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Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  3,447 ratings  ·  643 reviews
Are you a feminist? Do you believe women are human beings and that they deserve to be treated as such? That women deserve all the same rights and liberties bestowed upon men? If so, then you are a feminist . . . or so the feminists keep insisting. But somewhere along the way, the movement for female liberation sacrificed meaning for acceptance, and left us with a banal, po ...more
Paperback, 151 pages
Published February 2017 by Melville House
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Emma Cannon I think it's important to be made angry when reading things, especially feminist literature. If we don't, then we're pretty much just existing in an e…moreI think it's important to be made angry when reading things, especially feminist literature. If we don't, then we're pretty much just existing in an echo chamber. What's the point of reading feminist literature if all you're going to do is agree with it?
In any case, I think that it is an aggressive analyzation of feminism. Jessa Crispin is most definitely a feminist if your definition of feminism aligns with that of radical feminists (which mine does). I read it all in about an hour because her points were so thought-provoking and interesting. If you are serious about feminist literature and rethinking everything modern feminism wants you to focus on, then read this book. It will give you a whole new perspective and will help you to see our modern movement in a whole new light.
If you are not prepared to open your heart and your mind, then I would not recommend reading this book unless you already agree with radical feminist ideologies. That being said, I think you should still read it even if you disagree. Perhaps your mind will be changed on some things, which we should never ever be afraid of. (less)

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Dec 30, 2016 rated it did not like it
Condescending, hypocritical, and bizarrely naive.

I barely know where to start with this; I only started taking notes halfway through and I may come back later with more thorough annotations, but for now, let's begin where Crispin ends -- with her own final summation of her basic thesis.

If you're not up for this, if you just want your life to be comfortable, if you just want to make your money and watch your shows and do as well as you can in this lifetime, then admit it to yourself. You are not
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Jessa Crispin sets out to discomfit us. She is so antagonistic to begin I almost put the audiobook aside. The author reads the Penguin Random House edition, and there is a sarcasm and spite to her voice that I long ago decided I would rather avoid. Yes, she’s angry. But she made me curious. How and why could she push my buttons and why was she bothering? I started again the next day and her arguments sounded different the second time around. I agreed with her.

Essentially Crispin is saying that t
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
“Heterosexuality is a fucking hellscape for women” (note from talk by author, February 2017, NYC). I wondered what percentage of the largely White, female NYU undergraduate students crammed into the Strand Bookstore more seriously considered lesbianism at that moment. (Also reminded me of a story about a mix of straight and gay academic couples in a feminist t-group in the 70s where the claim was that "feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice" - where does that leave straight men, in p ...more
Julie Ehlers
Mar 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
Where to begin. This is a book about how feminism has failed women by being too limited in its thinking. It's definitely possible to make this argument in an effective way, but that's not what Jessa Crispin has done here. First of all, the "feminist" of this book is a moving target. It often seems to refer to "universal feminists," Crispin's made-up term for the allegedly vast number of women out there who want to make feminism as bland as possible so everyone feels comfortable calling themselve ...more
A provocative book that has a couple of important insights but hurts itself overall by prioritizing stylistic flare over substance. Its title, for example - when you read the book, you can see that Jessa Crispin used this title just to draw people's attention, because she calls for a restructuring of feminism more than a dismissal of it. As you can see from the available Goodreads reviews, her lack of clarity detracts from the book. She does not cite research, and she will often make bombastic c ...more
Mar 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNFed this trash. You can't write a whole book arguing against imaginary people and their imaginary arguments. Absolutely no rigour or research of contemporary feminism went into this. It's frankly embarrassing. ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
Please go read some Audre Lorde, Patricia Hill Collins, or Angela Davis instead. I agree that mainstream feminism does not address many of the issues Crispin suggests, but actual intersectional feminism does.

To do what Crispin has done here and equate anti-capitalism as Not Feminism and brand these ideas as her own is completely unfair to and bordering on appropriative of the many feminists out there, particularly women of color, who have done a lot of work in this area and made it part of the
Apr 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism, essays
Making feminism a universal pursuit might look like a good thing—or at the very least a neutral thing—but in truth it progresses, and I think accelerates, a process that has been detrimental to the feminist movement: the shift of focus from society to the individual. What was once collective action and a shared vision for how women might work and live in the world has become identity politics, a focus on individual history and achievement, and an unwillingness to share space with people with dif ...more
Viv JM
If by declaring myself a feminist I must reassure you that I am not angry, that I pose no threat, then feminism is definitely not for me.
I am angry. And I do pose a threat.

