Backlash : kriget mot kvinnorna

by Susan Faludi

Other authorsYlva Stålmarck
Paper Book, 1992



Call number



Stockholm : Norstedt, 1992 ;


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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member thedefinitefraggle
It's long, but don't be intimidated, because it's really, really good. Faludi details the '80s backlash against the feminist strides made in the '70s, tracing it through pop culture, journalism, government programs and more. Eminently readable, more than a little scary, and even though it's
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discussing the '80s, it's very relevant today. (Think about all the girl-friendly stuff going on in '90s pop culture. Then think about the Bush Administration.) Highly recommended. Great if you're already interested in feminism and gender issues, but very readable to people who are new to the subject as well.
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LibraryThing member AnnaOok
This is an extremely good book, well-researched and well-written. The author is a Pulitzer-winning journalist, and I have to say that it shows.

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
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reading. (Most of the content is about the 1980s and slightly less on the 1970s.)

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.)
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LibraryThing member BeverlyRose
This presents a great overview for understanding feminism in the 80's and is a good foundation before begining to study "3rd wave" feminism. An understanding of the 80's backlash is a must for anyone interested in feminist history.
LibraryThing member marialondon
I just received "Stiffed" (also by Susan Faludi) in the mail today, so before getting started on that, I thought I'd take a look at "Backlash" again, & remember how it had felt to read it.

It's been quite a few years since I first came to "Backlash", & back then, I remember that it had made a strong
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impression on me. It turns out that it was a lasting impression, since, reading parts of the book again now, I see that there are points that have stuck with me & formed parts of arguments I myself use sometimes in conversations! The book is not dated, in my opinion, even though it was written in the 80s. Also, the book may be specifically addressing US society, but the basic arguments apply to European countries, as well.

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.
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LibraryThing member Meggo
I must admit that this was a difficult book for me, as a woman, to read. Written in the early 1990s, the book details the backlash against feminism in particular and women in general that characterized the 1980s. With chapters covering politics, reproductive rights, employment, fashion, academia
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and Hollywood, it exhaustively catalogs women's condition in late twentieth century America. Not a book to be read all at once (it's too unsettling), this is nonetheless a book that should be read. And quite probably, it should be a book read by men. Deeply thought provoking, I recommend this book to anyone interested in cultural studies or gender issues.
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LibraryThing member Angelic55blonde
This is a very informative and interesting book on the backlash to the feminist movement. The author published this in 1991 but I think a great deal of what she talks about is similar today. She focuses on the 80s primarily and a lot of it suprised me. I didn't realize how pervasive the backlash
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was and how the media willingly took part in it. The book does get a little tedious to read just because of the enormous amount of research the author did and the amount of studies she cites/uses. But I like the amount of research because it backs up her arguments extremely well.

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.
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LibraryThing member mamaVISION
I read this book for a Women's Studies course in college and it shocked the hell out of me. Faludi reveals the ways fashion and the media are brainwashing women to believe beauty myths and body image requirements....the sad part is all right in front of our face by we don't see it until it is
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placed in a concise book such as this.
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LibraryThing member piefuchs
I read this 10 years ago, after it first came out and enjoyed it but didn't completely agree with its premise. Well written.
LibraryThing member Cecilturtle
If you can wade through the statistics, it's a good reflection of women's status in the 1980's; the perspective has changed since then.
LibraryThing member Canadian_Down_Under
In her book, Susan Faludi details how there has been a backlash historically whenever women have moved forward toward equality.

Using numerous examples, Faludi shows how every aspect of society, including the media, government, fashion and religion have worked against women.

Everybody should read
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this - women and men - to get an understanding of what women, even in the western world, are up against.

"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.
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LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
First 98 pages read, interesting stuff so far, it just seems so annoying that this is still an issue, griping about stuff that I thought was done, over. Heartwarming to see proof that some of the crap I thought was crap is indeed crap. I'm giving up for now, which is why it's wishlisted because a
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borrower wants it and the previous reader was a smoker and my allergies are kicking in, I'll get back to it again another time and finish reading it (possible after a spell in some baking soda or cat litter or whatever to remove the smell)
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LibraryThing member raschneid
Only had to read the first section to be convinced that, holy crap, the eighties really were even more awful than I'd dreamed! While many of the absurd myths and trends that this book catalogues have long since passed, we still don't have important rights and benefits like paid parental leave, and
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people are *still* prefacing sentences with, "I'm not a feminist."

Oh, and the level of research and analysis that obviously went into this is incredibly impressive. That's why it's 460 pages long.
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LibraryThing member elahrairah
I didn't expect to read all this book. Released in 1992, I figured that it would be an interesting historical document but I'd eventually tire of outdated gender politics and move on, but I never did. Gripping and depressing, this book covered the world that my generation came to maturity in and I
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could revel in a kind of morbid nostalgia. But there was plenty to learn too - I hadnt thought about waves of emancipation and backlash, nor had I previously access to such compelling statistics and stories to illustrate the successes of both feminism and anti-feminism. Incredibly well paced and laid out, every section reveals another part of the big picture of angophonic misogyny and the hypocrisies and brutalities of the woman-hating right. The section where we are introduced to the men and women of the American right and how mostly they expect feminism for themselves but not other women, or tolerate feminism in their families where they deny it to others. Funny but sad. Finally we meet some women whose company forced them to get sterilised to keep their jobs, then sacked them anyway, and we learn about how justice was denied to them. It leaves you sad and angry, as it should. Of course, the people who need to read this book probably didn't read it. Really needs a 2020 update!
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Commonwealth Club of California Book Awards (Silver Medal — Nonfiction — 1991)
National Book Critics Circle Award (Finalist — General Nonfiction — 1991)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

466 p.; 24 cm


9119291329 / 9789119291325
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