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  1. #1
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    Ms Magazine's must-read list

    http://www.msmagazine.com/winter2004/mustreadbooks.asp

    Thought some of you might like this list. If I find the time, I'd like to read a few of these. Has anyone here read one of them already?

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  3. #2
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    I haven't read any of those, however ...

    ... I regularly read Patricia J. Williams's column in the Nation (Diary of a Mad Law Professor) and absolutely adore it. Check it out at www.thenation.com if you'd like a taste -- her columns are usually no more than a page.

    I also read Hard Core by Linda Williams, which was OK -- I read it for a paper on feminist film theory, and it was useful for my paper, but somewhat dense and didn't feel terribly original to me. If you're into feminist theorists looking at film genres not traditionally considered "feminist-friendly" (like porn), I do highly recommend the work of Carol Clover on horror/slasher films and the active roles played by female protagonists in them.

  4. #3
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    I haven't read any of these but at the moment I'm in the middle of Manifesta by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards. I'm finding it interesting but I read a terrible review of it on Bookslut which dampened my enthusiasm for a moment. I think I will read Grassroots too, though.

    Many of these titles look appealing! Thanks for posting this link researchasaurus. And thanks for puting me onto The Nation, Xuli.

  5. #4
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    Haven't read any of them, but I do remember seeing a review of Mistress of Modernism: The Life of Peggy Guggenheim which made me want to check it out. And Grassroots looks good. That's an interesting list; thanks for the link!

    I had the exact same problem with Manifesta, pudding! I was all set to order it, read the review, and now I'll have to wait until I forget all the negative points that were made before I can bring myself to go through with it. Bah.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by pudding
    I haven't read any of these but at the moment I'm in the middle of Manifesta by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards. I'm finding it interesting but I read a terrible review of it on Bookslut which dampened my enthusiasm for a moment. I think I will read Grassroots too, though.

    Many of these titles look appealing! Thanks for posting this link researchasaurus. And thanks for puting me onto The Nation, Xuli.
    I'm always happy to alert people to the The Nation, it's my favorite magazine.

    I'm curious about the review of Manifesta that you and Moon Lemming have mentioned -- is it online? I'd love to read it. (I've already read Manifesta, so no need to worry about ruining it for me! But I'd love to know what they say.)

  7. #6
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    Ooops, that guest up there is moi.

  8. #7
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    here it is: http://www.bookslut.com/nonfiction/2002_09_000076.php

    I would be interested in hearing your take on it!

  9. #8
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    Yes, that's the review I read. It doesn't hold back, does it?

    It's kind of a shame I read this at the same time that I started the book because I feel a bit self conscious when I get to a part in Manifesta which I remember being criticised. I can't help becoming a bit more critical of the point the authors are making. But of course, that's a positive thing too, because it makes me really question how I feel about the idea being presented. Rather than just accepting something as true I think about whether the idea seems right to me.

  10. #9
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    Thanks for posting that review! It's been a few years since I've read Manifesta!, and I'm not about to claim that it was the be-all, end-all of feminist reading material (I excitedly bought the book, and ended up selling it on Amazon.com). At the same time, I think the author of the review has an axe to grind with feminism (well, that's pretty explicit with the sentence "I tend not to like feminist writing as a whole", isn't it?). I mean, I don't understand the point of having someone hostile to feminism do a review of a feminist book, you know? Usually, with non-fiction book reviews, you have someone equipped to assess the book's contribution to its field -- someone who understands the field and is capable of understanding the critical debates within it. I don't find that to be the case with this review writer (I mean, she claims to know a lot about feminist writing/history, and then claims that a big problem with feminism is "man-hating" -- the most simplistic characterization of feminism imaginable!)

