How I Became A Feminist

I’ve only read Amazon’s extract of Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism. After I’d finished I had to remind myself that there are lots of different kinds of feminism, and the fact that the media picks and chooses who to focus on isn’t the fault of the chosen.

But I still wanted to respond to what frustrated me in the extract I read. I was once a middle-class girl who was too scared to call herself feminist, the audience of the book. But I didn’t change my mind because feminism seemed easy, but because I realised what how hard the women who had been before me had fought, and I wanted to honour that struggle. I wrote about it a year ago, but thought I’d repost it just to show that even middle-class white girls who say ‘I’m not a feminist but…’ aren’t a homogenous group.

In some ways I was extremely precocious feminist. I still have my copy of the Railway Children which says “Happy 7th Birthday on the inside” and in which I had writeen RUBBISH in black felt tip pen over the paragraph near the end when the Doctor tells Peter that he must be nice to girls because they’re soft and weak. I grew up in the 1980s and really believed Girls Can Do Anything, and was prepared to fight for it.

But something happened in my teens, my feminism faded. I know why, and I know I’m not alone. To middle-class girls in all-girls schools sexism and misogyny often seem far away. I was taught by some of the coolest feminists I’ve ever known. My school had a quilt hung in the hall that said “Me aro koe ki te hä o Hine-ahu-one. Pay heed to the dignity of Women”. But it was an all women world and so feminism seemed unnecessary.

It was ridiculous, because sexism and misogyny were all around us, all the time. We didn’t recognise them mostly because we were too busy using them to try and destroy each other.

So all through high school, and into my first year of university I didn’t call myself a feminist. I was 18 when this changed, and I remember the change as a revelation. it wasn’t of course, I must have forgotten all the small things that lead me there.

I was babysitting, I’d put the kids to bed and settled down to do the readings for one of my tutorials. I was reading women’s accounts of growing up in Germany towards the end of the 19th Century. One woman was from the aristocracy, one was middle class, and the others were all working class women.

Most of the women had become involved in left-wing politics later in their life and their stories were amazing. The best of the fathers in the narratives were completely hopeless, most weren’t that useful, but the women survived, and fought for their brothers and sisters. I was blown away by those women and their strength. They had all fought so hard for things that I saw as so basic.

But it was still school work, so as soon as I was finished being blown away I watched a movie the kids’ parents had left behind. It was called The Heidi Chronicles and I remember almost nothing about it except that it was about a woman who was involved in women’s liberation, and it showed how much she’d gained but how hard it was, and how it had cost her.

My response to the stories of women’s lives, both fictional and real was: “I have to call myself a feminist, I owe it to all these women who went before me, who fought so hard and gained so much to become part of that struggle.”

And that was the beginning.

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39 Responses to How I Became A Feminist

  1. 1
    M says:

    “It was ridiculous, because sexism and misogyny were all around us, all the time. We didn’t recognise them mostly because we were too busy using them to try and destroy each other.”
    Best description of my own teenage years in an-all girls school I’ve come across :)

  2. 2
    Ariella Drake says:

    I’m with M in agreement with that bit in particular. And I wonder if there’s something to the idea of being in an all-girls school linking with a certain kind of that ‘not a feminist but…’ attitude.

    I know I had other family violence issues that massively complicated my relationship with feminism and how I understood it, but even on some level because of that, the kind of insulation involved in my high school years was sort of intensified.

  3. 3
    woodland sunflower says:

    Yanno, I think it’s just great that you’re feminist because of your foremothers. Honestly: I’m not being snarky or sarcastic. But I couldn’t help noticing you pounding on Hugo for being vegan because it’s a moral issue for him, as opposed to a (mentally) healthy choice that’s right for you. Your point in that post seemed to be that people should choose to be vegan because that’s the best choice for *them*.

    Well, Jessica (and I, for that matter) choose to be feminist because it’s a good and needful choice for us. Oh, it’s nice to honor the feminists that have busted butt before. But that’s not the big reason for me, nor, I suspect, for a lot of people. Because we’re in this for ourselves, as opposed to being selfless and all that. That’s reality.

