One-Minute Book Reviews

August 21, 2009

Backscratching in Our Time — Gloria Steinem and J. Courtney Sullivan

The latest in a series of occasional posts on authors who praise each other’s work

Gloria Steinem on J. Courtney Sullivan’s Commencement:
“Take Mary McCarthy’s The Group, add a new feminist generation striving to understand everything from themselves and their mothers to the notion of masculinity that fuels sex trafficking, and you get this generous-hearted, brave first novel. Commencement makes clear that the feminist revolution is just beginning.”

J. Courtney Sullivan on Gloria Steinem in Commencement:
From the acknowledgments for Commencement: “For helping me understand the reality of sex trafficking in America, I owe thanks to … Gloria Steinem.”

From the pages of Commencement: “I came here because it was the alma mater of Gloria Steinem and Molly Ivins. I thought it was the most effective place to fight the patriarchy in this godforsaken country.” — A character named April on why she wanted to attend Smith College

Also from Commencement: “Her ultimate hero was Gloria Steinem. She had improved countless lives , with actions as simple as setting up networks of women who would otherwise never have found one another and starting a magazine devoted to feminism. She always stood up for what was right and never compromised her principles, but she also didn’t offend the average person’s sensibilities and wasn’t afraid to highlight her hair. She liked men! She dated. She got married, though it ended tragically. She was a real woman who believed in equality. Wasn’t that a hundred times more powerful than the contributions of someone who was divisive and scary. …? — A Smith alumna named Sally on the different types of activism

Other examples of logrolling appear in the Backscratching in Our Time category on this site.

July 26, 2007

The Case Against the Phrase “Chick Lit,” Quote of the Day (Gloria Steinem)

Filed under: Quotes of the Day — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 2:37 pm
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If we call Bridget Jones’s Diary “chick lit,” why don’t we call The Hunt for Red October “dick lit”?

Gloria Steinem has been getting a lot of attention for her recent column on Huffington Post arguing that the term “chick lit” ghetto-izes women’s books that deal with serious issues. The many others who have made a similar point in the past few years include Jennifer Weiner, the author of Good in Bed, who observed that we don’t call men’s books “dick lit.” Here’s a quote from Steinem’s post on that theme, “A Modest Proposal”:

“Think about it: If Anna Karenina had been written by Leah Tolstoy, or The Scarlet Letter by Nancy Hawthorne, or Madame Bovary by Greta Flaubert, or A Doll’s House by Henrietta Ibsen, or The Glass Menagerie by (a female) Tennessee Williams, would they have been hailed as universal? … Indeed, as long men are taken seriously when they write about the female half of the world — and women aren’t taken seriously when writing about themselves much less about men or male affairs — the list of Great Authors will be more about power than about talent.”

Comment by Janice Harayda:
I agree with Steinem and Weiner. Why don’t we call novels by Tom Clancy or Louis L’Amour “dick lit”? The New York Times continually uses the term “chick lit,” both in the daily paper and in the Sunday book review section, though it’s hard to imagine that its editors would publish an analogous phrases about other groups.

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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