Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto

Rate this book
Are you a feminist? Do you believe women are human beings and that they deserve to be treated as such? That women deserve all the same rights and liberties bestowed upon men? If so, then you are a feminist . . . or so the feminists keep insisting. But somewhere along the way, the movement for female liberation sacrificed meaning for acceptance, and left us with a banal, polite, ineffectual pose that barely challenges the status quo. In this bracing, fiercely intelligent manifesto, Jessa Crispin demands more.

Why I Am Not A Feminist is a radical, fearless call for revolution. It accuses the feminist movement of obliviousness, irrelevance, and cowardice—and demands nothing less than the total dismantling of a system of oppression.

151 pages, Paperback

First published February 21, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Jessa Crispin

10 books213 followers
Jessa Crispin is the editor and founder of Bookslut.com. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Guardian and The Toronto Globe and Mail, among other publications.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
788 (19%)
4 stars
1,308 (33%)
3 stars
1,182 (29%)
2 stars
487 (12%)
1 star
189 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 708 reviews
Profile Image for Trin.
1,843 reviews567 followers
December 31, 2016
Condescending, hypocritical, and bizarrely naive.

I barely know where to start with this; I only started taking notes halfway through and I may come back later with more thorough annotations, but for now, let's begin where Crispin ends -- with her own final summation of her basic thesis.

If you're not up for this, if you just want your life to be comfortable, if you just want to make your money and watch your shows and do as well as you can in this lifetime, then admit it to yourself. You are not a feminist. Just stand in your truth and get it over with.

By "this," of course, she means Feminism the Jessa Crispin Way -- a movement which apparently holds no room for people with mental or physical health issues, poor people (despite all the author's mentions of support!), or anyone who isn't strong enough to instantly dump all aspects of our patriarchal (and capitalist -- gosh you guys, I'm not providing any alternatives but isn't capitalism the worst?*) society out of our lives. Like, right now. Oh sorry, you still like "your shows"? I guess that means you can't sit at Jessa Crispin's non-feminist feminism table.

Crispin's main targets here seem to be #basicbitches and the internet. There's a definite "get off my lawn" quality to this book, and in Crispin's lavish defense of Second-Wave Feminism, to the point that she (twice!) bends over backward to defend the transphobic and racist comments of Second Wavers who just don't understand "relatively new" terms like intersectionality...before paragraphs later, decrying white feminists who don't understand intersectionality. (I also really enjoyed the chapter that began, "I just want to be clear that I don't give a fuck about your [men's] response to this book. Do not email me, do not get in touch," and ended, "Men can and must participate in this project [feminism].")

Look: on some level, we are all hypocrites. There is conflict and imperfection within all of us. Some of us, for example, might try to fight for feminism however we can: with how we relate to others, with how we relate to ourselves, with our money (hiss! yes, even evil money!), with our vote... And then, when we get tired, because this fight -- hell, just existing in this broken society -- is fucking exhausting, those selfsame some of us might want to watch Netflix for a little while. So sue us.

Crispin, while being a human person and thus subject to human weakness, seems to have no sympathy or room in her movement for weakness in others. Personally, I would rather have billions of imperfect feminists who are trying -- to unpack their own shit, to fight in any way they can -- than an elite crew of irreproachable feminists who never succumb to leg shaving** or online shopping or other tools of the patriarchy. But then, that's just me: a woman who could never be considered a feminist by Crispin's unimpeachable standards.

*This is snotty, but Crispin's attack on people who want to "make their money" smacks to me of the rhetoric of someone who has never been poor.

**She brought it up.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,352 reviews2,438 followers
December 6, 2017
Jessa Crispin sets out to discomfit us. She is so antagonistic to begin I almost put the audiobook aside. The author reads the Penguin Random House edition, and there is a sarcasm and spite to her voice that I long ago decided I would rather avoid. Yes, she’s angry. But she made me curious. How and why could she push my buttons and why was she bothering? I started again the next day and her arguments sounded different the second time around. I agreed with her.

Essentially Crispin is saying that the feminist movement has been popularized, co-opted, and dumbed down to the point that folks have forgotten that feminism is nothing less than tearing down patriarchy, and any paternalistic system that “grants” rights to a certain segment of society while denying those same rights to others. Feminism means upending expected and accepted ways of exploitation of any group, race, religion, class.

Feminism is not measured by how many female CEOs are making 70, 80, 90, or 100 percent of what males do in similarly-structured companies where the top 1 percent is making over 1000 times what the lowest paid worker is making. Feminism exposes structures which make such disparities and discrimination possible.

Now do you see why it should make you uncomfortable? Feminism overthrows current methods and modes of interaction, in our financial, social, and relational interactions. Men and women, Crispin suggests, will struggle to understand and honor feminism's new goals and intentions and how they work, and therefore should not be criticized if they question, stumble or misinterpret on the way to building new social structures. It is important to listen and think about and answer disagreement within a movement.

Here Crispin sounds Maoist (and we know how that turned out), but at base I think she is saying something important: feminism is the original inclusive movement because everyone’s roles and interactions change for the better—except those who have been advantaged by exploitation of groups not their own to achieve outsized power and influence which they wield to keep their position at the top of some figurative ‘heap.’ That will be over, as far as feminists have anything to say about it.

Most appreciated is the way Crispin draws a line from inclusiveness to saving our planet: we are going to need the talents and skills of every dispossessed group to add to the general creativity. As long as people are encouraged and advantaged when they exploit others for personal gain and at the expense of the general welfare of the entire society, we are not going to succeed in the challenges that are coming.

Jessa Crispin is one of the original online unaffiliated book reviewers; she called her site Bookslut. There always was some aggression in her presentation, and I found her reading and writing difficult to understand, for the most part. Since then I recognize that she was reading and writing to learn, rather than merely for pleasure, and I have begun to do the same. I understand her better now. I recently reviewed Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists which I liked very much. Adichie’s manner is so friendly, at first I thought she was saying that one does not have to be angry to be a feminist. But in fact, Adichie is angry: feminists should be angry, because we are not there yet. Some women have progressed; the world lags behind.

Crispin tells us that some of us have not bothered to look at the second wave of the feminist goals because some of us have gotten some personal gain and we have chosen what we want out of feminism's goals. Crispin reminds us that white female empowerment in the United States can actually be shown to be oppressive to less advantaged women overseas, by reason of feminists not completing the revolution, as it were, but stopping when they have attained some measure of gain. First world women might be said to have bought into an oppressive, exploitative patriarchal system when it began to include them.

Just hearing the chapter heading “How Feminism Ended Up Doing Patriarchy’s Work” sounds exactly right. If one has enough money, one can avoid the worst effects of patriarchal control, and more and more women are stopping when we get to this point. But if we stopped and took a breath at this stage, we have to buckle on a breastplate and dive back into the fight. It is not men we are fighting. It is power and money which allows us to avoid the most pernicious effects of patriarchy and capitalism. Money and power feels good. When we get it, we don't want to carry on fighting.

So, Crispin wants to insert herself into everyone’s discussion about What Feminism Is. Feminism does not argue about who shaves and who is on top during sex. The powerless cannot, and the powerful will not, break the system. People, not just women, with both understanding and an unwillingness to buy into the system are the ones who can crush an oppressive system. She is broadening the limits of the term. “Women should think of themselves as humans first.”

