cover image Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women

Backlash: The Undeclared War Against Women

Susan Faludi. Crown Publishing Group, $24 (552pp) ISBN 978-0-517-57698-4

Far from being ``liberated,'' American women in the 1980s were victims of a powerful backlash against the handful of small, hard-won victories the feminist movement had achieved, says Wall Street Journal reporter Faludi, who won a Pulitzer this year. Buttressing her argument with facts and statistics, she states that the alleged ``man shortage'' endangering women's chances of marrying (posited by a Harvard-Yale study) and the ``infertility epidemic'' said to strike professional women who postpone childbearing are largely media inventions. She finds evidence of antifeminist backlash in Hollywood movies, in TV's thirtysomething , in 1980s fashion ads featuring battered models and in the New Right's attack on women's rights. She directs withering commentary at Robert Bly's all-male workshops, Allan Bloom's ``prolonged rant'' against women and Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer's revisionism. This eloquent, brilliantly argued book should be read by everyone concerned about gender equality. First serial to Glamour and Mother Jones. (Nov.)