The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability

Laura Kipnis, Author . Pantheon $23.95 (173p) ISBN 978-0-375-42417-5

Three years after her controversial proadultery polemic, Against Love , Kipnis, a professor of media studies at Northwestern University, offers a wide-ranging and equally unorthodox investigation of "the female condition." She examines why women want both power and push-up bras, have fewer orgasms than men, why spouses have a harder time staying connected to each other after the wife quits work to stay home with the kids and why feminists keep focusing on rape, even though rates of female rapes are down while the rape of imprisoned men has escalated. Underlying the failure of feminism to achieve full equality for women, Kipnis says, is women's own ambivalence: they want feminism as well as femininity. Some of Kipnis's avenues of inquiry are well trod—Katha Pollitt, for example, has deconstructed the "opt-out revolution," whose foot soldiers are Ivy League–credentialed moms who trade high-powered careers for full-time motherhood, and Naomi Wolf long ago tackled the cosmetics industry. Countless critics have wondered why feminism was so easily co-opted by a market economy in which everyone works longer hours than they used to. Though not totally fresh, this fluid, sassy volume is guaranteed to electrify media and cocktail party circuits. (Oct. 17)

Reviewed on: 09/04/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 173 pages - 978-0-307-27577-6
Open Ebook - 92 pages - 978-0-307-49544-0
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