In the end, Crispin's persistence in explaining why she is no longer a feminist is a serious and much-needed look in the mirror and not merely caustic and dismissive. It’s a call to arms. She’s tough: she has broadened and expanded and exploded definitions and reminded us of earlier radical feminists who are now dismissed or discredited. We might need a new word: Feminism is now ‘old hat,’ and she has moved on. I get it, and I'm with her.

I ended up really appreciating the PRH audio production read by the author, her intense and pointed criticisms aimed at feminists and power-mongers and unconscious beneficiaries of the current patriarchal capitalist system which has been severely skewed to benefit a group not trying hard enough to dismantle the system keeping them comfortable at the expense of others. To write a response to the manifesto, it would be useful to have a written copy. She brings up a lot of complex ideas and I guarantee you will not be completely comfortable with her critical eye and tongue. But she wades in where every man fears to tread. Bravo!

Couple of interviews with Jessa Crispin:

Constance Grady in Vox with Crispin May 3, 2016
Michelle Dean in The Guardian with Crispin May 9, 2016
Profile Image for Christy.
113 reviews270 followers
April 16, 2017
“Heterosexuality is a fucking hellscape for women” (note from talk by author, February 2017, NYC). I wondered what percentage of the largely White, female NYU undergraduate students crammed into the Strand Bookstore more seriously considered lesbianism at that moment. (Also reminded me of a story about a mix of straight and gay academic couples in a feminist t-group in the 70s where the claim was that "feminism is the theory, lesbianism is the practice" - where does that leave straight men, in particular?)

Where are all the feminists that aren’t also anti-racist anti-classist activists, Jesse? I am still confused about that. Are there a bunch of women’s studies professors that don’t include in their “gendered” analyses issues of economic inequality and racism? Sure, there are a few, but not many. I don’t think that social equity issues have “slipped off feminist radar”. In this way, I find Crispins’ somewhat of a Strawfeminist argument.

Still, Crispin is right about so many issues. Maybe we feminists are caught with our pants down? I approached this book wondering what is Crispin’s anxiety over the state of feminism, anyway, when only 60% of women identify as such, and feminism is obviously (as she notes) watered-down, “Disneyfied”, co-opted, sanitized (including by race and class, disability and sexuality). So, how it is a threat, something to “burn to the ground”, to totally reject and make anew? I get the systems change and can’t-change-anything-from-within theses, though, but almost wish this was called “Why I am not a Capitalist”, as it seems more about social power overall, about class and economic inequality, more than about gender and women. Feminism didn’t cut us off from “traditions and rituals, family and intergenerational connections", but capitalism did. Privilege breeds complacency (as she repeated notes that women who have “made it” aren’t motivated to help others) and consumption-culture hollows us out likely more than the patriarchy. Still, like only a radical class consciousness can make a revolution, Crispin teaches that mainstream feminism is no feminism at all.

Who is she criticizing, anyway? I’m on her team if it’s against the “lean in” role model: the power-hungry, selfish, narcissistic, upper-middle-aspirational-to-upper-class “lean in” corporate women. It is those with an ambitious drive for sky-high salaries and to outman the men in horribleness, along with their Next Gen upwardly-mobile Ivy League-ish femmes-in-training in schools like NYU? Surely she writes for that thin slice, I finally decided, and not the majority of gals - working-through-middle class women including most Women of Color. She writes for White women millennials, particularly those in college heading for professional careers, and the “lean in” chick brigade who are “tiger mom” superwomen on the side (with nannies, it goes without saying). I would argue “lean in” feminism was rejected by the large bulk of feminists already and isn’t feminism except in the superficial self-help aisle or packaged as much in advertising boardrooms. Crispin keeps referring to middle-class, and that kept annoying me, until I understood her to mean upper-middle to upper-class females including token POC and lower-class but all high- academic achieving females. Most middle- to lower-class women, including most multicultural women, have neither power nor money, but there are some of us (you know if you’re part of the club!) who managed to “buy their way out of the patriarchy”.

Ouch. It is hard to fight against the patriarchy when is does the dishes, the laundry, and brings you that first cup of coffee in the morning. I wish she would have added that poor women have always worked outside the home, but she made me focus on how upper-middle and upper-class jobs are what feminism has fought and won, but only for some women, and at what cost? She believes (and with good reason) successful and successful-in-training women are not fighting nearly hard enough for the rest, that the only action to take is to throw feminism onto the pyre (literally, she says, in both book and in her talk – she must like fire…) to end the capitalist elements in the modern world that hurt more women and people than it has helped.

I love the contradictions she pointed out in women who are feminists only nominally, looking for a “body wash that breaks the glass ceiling”, wondering if they retain their feminism with Brazilian waxes, and “giving blowjobs like it’s missionary work”. The hyper-individualism in “late capitalism” is setting back any notion of family and community cohesion, and women are worrying about their individual life choices as “feminist,” instead of changing the world. Change from within is a delusion and it’s silly to think that hiring ambitious women into male-dominated fields was somehow going to flatten the bureaucracies for management egalitarianism. Having women infused in corporate ranks doesn’t automatically flatten the bureaucracy or stop doing business with child labor producers of junk we import and convince ourselves to buy.

After Crispin’s talk last month, where she was interviewed by NYT Sunday Book editor Rachel Dry, I finished the book on the bus coming back to Maine thinking of gender and my students, my daughter, and my own slow road to feminism. The NYU undergrad audience asked Crispin about their own individual issues with feminism, mostly around dealing with non-feminist relatives. This was funny and a bit sad as it's that kind of individualistic, self-serving, self-improvement feminism she criticizes. It was surprising that in the book, and not just during the talk well after the US election, she says that we will not have a true feminist change in the world “in our lifetimes”, and it’s futile to believe it’s possible. The interviewer asked her about the “f-word” (my term for feminism) itself, and Crispin said she did define herself as a feminist for about a decade, and that labels are useful when we’re young and developing a political consciousness. She discussed her own history – that she was raised in a tiny town of about 1200 in Kansas in a highly religious and Conservative family, she knew today “women who won’t vote to cancel out their man’s vote”, so I wondered if she wasn’t reacting so strongly to that anti-female standard. In her early 20s she worked in Planned Parenthood in Austin and was a volunteer abortion counselor.

Who in fields of feminist theory and feminist activism do not take Dworkin seriously, even if she’s a polemicist? Even the sex-positive feminist movement agrees Dworkin didn’t automatically equate all heterosexual sex with rape, but that we learn and practice sex in a context of too-often accepted male domination and violence. And no one rejects MacKinnon, either, even if women’s studies professors disagree with her. She is still King (er…Queen) in any field that applies feminist theory and philosophy and particular in the legal arena. Still, I agree that different facets of feminism reject or accept pro-sex and anti-sex views, in contradictory ways at times. I remember the disappointment in the eyes of a noted philosopher of education, a lesbian activist, who was mentoring me when I disagreed with her when she arguing that, following MacKinnon, pornography is the central means by which men subjugate women. I said it was economic, and I wasn’t anti-pornography, but was against people coerced or portrayed in disrespectful ways. She looked at me like my IQ dropped 50 points. In any case, I don’t see that the Second Wave of feminism is so “vilified” as Crispin laments, and when she says “this campaign to erase radicals from feminist history is regrettable” I’m not so sure this “campaign” is so large or significant.

