I appreciated the premise of this book: lived experiences to prove a theory, or theories.
But I don't think it was executed the way I expected it would...moreI appreciated the premise of this book: lived experiences to prove a theory, or theories.
But I don't think it was executed the way I expected it would be. That's not to say that it was a bad book. It's just that honestly, 1) It struck me as erotica until like, the very end of the book where she starts critiquing the Michigan Women's Music Festival for discriminating against transgendered women. If there had been more of that-- anecdotes that didn't constantly involve her having epic sex with another woman, I would have been fine with it. I'm not a prude. I think sex is great, not gross. But for the first 75% of this book I was like, "All she is doing is bragging about how much sex she has, and if she doesn't stop using the word 'cock' I am going to lose my shit." And 2) This book was quaint as hell. It was published in 1995, and she was reflecting on a lot of her experiences, circa the '70s, where she leaves her husband and starts living as a femme(?) lesbian. I lost track of how many times she said "butch" and "femme" in this book. Like, you're trying to get yourself out of these gender boxes and yet you're just putting yourself in a totally different box.
It rubbed me the wrong way.
So, I don't know. I finished this book because I just sort of decided to read it as a historical document. And by the time I got to the end, where she actually starts to discuss the reality of living in a world that discriminates against her and the people she cares about, I was glad for deciding to finish it. But holy shit dude, if you're going to write an erotica book about quaint lesbian sex, market it as such.(less)
I was born in 1988, so missed Sassy entirely due to being too young. These days, I'm a little obsessed with Rookie (I'm a bit too old for that, but wh...moreI was born in 1988, so missed Sassy entirely due to being too young. These days, I'm a little obsessed with Rookie (I'm a bit too old for that, but who cares?). Rookie was co-founded by Tavi Gevinson & Jane Pratt (although the project was eventually totally handed off to Gevinson). So I just wanted to read this to gain an understanding of where Rookie got its inspiration.
Rookie, btw, was founded in 2010, and this book was published in 2007. So it was interesting to me to read the last chapter, in which the authors state that they don't think "today's teens" even need a magazine like Sassy, because they can so easily connect with each other via MySpace (lol) and Facebook. Knowing how much Rookie has affected people, I know that of course, something Sassy-esque is always needed.
I'm also really happy to see how objectively this was written. The title is _How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time_. And yet, the authors do not shy away from talking about the struggles and bullshit that ultimately caused Sassy to fold in 1996. I think a lot of Sassy fans don't want to hear that, because it kept them sane. But to me it adds a human factor to it. Like, these writers and editors are just as flawed as anyone else: No one has all of the answers. And I love that.(less)
Not a bad book. And funny, which is great. But in the future, I would like to see a collection like this that includes essays from people of different...moreNot a bad book. And funny, which is great. But in the future, I would like to see a collection like this that includes essays from people of different demographics. All of the pieces in here were written by financially stable women with careers in entertainment.
Also, it'd be nice to hear from childfree men, too. No one ever thinks to ask men about whether they want to parent or not. It's just left up to the women, because we're the ones with the fetus hotels in our bodies.(less)
First, because getting grouchiness out of the way early is a good idea, I have two criticisms of this book:
1) Taft mentions that she didn't interview...moreFirst, because getting grouchiness out of the way early is a good idea, I have two criticisms of this book:
1) Taft mentions that she didn't interview any girl who didn't identify as an activist. That makes sense, except that the word "activist" implies a level of confidence that some activists just don't possess. I know people who are doing some seriously badass activism, but refuse to call themselves activists because they haven't gotten the results that they'd hoped for. I understand the point of keeping one's research inside of certain boundaries, as to not let it get too overwhelming, but I am still really curious to see what others, who shy away from the "activist" label, but still participate in activism, would have to add to this.
2) I'd like to see it expanded to include more thorough descriptions of the work accomplished by these girl activists. Brief mentions are given (e.g. "So-and-so is an environmental activist in Vancouver"), but this book jumps right into an analysis of the work and the way it's perceived without really providing the reader with a good understanding of what the girls were actually accomplishing.
That said, the analysis was awesome. Things I loved (in no particular order):
1) The discussion about horizontal versus vertical organizing (the latter being based on a hierarchical structure). And I also loved that the interviews that went along with this section revealed inconsistencies in the girls' thinking, thus revealing that activists are imperfect people, just like anyone else.
2) Taft was not afraid to criticize the girls' methods, or to point out the ways in which some teenage activists overlooked their privilege. But she also clearly respected them without falling into the trap of "These girls are awesome specifically because they're TEENAGERS and TEENAGERS ARE USUALLY LAZY PIECES OF SHIT WHO DON'T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING, EVER." She actually spent a lot of time denouncing adults who do that kind of thing (she called it "wowing"), which I really, really appreciated.
3) The part about how optimism can be detrimental. We live in this culture that values positive thinking the point where people are basically encouraged to look away from realities and bullshit that goes on in the world. And you just can't do that, especially as an activist, but some do. And this is where the whole "Hey, you have to check your privilege" part came in. Middle class girls in North America can say all this flowery stuff about wanting to just "make the world a better place" because they don't live in a place where they're confronted with really horrific things on a daily basis.
4) "Adultism" is a word, apparently. It's a facet of ageism, and I hate ageism. I have this long-standing habit of befriending people who are at least 10 years older than me, so am always surprised when I meet adults who don't respect me because I'm young. That said, I'm now in my mid-twenties, so on top of befriending people who are older, I'm also somehow befriending people who are significantly younger (hi there, Danielle, Celeste, and Lilie). And I'm always afraid of falling into the "When I was your age..." trap. So hopefully this book will help me not to do that, ever.
5) The part where the girls got pissed off about being referred to as "leaders of tomorrow." Because it completely delegitimizes the work that they're doing NOW, in the present.
Also, rereading everything I've written here, I realize that my only criticism of this book is that I'd like it to be longer. I want MORE, because I'm a greedy capitalist, har har har.(less)
At first I couldn't decide whether I loved or hated this book, mainly because it covers so much ground in so few pages. Also, her tone gets a little o...moreAt first I couldn't decide whether I loved or hated this book, mainly because it covers so much ground in so few pages. Also, her tone gets a little obnoxious after a while. But that's probably just because I'm old and boring.
In the end, I ended up really liking it, because 1) She was trying to write an introduction to feminism for teenagers. And she definitely succeeded at that. AND 2) Because she's a teenager, the whole tone of the book just ended up being really fitting. Who better than to write an intro to feminism for teenagers than a teenage feminist?
Also, I saw her on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show not too long ago, and she's super.(less)
I heard a review of this book recently & decided to check it out, even though I disagree with its central argument. It claims that because America...moreI heard a review of this book recently & decided to check it out, even though I disagree with its central argument. It claims that because American women are currently going to graduate school at higher rates than men, our economy will be transformed: in the near future, women will be the main breadwinners of their families, and the majority of men will become stay at home dads.
My problem with it, obviously, is that it doesn't advocate for equality. The life that the author proposes is a lot like the nuclear, heteronormative, monogamous one we're living now, just with a gender role reversal. It comes across as feminist, but falls short.
I'd like to see it go a few steps further. But I'm only two chapters in, so we'll see, I guess. For now, I'm having fun arguing with it. :)