Friday, May 18, 2007

You may not need this book ... but someone you know does!

I've been fortunate enough to be given a review copy of Jessica Valenti's book Full Frontal Feminism. And here is my review...

Jessica Valenti and I could probably argue all week about the finer points of feminism. I am rather less tolerant of the pornography industry and rather more tolerant of what she sees as the movement's slightly chequered past. And then we could spend a happy month agreeing with each other on reproductive rights, media representations of women and what it means to be a feminist. By the end of it along with a big stack of self-congratulatory "exactly" and "you are so right", we might find she had moved my views a little on a couple of issues and I might have talked her in to taking one ot two of my more left-field theories seriously (like putting a chapter on religion in to the next version of the book).

But that's not the point of this book. It's not to hone the movement or highlight details we could all agree to differ on. The point of this book is to wake women, especially young women, up to the idea of feminism, and turn them on to it. And that's something that is desperately needed and stands to benefit all of us dramatically.

What's great about this book is that it's to the point and easy to read. It makes a simple case and it makes it clearly, convincingly and in a way that doesn't seem stodgy, old-fashioned or plain frightening. Add to that that Valenti includes specific practical examples of how to get involved and list sources of further information alongside the kind of reading list that you might actually look at and you start to understand how it could make a difference.

If you're a regular on sites like this one, The F-Word and Valenti's blog then this book might provide a nice recap of things that we've all covered and continue to talk about. When you've finished reading it though is when this book will really come into it's own. Pass it on to young women you work or socialise with or family members (teenage upwards). Give it as present to someone you know who could use a bit of feminism in their life, someone with energy and resources who could be a catalyst for change, or if you're stuck for ideas - donate it to your local school library and wait for revolution.

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