    I truly admire earnest folks who make these kinds of choices because they feel it’s the right thing to do, than merely out of selfishness. That’s what I meant about not being snarky, above. But I admit to thinking it’s unfair for you to call someone else on the same behavior you show yourself, next post along.

    Just sayin’.

  4. 4
    Maia says:

    M & Ariella – In the past I’ve thought I could pick girls who went to all girls’ schools (there are state funded girls’ school in NZ). I think it probably all evens out by the time you’re twenty.

    woodland sunflower – I think you missed the argument in my last post. I have a problem with Hugo talking about veganism in terms of morality and control, because talking about food in terms of morality and control promotes eating disorders.

    As far as I know, talking about feminism in terms of history, and the responsibility that comes with that history, does not promote eating disorders.

  5. 5
    Roni says:

    I also claim the label of feminist for my foremothers, for the women whose shoulders I stand on. I haven’t read FFF or any of the excerpts that are out there, so i can’t speak to it. But I can speak to the strength that knowing that I am connected to a large history gives me in my more ‘selfish’ work like say affordable child care. I don’t feel that I’ve ever been in this for myself, but for all of us.

  6. 6
    Kate L. says:

    Personally, I don’t care much how people get to becoming feminists as long as they do. And I DO care that those of us that call oursleves feminists are aware of our history and be respectful to those that came before us. I hate watching younger women disrespect older women – especially women who overcame a lot and had to give up a lot.

    On a side note – does anyone who knows Jessica know anywhere that I can find an explanation for the obvious objectification of the female body on the cover of her book? If she has a logical reasoning I’d love to read it because I find it odd for a work about feminism to use common objectification of women’s bodies techniques that I hate so much in mainstream media.

  7. 7
    Roni says:

    There was a long post with lots of comments on Feministing when she revealed the cover. Which I hate as well…can’t buy a book with that cover, sorry. This cubby latina won’t buy a book with a skinny white belly on it. But I can’t find it in the archives.

  8. 8
    Kate L. says:

    I tried to add this in my original post, but oh well.

    I read the feministing comments about the book cover and I’m unsatisfied with the explanation, but as she so rightly points out this book isn’t for me anyway. So there ya go.

  9. 9
    Radfem says:

    Someone handed me a copy of Valenti’s book and I couldn’t get past page 3 but I did flip through some other points and I wasn’t impressed.

    Yeah, I remember the feministing thread. Nubian and other women wrote some raised some really good points on it. Both Valenti’s book and the response to what nubian and other women wrote on that thread by some White women just shows how far feminism still has to go.

  10. 10
    Amanda Marcotte says:

    So what’s the frustration? I’m confused. Jessica’s book says that a lot of young women are scared to face up to sexism….and you disagree by saying that a lot of young women are scared to face up to sexism? I’m not sure I get what your point is.

  11. 11
    Amanda Marcotte says:

    Feminism always struck me as not only easy, but unavoidable, anyway.

  12. 12
    curiougyrl@gmail.com says:

    Amanda;

    I think the ‘easy’ thing is the difference, but I dont know as I havent read the book

    ” But I didn’t change my mind because feminism seemed easy, but because I realised what how hard the women who had been before me had fought, and I wanted to honour that struggle.”

  13. 13
    Enyonam says:

    When I was younger (i.e., early high school) I suffered under the misconception that feminism was in some way radical or extreme. It was when I discovered what feminism was actually about that I started believing in it.

    It didn’t hurt that every intelligent woman I knew was a feminist.