During the talk, Crispin repeated her claim from the book that the falsehood that women are naturally more emphatic and compassionate is what men have told women to keep them working more at home, disproportionally keeping the kids and men happy. Women, also, buy into the lie and tell it to ourselves, too, for our comfort and convenience. Crispin was asked about the recent Women’s March, and said that she did support it. She was asked about the pink Pussy Hats (I was confused and thought the little ears were fallopian tubes, so wondered where the other parts were?) and Crispin said she glad that women were asked to “sacrifice” and “make something” like the hats (she said, “make the hats, bitches!”, to a nervous twittering from the undergrads in the audience). Crispin then admitted she’d cried watching the Women’s March in her home state of Kansas, noting it was a place where abortion doctors like Tiller were killed in Witchita for their service. She mentioned that her worry is about “transferring energy” from the Women’s March to enact real social change, and mentioned that just the day before when Trump had issued a gag rule on abortions that is was all male politicians in the room – “men legislating women’s bodies essentially communicating 'fuck-you - this is what we think of you'" from male politicians to women. She also mentioned that Trump is the “logical end to our culture.”

Crispin said that while women have full access to “male” roles and occupations, “no equal effort to make space for men in the feminine pursuits” has occurred, really? While traditional sex-role stereotypes persist for too many, men cook, clean, split the weight of household and childcare responsibilities like never before. (I have noticed some roll-back, such as young women taking their husband’s surnames again, and assuming they’ll be responsible for all meals and most cleaning and childcare, even if almost all are working outside the home!) Also, what about feminism and the kids? I’ve noticed teachers criticize parents who don’t spend enough time with their children and hire out childcare and have “latch-key” children unsupervised yet they, in order to acquire many of their teaching degrees, also had to have their own children tended by others. It’s easy to blame the other.

I loved how she described how the yearning for romantic love is disproportionate in our culture – yes, sex sells and love sells. Maybe both bikinis and Islamic coverings are insulting to women, but only in different ways. “Universal” feminism is co-opted and "soft" and white feminism is only “consciousness raising” and about a conversion. Actually, it's what I'd call education: we can unlearn sex-role stereotyping that helps both females and males live in a world with each other. It was good of her to call for an end of “choice feminism” or the arguing that a choice is feminist if you say it is. I imagine this could include even traditional marriage as a feminist act if, say, you make it body-positive and perhaps vegan?

Crispin is right that true change for women’s and human rights is likely revolutionary and not evolutionary or that feminism could achieve “incremental” change and she says we need a “cleansing fire” – burn it all down! It is true that Civil Rights laws didn’t fix the problems, but treated the consequences or symptoms of the problems, and outlawing sex discrimination merely normalized it on some level. Marx said everything eventually becomes a commodity under capitalism, so of course feminism is a commodity – something to be bought and sold, popularized. Crispin says feminism is “trending”, yet almost half of women don’t take the label, so the “trending” is in that high-brow, White elite culture she is discussing, that rendered feminism as meaningless and counter-productive, in fact, to many social concerns.

I’ve never met beauty standards, so always culled my own version of attractiveness that was somewhat freeing. Do men still determine if women are worthy of love? “We wait for love to redeem us”, but I think this illusion of love is as true for men as women. She does give an excellent critique of “romantic love” for women and how it’s ascendency in our culture has undermined familial and cross-generational love and relationships. It is true that “feminism has offered women few alternatives” for how to live a meaningful life, especially heterosexual women with likewise men. I loved where she noted the common script where a “female character has value by having all of the male characters fall in love with her”, and we rarely have “feminist stories” of creating a more equal, human society but rather those that promote individual improvement, romantic love, and career/material consumer “success”. She is correct that there are no great choices for women outside of monogamy (sequential or otherwise) except for a solitary and too often a lonely existence, as we don’t value communal living. (I've always though the smart model was CP Gilman's Herland.)

I asked a question of Crispin close to the end about political correctness, and how her criticism of it from the Left masks how it's used by the Right to silence those speaking out against social injustices. I mentioned unsubstantial claims in research on “PC-ness” that wished to believe secret language was now required on college campuses, whereby instead of simply fat I’d be called “waistline-challenged”, and how that doesn’t appear to exist in any organized or substantial way. She agreed with me and said that PC is a “tool of the right”, but we have gone deranged on the Left, too. In the book, she argues that “PC-ness” is an over-correction from the Left whereby a “contrary opinion is an ‘attack”. She did agree that “words wound”, and that some analysis is good to note that “language that you use does cause me harm, ” that gives us some control over how we’re addressed. However, she buys into the stereotype and caricature of the politically correct feminist that has “a method of shaming and silencing anyone who disagrees” with them, and where “disagreement or conflict is abuse”. This describes no serious, adult, feminist female that I know.

The inhumanity and futility of revenge was a theme (women taking revenge on men, but also as a society taking revenge on individuals) but she sees a huge amount of “outrage” against men by women as an automatic cultivation of a feminist mindset, and I think most of us are well beyond that (if this ever existed) but it’s one way she blames women for their psychology where I’m not sure it’s justified. Still, after I asked my question about “PC” and the talk ended, a middle-aged woman I’d watched earlier (just interesting looking, I guess!) stopped and leaned down by my chair at the edge of the back row, and quietly said “You asked a really important question, but she (Crispin!) didn’t have the intellectual capability to deal with it!” She was kindly looking and smiling, and I laughed in acknowledgment back at her as she walked on by. I loved that woman, but was also shocked, as I surely hadn’t decided Crispin was mentally deficient. Now that I can reflect, perhaps that woman attacking Crispin was what Crispin was talking about – we attack individuals for acts deemed anti-feminist including dumping on feminism, instead of focusing on a complete demolition and rebuilding of feminism that focuses on human rights.

I’m concerned that Crispin using a poorly chosen example of lying about sexual assault was inexcusable. I understand the social dysfunction of how “peace not safety” is valued, but to imply that feminist-trained female “victims” can be mean and vindictive and want revenge against bad men to badly as to lie happens so rarely it’s irresponsible to bring up its occurrence. Most all state human rights agencies as well as the federal EEO office that have years of backlog and rigorous processes so that virtually all lies are born out, or dismissed due to lack of evidence. One human rights specialist with decades of work fielding sexual harassment claims quickly said “three, maybe four” of her thousands of cases did she think might have been a lie. Of course it happens, but clear research shows a huge number of cases are not reported at all, while only an extremely small number of untrue claims make it to, much less through, full investigations.

If this was my manifesto, I’d include much more on the damage of sex-role stereotyping and how that may be overcome rather than worry about political correctness from the Left. Crispin repeats often that “all obstacles” are removed for women in today’s society in terms of “achievement” (power, money, sex) but, frankly, she misses the sex-role stereotypes that limit access to education (look at statistics for gender and STEM) even if self-imposed, and certainly sexism keeps women denied from many opportunities outside of the upper-middle to upper-class homes and schools.

I liked her critical list of “what feminism” is, but would add a few more positive ones for heterosexual females: Feminism means that men can learn that just because they have an erection they don’t have to use it. Feminism means you can love sex but find blowjobs incredibly boring and choose not to do them. Feminism means we need to get over sexual exclusivity as the most important thing (for both men and women) and admit it’s no moral failing to practice sequential monotony… er…monogamy (which is mostly what we do, anyway). Feminism is directly educating about sex-role stereotypes in schools and insisting on what the AAUW called “civil rights curriculum for girls”, e.g., comprehensive and well-done K-12 Sex Education. Feminism is teaching boys and girls that “sex sells” and how to respond to confusing and mixed messages that are both pro- and anti-sex. Feminism is that the need for safe and legal abortions in such a sexually obsessed culture. Feminism doesn’t present abortion, though, as “no big deal” as it is invasive, and often quite painful, both physically and financially, even if you have access. Feminism means that women don’t wait for men to ask them out or for men to show interest in them. Feminism means reclaiming friendships with men outside of sexual relationships.

