Customer Review

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!, 17 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Backlash: the Undeclared War against American Women (Paperback)
This compelling book systematically lays out the case for a post-80s backlash against feminism (firstly setting the scene in a wider historical context). This backlash is all the more insidious because (as in the past) it is not uprfront in its attacks, disguising its intentions by pretending to have women's interests at heart. It manipulates the media and uses many forms of subtle propaganda to get its message across: that feminism has failed, the women are better off when they are "free" to remain in the home, the career woman are burnt out and can't get husbands... and many other such widespread myths.
Such theories are proved to be not only misguided or biased but actually statistically untrue. Faludi is using FACTS, not just rhetoric. Opinions are not just stated, they are backed up with example after example, interviews and meticulous research. Of course Susan Faludi has an agenda... but so does any journalist, writer or documentary maker when they take a subject, it is not possible (nor desirable) to write without idealogy.
Everyone should read this book because we all need to understand how very much in the power of the media we are! Do we really imagine that the media is an independent entity? It's not, it's controlled by a handful of powerful individuals who pick and choose what they want to tell us, according to their own interests. This is not raving conspiracy theory, it's reality. Every citizen of a democracy has a responsibility to try to find out the truth of things, not just accept what they're spoonfed.
Of particular note are the comments on various films ("Fatal Attraction", "Three Men and a Baby"). We so often view movies as just entertainment, the fact is that they are as political and potentially didactic as any talk back radio host! We should always be questioning what a piece of "entertainment" is trying to tell us and why. I watch a lot of films and sometimes feel that a lot of my knowledge of life comes subconciously from this source... This is scary when I remember that films are merely one person's opinion, they are not reality and generally have little to do with the real world!
But even more important to me, is the message of this "Backlash" that feminism is (still) under attack. Feminism has become something of a dirty word. Some women are unwilling to admit to such a label saying "I agree with it in principal, but..." Women (and men) need to wake up and realise that feminists come in all sorts of guises and that feminism is at base simply the belief that women should have equal rights to men!
The most important myth that this book dispels is that feminism is over, or outlived its usefulness. There are some (Right-wing largely) who would argue that feminism has been a dismal failure for both men and women and society in general (leading to divorce, disharmony, gang warfare, earthquakes, whatever). There are others (some times even so-called feminists) who would say quite complacently that feminism had its day (back in the seventies presumably) and now we women can live as we like and it's all worked out well.
Particualarly when you look at the struggle for women's rights in an historical perspective (as in this book) it is easy to see how ridiculous both these attitudes are. Feminism has not 'failed' because it is not completed! It has not yet achieved it's goals. And after all it's scarcely a hundred years since the struggle was begun. Would you say that the civil rights movement is finished? Of course not because the evidence is all around you. As it is with Feminism.
Read this book if you are a thinking individual with an open mind! It was published some time ago now, but it's message is no less relavent now...
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