Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell's Reviews > Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America

Nasty Women by Samhita Mukhopadhyay
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bookshelves: netgalley, nonfiction, feminism

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The last presidential election made me very upset. Like many Americans, I asked myself, "How did this man get elected?" But also, "Why were so many people willing to overlook all the terrible things he said? Why did 53% of women vote for him, despite the remarks he made about women of all kinds?" And, most terrifyingly of all: "How did we become so willing to turn a blind eye to, or, worse, actively participate in or encourage acts of aggression and hate towards those who are different?"

NASTY WOMEN is a collection of essays from various feminist writers about Hillary's campaign, Trump's victory, and what they believe the aftermath of the election means for women - and for Americans, more broadly.

Some of the essays are filled with anger, some with sadness, some with hope. Some of the essays are written by queer women and women of color. Some of the essays are written by women who were born here, and some from women who came here as immigrants. There is a lot of diversity in these essays, which really added depth to this collection and made it complex and multi-faceted.

I've included a break-down of all the essays in my status updates for this book on Goodreads (all 47 of them), but here is a collection of what I see as this book's "greatest hits."

"Are Women Persons?" by Kate Harding discusses the flaws of some of the pioneering feminists, like Susan B. Anthony, who was definitely a product of her times in that she could be racist as f*ck. It cautions that historically, feminism was a white upper-class women's issue; and while these women helped paved the road for where we are now and their frustration at being held back by condescending men still resonates for many, we must not make their mistakes by throwing people of color under the bus or failing to include them when advancing feminist issues.

"Trump, The Global Gag Rule, and the Terror of Misinformation" by Jill Filipovic goes into Trump's extremely cruel expansion of the gag rule, which basically penalizes foreign groups from discussing or providing abortions and birth control to foreign countries. It's heart-breaking, but powerful.

"Is There Ever a Right Time to Talk to Your Children About Fascism?" by Kera Bolonik is written by the granddaughter of holocaust survivors and discusses how many of Trump's supporters and campaign tactics mirror that of fascist Germany during WWII.

"Permission to Vote for a Monster: Ivanka Trump and Faux Feminism" by Jessica Valenti turned out to be one of my favorites. It's a discussion of the women conservatives champion - women who are content to play by the rules set by men and who don't want to make waves, and condemns conservative women who co-opt "feminism" to push their own agendas. It helps explain the mentality of the white women who voted for Trump.

"X Cuntry: A Muslim-American Woman's Journey" by Randa Jarrar was so weird and so unlike any of the other more traditionally formatted essays in this book that it ended up being totally memorable. It's a series of dream-like diary entries written by a Palestinian immigrant discussing her encounters with racism in the toxic sociopolitical climate leading up to Trump's election.

"Trust Black Women" by Zerlina Maxwell gives the reasons black women overwhelmingly (94%) voted for Hillary Clinton. It's a good essay. There were several other similar essays in this collection, but I felt like this one was the best. Maybe because it ends on a note of hope & I'm a hopeless fool.

"All American" by Nicole Chung ends this book on a strong, resonant note. Chung is the adopted daughter of two white people (she's Korean-American). She talks about how the aftermath of the election has affected her, and her fear for her children because of their ethnicity and also because one of them has autism. She discusses the countless microaggressions she encounters from people who are so ignorant that they don't even realize they're being offensive, and the tense discussions with her conservative parents who voted for Trump and regard anyone different as suspicious.

This really is a fantastic collection from a varied and talented group of essayists. I would honestly recommend this book to anyone who was #WithHer and is feeling angry, scared, hopeless, or sad. The editors went out of their way to include a diverse array of women with many different views when it comes to the dual but related subjects of liberalism and feminism. I heartily recommend it!

Bonus pictures from the SF Women's March:


 Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!

4 to 4.5 stars
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Reading Progress

August 4, 2017 – Started Reading
August 4, 2017 – Shelved
August 4, 2017 – Shelved as: netgalley
August 4, 2017 – Shelved as: nonfiction
August 4, 2017 –
page 4
1.61% ""I'm a Woman, Vote for Me: Why We Need Identity Politics" by Samhita Mukhopadhyay"
August 5, 2017 –
page 11
4.44% "So it turns out that Samhita's essay was actually an intro, but it's a really powerful intro and actually hyped me up (even more) to read this collection of essays. I applied for this book on a whim but it's looking like that whim is going to pay off."
August 5, 2017 –
page 12
4.84% ""Are Women Persons?" by Kate Harding"
August 5, 2017 –
page 26
10.48% "That was a great essay that ties together Hillary Clinton's devastating loss and the anger that Susan B. Anthony felt while championing the suffragette movement. It discusses both women's flaws, but also shows them as progressives who had to fight against the men (and some women) of their times who if not outright shutting them down, sought to put them off or deflect. It made my heart hurt.

