cover image We Need New Stories: The Myths That Subvert Freedom

We Need New Stories: The Myths That Subvert Freedom

Nesrine Malik. Norton, $23.95 (160p) ISBN 978-1-324-00729-6

Guardian columnist Malik debuts with a persuasive debunking of political and cultural myths that impede social justice in the U.S. and U.K. One such notion is that mainstream media outlets such as the BBC are neutral observers and not part of white-led, establishmentarian networks that “speaks truth’s power.” She also traces the origin of the idea that political correctness “stifl[es] free thought and intellectual inquiry” to think tanks funded by wealthy conservatives in order to combat the influence of liberal universities, and shows how self-interested social media companies have helped push the narrative that free speech protections should be “as absolute as possible,” even when the speech in question “silences the voices of others or puts them in danger of violence.” Disputing the myth that feminism has gone too far and now seeks to marginalize men, Malik points to the rollback of abortion rights, the persistence of the gender pay gap, and the lack of protections against “cybersexual harassment.” Malik fluidly incorporates her experiences as a media commentator and the daughter of a conservative Muslim family, and draws on the work of scholars including Judith Butler and Jerry Lembcke. This is a lucid reminder that the fight for equality is a battle of ideas. (May)