June 24, 2011 | Books,Gloria Feldt,Joan Williams,Peggy Orenstein,Susan Faludi
I finished reading Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women by Susan Faludi in March. 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.
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’ve read but haven’t written about yet. 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)