  14. 14
    Marina says:

    Hey,

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughtful discussion of feminism. I haven’t read Full Frontal Feminism, but i am currently conducting a study comparing the perceptions of safety at co-ed colleges (universities to you, maybe; i think from your use of ‘rubbish’ you’re not from the united states) versus all-girls schools, and the results are kinda shocking. When i ask women here at my coed college if there’s crime here, they say no, not all, and then when i ask if there’s sexual assault, they say, yes, nightly, all the time.

    httI considered myself a feminist before that- but when i ask these women whether they’re feminists, they’re not sure- they need the term defined, and they would never apply it to themselves, although they believe in what it stands for.
    It’s very puzzling; i grew up without TV and i sorta wonder if that’s what made me into enough of a nerd not to be brainwashed by this bullshit.

    Anyway, i think that the mainstream media’s portrayal of feminism and of women in general – at least over here – really supports the use of women as objects so much that we’ve gotten used to it, and that’s why we don’t see rape as crime. I’m currently blogging in an attempt to analyze the objectification of women in popular culture and the effect it has on women like me- sorry for the shameless self promotion – but if you want to check it out, go ahead: http://objectifythis.wordpress.com.

  15. Pingback: Navel Gazing « Objectify This

  16. 15
    Ariella Drake says:

    Maia – yeah, I went to a state all-girls’ school here in Australia. And I know what you mean about it evening out to an extent, and I think you’re right about that.

    Honestly, whilst the cover would’ve likely turned me off a couple of years ago when I was a young woman who shied away from the notion of being a feminist, I can see there’s a significant target audience that would be open to it. The point that got me frustrated was an interview with Jessica where she said “no young woman is going to…”; and yeah, that got my back up in a way that even a small qualification wouldn’t have. Because that kind of blanket statement makes some young women invisible. I’m all for marketing to target audiences, and from what I’ve seen Jessica’s been relatively honest about that. It’s when that marketing makes those outside your target invisible that’s problematic, and that’s generally going to frustrate me.

  17. 16
    Maia says:

    ARGH – I just lost a really long comment and I need to go to bed.

    Ariella Drake – I agree very much about the problem with generalising. Jessica said that no young woman would pick up a book with a fist on the cover. I know dozens of young women who would pick up that book

    Amanda – The reason I found it frustrating is that I thought it was a limited view of feminism, and reason young women don’t identify as feminists. That’s fine, we all have limited views, but I wanted to post about a different experience.

    The idea that feminists were uncool and unattractive never occurred to me as a reason not to support feminism (I was uncool and unattractive) .* Whatever reasons I’ve heard other women give for ‘not being a feminist but…’ the idea that feminists were uncool and unattractive never really featured. Maybe things are different in New Zealand.

    I’ll post more about what I mean by feminism being hard tomorrow, but I wanted to make it clear that I also believe it’s wonderful, life-changing and necessary.

    *I continue to have a very emotional reaction to the cover, because if I’d seen it when I was 17, it would have told me very firmly that feminism wasn’t for me, and I wasn’t good enough for feminism.

  18. 17
    Roni says:

    BTW – Jessica commented on Jill’s supportive review of FFF to let us know to expect an interview on Feministing that will once again go over the book cover controversy: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2007/05/16/full-frontal-feminism/#comment-105061

    Oh and in my previous comment, I’m a chubby latina, not a cubby one. Althou I do love me my Cubbies & Poohbear.

  19. 18
    Kate L. says:

    Her explanation wasn’t much of an explanation at all. And it’s not subversive at all – and in fact, she’s not even LOOKING for it to be subversive – she wants to sell books and she* thought this image would help her do it. How is that ANY different than any other marketing that objectifies women’s bodies. The ends justifies the means I guess.

    I don’t agree. I think if she wanted to be subversive she could have found a different way to sell the book without using standard advertising techniques that objectify women’s bodies.

    *She and the editors, publishers, etc. I know she had a limited selection to choose from, but she did have SOME selection. Maybe this was the least offensive of the bunch, I don’t know. I understand to try to publish a book in MSM you have to use the mainstream techniques to some extent, but this is way over the line IMHO. But, since I’m already a feminist and have been calling myself one for quite some time the book really isn’t for me.