August 5, 2017 –
page 27
10.89% ""She Will" by Cheryl Strayed"
August 5, 2017 –
page 31
12.5% "That was a really short essay, a little too similar to the previous one, but it's basically a think piece on why Hillary lost, and how there are still people out there who believe that being a woman by nature disqualifies said women from any position of authority because "men do it better." Ends on a hopeful note, but also depressing.

August 5, 2017 –
page 32
12.9% ""As Long as It's Healthy" by Sarah Michael Hollenbeck"
August 5, 2017 –
page 39
15.73% "That was a great essay on the difficulties of having children or considering having children when the risk for disability is significant while also discussing how The Orange's behavior (specifically his mocking of Kovaleski) can be so similar to and is just as hurtful as the cruelty of childhood bullies."
August 5, 2017 –
page 40
16.13% ""We Have a Heroine Problem" by Carina Chocano"
August 5, 2017 –
page 50
20.16% "Another five star essay about how we view women - especially powerful women - in this country, and the way women are either demonized or put on pedestals according to how well they conform to society's gender norms. She also writes about how quick people - especially men - are to attack the people - especially women - who support these women, as if attacking a random stranger's opinions is their due. It hits hard."
August 5, 2017 –
page 51
20.56% ""Trump, The Global Gag Rule, and the Terror of Misinformation" by Jill Filipovic"
August 5, 2017 –
page 57
22.98% "That was an essay on the cruelty of Trump's gag rule, which cuts off the money sent to overseas groups to fund AIDS research, provide legal and medical options, and distribute birth control in foreign countries. While writing her essay, the woman reflects on the little girl in Ghana she's currently working with and how this affects her choices in life. It's heartbreaking.

August 5, 2017 –
page 58
23.39% ""Beyond the Pussy Hats" by Katha Pollitt"
August 5, 2017 –
page 68
27.42% "That was a pretty good essay on abortion but it was one of the weaker essays in the collection so far because it lacked the emotional connection that some of the previous essays had in my opinion. Still good, though.

August 5, 2017 –
page 68
27.42% ""Is There Ever a Right Time to Talk to Your Children About Fascism?" by Kera Bolonik"
August 5, 2017 –
page 76
30.65% "Great essay from a woman who is the grand-daughter of holocaust survivors and who has adopted a black son. She talks about how Trump's campaign mirrors that of the Nazis and Hitler during WWII, and how much she worries about her son's future. This is another really good essay.

August 5, 2017 –
page 78
31.45% ""Country Crock" by Samantha Irby"
August 5, 2017 –
page 86
34.68% "That was one of the weaker essays - basically, it's the anger this woman (queer, and of color) feels at living in a red state populated by people who either consciously or unconsciously go out of their way to treat her like sh*t. I loved the premise but the execution just wasn't as great as some of the other essays in this collection.

August 5, 2017 –
page 87
35.08% ""Refusing to Numb the Pain" by Sarah Hepola"
August 5, 2017 –
page 92
37.1% "That was a weird essay, too, about drinking?

August 5, 2017 –
page 93
37.5% ""Dispatches from a Texas Militarized Zone" by Melissa Arjona"
August 5, 2017 –
page 102
41.13% "A great essay about what it's like living as a Latinx person in South Texas right now, with the overenthusiastic border patrol, as well as the fact that immigration issues and reproductive issues frequently walk hand in hand.

August 5, 2017 –
page 103
41.53% ""Pulling the Wool Over Their Eyes: The Blindness of White Feminists" by Collier Meyerson"
August 5, 2017 –
page 109
43.95% "That was another one of the better essays and an argument I've seen a lot: criticism of the Women's March in the sense that it represents a problematic gap in feminism - feminists tend to ignore intersectionality and the issues of LGBT women and women of color. Their argument was that Trump's election was painful, but the discrimination that fueled that campaign has been around for a while.

August 5, 2017 –
page 110
44.35% ""A Nation Groomed and Battered" by Rebecca Solnit"
August 5, 2017 –
page 121
48.79% "Another essay on how Hillary's gender prevented people (especially but not solely) men from voting for her, and the vitriol directed towards Hillary supporters from Bernie supporters. This is a recurring theme in this book (probably not a surprise, given the title), but I do like how the essays written on the same issues tackle it from slightly different angles each time. It keeps the book from becoming stale.

