Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Who Says Feminists Don't Have A Sense of Humor?

It's A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments by Amanda Marcotte

Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte recently released this book, and it had favorable reviews, so I ordered it along with a few other blog-inspired books.

The book is broken down into eight sections with several chapters each. Some of them include advice about how to deal with or spot certain types of people, others attack and mock certain prominent media myths/stories or explain and analyze different cultural phenomenons. If you aren't already a feminist, or don't share her views, this book probably won't change your mind. Her opinions are well-crafted and supported, but she isn't necessarily trying to sway anyone over. Instead, it's a fun, amusing book for an audience that already sees things her way, more or less.

I think parts of it would be entertaining even for people who aren't incredibly liberal, but they'd probably also take issue with a few of her statements or topics, wondering what's the big deal about that, anyway. I enjoyed it a lot. The last section includes some recommendations for further reading and viewing. I own four of her six favorite, feminist-friendly shows on DVD.

Among my favorite sections of the books, I'd have to include "Whither Cats?" In this, Marcotte discusses, how in response to hearing about single women living alone, the public responds with the outcry cats. As she states, people who says this have yet to prove "that cats are somehow antihusband and (2) assuming #1 is true, that husbands are better than cats" (76). After all, cats don't get upset if "you don't change your name to Mrs. Cat" (76). I like cats - can you tell? In theory, I have two, but they are really my parents'.

Speaking of the name change, Marcotte also has a great chapter about that entitled "The Name Change Is No Longer Sexist, So Just Shut Up And Do It." She brings up several arguments that people like to make to support name changes, refutes them, and also offers a few strategies to get people to shut up, such as mentioning "that you'd love to have the same last name as your husband, [but] he was surprisingly less than eager to adopt yours" (185). She realizes that people are going to choose their battles, and for some women, this one just isn't worth the trouble. Still, it's nice to analyze and mock the pressure behind this tradition.

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