Fighting with the Sky

We Don't Need Another Wave [Women's Studies Wednesday]

Posted on: August 12, 2009

Every Wednesday I will be discussing a book that relates to Women’s Studies. This could be a book that I read for a Women’s Studies class (which a lot of them at the beginning of this feature will be) or a book that I found on my own that I’ve enjoyed as well.

We Don’t Need Another Wave: Dispatches from the Next Generation of Feminists Edited by Melody Berger

We Don’t Need Another Wave is a compilation of essays about the status of feminism today. As Melody Berger says in the introduction, it’s time to stop talking about a “new wave” or the “next wave” and actually get down to work on women’s rights. “We don’t need another wave. We need a movement,” (22).

I first read this book for Introduction to Women’s Studies. It’s a great compilation of essays from a wide range of feminists discussing as many issues as you can think of that feminists would address. This book really stuck out to me in that class because it addressed so many of the issues that I care about in an approachable way.

One of my favorite essays in the book is one of the first ones: “You’re a Feminist. Deal.” by Jessica Valenti. I really liked this because it spoke to one of my problems: people who are feminist but qualify every statement as “I’m not a feminist, but…” As Valenti says in this essay:

Analyzing the word feminist and being thoughtful about your politics and identity is understandable and should be respected. Shying away from a term because you’re afraid and responding to bullshit stereotypes is just tired (24).

I couldn’t agree more. I’m all about questioning what feminism means, especially on a personal level. But if you refuse to identify as a feminist when your views are clearly feminist just because you are afraid of the stereotypes that come with the word, that’s not ok.

So what do we do now? If we accept that it’s fine and dandy that not all women are feminists, it still doesn’t mean that we can allow ambivalence on the word for those who actually are feminists. We have to figure out a way to negotiate debunking feminist myths while making sure that we’re not watering down the mission of the movement. It’s not an easy task in front of us, but it is a necessary one (26).

Right on.

This book is a great introduction to feminism, but it’s also good for people who are very familiar with feminism and expressing their feminist views. It is definitely marketed towards the younger demographic, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t enjoy it.


2 Responses to "We Don't Need Another Wave [Women's Studies Wednesday]"

Great idea to write this kind of reviews on a regular basis! Thank you for doing it, it's very useful.I love Valenti's work too.In the essay you quote, does she analyze the reasons why many women are afraid to be seen as feminists?

Clarissa,Sadly, she did not. Most of the essays in the book are only a couple pages long, which makes it a good intro kind of reading. But she does address this kind of thing in some of her other works.P.S. If you love Valenti's work and haven't read this already, make sure you read the Purity Myth. It's great!

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