Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, this brilliant, insightful, controversial, and courageous book contains the best of Pollitt's pieces, which have galvanized readers of The Nation, The New Yorker and The New York Times, on subjects that range from abortion and breast implants to date-rape, marriage, the media, and violence....
|Title||:||Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism|
|Number of Pages||:||208 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism Reviews
It's not that Katha Pollitt is a bad writer, or even that she's wrong about most of the issues. What makes her writing so hard to take is the sense of entitlement -- the rich white college girl who has all the answers. Read the essay on Lorena Bobbitt. (Remember her? The girl who chopped her husband's Johnson off with a knife?) Katha Pollitt quotes a gal pal of hers saying of Lorena something like, "oh, well, she's borderline retarded." Actually no, she was just a working class woman who wasn't fortunate enough to be handed an Ivy League education by wealthy and adoring parents!But to Katha Pollitt, you're either "reasonable" i.e. affluent and college educated, or else you're "borderline retarded." And even when the proles get out of line she takes it as some kind of joke. Writing about Lorena Bobbitt's knife attack, she gloats "the privates are more radical than the generals." Well, yeah. But who made you a general exactly? Is the feminist movement only for the top 1 percent of women college graduates?It was the same thing back when Gold Star Mother Cindy Sheehan was running for Congress, and Katha wrote a column for the NATION which basically said "working class women are to be seen and not heard. We welcome them as figure heads, but not as leaders."Is there any such thing as a working class feminist? And if not, where has the movement failed? In the Civil Rights movement, you had Martin Luther King, a graduate of Morehouse College, and you had Malcolm X, a seventh grade dropout and ex-con. These two leaders disagreed on almost everything, and yet Martin Luther King never, ever tried to "pull rank" on the basis of his college education. Katha Pollitt pulls rank every time she opens her mouth.
I'm certainly entrenched in the "preaching to the choir" camp of Pollitt's audience, but nevertheless, had a wonderful time reading this collection of short essays, most originally published between the mid-eighties and mid-nineties.Not only is Pollitt a witty, eminently quotable, and warm writer, she also does not shy from controversy. I think what I admired the most was her strong emphasis on social justice and addressing the root issues of many "women's issues" the media chooses to focus its blathering, inaccurate chorus on from time to time. Namely, she is not afraid to call poverty what it is, and point out the social forces that uniquely disadvantage women within systems of race and class oppression.I was especially compelled by Pollitt's arguments regarding surrogacy and fetal rights. I don't think I'd ever thought through the issue completely before, but her incisive writing pared away the tangle of conflicting rhetoric on the subject to point out that the more we separate mother and baby when we consider pregnancy, the more we treat a woman like a vessel, and the child carried therein as a mere temporary passenger. This was an eye-opener for me.At the end of the day, it comes down to treating women as people, 100% of the time, with rights that are sacrosanct. Would that society could find this simple in practice...
Katha Pollitt is one of the most amazing feminist writers on the planet. And this is easily her best collection ever. It's a bit dated as these are all from the late 80s and early 90s, but it was helpful for me to understand the important things that happened when I was too young to know about them (or know anyone's opinion other than that of the conservatives in my house.) And many of the events of those years still affect the world of today.
I'm only giving it four stars because I wish I'd known to read it ten years ago. Why, oh why, wasn't this required reading for intro to women's studies?? This book would have done me so much good back then! Pollitt tackles all the hardest issues surrounding American women today, and tackles them with wit and wisdom and common sense. I really love her work.
"Beneath her portrayal of domesticity as a satisfying and enjoyable pastime is what one Amazon.com reader calls 'a relentless paean to obsessive practices.' Menelson wants us to sanitize our sponges and disinfect our dish towels after every use, change the kitty litter ever other day, put on fresh pillowcases twice a week, vacuum our mattress pads wheneer we change the sheets and unplug and wash the refrigerator once a week! Taken seriously, this is domesticity as paranoia-oh, no, a germ! Takes in small doses, it's housekeeping as a hobby for busy professionals, like gourmet cooking, or (more likely) a fantasy: one more self-improvement project that lasts a week and makes you feel guility forever... Put Eve Engesser's story [almost lost her sons for a missed workfare appointment] story togher with Cheryl Mendelson, and what you have is domesticity and motherhood as class priviledges. For poor women, take a "job" or lose your shelter and your kids. For the well-off, running the house becomes a holy task, than which nothing of which the human spirit is capable could possibly be more important."Katha PollittYou know, I like a clean house as much as the next person. I'm usually also willing to work to get it that way. However, I am always intensely annoyed by the need to clean up messes created by others, especially if they aren't guests. I have, at times, actually cleaned my fridge out weekly - giving it a wiping down while figuring out what my grocery list should entail just seemed smart. I usually clean once a week - though I may dust or mop my floor a bit less often. I've been known to let the bathroom go for a bit and I have to admit that my dishes aren't always washed within 24 hours.Cleaning seems much more satisfying when I'm doing it all for myself than I ever recall it being when I lived with roommates or my ex.
This is the best book I have read in a while. I imagine I sound like this when I blog and passionately debate in bars, but secretly i know I am not this on it. EVERYONE should read the "family values" essay if nothing else. but, not nothing else, because, really, all the others must be read too. She even changed my mind on one issue.
I could not put this down! Pollitt is a wonderful writer, and a humorful feminist (yes, apparently they do exist...). It is sad how little has changed since she wrote these essays in the late 80's and early 90's.
I have a shelf of books that I insist my daughters read throughout their lives this sits on that shelf.
Katha Pollitt, how I love thee.
Incisive, witty essays that point out gender-related double standards. Great and accessible starting place (IMO) for feminist thought and criticism.