    She raises a few good points: Manifesta! is gimmicky, it claims to offer a comprehensive view of feminism but it isn't particularly well-researched, comprehensive or scholarly. OK -- so what? I would not use Manifesta! to teach an Introduction to Women's Studies in a university setting, nor would I cite it in a scholarly paper or article on feminism. But I would totally give it to a young woman I'm mentoring, use it to introduce my little sister or young cousin to feminism, something like that. It seems to me like the author of this review is asking the book to be something it's not, and that isn't fair. The book should be assessed on its own terms.

    And accusing the authors of man-hating? I'm sorry. That's a tactic that's been used to bait feminists since Susan B. Anthony, and it's boring. The anti-feminists just need to think of something new. There's a big difference between hating patriarchy, or hating the social construction of gender in our culture which puts women into certain narrow roles and puts men in to certain other narrow roles, and hating men. It's just not the same thing. If anything, feminism benefits men: How many men in the world don't fit into the narrow, socially-constructed category of ideal masculinity? They need feminism too, even if they stand to lose some level of unearned privilege from it.

    With that said, I think the author of the review brings up two valid points:

    * Inga Muscio. I'm sorry, I do have an axe to grind with Inga Muscio. I think her ideas are often dangerous to the feminist movement. She has an essentialist conception of gender, and her writings on abortion are dangerously close to anti-choice. It did annoy me that the writers of Manifesta! chose to give her so much credibility, because her writings are not the best example of feminist writing. At all.

    * Racism. I agree that feminism needs to really take a long, hard look at itself on this question. Some kinds of feminism have been very good on race; many have not. Many feminist movements/groups/waves have incorporated token lip service to the concerns of women of color and working-class women without fully incorporating their perspectives, and that is a real problem that feminism needs to address. (Of course, it's a real problem in society in general.) Just as one example: I was shocked, reading recent threads here and on Glitter about the so-called Fourth Wave of feminism, to find that commonly-accepted understanding of feminism's waves is that the First Wave was the suffragists, the Second Wave was the women of the 1970's who made so many strides in ending employment discrimmination, passing Roe v. Wade, etc., and that the Third Wave is thought to be Riot Grrrl and other 1990's young/punk feminism. I've always thought of the Third Wave of feminism being launched when women of color like Barbara Smith, Cherrie Moraga, Gloria Anzaldua and the Combahee River Collective published their critiques of the racism of the Second Wave in the early 1980s. They wrote some amazing books (This Bridge Called My Back and All the Blacks Are Men, All the Women Are White, But Some of us Are Brave are the two big ones), and really took the first step in having race, class and sexuality incorporated into feminist perspectives in a sustained and substantive way. While Riot Grrrl was important to me personally as a teenager, I think that the work of these women was much more important to the sustained power of the movement as a whole, and it does upset me that their work continues to be given token lip service within the movement as a whole. Their work enriched the movement in a very important, powerful way. It does bother me that Riot Grrrl is presented as more important than this important turn in Manifesta!

    So that's my two cents on the whole thing. Man, I can't be concise about anything! Sorry.

  11. #10
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    I guess I need to read Manifesta soon.

    Oooh, I love hating and loving Inga Muscio. I totally love the book Cunt even though it was one of the first books I've read and liked a lot that has made me also have to disagree with the author. That doesn't make sense, but what I mean is I'd read some of it and go, "That's amazing and dead on." And then I'd read other parts and go, "But that's not."

    Inga Muscio also promotes myths about rape that pissed me off.

    I give the book Cunt a lot of credit for half of the book, but I don't agree with going, "Oh, Inga Muscio. Feminist of feminists." She's not even a self-proclaimed feminist in the book.

    I want to read Manifesta sometime, but I feel like it'd be rehashing stuff I already know (I could be wrong). I'd much rather get a bell hooks book to read, as I've only had the pleasure of reading an article of hers here and there.

    I'm wondering-- who reads Ms. magazine? I don't connect with the magazine at all, really. Are they sort of the top experts on feminist lit?

    Frankly, I want to read feminist fiction, but the only kinds my women's studies classes recommend are really poorly written ones that are great women's studies pieces (Stone Butch Blues made me wince).


 
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