Finally, why doesn’t she consult a thesaurus and find adverbs and verbs other than fuck when she needs the punch? The largely White female NYC undergraduate audience at the Stroud Bookstore the night of the book release giggled when Jesse repeatedly said “fuck” during her one hour interview. I was struck by it’s what small, often petite women do to augment their power (as Crispin would herself argue) and realized a gender difference that was “at the tip of the tongue” (or frontal lobe) for many decades, that as an extra-large, extra-strong women, I didn’t *need* to ever use profanity, even as I was the least prudish woman around, as is common with women of many ages now. Is that feminism?
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,414 followers
December 29, 2018
Where to begin. This is a book about how feminism has failed women by being too limited in its thinking. It's definitely possible to make this argument in an effective way, but that's not what Jessa Crispin has done here. First of all, the "feminist" of this book is a moving target. It often seems to refer to "universal feminists," Crispin's made-up term for the allegedly vast number of women out there who want to make feminism as bland as possible so everyone feels comfortable calling themselves feminist. It also refers to "choice feminists," women who think every choice any woman makes is feminist just by virtue of her being a woman. Crispin seems not to realize that this term was made up by the mainstream media and has nothing to do with actual feminists out in the real world. Sometimes when she uses the word "feminist" she seems to be referring exclusively to women like Sheryl Sandberg who try to help women succeed in the corporate world, or to pop stars who call themselves feminists even though they don't really engage in activism. Sometimes "feminist" seems to refer to women in general, as when she complains about female film directors (not all of whom are necessarily feminists) who make regressive romantic comedies, and sometimes it seems to refer to women who don't actually consider themselves feminists because they're afraid of leg hair and such, or of turning off men. In other words, Crispin casts a very wide net. Just about all of us are doing a terrible job at being feminists, or really just at being women in the world. We don't care about things like helping working mothers. We don't explore other options beyond being married and having kids. We hate men but simultaneously want only to please men. We want to exclude everyone who's not white, cis, and at least middle-class. We want everyone else to be just like us because we're uncomfortable with difference, and we love to make straw-man arguments.

Speaking of straw-man arguments, where did Crispin get her ideas about how feminists are? Because these feminists don't sound like the contemporary feminist writers I'm reading, and they certainly don't sound like the feminists I know in actual life. I was constantly writing in the margins: "WHO are you talking about?" There are all kinds of feminists who care about helping working mothers, who explore options beyond the conventional ones, who care about intersectionality, who welcome difference. Who are these feminists that Crispin is talking about? She doesn't quote anyone except, once, the British feminist Laurie Penny, who apparently said something disparaging about Andrea Dworkin one time. She uses few examples, and the ones she does use are all anecdotal. Eventually it becomes clear that she's getting most of her information from the comments sections of internet articles. Literally, this is where she's getting her ideas about contemporary feminism. She seems not to realize that internet comments sections tend to be full of jerks of all stripes. That some of these jerks are women, or even self-identified feminists, doesn't mean you can extrapolate from them to the entire human race. This would seem to be a fairly obvious point. Maybe Jessa Crispin needs to leave the house a little more.

Look, I think I get what she's going for to a certain extent. A lot of current well-known feminist writers are pretty conventional in their personal lives: married, kids, participate in capitalist economy, conventionally attractive. I, too, would like to see a lot of other models for how to live. But that doesn't mean that more conventional feminists don't have anything worth saying, or that they're not doing any good in the world. They're doing a lot of good. Crispin complains that they're unaccepting of difference, but to me it's Crispin herself who's unaccepting. Women come at feminism from a lot of different places. We're not all radical, we don't all want exactly the same things, but we can all make significant changes in our own ways. Our own feminist project can still be valid even if it doesn't look exactly like other women's feminist projects. Vive la différence. (Or, as Roxane Gay put it when I saw her speak the other night: "Corporate feminism exists. Fucking whatever.") For that matter, it's not as if Crispin herself is brimming with ideas for how to knock down the patriarchy. At one point she even says that, now that we have women both on the "inside" and the "outside" of male-dominated culture, it should be easy for us to tear it apart. But how, exactly? If everything we're doing is wrong, what does she want us to do differently that will suddenly make some huge difference? She doesn't really say.

If it's not already obvious, Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto is a polemic. I understand the rules of polemics: They're rants. They don't necessarily have to be backed up with facts. A polemic is in some senses an intellectual exercise, meant to stimulate thought. I get that. I was looking forward to that. I knew I would disagree with some of it, and I was excited to be challenged. But the worst thing about this book is that I wasn't challenged. There is nothing sharp and incisive about Why I Am Not a Feminist. It doesn't hang together, sometimes even from one paragraph to the next. Crispin contradicts herself over and over again and doesn't even seem to realize she's doing it. I didn't feel stimulated. I didn't feel excited. Honestly, I just got a low-level headache from the whole exercise.

Crispin's The Dead Ladies Project was one of the best books I read in 2016, and possibly ever. Now that book stimulated and excited me. For that reason, I struggled with how to rate this one. Two stars, with one star acknowledging my admiration for Crispin's past work? Or one star, to recognize that this is not just a bad book, but a major letdown? You can see for yourself where I ultimately landed. I'm not happy about any of it. Jessa Crispin, you can do better than this. So next time, do better.
Profile Image for Ilenia Zodiaco.
267 reviews14k followers
April 18, 2018
Un po' troppe le contraddizioni, pochi gli esempi. Capisco sia un pamphlet e non un vero e proprio saggio ma le argomentazioni spesso mancano di forza e sono vaghe. Tuttavia ne consiglio assolutamente la lettura per avere una visione critica del cosiddetto "femminismo da copertina" che va molto di moda soprattutto sui social media e che non punta minimamente a cambiare il sistema ma solo a foraggiarlo (vd. magliette con la scritta "feminist" vendute a 200 $ e probabilmente fatte cucire alle solite operaie sfruttate dell'industria tessile). Purtroppo la pars destruens contro il femminismo light che parla solo in nome di alcune categorie sociali (bianchi e benestanti) non è seguita da alcuna pars construens, non c'è molta alternativa al j'accuse della Crispin che spesso sembra soltanto livorosa. Per carità, ottime stoccate ma quando propone un sistema diverso, un femminismo più radicale, ecco che improvvisamente tutto diventa vaghissimo. Vorrei un saggio più corposo sull'argomento, un manifesto così non mi basta.
Profile Image for Sarah.
153 reviews34 followers
March 18, 2017
Please go read some Audre Lorde, Patricia Hill Collins, or Angela Davis instead. I agree that mainstream feminism does not address many of the issues Crispin suggests, but actual intersectional feminism does.

To do what Crispin has done here and equate anti-capitalism as Not Feminism and brand these ideas as her own is completely unfair to and bordering on appropriative of the many feminists out there, particularly women of color, who have done a lot of work in this area and made it part of the movement rather than eschewing it.

