Covering a range of topics, including pop culture, health, reproductive rights, violence, education, relationships, and more, Valenti provides young women a primer on why feminism matters. Valenti knows better than anyone that young women need a smart-ass book that deals with real-life issues in a style they can relate to. No rehashing the same old issues. No belaboring where today’s young women have gone wrong. Feminism should be something young women feel comfortable with, something they can own. Full Frontal Feminism is sending out the message to readers yeah, you’re feminists, and that’s actually pretty frigging cool.
I have mixed feelings about this book, I’ve read her newest book The Purity Myth and I absolutely loved it. I think between the both of them, The Purity Myth is probably better developed, and better written. That said, I think based on the audience it’s written for, it’s a great introduction to feminism. It’s mostly written for young women, mostly teenagers, who know very very little about feminism. Because I already am involved in academic feminism, I see it to have less academic rigour than all the other books I’ve read. But it IS an introduction, and one that young women who have the mainstream view of feminism can relate to. It definitely isn’t the end-all be-all of feminism, but it’s a good starting point.
As far as feminist introductions go, if you can get a hold of it Reclaiming the F Word by Catherine Redfern and Kristen Aune is a pretty fantastic introduction which has a lot more information while still being accessible. I have bell hooks’ Feminism is for Everybody on my list of books to read, and I can do a comparison on all three once I have
- Fifty Things Feminism Has Done For You (blowingawaymylife.wordpress.com)
Most of us feminists have seen the quotes, or paragraphs. Many of us may have used it on friends, family, maybe on our blogs. It’s stuff like this:
If you believe in, support, look fondly on, hope for, and/or work towards equality of the sexes, you are a feminist. Period.
Now, I am a feminist. But I can understand why some people would not define themselves as one. There are, of course, the nobs who don’t believe in men and women being equal, and those who just simply aren’t educated enough on what feminism actually is. There are other types also which need to be educated and really wittled down to come to a feminist friendly perspective.
However, these are not the ones I’m speaking of. These are the ones who have real reasons not to identify as a feminist.
Some of the early feminists were incredibly prejudiced. The first wave of feminism consisted of middle class white women, some who believed that they needed the right to vote in order to out-vote Black people. They were cissexist, ableist, and racist, among other horrible ‘ist’s. Margaret Sanger, champion of birth control, favoured eugenics, fighting for forced sterilisation of those who she deemed were ‘unfit’ (i.e. those with disabilities) to reproduce. Even just recently there was a situation where, on an event page from London Feminist Network, some self-proclaimed feminists were claiming that transwomen could not be feminists, were not ‘real women’ and are part of the problem. WOC still have to fight in order to get their ‘specialty’ concerns heard.
These are huge problems which must be addressed. They are valid reasons to reject a feminist identity in favour of a more inclusive one. Many feminists (I’d like to think I’m included in this) do try to fight against the prejudices in feminism, and those feminists should be supported. Until prejudice in feminism is eradicated, however, the movement will always have conscientious objectors. And I sympathise with them.
It’s not that I don’t like kids…
Actually, scratch that.
I really don’t like kids.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure yours is perfectly lovely and poops rainbows and even makes you breakfast in bed. I’m sure to many women motherhood is the best thing about life, and I’m sure that they’re right… for them.
I’m simply sick of being expected to procreate just because I have a uterus.
Here’s my reasoning. I’m a selfish woman who desperately understands how far she can push herself. I don’t mean selfish in a bad way either. I don’t think of selfishness in a negative way; a degree of selfishness is what keeps us alive. I’d just like to recognise my own selfishness and move on to the fact that I know I could not mentally and emotionally handle children. I need a large amount of space and time for myself in order to be happy. I cannot even deal with being around my partner’s young siblings for more than a couple hours before I need to be away from them. But that isn’t inherently their fault; it’s mine. I just can already recognise that having children would push me into a depression that I probably would not be able to emerge from for years to come. As a woman with depression and who has dealt with the subject of suicide in my teen years, I don’t take this lightly.
I give so much credit to carers for children because they do something that I cannot. But I don’t emulate them. I’m more than happy being the selfish introvert that I am.
I don’t want to be judged anymore for not wanting children. I don’t want people to expect me to have children. I’ll never be ready for that sort of selflessness. I would destroy myself.
- Are You Being Selfish? No? Why Not? (positivespinblog.com)
- Taking care of yourself sometimes means being selfish (kevinmd.com)