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`Read E-pub í Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women ¼ Skillfully Probing the Attack on Women s Rights Opting out, security moms, desperate housewives, the new baby fever the trend stories ofleave no doubt that American women are still being barraged by the same backlash messages that Susan Faludi brilliantly exposed in herbestselling book of revelations Now, the book that reignited the feminist movement is back in a fifteenth anniversary edition, with a new preface by the author that brings backlash consciousness up to date When it was first published, Backlash made headlines for puncturing such favorite media myths as the infertility epidemic and the man shortage, myths that defied statistical realities These willfully fictitious media campaigns added up to an antifeminist backlash Whatever progress feminism has recently made, Faludi s words today seem prophetic The media still love stories about stay at home moms and the dangers of women s career ambitions the glass ceiling is still low women are still punished for wanting to succeed basic reproductive rights are still hanging by a thread The backlash clearly existsWith passion and precision, Faludi shows in her new preface how the creators of commercial culture distort feminist concepts to sell products while selling women downstream, how the feminist ethic of economic independence is twisted into the consumer ethic of buying power, and how the feminist quest for self determination is warped into a self centered quest for self improvement Backlash is a classic of feminism, an alarm bell for women of every generation, reminding us of the dangers that we still face Feminism is a word that has inspired various conflicting emotions for me throughout my life, and has meant different things depending on the situation or conflict at hand As such, I went into Backlash with my eyes open and my mind confused would it be a pot banging feminist treatise, or overwhelmingly a book built on things I would associate with common sense In the end, it ended up being a bit of bothBacklash politics may be defined as a reaction by groups which are declining i Feminism is a word that has inspired various conflicting emotions for me throughout my life, and has meant different things depending on the situation or conflict at hand As such, I went into Backlash with my eyes open and my mind confused would it be a pot banging feminist treatise, or overwhelmingly a book built on things I would associate with common sense In the end, it ended up being a bit of bothBacklash politics may be defined as a reaction by groups which are declining in a felt sense of importance, influence and power Lipset and Raab, Backlash, p243 Of course I was aware of the negative, sometimes violent, reaction to feminism and the rise of women s lib in the latter part of the twentieth century however something I wasn t aware of that Faludi spends some time going into in depth at the beginning of the book is that backlash is cyclical Whenever women are beginning to penetrate the workforce, exercise their independence of men, or otherwise shun the feminine wife stereotype applied to them, society at large rushes to right this unnatural wrong.In the late 1800 s when women were pushing for rights, they were labelled as hysteric or suffering from neurasthenia, locked in dim, quiet rooms to cure them of their ill In the 40 s, when the majority of men were unavailable for the workforce due to World War 2, women stepped into the void and showed that they were every bit as competent and industrious as men across every industry When the men came back from the war and found their jobs filled by their wives, their sisters, their children, the stereotype of the 50 s housewife was created and pushed incredibly hard Every woman was expected to be the perfect, smiling, pie making Stepford Wife And then of course we have the Women s Liberation movement of the 70 s which swept the world, but specifically America, by storm and Backlash is dedicated almost entirely to analysing the decade following this rapid growth of women s rights, the 80 s in the United States of America Backlash is split into four parts Myths and Flashbacks opens the book, explaining in detail the various epidemics that were plaguing career focused and single women in the 80 s man shortages and birth dearths A woman who prioritises her career and doesn t nail down a man early on in life has next to no chance of finding a husband past 30, a woman who is consistently stressed and focused on her job will be unable to conceive, or will encounter problems during pregnancy These myths were touted and repeated ad nauseum, and as Faludi shows, patently untrue marriage statistics of women in their late 20 s early 30 s were far better than suggested, and if anything the dip in male sperm count during the 80 s causedissues conceiving than any woman s career.Part Two, the Backlash in Popular Culture, goes into detail on the portrayal of women again, specifically career focused or single women in TV, film, and the fashion and beauty industries The bias is clear if you look at it right single men in media during that time were happy bachelors, enjoying their lives and as many women as they could get their hands on Single women, on the other hand, were often neurotic and desperate with the idea of finding Mister Right Any woman who behaves as