  20. 19
    Crys T says:

    “I think if she wanted to be subversive she could have found a different way to sell the book without using standard advertising techniques that objectify women’s bodies. ”

    Of course she could have. Don’t tell me that there aren’t tons of designs that could’ve been made that didn’t involve using the naked depersonalised womanflesh crap. It could’ve been made visually attractive through use of exciting abstract design and colour, for example. But of course, that would have required some imagination and adherence to feminist principles.

    And the wink-wink, nudge-nudge title: PUKE. As boring and predictable as all those articles about successful women with titles like “Women on Top.” Oh har, har, how amusing.

    And am I the only one who doesn’t buy the “well, it’s for young women” excuse? Why the blanket assumptions that a) all young women are going to be attracted by standard sexist imagery and b) all young women, or even just those young women who don’t already call themselves feminists, are apolitical morons without the brains, ethics or courage to be interested in anything that doesn’t appeal to their own narrow self-interest? Valenti and her supporters seem to have an awfully negative opinion of the book’s target audience.

  21. 20
    Robert says:

    I don’t know any specifics of Jessica’s case, but in the publishing industry it would be unusual for an author to have any control over the physical appearance of the book, particularly a first-time author.

  22. 21
    Donna Darko says:

    Jessica said that no young woman would pick up a book with a fist on the cover. I know dozens of young women who would pick up that book.

    The idea that feminists were uncool and unattractive never occurred to me as a reason not to support feminism (I was uncool and unattractive) .* Whatever reasons I’ve heard other women give for ‘not being a feminist but…’ the idea that feminists were uncool and unattractive never really featured. Maybe things are different in New Zealand.

    New Zealand is different than the US. It’s one of a handful of nations with a more advanced feminist movement. New Zealand was the first country in which women were allowed to vote.

    In 1893, New Zealand was the first country to introduce universal suffrage, following a movement led by Kate Sheppard. Women first achieved the right to stand for public office in South Australia in 1894, along with full suffrage in that state (previously granted restricted women’s suffrage in 1861).

  23. 22
    Ariella Drake says:

    Donna,

    See, on one level I get that. And perhaps that’s why there’s a lack of ‘feminism is uncool’ stuff in NZ (as far as Maia’s experienced).

    But, well, on your definition, Australia has a more advanced feminist movement. That doesn’t equate to a lack of young women saying ‘feminism is uncool and passe and icky’; I do know a lot of them. And, well, on one level I get that Jessica’s point was that there are a lot of young women in her target audience who would be turned off by a cover with the woman symbol fist on it. Problem is, that’s not what she said. She said no young woman would pick up a book with such a cover. And she said it like it was an inarguable fact.

    I’m sure there are people who will call that nitpicking, but that statement erases some young women. And whilst I’ll buy the idea that Jessica was given minimal options in terms of the cover (and on some level I can see the cover working, even), I’m highly skeptical that she’d been somehow pushed into making such a blanket statement with absolutely no qualification, when even a minimal qualification probably would’ve sufficed and made her point. Maybe she was misquoted, but I’ve not seen anything indicating the likelihood of that.

  24. 23
    Donna Darko says:

    It’s nitpicking. Do you have any idea how much shit she’s gotten for the cover?

    I’ve taken a lot of shit about the cover—somebody called me a patriarchal whore. But let’s face it, no young woman is going to pick up a book with the woman’s symbol with a fist on it.

    My own opinion is similar. I have NEVER seen young women ages 15-20 in women’s studies sections of book stores. EVER. I have spent hours in these sections and NEVER seen a 15-20 year old near it. It’s also very unlikely you’ll see 15-20 year old women in women’s bookstores. Heck, I was never in these bookstores until 22.

  25. 24
    Kate L. says:

    i spent loads of time in the WS section at Barnes and Noble from hs on – loved it. Was I unusual? Sure, but I’m not alone.

    But even if that’s true, then it doesn’t matter WHAT is on the cover because isn’t that where the book is going to go? I don’t really know what your point is?

