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This review is from: The New Feminism (Paperback)
This book is an interesting study of feminism as it was at the end of the 1990s. From the perspective of 2010 it seems to me the progress towards an equal society has slipped backwards since the book was published. I was particularly struck by the author's comments about women not worrying about what other people thought of the way they dressed, their faces or the their figures.
Currently it seems the media is obsessed with women's appearances and all magazines are filled with articles about how everyone can have the face and figure necessary to have a successful life. Surveys recently suggested girls as young as 5 worry about their weight and what they wear. Not the situation the author might have envisaged when she was writing this book. She has a new book about to be published entitled 'Living Dolls: the Return of Sexism' which looks at society today in which women's bodies are seen as their only passport to success and it will be interesting to compare society as depicted by both books - published 10 years apart.
Were the 1990s the lull before the backlash against independent courageous women really started? According to the author there was no longer an issue around women with children working outside the home; more and more men were playing an equal part in childcare and domestic chores. What has happened in the 10 years since this book was written?
The book is hopeful and enthusiastic about the prospect of equal opportunities and equal treatment for women in the workplace. She disagrees with the idea that women should portray themselves as victims in order to get what they want and advocates campaigning to right wrongs and supporting other women. She does not agree that you need to live in a certain way in order to be a feminist as feminism should embrace all women - whether living in a conventional nuclear family or in a commune or on their own.
The chapter on work is interesting and thought provoking and suggests that for the sake of men as well as women the hierarchical workforce and linear career structure needs to be changed to allow more flexibility to everyone. She believes that eventually work will need to be structured differently so that work and home life are less compartmentalised. Maternity leave needs to be changed so that it is parental leave and can be taken by either sex - more how things are arranged in some Scandinavian countries.
I found the book very interesting and I couldn't help but compare it to the current situation 10 years later. It now seems as though there has been very little positive change since 1999 and in fact many people's attitudes seem to be tending towards the traditional stereotypes rather than forging new roles for both sexes. Well worth a read - whether you are male or female.
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Initial post: 19 May 2014 10:19:31 BDT
Mr. A. Cockell says:
What happened was the Feminist War On Men became a shooting war.
Most of the nonviolent people dove for the bunkers - and the vultures on both sides piled in.
15-20 year nuclear winter happened.
In reply to an earlier post on 19 May 2014 10:44:12 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 May 2014 10:45:02 BDT
You don't say. Not that I've noticed. Your comment doesn't really say anything. How about some facts to back up what you say?
Natasha Walter herself admits she was too optimistic in this book about how women's lives would improve.
When men are willing to put family first - especially caring for elderly relatives for example - then we shall have equality. How many men give up their jobs to take on a caring role? Most won't even care for their own relatives but instead push the responsibility onto the women in their lives.
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