If you've never read a blog post, or watched a documentary, or studied this topic in a scholarly way then this is a great book to use as a launching p...moreIf you've never read a blog post, or watched a documentary, or studied this topic in a scholarly way then this is a great book to use as a launching point for hyperfeminine culture that we are witness to, and how consumerism fuels it. It's written at a very accessible level, so mothers, fathers, even teens can read and understand the thesis of this book and have their assumptions challenged. It's a great mix of anecdotes and theory, narratives and factual recitations. It's very entertaining.
However, if you know anything about this topic, most of this will be redundant to you. It's more of an introductory book than "taking it to the next level." I'm doing a PhD in child psychology, so almost everything was old news to me. Some of the specific research findings were interesting. It was worth reading. I did enjoy it. But I was shocked when my Kobo said I was 67% way through, and I turned the page to see the end (there's 300 ereader pages of bibliography and footnotes). With a larger reference section than main body of the text, I was underwhelmed by the content.
I did like the inclusion of Dr. Carol Martin. I've met her, and her research is definitely worth mentioning.
But speaking of Dr. Martin, I noticed some hypocrisy on the part of the author:
1. She argues that we shouldn't focus on body-image, and the problem with girlie girl culture is the explicit focus on being pretty. Yet she makes certain to give a full physical description of all her female friends, and takes the time to note Dr. Martin's "shock of white hair" and "piercing blue eyes." Why continue to promote a focus on physical appearances?
2. She criticized the excitement over the Disney Princesses, but also told lots of fun anecdotes that would get the reader wrapped up in the excitement. When she said her daughter when to see Princesses on Ice and dressed as Pocahontas (because she's the least materialistic Princess), all I could visualize was a theatre of little girls in the blue of Cinderella, yellow of Belle, pink of Aurora, and green of Jasmine/Mulan/Tiana with a lone brown of Pocahontas. Everything she preached that you shouldn't get wrapped up in something, she gave lots of motivation to do so.
3. In one chapter she criticizes Bratz doll Yasmin for enjoying reading biographies of her favorite celebrities. Then a few chapters later, she takes a full chapter to recite the life history of Miley Cyrus, Hilary Duff, and Britney Spears. What?
It was an ok read, but the title wasn't appropriate. Cinderella never ate her taught. If anything, her daughter successfully circumvented the Princess craze quite well. Yes, there was a fleeting interest, but compared to her peers as described by the author, she seemed to be doing quite well. It could be titled "How I prevented Cinderella from eating my Daughter."
I want to end on a plus note. I honestly loved that a author used color descriptors such as teal, turquoise, azure and chartreuse. That completely made my day. (less)
I expected a contemporary description of counterculture and a critic of contemporary culture. What I got was so much more. The book opens with a few c...moreI expected a contemporary description of counterculture and a critic of contemporary culture. What I got was so much more. The book opens with a few chapters that outline grand philosophies and movements which have shaped the 20th Century. Then it provides a historical overview on the HISTORY of counterculture. It's not chronological, but each chapter circles around a certain theme. The authors debunk and criticize things as they go, and by the end of the book, they provide some final blows to the idea of being "counter" at all.
This book had some neat ideas and arguments and concepts that I will take with me, but it also had a lot of foggy logic. I know the authors both have PhD's in philosophy, and I know they probably have a better handle on theoretical logic than I do. But some of the assumptions in their arguments were flawed. I especially disagree with their stance that the economic system was a closed system that follow laws on conservation, much like matter and energy. I don't think it is. I don't think keeping money in the bank is the same as spending it from a macro viewpoint.
I would love to read this book again, and write an extensive response to each point that I disagree with. However, I think others have already done that, given by the responses included at the end of the ebook version. I was happy to see these responses, those none really applied to my criticisms with the exception of the clarification around ethical purchasing. I'm glad they included that in there.
I know that the authors feel there is no "solution" so they didn't want to provide one. But it's clear to me that they do have ideas about what we should try. Obviously it has something to do with dissent rather than deviance, and using the rules to create change rather than breaking all the rules. What this book really needed was a final chapter about dissent and using the "man" to create change, and all those leftist policy makers that are improving the situation in a way that Heath and Potter agree with. That chapter would have make my review a 4 star rather than 3 star review. Hopefully they're writing a second book which will approach this topic? (less)
This was really a mixed bag. I bought it because I loved Lubrano's "Blue collar roots white collar dreams" and I thought this would be the same thing...moreThis was really a mixed bag. I bought it because I loved Lubrano's "Blue collar roots white collar dreams" and I thought this would be the same thing - interviews with working-class women who became academics.
It's not. It's long winded academic-style essays about being black/women/lesbians from working class families. The starting "chapters" are written in such strong academic prose that I threw the book down almost immediately upon opening.
It sat on my shelf for years and years. When I finally made it through the terrible opening chapters, I realized there was some good to be found. Some chapters are self-narratives with lots to identify with. Some chapters are actually social science reports on working-class academics. As a social scientist, I did enjoy those ones. Some described life at as a new college student, joining the faculty, teaching students they could identify with, holding the balance of being a PhD student and a course instructor at the same time. I could relate to a lot of it and it validated my experiences, and was why I purchased the book in the first place.
But the majority of chapters are from an English Department or Literature perspective. Humanities professors write so differently than psychology professors that I really found the style to off putting. Then there were some really theoretically heavy chapters that I honestly skimmed. I wasn't interested in learning about the Marxist theory of blah.
I was just rounding the homestretch, with 50 pages left, when I hit the chapter on Language. Up until thing, I was planning to sell or donate the book when I was finished. The Language chapter made a difference. It spoke of how working-class students have such a harder time achieving "academic writing style" and how professors judge this as a problem with motivation or potential. They don't realize that middle class students speak in academic style and have since they were 5 and therefore have a huge headstart.
I thought of my struggles as an undergrad. I thought of what I hoped to do with my writing seminar this upcoming semester. I thought of what I HADN'T done to respond to students who were probably in these shoes. I decided I need to keep this book, if only to pull out this chapter as a beacon of light for students who come to me with frustration over university writing demands.
This isn't a book you can just sit down and read. It's an academic book. It would make a great textbook. If you were interested in feminist working-class literature, which I'm not. (less)
I really like the concept, and all the psychology references and ideas about where our current zeitgeist could take us. John's response to soma was aw...moreI really like the concept, and all the psychology references and ideas about where our current zeitgeist could take us. John's response to soma was awesome. But I can't say that I really got the plot. I think I would need a high school teacher to really attempt to tell me the deeper meaning behind some of the symbolism with the savage or what the book "says" overall. Or maybe I need to know shakespeare. Or maybe it had more meaning 80 years ago and now it's expired. Either way, it made me happy to get back to non-fiction again. Kinda proved the point that as far as fiction goes, my imagination is better than what others can write.(less)