I agree that mainstream feminism is deserving of critique. Much better books have even been written recently that critique many of the issues with mainstream feminism, (e.g. We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler - incredibly well-researched and informative), but the execution of this is overly generalized, condescending, hypocritical, and divisive at best.
Profile Image for Nicola.
Author 6 books499 followers
March 7, 2017
DNFed this trash. You can't write a whole book arguing against imaginary people and their imaginary arguments. Absolutely no rigour or research of contemporary feminism went into this. It's frankly embarrassing.
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,520 reviews8,993 followers
September 23, 2017
A provocative book that has a couple of important insights but hurts itself overall by prioritizing stylistic flare over substance. Its title, for example - when you read the book, you can see that Jessa Crispin used this title just to draw people's attention, because she calls for a restructuring of feminism more than a dismissal of it. As you can see from the available Goodreads reviews, her lack of clarity detracts from the book. She does not cite research, and she will often make bombastic claims about certain groups without specifying her target audience (e.g., saying that "feminists" will do X or Y thing, but not articulating which sect of feminists, which weakens her argument because we are not all the same nor do we have identical views).

I give this book more than one or two stars because Crispin does a great job of addressing how capitalism and predominant ideas of romance take away from the power of the feminist movement. She articulates well how only focusing on having more female CEOs and more white women with higher-paying jobs neglects the suffering of more marginalized women (e.g., queer women, women of color, etc.) She also criticizes how we socialize women to prioritize romantic relationships above all else, to the detriment of more internalized, long-lasting empowerment. A quote about that harmful emphasis on romance, here:

"We wait for love to redeem us. For straight girls, that means, despite all of our talk about independence and empowerment, the goals of self-empowerment are often pursued to make ourselves better on the romantic market...

... Feminists do not have to shut themselves off from the possibility of romantic love. But we should question the privileging of romantic love over all other forms of love, from familial to friendship to societal. We should also question what is required of us in order to be loved, and the way the possibility of love and sex and family is dangled in front of women as a way of keeping them in line - and the way women are all too eager to internalize this method of control."

Still, Crispin misses the mark quite a few times in Why I Am Not a Feminist. Two examples include her critique of outrage culture and her critique of those who critique toxic masculinity. She gets mad at people who get mad at their oppressors, which reminds me a lot of tone-policing and how people try to pathologize the anger of those who experience bigotry (see: Audre Lord's amazing essay, "The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism". Instead of directing her anger at oppressed groups' outrage, maybe she could focus her energy on stopping the people who commit oppressive acts in the first place? She also goes awry when critiquing those who critique toxic masculinity, by arguing that people who abhor toxic masculinity think that masculinity itself is inborn and awful. She is wrong - a lot of the people fighting against toxic masculinity acknowledge that it is socialized and learned. Men themselves are not the problem, the problem is how we are often taught to hurt ourselves and others, repress our emotions, value securing a high income over caring for those around us, etc. Crispin lacks nuance in her discussion of masculinity, which sucks because masculinity serves as such an important topic in the feminist movement.

Overall, an okay book that misses the mark too many times for me to recommend it. I would urge you to check out We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler and All About Love by bell hooks, two books that elaborate on the strongest parts of this book by Jessa Crispin.
Profile Image for Rowena.
501 reviews2,516 followers
July 31, 2017
Making feminism a universal pursuit might look like a good thing—or at the very least a neutral thing—but in truth it progresses, and I think accelerates, a process that has been detrimental to the feminist movement: the shift of focus from society to the individual. What was once collective action and a shared vision for how women might work and live in the world has become identity politics, a focus on individual history and achievement, and an unwillingness to share space with people with different opinions, worldviews, and histories. It has separated us out into smaller and smaller groups until we are left all by ourselves, with our concern and our energy directed inward instead of outward.- Jessa Crispin, Why I am not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto

There’s something that Dr. King said that I read a few years ago that stuck with me, which is about the importance of reading widely, including reading views that you don’t agree with. I learned that is true and that we can learn a lot from people who think differently. In the past this isn’t the sort of book I’d have picked up, I mean so many of my readings are feminist-focused; as a black woman I’m interested in feminism, and how to make my life, and the lives of the women in my life, better, so my defenses were slightly up when I read this one.

From my perspective, this book is a critique of feminism, and in my opinion every movement should be critiqued. As Crispin says, “Feminism is—should be—a movement, not an excuse to stand still.” She makes many good points and gave me food for thought. Overall she did make me think about labels and how important it is for us to understand what we are claiming when we take on any label. Basically, this requires self-reflection, and Crispin assumes that feminists do not self-reflect.

Being confronted almost daily with pinkwashing capitalism, I was really glad that Crispin addressed how feminism is used in advertising. Crispin says “ It is often supposed that acceptance of the feminist label will also result in the acceptance of the meaning behind it, but the meaning has been drained away by this psychotic marketing campaign. A woman can now take up the feminist label without any true political, personal, or relational adaptations whatsoever. It’s just another button on her jacket, another sticker on her bumper. The inner contents remain unchanged.”

I do agree with this, and additionally I agree with the importance of not celebrating someone just because they are a woman. See this article: https://www.buzzfeed.com/doree/femini...

Throughout the book I found myself disagreeing with plenty, and part of that reason was Crispin seems to be focusing on white middle-class feminism, which clearly I have little to no connection with at all. Crispin also uses examples from feminism online, and that makes me think that her data is skewered towards the West, as so much else is. I find that it’s so easy to forget that there are worlds out there outside of the West, and the citizens of those places might not have the word “feminist” in their vocabulary, may not have access to the internet and other resources, but they are still fighting to improve the lot of women, and in very diverse ways, ways that are not mentioned in this book. Crispin also made several sweeping assumptions that surprised me, such as that feminists hate men.

But still, despite Crispin’s sometimes arrogance and blanket statements, I feel this is an important read. It’s a quick one too, and you can probably skip over a few of her essays as some of the stuff is repetitive.
Profile Image for Viv JM.
694 reviews153 followers
March 5, 2017
If by declaring myself a feminist I must reassure you that I am not angry, that I pose no threat, then feminism is definitely not for me.
I am angry. And I do pose a threat.

I can see why this is a polarising book. It is angry; it is a bit ranty; and it is far from a comfortable read. However, I think it is an important book, and I found myself agreeing wholeheartedly with a lot of what Crispin says. In particular she takes to task the idea that women in power is an inherently good thing and wonders why, in contemporary feminism, markers of success are the same as in patriarchal capitalism ie money and power:

A woman CEO can proudly stand up and proclaim her belief in feminism – after all, it got her to this position of power – while still outsourcing her company’s labor to factories where women and children work in slave-like conditions, while still poisoning the atmosphere and water supplies with toxic run-off, and while paying her female employees disproportionately low salaries.

Another target is what the author terms “outrage feminism”, the phenomenon whereby individuals are called out on their misogyny, usually on the internet. She argues that “taking out one individual at a time does not decrease the amount of misogyny in the world. The system we live in, a system that rewards competition and violence, a system that devalues compassion and care, will keep spitting out misogynists until the system itself is addressed.”

Yes to dismantling the whole rotten system!! I suppose my only criticism of the book would be that Crispin doesn’t offer much in the way of solutions, although she does address that:
“I have more questions than answers. I do not know how this is all supposed to go. I’m fine with that, you should never listen to anyone who says they have it all figured out. They are either lying or they want something from you.”

