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Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,157 ratings  ·  176 reviews
From the fiery intellectual provocateur: a brilliant essay collection that both celebrates and challenges modern feminism from motherhood to Madonna, football to Friedan, stilettos to Steinem.
When Camille Paglia first burst onto the scene with her best-selling Sexual Personae, she established herself as a smart, fearless, and often dissenting voice among feminists. Now,
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Pantheon
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 ·  1,157 ratings  ·  176 reviews

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Jul 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Good lord, no. The worst of white feminism and plain old misogyny combined. Her views on rape and women who aren't like her are simply unbearable. ...more
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
Free Women, Free Men is a collection of Camille Paglia's articles, lectures and interviews on feminism and gender from 1990 through 2016. A significant portion of the content consists of criticisms of modern feminism, for its pervasive misandry, its collective victimhood complex, its denial of biology, and its historical revisionism. She particularly focuses on campus feminism, with its policing of speech and dependence on institutional authorities to monitor private interactions between young m ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Would rather give it 3.5. I really liked parts of it. In a departure from Goodreads convention, I've actually read this book.

Paglia is an unrepentant weirdo. Some of her views are ridiculous, many of her insights are cutting. Her critique of poststructuralism is a breath of fresh air. Her view on the abortion debate are whacky (she accuses 'liberals' of being inconsistent in opposing the death penalty but supporting access to abortion — an interesting reversal of conventional thinking but one t
The American Conservative
Cultural battles whose ideological roots were planted in the 1970s by American academics under the influence of French post-structuralism, and which percolated in various forms throughout the 1980s, came to a crushing head by the beginning of the 1990s. What emerged was a new intellectual orthodoxy, characterized by a stance of permanent victimhood applicable to any group felt to fall outside of the privileged position occupied by white western males; widespread suspicion of, if not outright hos ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it did not like it
Camille Paglia is the best, most smartest feminist ever. Just ask her she’ll tell you. I wish I had marked all the times she describes her own writing as prophetic.

She has such an interesting voice. She considers herself a libertarian feminist, taking the best from both the liberal and conservative sides. In addition to what you might expect, she is also very anti-PC language, suggesting the policing of language doesn’t belong on college campuses. She also seems to be pointing fingers at femini
Banafsheh Esmailzadeh
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It’s kinda spooky how Camille Paglia called a lot of what would happen today...
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I've been wondering what happened to her more "men-friendly" version of feminism. She certainly writes like a fever and certainly left me with a few passages I will remember for some time. She has an interesting set of views: she is 100% for abortion rights, but somewhat pro-life, she is pro androgyny, well at the same time admitting that sexual freedom often precedes the decline of civilizations, and most controversially of all, she thinks the "rape-culture" accusation is infantilizing and coun ...more
Shellie Blum
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have admired Camille Paglia's intellect for quite some time. I knew I had to read her latest book and it did not disappoint. I have to admit some of the vocabulary was a bit out of my league but that's what makes it so wonderful. She makes you think. She made me stretch my intellectual boundaries. My soon to be 81 year old Mom will read it next and then my 15 year old daughter and then my 15 year old son. I can't wait to discuss some of the issues and articles with them. One of my favorite cha ...more
Morgan Schulman
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Lesbian tells straight women to be less whiney about rape and dress sexier, feels victimized.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to enjoy this book. Written by a fiery unrepentant feminist who questions the gender binary, I thought there would be much to learn. Paglia writes about gender in a way that assumes biological sex determines much more than we realize. this is an assumption I don't disagree with entirely. Certainly hormones--to the extent that we actually measure hormone flux in differently gendered bodies--make a difference in a person's bodily development and likely their personality. But these ...more
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
It's been at least 20 years since I read Sexual Personae and I'd completely forgotten how much I enjoy Camille Paglia. (Also, since this was available in audiobook format, I was finally able to hear the word "chthonic" pronounced aloud for the first time!) Her worldview is refreshingly, bracingly original--and seemingly undaunted by social trends or prevailing schools of thought (urgh, no pun intended). E.g., her essay about rape on college campuses, written over 25 years ago, is presented here ...more
Corinne Wasilewski
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Could not put this book down! Camille Paglia is a one person think tank! In a no holds barred style, she absolutely decimates the views/arguments of her critics/opponents in this hugely entertaining collection of essays. Fearless and provocative, she comes out with both guns blazing from the opening paragraph:

"History moves in cycles. The plague of political correctness and assaults on free speech that erupted in the 1980s and were beaten back in the 1990s have returned with a vengeance. In the
Jay Ehret
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
One thing sticks out at you as you read Paglia's collection of essays on feminism and sex; she has been consistent. Her libertarian brand of feminism has remained constant since her publication of Sexual Personae in 1990, the book that launched her career as a voice in the space.

What I appreciated about the book is the history of feminism Paglia weaves into her essays. I found myself frequently going to the search engines to get deeper into the historical references. I also enjoyed her no-holds-
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
feisty, Sex positive Feminist
a good read,
her book reads like she speaks
although the book is more coherent,

Camille Paglia,
the author gave talk at Seattle Public Library-(Central),
late May/ early June 2017,
listened to her lecture on KUOW
a couple days after event.

Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I don't even know where to begin with this book. Maybe by saying that Paglia is a libertarian and thus everything in the book comes from that perspective. She's against campuses getting involved in handling Title IX cases and feels that free speech is honored above all. She's entirely unsympathetic to people who feel threatened by hate speech and simply wants them to toughen up, without ever specifying how this should happen. Maybe we do need to toughen up, but we also need to learn how to be ki ...more
Anne Pak
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
More of a 3.5 but rounded to 4 because I liked some of the essays so much. I didn't agree with them all but overall the book led to deep reflection on my own thoughts about feminism. Even when I disagreed with Paglia's opinions, I appreciated the opportunity to think about why I disagreed and how I had come to form my opinions on an issue. It is interesting to read her work through the years. The more things change....
While it is repetitive at times, that is understandable since her message has
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading Camille Paglia, just like listening to her, is akin to letting a fantastic circus run though your brain, with the intensity turned to max and at the speed of hyperloop. M'kay?

She is a force of nature, in her intellectual physicality, determination, knowledge and imagination. Even more so, given the sorry state of public discourse these days. In her own words:

"... what I represent is independent thought. What I represent is the essence of the Sixties, which is free thought and free speec
Erika Hope Spencer
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Paglia is an unapologetic libertarian intellectual and many of her insights are thought provoking and even refreshing, but ultimately she shows the same limits that plague anyone who writes about a movement from their very personalized POV. She is undoubtedly a pistol of a woman and she is understandably proud of that- but she barely disguises her disgust with anyone "too soft" to be an admirable woman. I admire a strong woman as much as the next person, but Paglia expects any woman "worth her s ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was really painful to read because it felt like a long and mostly shallow rant against all sorts of feminist straw-women. Paglia clearly likes to fight even when she's fighting against a theory she just made up. With that said, there were some good essays in here--I liked her one about sadomachism and how the scholarship gets that wrong, some of her book critiques were interesting too. But she has one theory that she keeps using to whack at feminist icons.

Her theory is that feminists
K.E. Barron
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So I've been waiting for this book for a while as I enjoy Paglia on the YouTubes, despite her near impossible trains of thoughts to follow. This collection of essays is no different, however, her writing is downright poetic, in particular, how she describes women as nature. It was sobering and beautiful. It blew my mind, knocked me out, shook me back to consciousness, and I was compelled to read it over and over again. Since I write fantasy fiction, I never expected this type of book to inspire ...more
Joe Haack
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
The Goodreads rating system isn't nuanced enough to categorize this book, which is really a "best of" collection. I'll say this: her writings illustrate the power of presuppositions, because she names them (i.e. "My code of modern Amazonism..." or "Although I am an atheist who worships only great nature, I recognize the superior moral beauty of religious doctrine that defends the sanctity of life") and then tries her best to make arguments that are consistent with these first principles. I think ...more
Isabel Hogue
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed these common sense essays about feminism from someone who seems to delight in humanity, rather than hate half of it.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
i can read a book that includes views that i disagree with. fine. but a badly written book? nope.
R.J. Gilmour
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book is a collection of speeches and essays that Paglia has published over the years. While there is a lot of overlap between the subjects and her ideas it is a great reader for anyone interested in her libertarian view of feminism. I had never really read much of her work and while the book is repetitive it is a nice primer for anyone curious about her work.

"The title of this book exalts freedom as an indispensable condition for the incubation and flourishing of individualism. My libertari
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book of essays is mostly very entertaining. It is pretty repetitive tho with multiple pieces about the state of feminism and her critique of gender studies. I find some of what she says interesting and even refreshing. Other stuff is much worse --her thoughts on the inadequacies of female politicians to take the US presidency, lots of her ideas about rape culture and responses to sexual violence. She seems at times to be pandering to a male reader, or maybe just baiting feminists (who seem ...more
Carlton White
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read a small amount of her work and was interested in delving deeper into her thoughts and philosophies. This book was an excellent way to do just that. While it did get a bit repetitive, it showed me why many of my "feminist" friends do not like her. I find her refreshing and with a good dose of common sense. ...more
Mark McCormick
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Need a Xanax after reading Paglia. Mean it as a compliment, obviously.
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
In fact, I think I found why I have so many problems with the current wave of feminism. Maybe I am just a 60s feminist (a male one!).
Some parts from the book are a bit wrong, some completely...
I don´t think the women will gain their rights just playing the game and imposing themselves at the moment without a change in the patriarchal way of things.
BUT, I just like the "contrarian" positions of Paglia, there are a mainstream discourse in feminism today and, I think, I (male, cis, white, for clari
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
Despite the flaws I perceive of her arguments, I would still highly recommend this book, entirely on the point that it is fore warner on modern educational, feminist, political dogma. As someone who understands what it is to be sure in an extreme worldview, I find her contrastive opinions of the modern trends, though sometimes disagreeable, to yet be imperative to any intellectual feminist. I believe it is important to understand our own opinions through the eyes of someone who believes of said ...more
Jessica Hope
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I have read in terms of feminist theory, and it was incredibly empowering. I think I have avoided other books on feminism, as a lot of what I have heard before was mainly men bashing. While I do not agree 100% with Camille Paglia, her points on how the second wave of feminism has hurt equality for women in the long run struck a cord with me. The book was easy to read and digest. It is a compilation of essays, interviews, and articles she has written for a number of print m ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #85 Free Women, Free Men by Camille Paglia 1 3 Aug 25, 2018 08:35AM  

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Camille Anna Paglia is an American social critic, author and teacher. Her book, Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, published in 1990, became a bestseller. She is a professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She has been variously called the "feminist that other feminists love to hate," a "post-feminist fe

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