men did with their spinsterhood were labelled as irresponsible Magnum P.I could have a new girlfriend every week Cagney, of Cagney and Lacey, was problematic to portray as vulnerableAnd why did she need to be portrayed as vulnerable Because that s the way the vast majority of Americans feel women should be I wonder how many men there are in the U.S today who d be anxious to marry a hard boiled female cop p163 164 Along with this push for women to return to anatural , maternal role in the family came also a change in the portrayal of children in film and TV whereas in the 70 s children were shown predominantly as early teenagers with thoughts of their own, smart alecs and certainly not easy to deal with, the majority of children portrayed in 80 s media took the form of swaddled, adorable, cuddly babies who barely cried Wouldn t you want one The focus of Part Three, Backlash Movers, Shakers and Thinkers, are those people who dominated the bookshelves and the TV sets of the decade, perpetuating the idea that women, in fact, can t have it all Anti feminists took many forms but what surprised me was how many of them were either women, or husband wife partnerships indeed these became the most popular, as the backlash could point to them as evidence that even women think that feminism has gone too far These women, coincidentally, saw no issue with them evangelising women to return to the kitchen and not to put their children into evil day care centres whilst simultaneously neglecting their own family, home and womanhood to be successful media personalities.The final part was possibly the most confronting and distressing to read Backlashings The Effect on Women s Minds, Jobs and Bodies Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts attempted to talk women down from their independence their high standards, their feminism is ruining men and society for them They were the problem not men This culminated with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders voting to include masochistic personality disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder within their pages of legitimate mental ailments the latter would give fresh legitimacy to any boyfriend or husband who advised their partner was acting crazy whilst in the throes of PMS or PMT The former, fartroubling, suggested that any woman who did not immediately leave a relationship or situation that was causing them distress, could be legally labelled to have a masochistic personality A wife who doesn t leave her abusive husband because she s afraid of his revenge, a woman who stays in a job where she is regularly sexually harassed all of them free game, legally Throughout the 80 s, women s penetration into the workforce was touted as evidence that feminism had worked and that they could all go home now This ignored the fact that women were still horribly underpaid compared to men, and that the majority of women s growth was in traditionally female industries secretarial, typists, salespersons, etc With the Raegan s traditionalist government of the 80 s cutting almost all funding to Equal Employment Opportunity federal programs, there were very little reasons for employers to truly strive for equal opportunity in their employees Any women who complained or attempted legal action as a result of being sidelined, demoted, or fired wrongly was targeted and often found it impossible to land another job they were troublemakers.The final portion of this chapter, Bodies, was most sobering the anti abortion movement, fetal protections, and workplace reproductive protections The latter two included two of the most distressing anecdotes fetal protections, of a pregnant woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer being overriden with her requests for chemotherapy and treatment because it may have hurt her fetus, and ultimately a judge ruling that dangerous caesarean section be carried out to save the fetus, despite numerous doctors saying that this would likely kill the woman The fetus was delivered, still and cold the mother slipped into a coma as a result of the procedure and, two days later, passed away Faludi stresses that in the latter half of the 80 s, the predominant medical and legal opinion was that the fetus was already an independent, willful patient the mother, however, was simply room and board for this person temporarily Fetal rights wereimportant than the rights of the women who carried them.Finally, American Cyanamid s reproductive protections in one of their plants several women who worked with chemicals daily, most of them either single mothers or mothers with 4 children who took the jobs in the first place because they were traditionally men s jobs and were paid as such due to the risk that the workers went through with their constant contact with lead, and the potential for birth defects in future pregnancies, the women workers were issued with an ultimatum either be shifted to a lower paying position in a different part of the plant, or be sterilised Five women chose the latter, only to lose their jobs when the government shut down their section of the plant months later regardless for health violations Despite the fact that lead exposure can just as easily cause birth defects through contact with the father, through their sperm, this was never considered a problem, and the men were never issued such an ultimatum.I came out of Backlash somewhat uneasy and unsure what to