Merry Wanderer of the Night + feminsim

Talking Up: Young Women's Take on Feminsim

I found Talking Up: Young Women's Take on Feminism

at my favorite bookstore (The Haunted Bookshop, Iowa City) while I was looking for a copy of the Feminine Mystique. I ended up finding a copy of the book I wanted, but decided to get Talking Up as well and it turned out that I decided to read it first. Since the book is a series of essays written by girls between the ages of 16 and about 28 I thought the book would be right up my alley. I have struggled recently with the idea of Feminism and what it means to be a Feminist in today's world, and while this book was written in 1998 by young Australian women there was still a lot to this book and it helped me feel like I was not alone. The book is divided into five sections: Learning Feminism, Bodies and Battlefields, Generationalism: The Ties That Bind, Voices: Mapping the Self, and Acting Up. The way the essays work is almost like a journey through the process of Feminism. The discovery of the feelings, the reasons for the feelings, bonding with others who feel the same way, finding your own Feminism, and then doing something about it.

Some of the essays were excellent, and by that I mean they either put my feelings into words that I have found difficult to pull together or that they made me see something I had never seen before. Some of the essays, while not bad, were a little boring. Or just didn't agree with their thoughts. But that is one of the things I liked about this book, it helped me realize what exactly I do agree with and don't agree with in terms of Feminism. There were also some parts of this book that were uniquely Australian, but that didn't mean I couldn't apply the thoughts to American Feminism. One of my favorite essays early on in the book was Like a Corporate Virgin by Tara Gutman. The essay begins, "I wasn't born a pilot or a lawyer. I have bcome these. Now was I born a feminist. I have become one. Unlike that former, which are the result of specific training, it is hard to say how, or even when, I became a feminist" (30). From that very first quote I knew this was going to be an interesting and controlled essay and I was right.

This collection deals with body image issues, the media and women, motherhood, female friendships, lesbianism, typecasting feminists, and so much more. I did feel like I enjoyed the earlier essays in the book more than the later ones, but I think part of that might be that I haven't gotten to the point that was reached by the end of the book yet. What amazed me most about the book though, was how little has changed in 12 years. Because really, very little has in regards to young Feminism. We are still fighting the media, we are still fighting the common use of derogatory terms used towards females, sexual exploitation, and women still face problems in the workplace. A lot of people I know say that the work of Feminism is over, but it's just not true. I think this book really shows that.

This book gets a C, mostly because it did end as strongly as I would have liked.

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Talking Up: Young Women's Take on Feminsim + feminsim