I can see why this is a polarising book. It is angry; it is a bit ranty; and it is far from a comfortable read. However, I think it is an important book, and I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with a lot of what Crispin says. In particular she takes to task the idea that women in power is an inherently good thing and wond
There's a lot that's interesting in this short, engaging book, and early in Why I am Not a Feminist, Jessa Crispin makes some points that had me nodding along. She opens her manifesto with a disparaging list of what feminism now is. It has become 'a decade-long conversation about which television show is a good television show and which television show is a bad television show'. It is 'a narcissistic reflexive thought process: I define myself as a feminist, so everything I do is a feminist act, ...more
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
My review for the Chicago Tribune:

"A little etymology can be helpful in approaching Jessa Crispin's latest book, "Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto." The word "manifesto" arrived in English by way of Italian and has come to mean "a public declaration explaining past actions and announcing the motives for forthcoming ones."

The deliberate paradox — it is both feminist and against feminism simultaneously — of the title of Crispin's brief, bellicose and bracing book is telling as well i
Rachel Kowal
I started taking notes as I was reading this. Notes of what resonated with me, what piqued my interest, what I found off-putting, what seemed problematic or contradictory. And for a while, the latter bugged me. But here's the thing. Feminism is complicated. Being a woman is complicated. Being a person in this strange world is complicated. It's good to think about these things. It's good to ask: What next? To examine and scrutinize our behaviors and our motivations. Especially when it makes you f ...more
Review forthcoming in Publishers Weekly. This was an unimpressive addition to the centuries-long tradition of calling out feminism for being bankrupt. However, in her rush to condemn contemporary feminists, the author employs stale caricatures that we're all familiar with decades past; she fails engage with the increasingly diverse and intersectional feminisms of the present and thus undermines her own arguement to those who might be most sympathetic to calls for a more radical activism. Skip th ...more
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: politics
This book reinvigorated my feminism and my anti-racism, which had gone dormant in recent years. Part of the reason I think it went dormant was because of the popular watered-down feminism she calls out in this book. I think Crispin will become a big figure in our feminist discourse when this hits the shelves!
ARC provided by the publisher.
Moira Elise
Jul 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
The attitude of, Im not like those other feminists, was a prevalent and toxic attitude throughout this short piece. This was honestly a hate read and better suited to a blog or tumblr than a published book. I was curious. It was grossly ahistorical, unresearched and unreasoned. I wrote an entire essay on this in notes, and what it boils down to is her compilation of all feminisms into this horrific stereotype of white liberal feminism without having read anything white liberal feminist. She has ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gender-studies
Jessa Crispin is in for a world of internet hurt. But, she can handle it, and as she says, the radical truth isn't a comfortable place.

Why is feminism so focused on equality within a patriarchal system instead of upending the system?

This glaring question is at the heart of a seriously uncomfortable book. It calls out complacency, a safe universal feminism, the outrage culture that does no one any good, and men. Let's stop worrying about men. We don't have to take revenge on them or oppress them,
Amal Bedhyefi
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: favourites
"If you are surrounded by people who agree with you , you do not have to do much thinking. If you are surrounded by people who identify themselves the same way you do , you do not have to work at constructing a unique identity. If you are surrounded by people who behave the same way you do , you do not have to question your own choices."

and that is why I chose to read this book . I wanted someone to challenge my own ideas on Feminism and to offer a different approach/perspective to the Feminism
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Look, this book *seeks* to pick an argument with you. I don't quite get the low ratings that fault it for doing precisely that-- Crispin's open about her intentions. And the book is difficult, impassioned, angry, considered, quarrelsome, and that over-used but here accurate word: searing. It will make you think. It will force you to argue with it. At times it will likely make you want to hurl it across a room; at others, it will make you exclaim in agreement. She's not here to reify your own thi ...more
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: and-a-half-stars
I've been trying to put together a cogent review, and I have no idea how to rate such a book. I both admire and repudiate it. For feminists or anyone interested in feminism, it's worth reading, being angry over, and talking through.


Having had some time to digest it, I still think it's worth reading, with the understanding that it's a polemic, and that the Why I Am Not a Feminist title is not to be taken at face value.

I'm interested in books like Crispin's because, while I strongly identify a
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This book scratches a lot of surfaces. That's not a bad thing, but as Stephanie Convery states in herGuardian review, it falls short of offering ideas and alternatives to the current structure of society.

