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Review - Sisterhood, Interupted - From Radical Women to Girls Gone Wild - Book Report/Review Example

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Book Review: Sisterhood, Interrupted. The book Sisterhood, Interrupted: From Radical Women to Grrls Gone Wild1 is a history of the women’s movement updated to include the twenty first century. As the title suggests, the book covers the emergence of feminist consciousness, as denoted by the concept of sisterhood, and then also a period of some significant backlash in the 1980s and 1990s, as indicated by the word “interrupted”, and finally the contemporary state of feminism which includes the even more radical “Grrls” who embrace a much wider range of straight, lesbian and bisexual identities…
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Book Review - Sisterhood, Interupted - From Radical Women to Girls Gone Wild
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Download file to see previous pages The main point of the book is to argue for the continued relevance of key feminist ideas in the face of pressures in society which still allow women to be disadvantaged. The focus of the book is mainly American, and there is an excellent introduction by Jennifer Baumgardner which highlights the “inwardly fragmented and outwardly controversial”2 nature of the women’s movement from the second wave in the 1960s and 1970s right through to today’s age of “cool bloggers.”3 Baumgardner explains that there have always been differences of opinion and emphasis in the women’s movements, but that there is a danger that alongside the usual differences on issues like class, race and attitudes to gender identity, a new generation gap is growing between young women in contemporary society and the previous generations of feminists. Society has changed greatly in the last 50 years, and in particular there is more emphasis on individuality and less on group solidarity. Siegel’s book aims to fill this generation gap, reminding today’s young women of the major achievements of the mid twentieth century, and seeking to explain to older feminists how and why younger women relate to the world and to each other in the way that they do. The terminology of second wave, third wave and post-feminism is introduced and used throughout the book. The book is divided into two parts called, rather significantly “Mothers” and “Daughters”, and the first part concentrates on second wave feminism, showing the contribution of leaders like Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Kate Millet. This is contrasted with “Daughters” who are the later generation of Katie Roife, Naomi Wolf and Rebecca Walker. This is a strange choice of structure, since it elevates the earlier generation to a matriarchal position and thus somewhat contradicts the stated aim of the book to build bridges between the generations. It also suggests a clear break in the tradition which is hard to spot in the turbulent back and forth of arguments and ideas within the feminist domain. Naomi Wolf is a case in point, and Siegel admits that this author started out in the traditional second wave camp, but over time shifted into a more radical post-feminist position.4 There are also tensions between the more academic feminists, in both camps, and the more street and media-savvy women, who deliberately court the most controversial issues in order to obtain visibility and promote feminist ideas. Siegel makes it clear that the aims of these different groups are in fact very similar, but they differ in their choice of tactics and in their presentation style. A key theme of the book is the slogan “the personal is political” and Siegel succeeds in clarifying both its importance as a unifying element in feminism through all its history and the differences in interpretation that have been attached to it. Siegel shows how early radical feminists adhered to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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