    Yes, she has taken shit for the cover – when you put yourself out there in the way she has, she opens herself up to that – it’s part of the price, people will have criticisms. I haven’t said word one about the CONTENTS of the book because I haven’t read it, but I have a strong feminist objection to that cover and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to point out the irony of simultaneously complaining about media representations of women’s bodies and using the same tactics because it will help you sell more books. And she can’t simultaneously claim that she’s doing it to appeal to the masses and that it is subversive at the same time. That’s bull shit.

  26. 25
    curiousgyrl says:

    Donna, its ridiculous and insulting to say that about young women–there are women’s studies departments all over the country teaching 18-22 year old women. Women are signing up for them. I was one of them, as were many on this blog. You may have been too ignorant or uninterested or whatever to get feminism until you were 22, but please speak for yourself.

    That said, there are lots of young women who see feminism as uncool. I dont think Maia was even disputing that. I also dont see anything wrong with targeting/marketing a book at that segment of folks.

    But, honestly. I could see the cover and title or something similar on a feminist text that was mostly about sex and sexuality–but this is supposed to be about feminist ideas, social roles, school, daily life, etc etc, not just sex. The cover and title reinforce the notion that women=sex. This indicates to me that its not just that Jessica (and Donna both here and in previous threads on this topic) think not only that young women think feminism is uncool, ibut that young women think cool=sexy, sexy=standard white femininty and that they are toltally obsessed with pursing and achieving that, to the point where that is the only cool through which to reach them.

    I think throwing in a twist at any point in the equation might still have reached the intended audience without falling back on naked white skinny chicks to sell stuff.

    Here are some feminist books aimed at young women with cool covers that dont fall into that trap:

    http://www.amazon.com/Cunt-Declaration-Independence-Live-Girls/dp/1580050158/ref=cm_lmf_tit_1_rsrsrs0/103-5862476-2884661
    http://www.amazon.com/Colonize-This-Young-Todays-Feminism/dp/1580050670/ref=sr_1_42/103-5862476-2884661?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179525519&sr=8-42
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0312155352/ref=sib_dp_pt/103-5862476-2884661#reader-link
    http://www.amazon.com/Fire-This-Time-Activists-Feminism/dp/0385721021/ref=pd_sim_b_3/103-5862476-2884661?ie=UTF8&qid=1179525519&sr=8-42

    That said, my little search did turn up a NUMBER of feminst books (some aimed at young women, many not) which have pictures of womens bare stomachs on the cover. WTF is up with that?

  27. 26
    Ariella Drake says:

    My own opinion is similar. I have NEVER seen young women ages 15-20 in women’s studies sections of book stores. EVER. I have spent hours in these sections and NEVER seen a 15-20 year old near it. It’s also very unlikely you’ll see 15-20 year old women in women’s bookstores. Heck, I was never in these bookstores until 22.

    Donna, there have been numerous young women in the various conversations going on who have said they HAVE bought books like that at that; I bought a book like that when I was 16 and thought feminism was kinda passe. What your comment says to me, and to those young women, is this:

    “You don’t exist because I haven’t seen you.”

    Think about that the next time you make that justification.

  28. 27
    Donna Darko says:

    curious, it was the late 80s when I was 22 so feminism was a lot less popular. Backlash and The Beauty Myth hadn’t even come out yet. There were much fewer accessible books that grabbed you. Backlash and The Beauty Myth grabbed me and I read them instantly. Guess what. I just went to my Barnes and Noble information desk and they said only one person had bought the book. There are two sitting on the shelf because they replaced the one that was bought with another copy. Guess who bought the book? Me. And I’m hardly 15-20 years old.

    As far as the cover, I don’t care to talk about that any more but she probably responded that way because she’s sick of talking about it too.

  29. 28
    Eliza K says:

    Donna, I don’t think it does much good to get into a battle of anecdotes. You’re experience is your experience — it’s valid and real. But so is the experience of all the other women here, including the ones who say they were reading feminist books and perusing the women’s studies sections of book stores when they were teenagers. And they’re the ones that Jessica made invisible with her statement that claims “no young woman is going to pick up a book with a fist on the cover.”

