A new edition of the feminist classic, with an all-new introduction exploring the role of backlash in the 2016 election and laying out a path forward for 2020 and beyond Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award * "Enraging, enlightening, and invigorating, Backlash is, most of all, true."--Newsday First published in 1991, Backlash made headlines and became a bestselling classic for its thoroughgoing debunking of a decadelong antifeminist backlash against women's advances. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Susan Faludi brilliantly deconstructed the reigning myths about the "costs" of women's independence--from the supposed "man shortage" to the "infertility epidemic" to "career burnout" to "toxic day care"--and traced their circulation from Reagan-era politics through the echo chambers of mass media, advertising, and popular culture. As Faludi writes in a new preface for this edition, much has changed in the intervening years: The Internet has given voice to a new generation of feminists. Corporations list "gender equality" among their core values. In 2019, a record number of women entered Congress. Yet the glass ceiling is still unshattered, women are still punished for wanting to succeed, and reproductive rights are hanging by a thread. This startling and essential book helps explain why women's freedoms are still so demonized and threatened--and urges us to choose a different future.
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My only regret was that it was written in 1991 and therefore it does not talk about more recent times... but what it says up to then is definitely worth
The book was written about America and it still focuses mostly on the United States, though this edition was made more inclusive of the rest of the English-speaking world with research about the UK especially (well integrated in the text).
Part 1, "Myths and Flashbacks", should be required reading by anybody who wants to read/listen to the news media. (The author is a journalist, remember: this is not an indiscriminate attack on the media, but rather a clear and well-documented case history about how the media pick and choose their stories and statistics -- and sometimes distort them.)
Part 2 is firmly media studies -- popular culture, especially TV and Hollywood, rather than news as in Part 1. Fascinating in its own right.
Part 3 is about politics in the public, mainstream sense, and about some of the most prominent people in the backlash. The character studies are never ad hominem and always, if not sympathetic, at least as objective as possible. I found some of these stories truly fascinating.
Part 4, "The effects on women's minds, jobs and bodies", gets down to the everyday practical effects of the backlash. The last section, following the stories of several women trying to get into blue-collar crafts jobs in the '70s and '80s, was the most harrowing part of the book to me (surprisingly enough, given that it is rather far from my own personal experience). A moderately upbeat Epilogue was a very good idea on the author's part after this section.
Even after 15 years, this is a book well worth reading. And I believe that the way it is written will make it a good read even for people who disagree with the author (who is never in any way shrill or rethorical in her writing.)
It's been quite a few years since I first came to "Backlash", & back then, I remember that it had made a strong
The basic premise of the book you probably know, so I'll just briefly say that it has to do with the backlash that has risen against feminism & its achievements. You could state it like this: Feminism takes 1 step forward & then gets forced to take 1 step back. After reading "Backlash" the first time around, I remember thinking how clear & logical (& true to my experience here in Greece) is Susan Faludi's argument. Lots of people (mostly men, but women too) are threatened by womens' advancements. So they chose the easy way out: they deride feminism, laugh at "lesbian / ugly / man-hating" etc etc feminists & fail to see that feminism is nothing more than the wish for equality between the sexes: not sameness. But equality.
Susan Faludi painstakingly finds evidence that supports her basic argument, & presents loads & loads of research & interviews to prove her point. There are 2 things that I found a little disappointing: one is the harshness of some of her characterizations: I understand what she's trying to do, she's trying to make some of the "backlash movers & shakers" come alive, with vivid writing & many examples. But sometimes her descriptions are purely cruel, & over the top. People are not one-dimensional as she sometimes shows them to be. Second thing I (kind of) didn't like was the extreme length of the book. It did get tiring at times, & did overdo some of the arguments by repeating & repeating them. But maybe her goal was achieved, since these basic arguments have stayed with me for so many years!!
All in all, a landmark book in women studies / feminism, & an interesting book even today, in 2002, quite a few years after its first appearance in bookstores.
I highly recommend this for anyone who considers themselves a feminist. If you don't consider yourself a feminist, then you'll most likely hate this book and disagree with everything in it.
Using numerous examples, Faludi shows how every aspect of society, including the media, government, fashion and religion have worked against women.
Everybody should read
"Backlash" was published originally about 20 years ago but it is still incredibly relevant and that is incredibly sad since not too much has changed in all that time.
Oh, and the level of research and analysis that obviously went into this is incredibly impressive. That's why it's 460 pages long.