Tag Archives: feminism

There Have So Been Books About Female Sexuality in the Past 35 Years

In a recent piece in The Guardian, “Feminism in the 21st Century,” Zoe Williams claims that no one has talked seriously about female sexuality since the ’70s: “The last person to make any serious noise about female sexuality was Shere Hite; that was nearly 35 years ago.”

This is a claim I see all the time, and it’s starting to make me feel like I’m delusional. Continue reading



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Rebecca Traister is So Smart

Her nuanced essay on SlutWalks in today’s New York Times Magazine puts all the “she asked for it” editorializing on recent news stories into perspective. She puts the Walks in context and points out something that has dawned on many ’90s women this year while reading about Rape Cops, D.S.K., etc.: “There is still no way for women to tell stories of sexual injustice that allows them to bypass character assassination.” Continue reading

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“I Love Dick” by Chris Kraus

How had I never read this book before?

Chris Kraus’s 1997 book I Love Dick is part epistolary novel, part exegesis of itself. It’s basically feminist theory masquerading as a doomed rom-com.

The quasi-plot: Chris and her husband have dinner with a colleague of his, Dick. She gets a crush on Dick and she and her husband together start writing him letters expressing–and stoking–her feelings.

As Dick maintains a bemused silence, Chris gets more and more obsessed with him. She travels around the country pining for him and writing him long love letters from grimy motels. Somewhere in all this she leaves her husband. She goes and sleeps with Dick, who isn’t really into her but is doing some kind of very passive-aggressive “not saying no” thing. But then he gets mad and freaks out on her for turning him into an object and invading his privacy. Then she does a whole exegesis of the first part of the book.

It’s the strangest book I’ve read at least since last week’s Fat: a Love Story. (Both were recommended by my weird-book-connoisseur friend Asia.) I agree with nearly every review on Amazon, both 1-star and 5-star ones. It’s both enthralling and repellant. She’s both cool and intolerable. But I am so glad to have read it and wish my friends had too, because it’s relevant to a lot of different conversations, including: Continue reading

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An Anthology Is Looking for Writing About Girls and Revolution

A woman named Sabine Magnet with a Munich-based press just sent ’90s Woman a call for submissions (in German or English!) for something called THE GRAND GIRLS ANTHOLOGY. The topic is “Revolution.” There’s no money involved, but any profits go to a girls’ charity. If you’re interested, you can send something to submissions@thegrandgirlsanthology. Click here for all the details.

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“Postfeminism” Backlash Flashback, 1998

Carrie Brownstein. This to me seemed very different in the '90s than...

A Facebook friend of mine just posted a June 1998 Time magazine article called “Feminism, It’s All About Me!,” which declared feminism all but over because of the rise of the “quintessentially self-absorbed postfeminist.”

It turned out this was the very article that went with the oft-cited “Is Feminism Dead?” cover! I had forgotten all about that article, and I don’t think in my radical Mary-Dalyfied state I had ever read it very closely, so it was super interesting to do so this morning (instead of working on my book).

It’s such an epic article! Evidence presented for the death of feminism includes: Courtney Love’s makeover, The Vagina Monologues, Bust magazine, the Spice Girls, Gloria Steinem forgiving Bill Clinton for his affair, Bridget Jones, Katie Roiphe, Rebecca Walker, Naomi Wolf, Alanis Morissette, Elizabeth Wurtzel, “sex-abuse-survivor syndrome,” and especially Ally McBeal.


The author, Ginia Bellafante, suggests that a societal critique is far more important for a feminist movement than focusing on the personal or talking about vibrators. She concludes by favorably quoting “Old Guard feminists” Betty Friedan and Susan Brownmiller describing younger feminists’ focus on sex as “stupid.”

The article’s conclusion: “Is Ally McBeal really progress? Maybe if she lost her job and wound up a single mom, we could begin a movement again.”

Whoa. So much in here. Continue reading

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How ’90s Feminism Manifested Itself in High School English

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“Why Feminism is the Anti-Viagra”

OMFG, THAT IS A REAL TITLE FROM THIS MONTH’S PSYCHOLOGY TODAY. Here’s the article, and the premise: “Gender equality inhibits arousal.” Among the experts quoted for this piece: a romance novelist.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the gist of this piece is that if you believe in equal pay for equal work, you are really going against nature’s plan, which is for men to be dominant and women to be submissive in bed. Also: if you are a feminist you will never have an orgasm because of, you know, wiring and science and stuff. Never mind that the actual point of feminism with regard to sexuality is to increase knowledge. That shouldn’t be a turn-off unless what gets you off is total ignorance.

How is it that magazine articles and books still think it’s okay to conflate what we may like sexually with what we like in our upright lives? Continue reading

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