August 5, 2017 –
page 122
49.19% ""The Pathology of Donald Trump" by Sady Doyle"
August 5, 2017 –
page 136
54.84% "One of the longer essays, that was about the difference between being mentally ill and being an opportunistic abuser. I'm not sure I agree with everything the author said (mostly about the words she chose to use to describe people with mental illness towards the end and how easily they can be misinterpreted) but her points about abuse and rape and sexism and opportunistic abusers were chilling and powerful.

August 5, 2017 –
page 137
55.24% ""Nasty Native Women" by Mary Kathryn Nagle"
August 5, 2017 –
page 143
57.66% "That was an essay on Native Women and some of the injustices they have suffered in the U.S. under various administrations since settlers first came here. It was good, but felt a little disorganized.

August 5, 2017 –
page 144
58.06% ""Farewell to Meritocracy" by Jamia Wilson"
August 5, 2017 –
page 150
60.48% "That was another good essay but it's also written in the vein of "how did someone so qualified lose to the political equivalent of a playground bully?" which is becoming a somewhat tiresome refrain. I mean, we all KNOW why, right? >_>

August 5, 2017 –
page 152
61.29% ""Permission to Vote for a Monster: Ivanka Trump and Faux Feminism"

Oooh, yes! This one's by Jessica Valenti! I love her!"
August 5, 2017 –
page 156
62.9% "Fascinating essay about women who co-opt feminism to push the agenda of people who are definitely not traditional feminists - specifically Ivanka Trump. Helps to explain why so many women (~54% white women) voted for Trump. My friends and I were actually just talking about conservative women who so staunchly defend sexism and outmoded gender norms as the status quo.

August 5, 2017 –
page 157
63.31% ""Donald Trump's War on the Working Class" by Sara Jaffe"
August 5, 2017 –
page 168
67.74% "Pretty good but very broad essay on injustice.

August 5, 2017 –
page 169
68.15% ""We've Always Been Nasty: Why the Feminist Movement Needs Trans Women and Gender-Nonconforming Femmes" by Meredith Talusan"
August 5, 2017 –
page 176
70.97% "Interesting essay on how trans women are excluded from feminist movements, specifically the Women's Marches that happened recently"
August 5, 2017 –
page 177
71.37% ""X Cuntry: A Muslim-American Woman's Journey" by Randa Jarrar"
August 5, 2017 –
page 186
75.0% "A dream-like series of diary entries written by a Palestinian woman leading up to Trump's election. Really good but very strange.

4.5/5 stars"
August 5, 2017 –
page 187
75.4% ""Trust Black Women" by Zerlina Maxwell"
August 5, 2017 –
page 192
77.42% "I liked that essay too. It's about why black women voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton and how Clinton made an effort to include black women in her campaign. The author discusses her disillusionment with her country after Clinton lost, and how sad it is that America is ready for a black male as a president but not for a president who isn't a man, and probably not at all for a woman of color. :/"
August 5, 2017 –
page 193
77.82% ""How to Build a Movement" by Alicia Garza"
August 5, 2017 –
page 197
79.44% "That was a really short essay about the women's march in DC.

It was OK.

August 5, 2017 –
page 197
79.44% ""All American" by Nicole Chung"
August 5, 2017 –
page 207
83.47% "Great essay from an adopted Asian-American. She talks about how the aftermath of the election have scared her for her own sake and those of her children (one of whom has Autism). She talks about the struggle of having conservative parents and dealing with careless microaggressions from friends and family who are so used to predominantly white populations that anything different is regarded with suspicion.

August 5, 2017 –
August 5, 2017 – Finished Reading
August 6, 2017 – Shelved as: feminism

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by sraxe (new)

sraxe Great review, Nenia. I'll be sure to give this a read when I can!

Also, reading this reminded me of the broader/more general version of ~not like other girls~ where marginalized folks will vote for Trump (or someone like him) because they think they're ~not like the others~ they're a ~good~ person and of course they won't be part of the discriminated.

Oh, and have you seen this video before? These voters are truly delusional and hypocritical and just...ughh.

Sam (AMNReader) Let us hopeless fools band together!

Great review.

message 3: by Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ (last edited Aug 07, 2017 09:30AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell sraxe wrote: "Great review, Nenia. I'll be sure to give this a read when I can!

Also, reading this reminded me of the broader/more general version of ~not like other girls~ where marginalized folks will vote fo..."

I could only stand to watch a few minutes of that. Ugh. :/

I honestly don't understand how some people can be so intolerant. I mean, I do, but still.

Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell Sam (AMNreader) wrote: "Let us hopeless fools band together!

Great review."

Thank you, Sam! :D

message 5: by Carmen (new) - added it

Carmen Great review.

Nenia ☠️ Hecka Wicked ☠️ Campbell Carmen wrote: "Great review."

Thanks, Carmen!

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