Author Topic: Essential Books for Women  (Read 9878 times)

Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,377
Re: Essential Books for Women
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2009, 04:20:46 pm »

<img src="http://www.divshare.com/img/6369010-7a2.jpg" border="0" />

This is an interesting one that my Mom found really, really interesting at the time that it was published.  I remember her talking about this book quite a lot around the time it was released in 1991.

Here's the synopsis from Amazon:

"Amazon.com Review
A Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The Wall Street Journal, Faludi lays out a two-fold thesis in this aggressive work: First, despite the opinions of pop-psychologists and the mainstream media, career-minded women are generally not husband-starved loners on the verge of nervous breakdowns. Secondly, such beliefs are nothing more than anti-feminist propaganda pumped out by conservative research organizations with clear-cut ulterior motives. This backlash against the women's movement, she writes, "stands the truth boldly on its head and proclaims that the very steps that have elevated women's positions have actually led to their downfall." Meticulously researched, Faludi's contribution to this tumultuous debate is monumental and it earned the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction.

From Publishers Weekly
Far from being "liberated," American women in the 1980s were victims of a powerful backlash against the handful of small, hard-won victories the feminist movement had achieved, says Wall Street Journal reporter Faludi, who won a Pulitzer this year. Buttressing her argument with facts and statistics, she states that the alleged "man shortage" endangering women's chances of marrying (posited by a Harvard-Yale study) and the "infertility epidemic" said to strike professional women who postpone childbearing are largely media inventions. She finds evidence of antifeminist backlash in Hollywood movies, in TV's thirtysomething , in 1980s fashion ads featuring battered models and in the New Right's attack on women's rights. She directs withering commentary at Robert Bly's all-male workshops, Allan Bloom's "prolonged rant" against women and Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer's revisionism. This eloquent, brilliantly argued book should be read by everyone concerned about gender equality. First serial to Glamour and Mother Jones.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.."

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline magicmountain

  • BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,677
  • Fire from heaven
Re: Essential Books for Women
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2009, 06:37:22 pm »
I remember being mightily impressed with this book (Our Treacherous Hearts - Why women let men get their way) by Rosalind Coward) when it first came out.

Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. - Alexander the Great

Offline serious crayons

  • Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,467
Re: Essential Books for Women
« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2009, 09:00:50 pm »
Sounds interesting, Jo. What do you remember about what it said? Why do women let men get their way?




Offline magicmountain

  • BetterMost 1000+ Posts Club
  • ******
  • Posts: 2,677
  • Fire from heaven
Re: Essential Books for Women
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2009, 11:48:17 pm »
Sounds interesting, Jo. What do you remember about what it said? Why do women let men get their way?


Too much water under the bridge for me to remember in detail. All I know is I kept re-reading it and recommending it to others at the time. The blurb at amazon summarises: "This book looks at women's collusion with what feminists call male oppression."

I dunno - maybe we're just soft hearted or just soft in the head lol.

Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. - Alexander the Great

Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,377
Re: Essential Books for Women
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2009, 12:13:21 am »
Heya!
It's nice to see this thread revived! :)

OK, so I'm going to post one that almost goes without saying or may seem a bit obvious... All the same, it really, truly is a must read for women interested in gender issues, women's rights, feminism, etc... and even women's history.

Simone De Beauvoir
The Second Sex (first published in France in 1949)

It's divided into the following sections/chapters:

1) Destiny
-The Data of Biology
-The Psychoanalytic Point of View
-The Point of View of Histrorical Materialism

2) History
- The Nomads
- Early Tillers of the Soil
- Patriarchal Times and Classical Antiquity
- Through the Middle Ages to 18th Century France

3) Myths
-Dreams, Fears, Idols
-The Myth of 'Woman' in Five Authors
    -Montherlant: or the Bread of Disgust
    -D.H. Lawrence or Phallic Pride
    -Claudel and the Handmaid of the Lord
    -Breton or Poetry
    -Stendhal or the Romantic or Reality
    -Summary
-Myth and Reality

