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Seeing Like a Feminist

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  670 ratings  ·  74 reviews
A bold and wide ranging book which reaorders contemporary contemporary society through a feminist lens.
Paperback, 252 pages
Published December 31st 2012 by Zubaan (first published September 30th 2012)
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Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
A must read for everyone who
1. Is not entirely sure what Feminism is all about
2. Is interested in the varied issues it seeks to tackle, and the varied position of feminists themselves on such issues
3. Is one of those who (in Nivedita Menon's words) go, " I believe in equal rights for women, but I'm not a (shudder!) feminist." (i.e. those who think Feminism = Anti-men)

So basically, it's for everyone.

As the author says:
"Feminism is not about that moment of final triumph, but about the gradual
Sushmita Rao
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I realized, after reading this book, that there are some things that can only be understood by those who live in the same environment as you. I mean, I can talk about the rights of differently abled people, but the truth is I don't know what it is like to be one of them. There are things in life which we can only understand through experience. Theory is important, but when you live in a country where there are issues of caste, religion and marriage, you need women and men from your own land to ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Naarivad behna, dheere dheere aayi!

"Feminism is not about that moment of final triumph, but about the gradual transformation of the social field so decisively that old markers shift forever. This shift is what "enables" many young women today to say, "I believe in equal rights for women, but I'm not a (shudder) feminist.""

For the longest time, I had hesitated to call myself a "feminist". Because when you own this tag, you immediately are assumed to be a "man-hater", "a feminazi", "a pretender"
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, non-fiction
Definitely a book that everyone should read, even and especially feminists! Though I have read a lot of books by feminist authors or that are about feminism, this book gives a unique perspective on feminism. It also raises cultural awareness not just of different Indian cultures, but it gives the reader a framework to understand the far-reaching effects of colonialism. I highly recommend this book to all who wish to read it (and even a few who don't).
Neha Kulkarni
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A simple read, which brilliantly captures the history, complexities and debates of feminism. It is the most complete account of feminism I have read; well researched and covering issues of caste and religion in the context of India today. It raises questions that sometimes dont have an answer, it encourages doubts but still manages to be unwavering in its stand.
Kunjila Mascillamani

The book is mind-blowing because it's perhaps the first theory book on feminism that i am reading. This is going to be an awfully long post not only because i have lots to quote but also because i have something or the other to say about all of it. It is so enlightening to know what led to what and why things are so in women's issues. I liked the book also for the fact that it is not trying to resolve conflicts within feminisms, but is just trying to present them in front of you and push you
Akshay Cm
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The quest for ending my ingrained patriarchy has brought to me this book, suggested to me by the former HOD of Women's studies Department, Deepa Srinivas, from HCU. The book is a kick in the stomach and opens your eyes to the pool of privilege men are in. My doubts on intersex and transgenders have been well answered. Am I feminist or an ally of feminism ? I would like to think I'm a feminist but Manu Joseph says no no. Will love to read more books which exposes patriarchy and brings in more ...more
Liju Kuriakose
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant overview of the nuances and multiplicities of feminism focusing on the Indian context.

Highly recommended.
Nikhil Kumar
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most topical issue in our times is that of feminism. But what is feminism? Is there a precise belief as such? To answer my questions, I started reading Seeing like a Feminist by Nivedita Menon in the hope that I would have a clear picture of what this is all about.

It covers a spectrum of seemingly obvious topics. But what I got to know is how far from obvious they actually are. I found that abstract notions like that of family, body, desire, sexual violence etc. are much more complex than
Dec 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender-and-sex
"Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't"
This was the mindset with which I started reading this book.While I was reading I thought 'I dont belong in the target audience of the book'. The writer seemed to get subjective observations right- there are rapes, Indian Family structure encourages male dominance, Transgender and intersex individuals face problems in their lives.
But why do we have this problems? Our author repeatedly flourishes the male patriarchy
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Feminism is not about that final moment of triumph but about the gradual transformation of the social field so decisively that old markers shift forever.

This book is a brilliantly engaging introduction to feminist thought and debates within feminism, all suffused with an open, inclusive and optimistic tone. Much of Menons case study material comes from India, providing fascinating new (to me, obviously, but I guess also to many Western readers) perspectives on the intersection of ethnicity,
Isha Bhallamudi
Sep 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd give this higher than 5/5 if I could! I mistakenly thought that this was a beginners' book that may not hold new information or introduce unfamiliar debates for those who have formally studied gender theory and feminism. I was VERY pleasantly surprised as this is a wonderful book that strips Indian society down to the basics and offers a fresh look at our society while tackling multiple relevant themes, forcing us to rethink our own assumptions and perspectives. The writing is extremely ...more
Hemen Kalita
Jun 06, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Typical men hating rant in the name of feminism. Nothing new.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a feast for the mind.
The point repeatedly proved by the author is that what the society considers as normal like gender norms,heterosexual marriage, sexual division of labor etc is actually resting on very slippery ground. It can be destabilized and dismantled as soon as we see a man wearing a skirt, or when a married woman falls in love with another woman. A heck lot of work is done to keep things normal like indoctrinating kids with gender norms, punishing people who have
Ravi Jha
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
did you know that not so long ago pink was for boys and blue was for girls. and how dramatically our perception changed in 50 years or so that today pink is a girl's color. a good book with some radical ideas, will make you critically evaluate many of your notions about gender and sexuality. however on the negative side, the topics covered are not completely new or fresh. for ex. role of society in determining gender or homosexuality are already covered in length and breadth in even newspapers.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned so many new things about feminism in the Indian context as well as formed a new way to look at life. An important discourse, I recommend this book to feminists and aspiring feminists, curious would-be feminists.
Sivananthi T
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Clear, concise, incisive and most of all ... making theory relevant and applicable to all :)
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A MUST read for everyone.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a YouTube channel where I constantly put up book reviews, so feel free to subscribe:

