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To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism
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To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  592 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Determined to extend the boundaries of feminism to embrace social, political, and economic equality for all humanity, these twenty-one exciting young activists and thinkers recast the concepts of feminism to reflect their own personal experiences and beliefs. Inspired by activist and writer Rebecca Walker, they speak out, challenging many of their assumptions about the wom ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Anchor (first published 1995)
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May 15, 2013 Kelechi rated it really liked it
I appreciate this anthology so much. As a black feminist I find "problematic" things I enjoy in my life and before reading this anthology, I thought there was a need to abstain or purge myself from these things- which is the furthest thing from the truth. I am informed enough to enjoy what I enjoy and still be a feminist. It is all part of my individual experience.
Jan 30, 2011 Dominic rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
We live in a tricky time as feminists, when in one hand the lives of women and men are full of choices (and feminism was/is all about choices), but it is also a time when I hear the question, "Are you a feminist?" a lot less than I used to hear it. On one hand, feminism is alive everywhere, but on the another, the word itself seems to be slowly withering with the passage of time.

Now that I'm taking a Women's Rhetoric class for my graduate degree, I'm able to take some time reflecting on the exte
Feb 11, 2013 Lani rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, feminism
Picked this up at Busboys and Poets on a whim - because I can't be trusted to 'kill time' at a bookstore, okay?

An essay collection by a diverse mix of writers, trying to address the diversity of feminism today. The most interesting point was made in one of the introductory essays (or possibly a concluding one?) talking about the collection as a whole. I don't recall which 'big name' feminist was writing, but the point was made that older 2nd wave feminists see some of the 'reactionary' responses
Sep 26, 2007 Jesse rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women's studies students.
This is one of the books that inpsired me to call myself a feminist. It is a collection of essays from people of many different walks of life reflecting on feminism and is a great look at what feminism looked like in the mid nineties. It's worth the read.
May 07, 2007 Parker rated it it was ok
Shelves: academic
not a fan of the third wave feminisms that focus on reclaiming barbie, lipstick, lady razors and high heels as if they were taken away by second wave feminists.
Apr 09, 2011 Jaine rated it did not like it

Also (it may be the prude in me)-- but I found discussions about sex and sexuality "tired" and cliched.

When I finished reading some of the essays, I had to stop and think about the role of sexuality as it relates to women's issues. It's not as if I think sexuality shouldn't be discussed and doesn't matter. I do.


I sometimes feel as if some Feminist perspectives about sexuality are blissfully naive and disconnected from the reality of the experiences of everyday women. I think that fe
Courtney Stirrat
This wonderful collection examines various women's relationships with feminist issues in a confessional style. At first it feels a bit scattered, as - unlike many 2nd Wave essays - the essays incorporate class, race, and sexual orientation into feminism itself. But when combined with Gloria Steinam's forward, Angela Davis's afterward and Rebecca Walker's introduction, the role of these confessionals becomes much more clear. This is not a blue print or an outline of the 3rd Wave's political agend ...more
Andrea Dowd
Oct 10, 2008 Andrea Dowd rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people interested in feminist writings, gender studies, and cultural fiends.
It has been a while since I read a collection of feminist writings. This book was very interesting in that it is written for, by, and about third wave feminisists. Most of the essays were blase except for the two written about the pretense and the downfall of a woman's life due to marriage. It isn't as bleak as it sounds, but totally worth it to read those few essays. There was also an essay written by this woman who is turned on by violence and rape scenes/stories. I could only stomache a page ...more
Jul 28, 2011 Teresa rated it it was ok
i bought this forever ago when i was in college, and finally got around to reading it. it's a compilation of essays written by feminists from several walks of life. the one message i got the strongest from the book was that there were no "rules" or "right way" of being a feminist. and while i do consider myself one, i just wasn't jiving with this book. in all honesty, i skipped a lot of it.

honestly, i think the biggest issue i had with this book is that is just seemed a bit outdated. i believe i
Jun 18, 2015 Nina rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This might be a favorite collection of feminist essays in a long time. The honesty of these pieces is something I didn’t realize I was so hungry for—narratives that recognize the nuance of being a feminist (and at times the difficulty and contradictions of the self-identification) without the cultish fervor that can often breed guilt and silence in those who aren’t the “perfect” feminist. My favorite essays were by Anna Bondoc and Allison Abner, but all the essays were interesting and came toget ...more
To everyone who also consider themselves a feminist, this might interest you: "To be Real" edited by Rebecca Walker is an amazing collection by a diverse group of authors. There was a great diversity, women of color, queer (LGBTQ) authors, and men were included. It was a refreshing read. The book is also almost 20 years old, I was a little shocked to find out because they seemed to be talking about the world as it is now (which says something).

