Join 3,572 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


You don’t remember what it was like when there was no feminist internet
August 9, 2014 4:38 PM   Subscribe

Matter and MSNBC.com, along with 40 writers, are rereading Susan Faludi’s 1991 feminist classic, Backlash, this summer, one chapter at a time, and inviting you to read along.

Club members include Jill Abramson, Lena Dunham, Donna Shalala, Roxane Gay, Adelle Waldman, Emily Nussbaum, Stacia Brown, Dave Weigel, Joan Walsh, Alex Pareene, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Salamishah Tillet, Rebecca Traister, Brittney Cooper, Katha Pollitt, and Anna Holmes.

Chapter 1/Introduction by MSNBC reporter Irin Carmon

Chapter 2 with Donna Shalala, Roxane Gay, and Rebecca Traister

Chapter 3 with Richard Yeselson, Joan Walsh, and Richard Kim

Chapter 4 with Leslie Bennetts, Anna Holmes, and Mikki Halpin
posted by emjaybee (8 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
Synchronicity for the win, I just found my copy yesterday while unpacking stuff. Yay!
posted by dejah420 at 5:00 PM on August 9 [3 favorites]


It should be called the Her-net from now on...thanks for the link...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:15 PM on August 9


Her book Stiffed was great; I've never read Backlash but I should.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:43 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Dip Flash: both books are very good.
posted by yeolcoatl at 5:53 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


Backlash was one of the few mainstream feminist books to take seriously the issues working-class women and women of color face. When I read this for the first time, I saw in its pages things my mother (who worked as a cleaning lady and moved us into her parents' home so that she could go back to school) experienced, for example. Since feminism is regarded as a social movement by, for, and about upper-class white women, I'm hoping we will hear more from underrepresented groups like women of color and working class women in the coming weeks. The fact that Rebecca Traister (who covers politics like she's writing for Goop) moderated a panel and Lena Dunham is apparently taking part in this makes me give this coverage the side-eye.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:14 PM on August 9 [7 favorites]


pxe2000, you should read the discussions; these issues come up (though I don't think Dunham has chimed in yet?) and they do talk about the white-lady problem.
posted by emjaybee at 7:27 PM on August 9


This is so awesome and I want to read along. Am I missing a link to an overall schedule/chapter breakdown? How do I find out about new posts?
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 8:13 PM on August 9


I did want to clarify my issues with Traister, since this is the second time I've mentioned this on the blue and I was a bit meaner than I had to be in the "I don't care if you like it" thread.

From what I've read of her work, she comes to feminism with a strong bias towards being an upper-middle-class woman at the tail end of the baby boom. When she writes about intersectional issues, she either doesn't understand what people outside her perspective have experienced, or is outright dismissive towards those who haven't lived the same experience she has. I've come to expect this with pop culture-friendly feminists like Lena Dunham and Caitlin Moran, but since Traister comes from academia and is being promoted as the next important feminist writer, I expect her to step outside her comfort zone and try to educate herself about the experiences of working-class women and women of color. (Or, rather, women of color who aren't Michelle Obama.) And I know that my bias against her is showing and that I'm probably reading her contributions in poor faith, but the formatting suggested that she was interrupting and talking over her fellow panelists -- both women of color -- and that rubbed me the wrong way.

Also, it puts my teeth on edge when writers who are covering the news inject as much of their personal lives into their work as she does. If Glenn Greenwald wrote as much about his dogs in his op-eds as Traister writes about her family, you'd wonder when The Bark appointed a Benghazi correspondent. If she stopped writing in the first person, I'd have a little more respect for her.

I am glad that Medium and Slate have assigned some writers and academics to this panel that have experiences not represented by the feminist mainstream. I also understand that since Traister published a well-received book last year, having her contribute to this series gives it a certain cachet. It's my issues that cause me to roll my eyes whenever I see her byline, and I recognize that.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:58 PM on August 10


« Older Check out the New York Public Library’s hilarious ...   |   "When Dystopia Rising went wel... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments