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


10 thoughts on “Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women

  1. says:

    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.


  2. says:

    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.


  3. says:

    As others have said, this book should be required reading Though it deals with the 80 s and feminism, the principles behind how to be critical of the press and not believing everything you hear read are absolutely sound and applicable across all stories in all media, even so today than in the early 90 s as fewer and fewer people are controlling the ethos behind our media.In the lastest bit I m reading about fashion the fashion industry does no market research and for the whole the late 80 s actually loses billions of dollars of revenue due to trying to force in a trend for ruffled bum skirts rather than suits for the working woman and uncomfortable victorian underwear rather than basic pants and bras Shops actually took suits off the shelves and basic pants so you had no choice about what to buy All the execs pushing this look were wearing basic bras and work suits, however The media just quoted each other as evidence for the trend Women have the spending power and the industry lost billions We have the power to do it again.It made me think if they did this with suits, forcing a trend by withdrawing the style entirely and only having available the thing they want to push what else have they done this with I only wear exactly what I m happy with, that s comfortable, flexible and suited to the task, I also don t shave anywhere, don t style my hair or wear any make up Let s think before we criticise someone s appearance next.


  4. says:

    A massive work documenting abuses against women who were subjected to glamorisation campaign of love family life that had little to do with reality, and a very strong campaign both grassroots and coming from the top against their presence in the workplace, which, in turn, had very little to do with their very real economic needs This book is a document of how at least some women s health, mental health, and even lives were compromised to keep them at home with children, away from birth control, away from jobs, especially those coveted by men.An interesting aspect of the book is how Backlash concepts have a delayed release the books are still being published, the legal solutions proposed in the U.S in the Eighties inspire conservative lawmakers, for instance in my country.This was a year long buddy read with Karin thank you


  5. says:

    First Thoughts This book shows how LITTLE things have changed since the 80 s 90 s How much we still have left to do.To put this in perspective, I was born in 1989, and this book was published in 1991 This book was published about TWENTY THREE years ago.This book made me angry, and also depressed me at times, because of the above statement.I had to put it down for a while because I couldn t handle it all in one dose.I suggest reading my updates for quotes.


  6. says:

    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 regards 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 asks 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, the likely 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 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, attack on women who just wanted equal opportunities to live fulfilled lives, we have persevered Backlash is abundant with examples of women who just kept moving forward no matter 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


  7. says:

    I m giving it 3 stars to put it in the middle If this was the early mid 90s then it would have had 5 stars It was a book that came along just as I was figuring out my place in the world as a woman It tapped into things I was thinking and I think helped shape some of my views Now at age 40 I d like to read it again to see if it still applies.


  8. says:

    So I just read Backlash The Undeclared War Against American Women, by Susan Faludi I had this book on my list because I considered it required reading for anyone who wants to understand the current landscape of women s rights when the book was published in 1991, it was hailed as a feminist mythbuster, a possible catalyst for change And indeed it should have been this book demonstrates the ways in which culture news and entertainment media, fashion, politics, and popular psychology has pushed back against the changes in women s lives brought about by the historic events of the 1960s and 70s Faludi exposes the false messages women have received, the ways in which our culture both consciously and unconsciously has sold us the idea that equality causes misery, that in gaining power we ve lost femininity After reading this book, I do indeed consider it essential it gave me the history that happened after history, the backdrop for our current lives And it gave me a deep understanding of the forces at work, socially and psychologically, when power dynamics change.Although the cultural specifics the TV shows, the news stories, the ad campaigns, the accounts of individual women s lives are from the 1980s, this book doesn t read like old news As I was reading it, I understood why Faludi used war in the title often, I felt as though I was reading battle accounts Sometimes the battles were consciously fought, but often, it has been a silent, unconscious war As Faludi asserts, The backlash is not a conspiracy, with a council dispatching agents from some central control room, nor are the people who serve its ends often aware of their own role some even consider themselves feminists p 13 If the backlash isn t a coordinated attack, what is it At its core, it is a reaction a stance, sometimes ferocious, sometimes insidious against the idea that a woman s place isn t solely in the home, serving as a willing incubator and curator for children Depending on who s doing the reacting, it can be violent as in the case of Operation Rescue, the antiabortion group that bombs abortion clinics and intimidates pregnant teens or it can be intellectual, as in articles with incomplete or misinterpreted data.Faludi details backlash in Print news media You know that oft quoted adage that a woman is likely to be killed by a terrorist than to get married after 40 Classic backlash It was a joke floated by a bureau reporter that was picked up by the mainstream media the joke was based in misinformation, as the whole idea of a man shortage for women who delayed marriage was based on a flawed, unpublished study that was touted in the media, which ignored credible data that said no such shortage existed Similar misinformation existed around claims of infertility, the misery of single working women, and the economic status of divorced women The misinformation became common knowledge, taken for granted and the facts, which presented a very different picture one in which male, not female, anxiety took center stage , were not widely circulated TV and movies From Fatal Attraction to Murphy Brown, Backlash details the ways in which entertainment media excoriates the single working woman The story of Fatal Attraction is particularly telling in the original script, writer James Dearden wanted to understand how this man who inflicted pain, no matter how unintentionally, must eventually hold himself accountable p 130 After the studio executives, director Adrian Lyne, and Michael Douglas finished with it both Lyne and Douglass espouse decidedly non feminist views about the roles of women, including their sexual empowerment , the film went from empathizing with single women to demonizing them Fashion and beauty The beaten, bound, or body bagged woman became a staple of late 80s fashion ads and editorial photo layouts And she still is but the internet has upped the ante on the sex and violence theme Read Backlash to hear the thoughts of Paul Marciano, the misogynist behind the Guess jeans ads who abused his models A real charmer, that one But of course it isn t just the sensationalism of objectification and violence that the beauty industry uses the formula the industry has counted on for many years aggravating women s low self esteem and high anxiety about a feminine appearance has always served them well Indeed Politics Here is where things get mighty conscious, and manipulative, as the New Right, which today holds the same ideology and uses the same tactics, but is far from new formed an agenda against equality Faludi quotes a New Right minister We re here to turn the clock back to 1954 in this country p 242 And oh, the ways in which they try cutting programs, undermining women in politics, making stars of women who verbally espouse patriarchy, living feminist lives while undercutting the opportunities of other women to do the same Academia TV talk shows and morning news shows were filled then, as now, with experts espousing their opinions And many of them painted a picture of women as inferior to men, women who preferred not to work or who were miserable because they were trying to have it all, and of feminists who caused all the trouble In fact, many feminists began to publish works that recanted or revised their former statements about women and equality Faludi examines Betty Friedan s The Second Stage She is reacting to the backlash rather than setting her own agenda, even referring to the women s movement now as the feminist reaction p 335 Popular psychology In an era that offered little hope of real social or political change, the possibility of changing oneself was the one remaining way held out to American women to improve their lot p 347 And examples abound, most notably the victim blaming of Robin Norwood s Women Who Love Too Much Work Faludi exposes media myths about working women the closing of the pay gap, women invading the male work force with the facts The pay gap was worsening, and the few inroads women had made, both in the white collar and blue collar workforces, were under consistent attack Here, the stories of individual women loom large Diane Joyce fought for seventeen years before she could become the first skilled female crafts worker in Santa Clara, California The sexism and threats she endured along the way would have sent many people packing The road to equality in work is paved with the blood, sweat, and tears of women like Ms Joyce Let us never forget it Reproductive rights And here, we arrive at all out, bloody war one that is still raging, pitting women against our own wombs, our own progeny As Ms Faludi puts it is so succinctly If the early judicial decisions separated mother and fetus, then the later ones set mother and fetus against each other And so it goes.This book is comprehensive I have only been able to give you a sampling here At 466 pages, it is not a quick or a light read, but it is well worth the effort This is one of those books, like When Everything Changed, that allows you to place yourself in history here I am, now And this is why.In the preface to the 15th anniversary edition of the book, Faludi says that backlash isn t still happening but something worse is Yes, there are still periodic reprimands, though generally they are presented as the products of a woman s choice The backlash is now said to be a strictly self inflicted affair I d agree that choice has become the language of choice for arguing away the impetus for social change, but I think there is still a form of backlash going on Backlash, as Ms Faludi says, occurs in a .closed system that starts and ends in the media, popular culture, and advertising an endless feedback loop that perpetuates and exaggerates its own false images of womanhood That system is alive and well so well that backlash itself has become a buzzword, often used to describe a manufactured catfight.For those who want to know precisely what the war on women is, and how to overcome it, I highly recommend this book It is, as I suspected, an absolute must for understanding the zeitgeist in which we all live, breathe, and struggle toward equality.


  9. says:

    It s been nearly thirty years since Backlash was first released, then as an examination of the backlash to the feminist movement or women s liberation, if you prefer in the 80s After the feminist movement grew in the 70s, the 80s were a whole different story Faludi opens her books by going through the facts that were known in the 80s the shortage of men , that a woman s life economic situation worsened after divorce while the man s got better , the infertility epidemic that was harming working women, and that working women s mental health had never been worse Going through them one by one, Faludi shows that the studies coming to these conclusion were not what they seemed some were plain wrong, used bad methodology, the person behind the study was a fraud, and so on The most fascinating point about these stories are, however, how the media treated these stories They were willing to print unpublished studies that agreed with these facts on the front page, but when studies that contradicted them or revealed the person behind the study as a fraud the media barely gave them any attention After picking through these supposed facts, and telling the stories surrounding them as well as studies contradicting them, Faludi goes on to examine the forces that played a role in the backlash Faludi begins by taking us back, talking about previous backlashes, showing that the arguments are the same ones used as in the late 19th century, the early 20th century, and post WWII Throughout the following chapters that examine various parts of society media, television, radio, and politics Faludi shows how the arguments and attitudes are practically the same in each backlash Faludi also talks about some of the key players in the 80s and often points out how they rarely live as they preach, so to say.I d been meaning to read this book years ago, figuring the cultural details would be dated rather quickly yes, feel free to blame me for not watching 80s movies tv shows all day long but it s unexpectedly timely many attitudes towards women today resemble the ones aired by some people today Another interesting detail is the economic aspect was that many of the men that supported the anti feminist movement were younger men late boomers that missed out on the upswing in the economy and instead found themselves not living up to societal expectations of being the family provider, hold a steady job, and The similarities to today in particular since early 2000s and the economic crash in 07 08 are striking So while some pop culture references were a bit dated, the content of Faludi s work is still relevant, and on its own very impressive.


  10. says:

    Okay I can t really write a review because it seems like everything Faludi talked about is happening again.I need to buy an island.