This is exactly what my library has been missing.


Me: I think I have to have this.
Clerk: I’m sure you don’t have to bluff your way, though.

And he waived the sales tax for me! Well-played, Twice Sold Tales clerk, very well-played.

Choice quotes:

To bluff your way in feminism is a very different proposition from bluffing your way in antique motor cars or Tupperware through the ages. A feminist argument could embrace either of those topics: e.g. 1. men’s obsession with mechanical objects denotes their refusal to accept a wider analysis of etc., etc., or, 2. Tupperware parties were a precursor of consciousness raising groups, allowing women to convene but only in the context of the home and family, and unfortunately with the object of their concern precisely a material expression of their objective position in the man-made world… Got it?

Feminism exposes the greatest bluff — that women are not quite as good at most things, the important ones, as men.

What’s legitimately great about this book is that, while it is very much a product of its times (1987) with lines like “Men are never feminists, they are pro-feminist or anti-sexist (if they feel that way inclined),” it also lays out the basics of early third-wave feminism pretty well, and even includes at the back a list of feminist icons, most of whom I had never heard of!

The legitimately depressing things about this book is that the basics from 1987 are pretty much the same things you need to lay out as basics today. Such as:

Rule No. 1 for female readers of this guide is, don’t be intimidated. You have every right to interpret feminism through life experience, in fact that’s how it got going.

Rule No. 1 for male readers of this book is exactly the opposite of Rule 1 for women. In other words, stay quiet. Several studies have proven conclusively that men actually talk a great deal more than women, especially in female company. […]

Women and wealth: Women are over half the world’s population; perform two thirds of its labour; are repaid with 10 per cent of its wealth and ownership of 1 per cent of its land. The average working woman in Britain earns three-fifths of the average working man’s salary.

Women and violence: 25 per cent of all violent crime is wife assault [citation needed]. Statistics of reported rape would imply that rape was on the increase although it is generally accepted that the reporting of the crime is what has increased, and that rape is just as widespread and prevalent as it ever was.

And people wonder why I’m angry.

On a lighter note, here is a quote I got from this book that I freaking love:

A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless: all a woman has to do is to put you on hold.

-Mario Thomas

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