    Also, I don’t think it’s fair to compare your experience in the late 80′s — during which, by your own admission, feminism was a lot less popular — and today. And I’m sorry that you don’t see a lot of young women (including teenagers) in the women’s sections of bookstores or in women’s bookstores. I do find that very sad that there aren’t more young women doing this. However, A) I work in feminist bookstore and I see a number of young women (both teenagers and college-aged) in there; they are the majority of our customers and B) there are also a huge number of women (young and old alike) who buy books on-line — I don’t think you can make judgements about the buying habits of a group of people based simply on what you see.

    Furthermore, even if it’s true that many (maybe even most, but certainly not “no“) woman would buy a book with a fist on the cover, that doesn’t, IMO, justify using a young, white woman’s naked body on the cover. There are a lot of options in between those extremes. If Jessica, or you, Donna, want to justify or defend the cover, please do so. But please don’t do so by creating false dichotomies.

    With that said, while I do think Jessica bears some responsibility for the book cover (sorry, but as the author, she does; it’s got her name on the cover, she’s got to be willing to take the heat as much as the praise for anything in or on that book), I think we should also be targetting the publisher. Hell, it’s not like this was some patriarchal mega publishing house. This is Seal Press. This is a feminist publisher. They need to be called out on this.

  30. 29
    Eliza K says:

    Also, I was going to write a response to woodland sunflower who posted way back, but, bean already beat me to the punch

  31. 30
    Donna Darko says:

    Also, I don’t think it’s fair to compare your experience in the late 80’s — during which, by your own admission, feminism was a lot less popular — and today. And I’m sorry that you don’t see a lot of young women (including teenagers) in the women’s sections of bookstores or in women’s bookstores.

    Someone asked why I wasn’t interested in feminism until 22 and I said it’s because Backlash and Beauty Myth came out when I was 23. Now you can all guess my age! That’s why it’s disappointing to NEVER SEE YOUNG WOMEN in Barnes and Nobles or Border’s women’s studies sections because feminism is a lot more popular or at least publicized than it was then. Maybe this is only anecdotal and I’m the only one pissed off about this but there you go. I’ve gone over why the marketing for the cover works on the two threads on Feministing and I don’t want to talk about it again.

  32. 31
    Ariella Drake says:

    ‘You don’t exist because I haven’t seen you.’

    Thanks.

    I get that you’re disappointed. Hell, *I’m* disappointed that there aren’t more of my peers reading about feminism. But I don’t need to say that some young women don’t exist just because I can’t see them. It’s not just about the cover. It’s what’s behind the statement that “no woman” is going to do anything.

    And yeah, on some level it is nitpicking. But not because of the amount of flak Jessica’s copped. It’s nitpicking because there are better criticisms being made by people who aren’t me.

  33. 32
    curiousgyrl says:

    *Nitpick warning*

    I have a cousin about your age. She was one of the people who influenced me positively toward feminism. She had Ms. Magazine, stacks and stacks of it, back when it was really good.

    Women of your generation also got into feminism via great feminist literature, like Toni Morrison and Margaret Atwood. Personal Politics, by Sarah Evans, published in 1980,(the year before I was born) is one book that had a major influence on my own femisim.

    Which is to say, that I dont buy it that “feminism was less popular” back in the eighties. In fact, I’d say that back then there was a national movement of on-the-ground activists with a national program for activists back then; the women involved in clinic defense. Meanwhile other young feminists were playing leading roles in the queer liberation and ACT-UP. Lots of women your age and younger were majorly involved.

    We dont (as far as I know) have anything of that scale or unity now, but we could sure use it!

    Not that I am trying to trash you, becuase we’re all different in our personal histories, etc. I’m just trying to point out that lots of women have different experiences, becuase I think the idea that young women are too silly to “get” any feminism without first being seduced by a naked chick on the cover insulting. As for the content of FFF, I get the various beefs, but am less concerned as I think polemic has its place.