This book is not without its flaws, but I think its message is an important one and needs to be heard. I think I might read some Andrea Dworkin next :-)
Profile Image for Blair.
1,794 reviews4,432 followers
September 10, 2018
There's a lot that's interesting in this short, engaging book, and early in Why I am Not a Feminist, Jessa Crispin makes some points that had me nodding along. She opens her manifesto with a disparaging list of what feminism now is. It has become 'a decade-long conversation about which television show is a good television show and which television show is a bad television show'. It is 'a narcissistic reflexive thought process: I define myself as a feminist, so everything I do is a feminist act, no matter how banal or regressive'.

Crispin's main target is an easy one: the 'universal' or 'lifestyle' feminism of wealthy, white westerners, apparent in declarations of feminism from mainstream celebrities, expensive designer clothes emblazoned with feminist slogans, and campaigns for more female CEOs and politicians (that is, further elevation of women who are already extremely privileged). Her objections are understandable, but surely it's quite a widely held opinion that much of what typifies this 'feminism' isn't much more than a marketing ploy? Everyone will have different ideas about what's wrong with modern feminism, but but to my mind one of the main problems is the fact that different strains of feminism are locked in such aggressively siloed groups, within which questioning of the accepted doctrine is verboten. Crispin does address this briefly when she talks about 'outrage feminism' and social media pile-ons, but she seems nervous of really tackling the issue.

Sometimes Why I am Not a Feminist seems to contradict itself from one page to the next. Crispin suggests in one chapter that women should build alternative forms of family and community, in order to move away from the idea that children can only be raised within romantic relationships or by isolated single mothers. But by the final chapter, she's saying it's selfish to be concerned with one's own family and community. She claims women are not inherently caring, compassionate and nurturing – that this is an idea that has been imposed by patriarchal systems – yet repeatedly argues that such 'feminine' qualities are missing from society because women have long been excluded from positions of power. (It's worth mentioning also that all the 'evidence' here is anecdotal. Crispin says in the acknowledgements that she is indebted to various feminist writers, but no specific sources are cited.) She pays lip service to the idea of being more inclusive of marginalised groups but, again, doesn't explain how this might be achieved.

Crispin also, strangely, appears to misunderstand what the phrase 'toxic masculinity' means. Perhaps it's just poor wording, but the way she talks about it here makes it sound like she believes those who use it are saying all masculinity is toxic.

Ultimately, this is one of those books that goes on about all the problems with something – in this case a particular (quite narrow) brand of 21st-century feminism – but fails to offer a viable alternative. There are no solutions to be found here, aside from a few vague suggestions about resurrecting various radical feminist ideas and rejecting 'the system'. This seems a rather significant oversight for something that labels itself a 'manifesto'; it's really more of a polemic. It is thought-provoking, though, and I'm glad I pulled it out of my to-read stack for that reason, if nothing else.

TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
Profile Image for Daisy.
204 reviews72 followers
February 17, 2022
At last a modern book on feminism that is not afraid to admit that we owe a debt to and would be better off listening to the older feminists who the new breed are keen to distance themselves from. The tricky feminists like Dworkin (generally denigrated because of her, often uncontextualized and incorrectly paraphrased as ‘all sex is rape’ stance. A stance which is about the power dynamic in sexual transactions and is surely the foundation of the #MeToo movement) and Greer are given their dues as Crispin rightly asserts that she is does not consider herself a feminist today as all that is required now is to state that whatever you do or say is a feminist statement. Pole-dancing, Brazilian waxes, sex-work, being pumped and cinched to unfeasible proportions; none of it needs questioning because the woman doing has said it is a feminist statement.
I view feminism like I do religion – if it’s not difficult, if it doesn’t make you question then I’m not sure its sufficiently robust. Its why I’d take Catholicism over CofE with its jean wearing vicar singing folksy hymns while he plays acoustic guitar. Like the article in Bitchfest Crispin calls for a re—evaluation of being victim and calls for a sharp-eyed honest look at women and their behaviour. We need she says to move away from the notion that women are always perfect, never lie and never manipulate. If we do that and taken to its logical conclusion that we believe wholeheartedly whatever the woman says, we are in danger of causing harm to other minority and disadvantaged groups (is a legal system that imprisons a man from a minority group on flimsy evidence because the assumption is that a woman never lies really what women want?). As Crispin says there is lot of benefit to inhabiting the role of victim,
“Once you have been declared a victim, you are allowed to rest, you are given time to recover. Everything you do is brave.”
And we have been taught to find everything traumatising.
Once the notion that every unpleasant thing that happens to you will haunt you for years and you are at risk of being triggered several times a day then Crispin says you start seeking safety.
”It’s easy, from this position, to confuse irritations for full-on assaults…And calling out for safety and protection can be a way of refusing to take responsibility for your own situation.”
This is what we have when women demand a man lose his joke over a poor joke or a clumsy pass. When we don’t take responsibility for our part in contributing to uncomfortable situations. I, like Crispin, am tired of this and long for a more aggressive, strident, strong form of feminism where we don’t believe ourselves so easily breakable.
Not everyone can be a woman, not every woman is a feminist but for those who are, lets think about what it means and that part of that is saying and doing the uncomfortable. Jessa Crispin has made a start.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
Author 30 books1,200 followers
February 24, 2017
My review for the Chicago Tribune:

"A little etymology can be helpful in approaching Jessa Crispin's latest book, "Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto." The word "manifesto" arrived in English by way of Italian and has come to mean "a public declaration explaining past actions and announcing the motives for forthcoming ones."

The deliberate paradox — it is both feminist and against feminism simultaneously — of the title of Crispin's brief, bellicose and bracing book is telling as well in terms of what it is this manifesto is manifesting. Because she's not really disavowing feminism per se, but rather the empty, toothless, "new age of shallow feminism" that by her estimation focuses on internet outrage, self-care, "labels and identity, rather than on the philosophical and political content of the movement." Or, as she puts it later, "For too long, feminism has been moving away from being about collective action and collective imagination, and toward being a lifestyle. Lifestyles do not change the world."

With her epigraph, from the Romanian philosopher E.M. Cioran, Crispin lets the reader know in no uncertain terms what they're in for: "A book should open old wounds, even inflict new ones. A book should be a danger."

A call for an examination of conscience and an invitation to a "full-on revolution," Crispin's Marxist-inflected critique reminds readers that "Breaking away from the value system and goals of the dominant culture is always going to be a dramatic, and inconvenient, act." If we measure feminism's success incrementally by how many women now compete just as effectively as men in the capitalist patriarchy, then we have severely missed the point because "Women who conduct themselves as ruthlessly and thoughtlessly as their male peers are not heroes."

Such a manifesto seems a natural and almost inevitable progression of the work that has marked Crispin's career to date as a committed and vocal literary contrarian and influencer. She founded the immensely popular and now defunct site Bookslut in 2002 when she was living in Austin, Texas, and working at Planned Parenthood, and she currently edits the online magazine Spolia (which interestingly also has a "Manifesto" page where others might simply have an "About Us"). The jacket copy for her previous book, "The Dead Ladies Project: Exiles, Ex-Pats, and Ex-Countries," describes her as someone who "burned her settled Chicago life and took off for Berlin with a pair of suitcases and no plan beyond leaving."

All this is to say that her latest book is written from the perspective of a person who is not afraid to stir stuff up and get confrontational, or as she puts it, "If you asked me today if I am a feminist, I would not only say no, I would say no with a sneer."

