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Media

Dear Amy,

I am glad to see you have a Resource section under construction for your site. My question does regard such resources, specifically pop culture feminist self-help books.

I must give you a bit of background to inform my question. I've recently locked horns with a journalist for the Christian Science Monitor who wrote a lengthy article reviewing a new wave of books about masculinity that proclaim a return to a traditional sense of manliness, claiming that "the whole post-feminist male-sensitive thing has gone a tad too far." The main book he featured was called Manliness written by Harvard professor Harvey C. Mansfield, which was just promoted by Oprah's Book Club for some weird reason. Weird since Mansfield advocates that men and women return to "traditional roles in the private sphere (girls dust/cook; guys fix/mow), but not in public life (both can 'rule' from mail room to boardroom by universal strengths and less gender specific traits: male/aggressive, female/passive)." This was how the journalist paraphrased Mansfield's thesis.

This journalist also reviewed three other books by second rate authors that supported these archaic notions, and I wrote him and his editors a helluva letter. The journalist wrote back asking that I would send him a book list on feminism to help him figure out why he was so inept for writing what he did. So I'm trying to compile a book list of semi-current feminist texts in hopes that he might review them in his next article. I'm not sure where to start, but this is one title I'm considering: Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism edited by Leslie Heywood and Jennifer Drake (1997); and of course your Manifesta. Got any other suggestions?

I'm not sure if this journalist would be convinced unless I could give him titles of current books he could easily find at Books-A-Million since he seems bent on tapping into current, popular trends.

Thanks for helping me educate the media!

Jane, Florida

   

Jane,

I'm actually writing a book on motherhood and feminism right now and discussing related topics, though unlike Mansfield, I'm arguing that we have to liberate ourselves in our homes the same way we have liberated ourselves outside of our homes, otherwise it seems like an empty goal. In terms of what books to send his way, I think that you will have the most luck if you send him more contemporary books. Book reviews tend to only review more recent things, for instance, perhaps Joan Blades new book The Motherhood Manifesto. Also, I would check out Seal Press, I know they have one forthcoming book called We Don't Need Another Wave, but in general Seal does have a number of progressive books.

Also the relatively recently released Maybe Baby edited by Lori Liebovich that deals with some of the issues the manliness books seem to take on. I just think you will be able to make your case stronger if you use more current books, otherwise, he might respond saying that he would have loved to have done something, but he needed them to be current.

Good luck and thanks for pursuing. It's great that you are.

- Amy