    But I’m not sure we know enough to blame the publisher for the cover; we know from JV herself that she had a choice of three covers. I’m not aware of what the other options were, or whether they were equally bad.

  34. 33
    Eliza K says:

    I’ve gone over why the marketing for the cover works on the two threads on Feministing and I don’t want to talk about it again.

    Well, I guess you’ve shut me down.

    Look, I haven’t read Feministing, so I have no idea what you’ve gone over. I was responding to your arguments here, because you made them here. I understand not wanting to go over things over and over. And I understand not having the time. Heck, that’s why I’m not rushing over to the Feministing blog to find said threads and read them. It might make me an outcast in the world of feminist bloggers because I haven’t read that blog and am not up-to-date on the latest and greatest arguments. I can deal with that. But, in the end, you came up with a false dichotomy on this blog, and I was responding to that. Maybe you came up with the ultimate reasoning for the cover on any number of other blogs. But it’s not fair debate style to expect me to either A)just believe that you made said ultimate argument elsewhere or B)search it out when you were the one who started the discussion here.

  35. 34
    Donna Darko says:

    ahhh! eliza can you search full frontal feminism on feministing for that? sorry i can’t. this latest blog war has me really down for both sides. i came up with a false dichotomy?

    curious, ok i read surfacing and edible woman at 22 and bluest eye at 24 but what lured me was sassy which came out when i was 20. i was actually raised a feminist by my dad but didn’t have a name for it until 22 because of sassy. i had a transformative experience that year in france when a bunch of us american women secretaries in a law firm were overworked and underpaid because we were women. i put two and two together and read beauty myth and backlash at 24 and started reading ms. that year too. i’m one of those people who wasn’t lured by the hardcore stuff but that seems to be the norm.

  36. 35
    curiousgyrl says:

    I now realize I am mistaken about knowing that JV had a choice of three covers. Carry on.

  37. 36
    Eliza K says:

    eliza can you search full frontal feminism on feministing for that?

    I’m not sure what you mean? I mean, yeah, I’m sure I could, but I don’t want to. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the inclination. If you want an argument you gave over there to be used over here, perhaps you could cut and paste it here. Or, you could restate the argument here. Or, you can just pretend you never made the argument and participate (or not) in the discussion that’s being held here. Please do not expect me to know or go search out what you’ve said elsewhere.

    As for the false dichotomy, I will try to explain. The argument was that the cover was offensive. The argument you quoted Jessica making was “no young woman would buy a book with a fist on the cover.” Even if that were true (which it clearly isn’t, as evidenced by the number of young women saying they would have bought such a book), there a multitude of other options besides putting a young, thin, naked woman on the cover. To pretend that the choice is between “fist on cover” and “naked woman on cover” is to create a false dichotomy. Those are not the only 2 choices. So, to say, “no young woman would buy a book with a fist on the cover” is not even close to a defense of why one would choose to put a naked woman on the cover. Since you not only quoted Jessica using that argument, but went on to expound on your own experiences and reasons for believing this, I’m going to assume that you agree with this argument. And I’m say, it’s not a decent argument — you’ve created a false dichotomy.

  38. 37
    Donna Darko says:

    if you’re really curious, search for it yourself. click on the link in the original post here and write full frontal feminism in the search function over there. i don’t owe you an explanation.

    it’s similar to how i came into feminism. from what i’ve heard, most young women don’t come into feminism by hardcore theory. it was a magazine and a personal experience for me. for others, it can be music or some other personal experience.

  39. 38
    Maia says:

    The discussion between Donna and Eliza seems to be going around in circles. It’s fine if you people have the energy to continue to respond to a thread, or even to post links if you’d said something before. But once you’ve said you don’t have the energy to make an argument, it’s not ok to keep referring people to somewhere else, especially after they’ve said they don’t have time either.