Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women

Rebecca Traister, Author
Rebecca Traister, Free Press, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4391-5028-3
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4391-5487-8
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Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-4391-5029-0
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Who would have figured that the women who would benefit most from the 2008 presidential campaign would be the comediennes? Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton may have lost in their respective campaigns, but Amy Poehler and Tina Fey both gained in cultural stature for their biting imitations. According to Traister, staff writer at Salon.com, the rollercoaster ride of 2008 exposed an entrenched chauvinism in the media and a lesson for anyone who might assume that a female candidate would hold a monopoly on women's votes. The author bludgeons conventional political wisdom by trenchantly exposing Palin's strange triangulation of mainstream feminism, Clinton's need to appear vulnerable in order to appeal to women, and the precarious position of black women—some of whom were conflicted between supporting candidates who mirrored their gender or their race. Rising to the occasion, however, were women in the media, from Katie Couric, who—depending on your perspective—ruined or sainted Sarah Palin, to the sofa-bound political discourse of The View. Traister does a fine job in showing that progress does not proceed in straight lines, and, sometimes, it's the unlikeliest of individuals who initiate real change. (Sept.)
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