Reading Women

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stephanie Staal discusses how rereading Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique led her to reread the great feminist works she first read as an undergraduate. Reading Women: How the Great Books of Feminism Changed My Life explores the significance and relevance of these classic books.


Stephanie Staal

Comments [4]

Wollstoncraft from NYC

Replying to MIKE

“Anytime you apply an "ism" to a particular group of people you are automatically being unequal. Islamism . . . Evangelism . . . Catholicism. . .”

No. Just because something ends in an ism doesn’t make it the same as every other ism. You can’t just list religions as isms to make your point; isms applied to group and socio-political identity vary across the spectrum.

Capitalism. Communism. Patriotism. Humanism. Scientism. Fascism. Modernism. Postmodernism. Liberalism. Conservatism. Atheism. Theism. Secularism. Autism. Pluralism. Egalitarianism. etc.

The ending ism just denotes a practice or following of whatever term it was amended to, it can be applied to almost anything, there is nothing that makes all isms inherently similar or suggesting a superior ideology.

MIKE, you seem really confused in your perceptions of feminism, I’m not sure if you are serious or if you are just trolling but you really do sound like Glenn Beck in front of one of his chalkboards.

Regarding the interview:

I would have welcomed more analysis of feminism as well, I suppose it’s all in the book, but the interview could have taken us a little deeper. I don’t think this was Leonard’s fault. I just wasn’t sure where this new interest in feminism had taken Ms Staal or why feminism is or isn’t important to her or to us today.

Apr. 12 2011 06:50 PM
Mary from New York

From what I heard it was feminist analysis "lite". Ms. Staal was unable to respond to the question on Germaine Greer - had she heard of her? There seemed to be no ability to analyze all the different strands of feminism from "Off Our Backs" to Jean Kirkpatrick's brand of overcoming stereotypes. These strands are in all the literature - maybe there's discussion in the book, but very little awareness came across in the interview. I was really hoping to hear a young feminist's take on history but it was not very inspiring at all.

Apr. 12 2011 02:03 PM
Barbara Lifton from New York City

Ms Staal is 40 years too late. Where was she in college? In a cocoon? We are still here Ms Staal, fighting the same battles over and over, such as insuring that women of all economic levels have adequate reproductive health treatment. I am 76 and tired, Ms. Staal -- where are you? Still reading? How about doing something?
BTW, I don't care about Mike's fear of feminism. We are here to stay Mike- we are 53+% of the world population, and have as much power as you do and are probably smarter than you.
Swallow it and start enjoying it.

Apr. 12 2011 01:45 PM

I support equality and agree that there is not gender equality in America. I understand the oppression to which women are vulnerable, but I dont think feminism is a movemend about equality. Anytime you apply an "ism" to a particular group of people you are automatically being unequal. Islamism . . . Evangelism . . . Catholicism. . . all of these belief systems teach that the beliefs of others are inferior and all of them spark backlash. Feminist generally refuse to accept any challenge to the narrative of women being opressed throughout history. Women held power in ancient times, women opressed others. There are many impediments to gender equality in America, one of these impediments is feminism.

Apr. 12 2011 01:36 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.