think My instant reaction is that this all deals with a time three decades past, in a different country, and whilst well written and incredibly fascinating it doesn t really relate to me and mine But another part of my mind notes the similarities between the 80 s backlash, and the current situation regarding the LGBT community and other fringe groups who are struggling for rights and acknowledgement And all I can do is hope that we ve moved on.TL DR Good book, clearly biased, but still very powerful Highly recommend to anyone This book is worth reading not just to remind us that the women s question has not been solved and it is always timely to be reminded of that but also because it shows how we are manipulated by the media in a way that is rare in any book It is an utterly depressing read I read this at about the time that I stopped watching American films I have seen only really a handful of them since Her description of Fatal Attraction ought to be made compulsory reading Actually, the whole book sho This book is worth reading not just to remind us that the women s question has not been solved and it is always timely to be reminded of that but also because it shows how we are manipulated by the media in a way that is rare in any book It is an utterly depressing read I read this at about the time that I stopped watching American films I have seen only really a handful of them since Her description of Fatal Attraction ought to be made compulsory reading Actually, the whole book should be and come the revolution it will be.I gave this to my eldest daughter to read when she was far too young, but it was lovely watching her come over to me months later after having picked it up again and say, I can t believe this, this is just terrible, did you know that A very proud moment, I can assure you Having been raised by a radical feminist mother, Backlash along side Andrea Dworkin s Woman Hating gave me an insight into my Mother s frustration growing up It stands as the most introspective book on feminism since Against Our Will. As Rebecca West wrote sardonically in 1913, I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat While reading Backlash was depressing at times, I can t express how grateful I am to have come across it Thanks to Olly from Philosophy Tube As I don t live in America, I was not familiar with the multitude of anecdotes and evidence presented in the book, but unsurprisin As Rebecca West wrote sardonically in 1913, I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat While reading Backlash was depressing at times, I can t express how grateful I am to have come across it Thanks to Olly from Philosophy Tube As I don t live in America, I was not familiar with the multitude of anecdotes and evidence presented in the book, but unsurprisingly I have seen the same arguments made by men and disappointingly, many women here in my country with regard to equal rights and feminism, they were just dressed up differently to suit our own situation Sadly, the strong and independent woman brand is used in a derisive manner all around me and my female peers flee from the accusation of being feminists, who are portrayed as men haters and vicious, selfish women When in truth feminism only demands that women be free to define themselves instead of having their identity defined for them, time and again, by their culture and their men Susan Faludi does a great job in this book I loved how each chapter has a specific theme, such as the media, the movies, fashion my favourite chapter , beauty products, politics, reproductive rights, and psychology Each was prolific in examples of how women s progress was being impeded and slowed down by insecure men for a variety of reasons, chief of which their fear of being emasculated There was also their fear of their jobs being taken over by women Some anecdotes were outright frightening, especially in the reproductive rights chapter, and I have no idea how cruel some people can get like in the Angela Carder Case Here s one really scary example, where the threat of violence was actually used T he older a man gets without marrying, he writes, thelikely he is to kill himself Only a wedding ring, Gilder warns, can tame the barbarians But if the typical single man is this unappealing, what woman would consider a date with him, much less a marriage Gilder s answer to women You have no choice wed or prepare to die T he peripheral men are not powerless, he advises ominously They can buy knives and guns, drugs and alcohol, and thus achieve a brief and predatory dominance They will rape and pillage, debauch and despoil Better to march down the aisle with them than to meet them in a dark alley.I was like WTF have I just read I have also learned that the media is not to be trusted and that one should always use their brains before believing anything it spouts This is especially important in an age where social media allows fake news to spread like wildfire This is not a cheerful book, but despite its bleakness, it brings hope Because despite all this, despite the scary, the silly, and the outright ridiculous, and the attacks on women who simply wish for equal opportunities to live fulfilled lives, we have persevered Backlash is abundant with examples of women who have kept moving forward despite the hardships and the obstacles they faced, and this was truly inspiring All in all, it was a worthy read, and I recommend it to everyone