Anybody who sets out to diagnose flaws in any movement is probably going to find a lot. So too is anybody who sets out to diagnose the flaws of the person pointing out the flaws. It's possible to come at Crispin's book with the intent of engaging in an infinite regression of flaw-diagnosing, a hall of mirrors of pointing hands. So it's worth mentioning that Crispin's book feels woolly at times and in need of better editing. It's also long on strawmen (strawwomen?) for its surprising lack of sources and specifics, and short on prescriptions for how to actually do the revolutionary work she rallies the reader to do.

But more than that, it's worth considering her plea that: "We do not have to reward exploitation, we do not have to support the degradation of the planet, of our souls, of our bodies. We can resist. We must stop thinking so small."

A useful attitude when dealing with such a brickbat of a text might be to let the provocations have their intended provocative effect. And then, after the initial impact has settled, decide whether the missiles have really hit their mark — and whether we feel inspired to react. Hopefully, in this perplexing and paradoxical Trump-led world in which 53 percent of white women voted for a man who was caught on video talking about grabbing women by the genitalia, the reaction will be passionate and will bend toward true feminism.
Profile Image for Alejandra Arévalo.
Author 2 books1,325 followers
January 31, 2019
Hay muchos comentarios que tengo sobre este ensayo/manifiesto, pero principalmente entendí que no es un texto para mí ni para ninguna de las mujeres que vivimos en América Latina, aunque Jessa Crispin por momentos parece interesarse en mujeres de tercer mundo al mencionar a las mujeres afganas y otras mujeres musulmanas, es notorio su reduccionismo y su falta de información. Sus argumentos se caen porque no tiene una pizca de información que valide o apoye lo que dice, reduce las actitudes de sus amigas blancas a una situación que para otras mujeres es -literal- de vida o muerte. Finalmente el texto es contradictorio, por momentos puede llegar a una lucidez férrea y agresiva que aplaudo siempre, pero se va mermando al contradecirse unas páginas más tarde.

Me sorprende que un libro como este haya sido publicado o incluso traducido en 2017, pero también creo que es un libro que las mujeres podríamos leer y ver a Jessa Crispin caer en sus mismas críticas: no ahondar en contextos, no leer bien a las feministas radicales (que por cierto no agradece en su parte final pero sí agradece a Ciorán ¿?) y sobre todo leerla como un cuestionamiento de qué estamos escribiendo las mujeres que vivimos fuera de la burbuja gringa. Plantearnos qué podemos hacer nosotras por nosotras a partir de la teoría y la escritura porque claramente darle ese papel a Crispin es injusto. Ella no puede hablar por todas, y está bien, pero entonces que este libro sea para su círculo de amigas que trabajan en editoriales y tienen puestos importantes allá. Para nosotras latinoamericanas ¿qué sigue?
Profile Image for Rachel Kowal.
169 reviews19 followers
September 14, 2016
I started taking notes as I was reading this. Notes of what resonated with me, what piqued my interest, what I found off-putting, what seemed problematic or contradictory. And for a while, the latter bugged me. But here's the thing. Feminism is complicated. Being a woman is complicated. Being a person in this strange world is complicated. It's good to think about these things. It's good to ask: What next? To examine and scrutinize our behaviors and our motivations. Especially when it makes you feel uncomfortable sometimes. Let's talk about this.
Profile Image for Anna.
140 reviews38 followers
October 10, 2016
Review forthcoming in Publishers Weekly. This was an unimpressive addition to the centuries-long tradition of calling out feminism for being bankrupt. However, in her rush to condemn contemporary feminists, the author employs stale caricatures that we're all familiar with decades past; she fails engage with the increasingly diverse and intersectional feminisms of the present and thus undermines her own arguement to those who might be most sympathetic to calls for a more radical activism. Skip this title in favor of The Feminist Utopias Project (http://www.thefeministutopiaproject.com/) if you're in need of a shot of radical passion and vision for the future.
45 reviews6 followers
December 24, 2017
The attitude of, Im not like those other feminists, was a prevalent and toxic attitude throughout this short piece. This was honestly a hate read and better suited to a blog or tumblr than a published book. I was curious. It was grossly ahistorical, unresearched and unreasoned. I wrote an entire essay on this in notes, and what it boils down to is her compilation of all feminisms into this horrific stereotype of white liberal feminism without having read anything white liberal feminist. She has a sentence raising up both Simone Weil and Coco Chanel in the same sentence, a Jewish activist that fled Europe and a Nazi sympathizer and collaborater, respectively. And accuses Steinem of being a CIA funded activist and middle class, both conspiracy theories. She spends the better part of a chapter convincing us that women are human and as humans they are fully capable and do lie about their rapes. Great. Finally, her book is more bent on attacking aspects of feminism she doesn't understand the context of and defending the white men who may or may not commit violence against women.
I agree that feminism needs some revision. All movements do. But do your research and don't mess over other women. Introducing false rape accusations in such a way is a step back and a horrid use of a platform for someone that purports to be a feminist. I won't even get into her issues with class and race.
Profile Image for Shannon.
79 reviews3 followers
September 27, 2016
This book reinvigorated my feminism and my anti-racism, which had gone dormant in recent years. Part of the reason I think it went dormant was because of the popular watered-down feminism she calls out in this book. I think Crispin will become a big figure in our feminist discourse when this hits the shelves!
ARC provided by the publisher.
Profile Image for Andrea Vega.
Author 6 books450 followers
September 29, 2022
Está muy largo como para no pasar de rant.


Oh, boy, this is gonna be a ride. Una de las cosas que más defiendo en el mundo es leer lo que me salga de los bajos fondos porque me sale de los bajos fondos y porque quiero hacer una lectura crítica. No es la primera vez que le hago una crítica a un libro feminista (ya tengo historia con el infame Teoría King Kong de Virginie Despentes y con El feminismo es para todo el mundo de bell hooks, que no me pareció que estuviera a la altura). Por qué no soy feminista: un manifiesto feminista, de Jessa Crispin, es la lectura con la que Libros b4 Tipos abre el 2019. Con la que abre una nueva dinámica, llamada #LeemosJuntas, en la que estaremos discutiendo temas que atañen a la liberación de la mujer desde la literatura (ficción, no ficción, etcétera).

Pero bueno, vamos a hablar ya de este libro Porque no soy feminista de Jessa Crispin. Es un libro corto de ensayos muy inconexos (primer error) y no lo considero para nada un manifiesto de ninguna clase. Creo que hay mucho rant en este libro como para que sea realmente productivo. Sí, hace críticas al feminismo, pero apenas las fundamenta y, para eso, hay material mucho más amigable. ¿Introductorio? De ninguna manera, no explica ni medio concepto y tiene bases diría yo que muy pobres (por más válidas que sean sus críticas). Además de que la estructura de los ensayos es confusa, no parece haber demasiadas cosas que los conecten (además del rant de la autora) y tiene la mala manía de contradecirse a sí mismo.

Hay mucho rant en este libro y poca crítica fundamentada. Esto es lamentable porque las críticas que hace, por ejemplo, sobre como el feminismo es funcional al capital y ha ayudado a las mujeres burguesas a luchar por los intereses de su clase, no están incorrectas. Sin embargo, tampoco están bien fundamentadas. ¿A qué me refiero? Durante todo el libro, Jessa Crisín da vueltas en torno a la idea de que las mujeres no somos iguales porque nuestra posición económica nos separa, nuestros recursos. Y nunca jamás menciona que, efecticamente, a las mujeres nos separa la clase. Da los ejemplos, pero no se atreve a decirlo: "no somos todas iguales". (Paréntesis para decir que tampoco se atreve a condenar al capitalismo). Me hubiera gustado que se atreviera, hubiera sentido que el libro daba menos vueltas en círculos.