A few months ago I asked a couple of my friends for suggestions on books I should read up to know more about feminism and the obvious first suggestion was The Second Sex by Simon De Beauvoir. However, I stumbled upon Seeing Like a Feminist by Nivedita Menon, first.

The book is written in a very simple manner and has a nice flow to it as it goes on to discuss various
fook bood
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Okay, so I think this is the first non-fiction book I am reviewing, hence, I am a little sceptical about it. To begin with, I came across this book after reading a chapter from this book that was a part of our course reading material. Our class was enamoured by it after having read a chapter and I felt an urge to read the book wholly. The title itself gives a lot about the content of the book, it is a book that presents the lens of viewing society (western or eastern) through an unconventional ...more
Piyusha Vir
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book truly has made me question my personal beliefs and helped me develop a deeper understanding of feminism in religion, politics, social structure, and individually.
A powerful, incisive book for anyone who is stepping into the world of understanding feminism.
Radhika Saxena
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such an honest and inclusive overview of feminism. A must read for anyone who's trying to engage with and understand feminism.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable and informative read. So much to grasp, understand and ponder upon. Kudos to the author for writing a book that is nuanced but not overwhelming with jargon. Reading it will require some effort on the part of the reader which I think is a good thing. But not so much as to put anyone off.

The book touches upon variety of topics that have been addressed by the feminist discourse over past few decades, focusing primarily on India. While the chapter on sexual violence felt familiar
Nov 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gender
Lovely acknowledgement! "Heres to feminists of every gender, everywhere, anywhere. And to those who engage seriously enough with feminism to push us, kicking and screaming, in unexpected directions. And to those who will become feminists at some stage. Our lives are meaningful because of one another."

Like the book for strengthening some of my arguments. Nivedita asks some tough questions: Why is it okay for a woman to abort a baby because she can't afford financially to take care of it, or
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"To be a feminist is to feel part of the history that has produced us; it is to insert oneself into two centuries of thick, textured narratives of struggles and celebrations that transcend national boundaries; to hear the strains of songs of anger and sorrow and militancy in many tongues; to remember our heroines, our foremothers; and, above all, to feel an enormous sense of continuing responsibility."

'Seeing like a Feminist' by Nivedita Menon perfectly introduces one to the existing hegemonies,
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a deft, thoughtful book. Menon covers all the major bases of modern feminist discourse. She never fails to reveal both the social and cultural mechanisms by which gender and other social categories restrain people's choices and the various ways that these mechanisms are represented by different groups. If you read this book and come to the conclusion that these are only problems "over there" then you obviously haven't read it very carefully. Menon often compares issues in India with ...more
This was excellent. Originally written to an Indian audience, the book is a succinct, clear, engaging explanation of what feminism is, what it does, the problems it seeks to overcome and the challenges it faces from culture and political entities. Menon has an almost unique gift of "speaking" to each reader exactly where they are situated. I have found it really useful for teaching intro women's/gender studies students of all backgrounds, it's one of the best "beginner" texts I've found that ...more
Saurav Basu
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feminism is a less understood/misunderstood/misconstrued perspective by majority of us. At first, I though it might be a very complex perspective that this book attempts to put forth, but Menon in very lucid terms sets out the key underlying themes of feminism at the very beginning. She deconstructs them layer by layer with examples in the following chapters. Thanks to this short but engaging read, my understanding of feminism has definitely broadened. Definitely recommend this to all men and ...more
Zaid Afzal
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gives you a beautiful insight into the whole gender fluidity discussion tackling the entire package that comes with the whole idea of feminism. Might need a little more digging to be well equipped to tackle fundamentalists though. Also, It is restricted to the Indian audience, which is what I felt and which is what she probably didn't want the book to be perceived as but it's tough to not do so from an amateurs point of view. It's beautiful in it's own right nonetheless. I suggest people read ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Concise and lucid, this book is a must read for everyone. In fact, I think I'm going to carry copies of it in my bag and hand it to everyone who says 'feminism' like it's an ugly word, and to even those who proclaim to be 'feminists'. Nivedita Menon deftly presents key theories of feminism and relates it to the Indian context by citing examples from law and court cases. I love the fact that no opinions have been thrust down in the book and facts are merely presented. It is up to the reader to ...more
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Nivedita Menon teaches Political Science at Delhi University. She has published widely on feminism.

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