This is a quick read, and it's accessible. Crispin calls out universal (or white, or choice, or liberal, take your pick) feminism and the stress of the individual over society. I found myself nodding in agreement to most of this book, and laughing at (with) parts of it as well. I think this book
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
WOW JUST WOW!! This book sums up everything I have been saying and feeling about the co-opted feminist movement since the new millennium. I was so happy to know that I wasn't alone after being hung out to dry by my so-called liberal friends. Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto is a wake up call for all women in America who are complacently still part of the patriarchal status quo. It is a call to arms for all women everywhere to join hands together to stand against violence, war, pover ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ms. Crispin does an excellent job clarifying a lot of basic and more sophisticated tenets of feminism in her effort to clarify how pop-culture has bastardized feminism's original initiatives. Her main arguments IIRC are against universal feminism, choice feminism, and outrage (the kind you see online mostly). I can't sum up the book, nor do it justice here, and I will likely have to listen again to really understand her message, but on first listen it her thoughts struck me on two distinct level ...more
Jenny Drai
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
I found much to both agree and disagree with in Jessa Crispin' manifesto, Why I Am Not A Feminist. I connected most to her ideas about embracing feminism as a platform to challenge and dismantle patriarchy and capitalism, thus moving away from our current notion of what Crispin labels choice-based feminism. (In other words, "I'm a woman, I made a choice, therefore I am a feminist.") I also responded to her commentary on internet outrage, but I'm coming from a place where as a woman in my early f ...more
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: feminism
A critique of Second Wave feminism I'd pair with The Feminine Mystique and read right after We Were Feminists Once for someone new to feminism.

Otherwise, a whiter, more cis-het normative (LGTBQ folks are often considered separate from women in the text, which we know isn't true) version of Audrie Lourde's "the master's tools will never destroy the master's house."

Also, brown people, poor people, lesbians, trans* folks and gender non-binary people can benefit from feminism and a feminism of exc
Rachel León
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, read-in-2017
(4.5 stars, rounded up because this book is so smart and necessary)

This book is so damn smart and sharp. Crispin looks at the term 'feminist' and how it's used so casually in our culture-- sometimes simply a trendy label one wears. She argues that feminism has been watered down out of fear making anyone uncomfortable. Yet revolutions aren't born from comfortable spaces and this book is a challenge for more than the mediocre goals of 'feminism' today. It's a short but very thought provoking book.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such mixed feelings - this started with a bang, I punched my fist in the air and said 'yes!' At last an unapologetic snarky feminist book calling out pop feminism and its complacencies. Elsewhere, I admired where Crispin was willing to go, to the uncomfortable corners of female experience, to the sometimes alienating consequences of individualised feminism. But soon enough the polemic grew tiresome, repetitive and unconvincing. I know this is a manifesto : deep reading and analysis is not necess ...more
i'll get around to writing a longer review probably but basically, jessa crispin makes some great points but i feel like that's all they are, y'know. my pal Casey said this was like 5 essays and that's pretty accurate. she offers some great criticisms or rebuttals to modern/liberal/choice feminism, and i appreciate that--but she does not offer a cohesive vision of what she wants feminism to be or do instead.

(also, i really cannot get past the chapter where she basically says that yea
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have been deeply curious about this book since I first heard that Jessa was writing it. I've usually enjoyed Jessa's cultural commentary, especially in her tarot writings, and her digs at feminism here and there have often made me wonder about her stance. Well, here, at last, it is.

This book offers a stinging rebuke to white feminism. She doesn't call it that here, and in interviews she has sad that she deliberately did not label it such. She is either aiming her blows at feminism in general,
May 11, 2017 added it
Not really sure how to rate this one. I'd agree with criticisms that it'd be better as an essay than as a book - it feels quite unstructured and light on research. But its central point, that feminism has become toothless in its individualism and attempted universality, is certainly true. ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
So much radical feminism for thought. Crispin argues that feminism has become banal, selfish, non-threatening and ineffective. She wants us to dismantle the capitalist system, one created to oppress us, rather than find ways it's willing to accommodate us or try to make it equitable. Burn it down is the message and so much of her argument is convincing though I would have liked answers to how she proposes we do this. I didn't feel comfortable with her selective defences of second wave feminists ...more
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Jessa Crispin is the editor and founder of Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Guardian and The Toronto Globe and Mail, among other publications.

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  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
21 likes · 7 comments
“It is always easier to find your sense of value by demeaning another’s value. It is easier to define yourself as ‘not that,’ rather than do an actual accounting of your own qualities and put them on the scale.” 11 likes
“Radical change is scary. It’s terrifying, actually. And the feminism I support is a full-on revolution. Where women are not simply
to participate in the world as it already exists—an inherently corrupt world, designed by a patriarchy to subjugate and control and destroy all challengers—but are actively able to re-shapeit. Where women do not simply knock on the doors of churches, of governments, of capitalist marketplaces and politely ask for admittance, but create their own religious systems, governments, and economies. My feminism is not one of incremental change, revealed in the end to be The Same As Ever, But More So. It is a cleansing fire.”
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