(I will post a longer review later, I'm in a rush no
Nov 17, 2008 Jay rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Second wave feminists, men, women, trans people, feminists
Great collection of early (1992) third-wave feminist autobiographical narratives. Diverse, challenging, and questioning.

The forward comes off a bit condescending and defensive, yet is accurate in that some of the understandings of first and second wave theories and realities are a bit one-dimensional.
I would like to have heard some trans/genderqueer voices.

This is a fun, accessible introduction to why third wave feminisms are different both in lived reality and in explosion of theories.
LaToya Hankins
I enjoyed the diversity of the authors which ranged from a straight married couple who dealt with the issue of what last name to use in a creative manner to legends of the feminist movement who reflects on how far the journey has taken us as well as how far we have to go. Walker did a good job of pulling together different voices to present different outlooks. I may not have agreed with all the statements made but I came aware with an appreciation for the author's outlook.
Sep 10, 2012 Alexandra rated it liked it
As I began the book my initial feelings concerning the essays were ambivalent, but soon turned to dislike. However the last half-to-two-thirds of the book truly redeemed itself, and I found myself slightly sad when it ended. Some of the perspectives are definitely challenging, but I came to understand this challenge as integral to the book. I was not going to finish the book, and I am truly glad I did.
Feb 25, 2009 catherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
excellent collection of writings from feminists, really great for a budding feminist. i must admit though, after reading Rebecca Walker's recent article about her mother neglecting her and feminism being to blame for a generation of unhappy childless women, i am not such a fan of hers. i am disappointed in her as a feminist and a role model.
All at once, I felt at odds with myself, content, and slightly guilty. This book overachieved its goal in reminding me that there is no one way to change the world or to be that change, and I haven't been able to get it out of my mind ever since.
Interesting and diverse read. I enjoyed the thoughts of the few men, as it gave an alternative, positive view, and found the story on the husband/wife and figuring out a new last name to be sweet and positive.
Rianna Jade
Aug 21, 2012 Rianna Jade rated it really liked it
Easily one of the best Feminist anthologies I've ever read. Such variety in experience, beliefs and practices from men, women, those inbetween. 'third-wave' at its best. Enjoy!
Oct 19, 2007 Jen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone who knows or is a woman
this book elucidates why and how feminism is not dead. i loved the part about metaphors and symbology of common wedding practices, among many other parts of the book!
Jul 18, 2007 Colleen rated it liked it
feels a little dated at this point, but a good read nonetheless. definitely placed an emphasis on gathering work from a very diverse group of people. a third wave staple.
Dec 07, 2008 Jill rated it liked it
It was okay. Felt like something I should have read 10 years ago...but also felt stuck about 10 years ago, too. Some of the essays were better than others, of course.
Oct 26, 2010 Ella rated it liked it
Stand up book of essays pertaining to "Feminism". Great chapter titles like "Born to Dyke" and "How does a supermodel do feminism."

A lot of different viewpoints.
Jul 02, 2007 bitchrepublic rated it really liked it
Shelves: culture
excellent kickstart for those who wants to know more about feminist writers and not be subjected by mass media appeal
Stacia rated it liked it
Jan 29, 2010
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Jun 13, 2007
Tracy rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2017
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Mar 24, 2007
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“One may be nice on the outside but on the inside isnt pretty” 5 likes
“For many of us it seems that to be a feminist in the way that we have seen or understood feminism is to conform to an identity and way of living that doesn't allow for individuality, complexity, or less than perfect personal histories. We fear that the identity will dictate and regulate our lives, instantaneously pitting us against someone, forcing us to choose inflexible and unchanging sides, female against male, black against white, oppressed against oppressor, good against bad.” 1 likes
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