The New Feminism Paperback – 11 Feb 1999
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Forceful and accessible . . . Here is a book with challenging arguments, provocative statements and clarion calls to action, written with passion, courage and good humour (Michele Roberts, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)
It will inspire a new generation of women (Anna Murphy, OBSERVER)
At her spirited best, she is a symbol...of power and confidence, and a hopeful sign of new feminist stories in a more egalitarian future (Elaine Showalter, GUARDIAN)
Lively, intelligent and independent (Frances Spalding, THE SUNDAY TIMES)
The New Feminism is a happy, celebratory affair, and everyone is invited (Isobel Fonseca, INDEPENDENT)
Astute and impressive (ELLE)
Better than a dose of Paglia any day. Save it for your children to marvel over (MARIE CLAIRE)
Compelling re-evaluation of what feminism has achieved (Matthew de Abaitua, ESQUIRE)
Right on, say I, speaking as an old feminist (Val Hennessy, WOMAN'S JOURNAL (Book of the Month))
The New Feminism ricochets with dynamic ideas, boasting a breadth of vision and irresistible panache that is, quite simply, to die for (Deirdre Molloy, THE LIST)
In the tradition of THE FEMALE EUNUCH, BACKLASH and THE BEAUTY MYTH - a major polemic on British feminism which sets the agenda for the 21st century. THE NEW FEMINISM is a breath of fresh air.See all Product description
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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.
I found this book inspiring and thought provoking even though it is a little out of date now. It has re-kindled my enthusiasm for examining the dynamic of women and yes - I've gone back to using the word feminist without being self conscious of any labels!
I heartily recommend this book to everyone!