with wikipedia open while I read this book and bring myself up-to-speed with the media happenings of the decade of my birth. Why i I tried to read this book 20 years too late, me thinks. Faludi relies on a lot of 80's media references to support her theory of backlash against the feminist movement of the 1970's. I was born in 1981 and unfortunately I'm only vaguely familiar with most of the statistics, events, and movies that Faludi discusses in Backlash. And I'm not really that motivated to sit with wikipedia open while I read this book and bring myself up-to-speed with the media happenings of the decade of my birth. Why is that? For the simple reason that I feel that someone else could have looked at the same time period and wrote the equally compelling book entitled: Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Men. Then again, what do I know? I can't even will myself to finish the book. As of late, when it comes to my dabblings in feminist literature/theory, I'd rather read Shulamith Firestone and get blown away. At the very least, I have a copy of this book on my bookshelf, so I can tender further evidence of what an angry woman I am. This is the only book that I'm willing to lend out.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Petrop37

    This is a must read - a brilliant and upsetting account of feminism. It explores the subtle (and not so subtle) subversion that women faced in the 1980s and early 90s as a backlash to the feminist movement of the 1970s. the statistics and stories Faludi presents are frightening. While I would love to see a follow up edition with current statistics as those presented her are over 20 years old, I would be surprised if things had changed for the better as one might have hoped. I am upset to find th This is a must read - a brilliant and upsetting account of feminism. It explores the subtle (and not so subtle) subversion that women faced in the 1980s and early 90s as a backlash to the feminist movement of the 1970s. the statistics and stories Faludi presents are frightening. While I would love to see a follow up edition with current statistics as those presented her are over 20 years old, I would be surprised if things had changed for the better as one might have hoped. I am upset to find the 'feminist' still continues to be a 'bad word' with many women exclaiming "I believe in women's rights but I'm not a feminist". As Faludi presents here this is just a result of the backlash of the 80s that is ridiculously continuing - 30 years later! Instead we should be screaming "I am a feminist!" With the ubderstanding that this would be interpreted as "I love women and believe in their rights" rather than "I hate men, children and morals". Sadly despite Faludi's intelligent exposé, we still have not overcome this boundary let alone the hundreds of injustices faced by women everywhere.

  30. 4 out of 5

    tabby cat♡

    This book is great and I wish everyone would read it. I’m sure someone could find a fault in it, but in terms of consciousness-raising it’s perfect. It was printed in 1991 so it may not seem as relevent 20 yrs later but I assure you it is. Even without the feminist focus, it’s helpful in realizing how much power the media holds and how it can use that power to oppress minority groups or change the way people think. Check it out!

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