4) The Formative Years
-Childhood
-The Young Girl
-Sexual Initiation
-The Lesbian

5) Situation
-The Married Woman
-The Mother
- Social Life
- Prostitutes and Hetairas
- From Maturity to Old Age
- Woman's Situation and Character

6) Justifications
- The Narcissist
- The Woman in Love
- The Mystic

7) Toward Liberation
- The Independent Woman



It's a very complex and somewhat difficult book to read... but her writing style is actually very readable in many instances.  It's just such a smart book.  It is of course also a bit "out dated" or "of its time."  But, still, it's brilliant enough to inspire awe in many parts.  She was also bold enough and forward enough to include a chapter about lesbians, which simply as a gesture (and especially given De Beauvoir's time period) is something I appreciate.

 
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,377
Re: Essential Books for Women
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2009, 12:30:57 am »
While I'm at it... I'm going to post two more.  These books have already been mentioned in a thread that Milli and I started together over in Culture Tent about lesbian literature and writing.  But, I think, in many ways they could be of general interest to gay, straight and bi- women because of their interesting take on women's history and literature.  Both are by, or edited by Lillian Faderman.

One is called, Chloe Plus Olivia: An Anthology of Lesbian Literature from the Seventeenth Century to the Present (1994)



The title comes from a famous passage in Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, 1929.  (A Room... was first written/delivered as a lecture)- " I turned the page and read... I am so sorry to break off so abruptly.  Are there no men present? Do you promise me that behind that curtain over there the figure of Sir Chartres Biron is not concealed? We are all women, you assure me?  Then I may tell you that the very next words I read were these - 'Chloe liked Olivia'... Do not start.  Do not blush.  Let us admit in the privacy of our own society that these things sometimes happen.  Sometimes women do like women."

And, this is the blurb from the back of the book:
"Chloe Plus Olivia is an anthology of four centuries of lesbian literature, with each piece set in historical and literary context.  The most complete compilation of its kind, it offers an enlightening review of the shifting concept of lesbian literature itself, followed by examples of six different genres: Romantic Friendship, Sexual Inversion, Exotic and Evil Lesbians, Lesbian Encoding, Lesbian Feminism and Post-Lesbian Feminism.  Authors included range from Katherine Philips in the seventeenth century and Emily Dickinson in the nineteenth century to Audre Lorde and Dorothy Allison in the twentieth century.  With a historical scope enhanced by Faderman's personal search for a definition of lesbian literature, Chloe Plus Olivia is certain to become the reference point from which all subsequent studies of lesbian writing will begin."


The second book is called: To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America - A History (1999)



The cover photo depicts Carrie Chapman Catt who was the president of NAWSA (the National American Woman Suffrage Association- the country's biggest and most historic suffrage association) at the time that the 19th Amendment finally passed in 1920.  The book talks about a range of suffragists.  It also talks about two major figures from my two alma maters.  Mary Woolley who was president of Mount Holyoke College in the early 20th century and M.Carey Thomas who was president of Bryn Mawr College from the late 19th c. into the early 20th c.... both of whom were pretty open lesbians.  The book also talks about well-known figures such as Jane Addams. 

Here's the blurb from the back of the book:

"This landmark work of lesbian history focuses on how certain late-nineteenth century and twentieth-century women whose lives can be described as lesbian were in the forefront of the battle to secure the rights and privileges that large numbers of Americans enjoy today.  Lillian Faderman persuasively argues that their lesbianism may in fact have facilitated their accomplishments.  A book of imeccable research and compelling reading, To Believe in Women will be a source of enlightenment for all, and for many a singular source of pride."


the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 27,158
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: Essential Books for Women
« Reply #36 on: May 05, 2009, 09:11:50 pm »

Goodbye to Marilyn French, author of the bestselling 1977 book The Women's Room. She died of heart failure today. 
When you see the smiley face in the sky, the pandemic will be over!