Por ejemplo, menciona lo siguiente, con lo que debo decir que estoy de acuerdo:
Lo peor de todo, sin embargo, es la tendencia del feminismo contemporáneo a ver a las mujeres en el poder como un bien en sí mismo; mujeres como Hillary Rodham Clinton, que siendo senadora anuló programas de bienestar social con graves perjuicios para las mujeres y niños pobres y apoyó intervenciones internacionales que provocaron la muerte y el sufrimiento de miles de civiles; como Mary T. Barra, la CEO de General Motors, que supervisó el encubrimiento de los problemas de seguridad en los productos de su compañía, lo que causó más de una docena de muertos; y como otras mujeres destacadas cuyo comportamiento se ganaría la condena de las feministas si su género fuese otro.

Mi problema (el único) con esa frase es que esto no es producto del feminismo contemporáneo. El feminismo se ha distinguido durante muchos años y muchas décadas por ser un movimiento interclasista que llama a todas las mujeres (de todas las clases) a unirse para acabar con su opresión. Sólo que había un problema: las burguesas luchaban por sus intereses, las proletarias por los suyos. Y nunca fueron los mismos. Ya lo dijo Alexandra Kollontai hace muchísimos años cuando crítico al feminismo burgués en Rusia, que veía como un fin en sí mismo el hecho de que las mujeres consiguieran los privilegios de los hombres (que, para la clase trabajadora, sólo significaba conseguir el derecho a ser más explotadas) en Los fundamentos sociales de la cuestión femenina:
Mientras que para las feministas la consecución de la igualdad de derechos con los hombres en el marco del mundo capitalista actual representa un fin lo suficientemente concreto en sí mismo, la igualdad de derechos en el momento actual para las mujeres proletarias, es sólo un medio para avanzar en la lucha contra la esclavitud económica de la clase trabajadora. Las feministas ven a los hombres como el principal enemigo, por los hombres que se han apropiado injustamente de todos los derechos y privilegios para sí mismos, dejando a las mujeres solamente cadenas y obligaciones. Para ellas, la victoria se gana cuando un privilegio que antes disfrutaba exclusivamente el sexo masculino se concede al “sexo débil”.

De lo que habla Jessa Crispin no es nuevo. Lamentablemente, no es un mal de "terrible" feminismo contémporaneo. La lucha de las mujeres siempre ha dependido de los intereses de sus clases. Ya lo dijo Cecilia Toledo hace casi veinte años en El género nos une, la clase nos separa, las políticas de género dirigidas por la burguesía representan a los intereses de la burguesía, que es justo de lo que habla Crispin arriba al mencionar a Clinton (aunque no se atreva a mencionar a la clase, por Dios):
Las políticas de género, al no asentarse en la clase trabajadora, tienen que asentarse en alguna cosa. Por eso, están siempre dirigidas a los gobiernos burgueses, a los organismos del imperialismo, ONU y FMI, como hacen las organizaciones que ahora dirigen la Marcha de las Mujeres 2000. Tienen siempre al frente una primera dama o una ONG que aportan su “esencia femenina”, su iniciativa personal para salir de los dilemas, el “toquecito femenino” para resolver los conflictos. La política de género pide a la mujer que vote una mujer, no importa cual sea. El objetivo es aumentar la representación femenina en el Parlamento, no derribarlo, ya que no se llama a la mujer trabajadora a votar por mujeres trabajadoras. Es como si no existiesen mujeres burguesas y proletarias, intereses burgueses y proletarios, como si un Parlamento mayoritariamente femenino votase sólo políticas favorables al pueblo.

Así que Jessa Crispin (que sólo da vueltas en círculos en torno a una idea que no llega a concretarse del todo) no descubrió ningún hilo negro. En su defensa, no la he visto decir que lo ha hecho, sólo a algunas personas que recomiendan su libro.

Pasando a otro tema, encuentro extraña su manera de rescatar a las teóricas radicales. Las menciona varias veces, especialmente para mencionar como el feminismo (liberal) de hoy las desprecia, pero no hace demasiado por rescatarlas o recuperarlas. No es su obligación hacerlo, debo decir, pero si me gustaría crear más consciencia en que me gusta que la gente que está en la lucha sea «insaciable en aprender, infatigable en enseñar». En este caso, énfasis en el infatigable en enseñar. Especialmente en este caso porque Jessa Crispin critica los métodos de las feministas contémporaneas para atraer a más mujeres (métodos que a mí tampoco me gustan, como el mentado empoderamiento individual que a la lucha colectiva le sirve un carajo y nada). Creo que, si queremos acercar a las mujeres a la lucha por la liberación de las mujeres, hay que trabajar en ello. No basta con decir que lo que se está haciendo ahora está mal, sino que es increíblemente necesario proponer. No es una obligación, pero me gustaría que se fuera más consciente en ese aspecto. Yo, por ejemplo, quizá no tengo interés en dialogar con nadie que no quiera dialogar conmigo en internet (pelearse a través de un montón de pixeles es increíblemente incómodo), pero sí me interesa brindar material para quienes sí quieren, para quienes tienen preguntas. Por eso, quizá, los libros que no van más allá de la crítica y que, además, no tienen fundamentos tan sólidos como me gustaría, ya no me parecen tan atractivos, ni siquiera como material introductorio.

Me imagino leyendo este libro cuando apenas acababa de declararme como feminista y me imagino sumida en la confusión. Lo veo con muchas lectoras del libro hoy. Si no me confunde y sólo me frustra, reconozco que es por una evolución ideológica que fue a aventarme a las fauces de Kollontai y del marxismo. Lamentablemente para los libros que leo, esa misma evolución ideológica me hace buscarle cinco patas al gato todo el tiempo. Defiendo la lectura crítica por encima de todo en el proceso de autoformación de cada quien: no se lee por leer, se lee para analizar, para debatir. Y es por eso que no me molesta, pero sí me deja ligeramente insatisfecha, el hecho de que Jessa Crispin no le proporcione herramientas a sus lectores, especialmente, lectoras. Pretende reivindicar a Andrea Dworkin, a Kate Millett, a Catherine McKinnon diciendo que las feministas de hoy (liberales, supongo) las desprecian en busca de la aprobación masculina. No quiero una guía para leerlas (no es obligación de Crispin), pero sí me gustaría alguna clase de invitación a leerlas, sobre todo para entender por qué elige reivindicarlas a ellas. (De las que mencioné, leí a dos de tres, no son mis favoritas, pero aliento la lectura crítica de sus libros).

Por otro lado, quizá peco de no entender la crítica a volver al feminismo universal. O sea, entiendo la crítica al hecho de volver el feminismo una cuestión individual, pero no entiendo el rechazo a hablarle a las masas que parece tener Jessa Crispin. Evidentemente, los métodos del capital y del feminismo liberal no son los más eficientes, pues vuelven al feminismo una lucha individual y lo vuelven la única alternativa de liberación que tienen las mujeres. Pero la lucha por la liberación de la mujer debe hablarle a las masas. La revolución no va a ser porque unos cuantos intelectuales sepan en dónde está el origen de la opresión de la mujer. No hay que desechar la idea de hablar con las masas, simplemente cuestionar qué es lo que se les está diciendo. En esa parte le puedo decir a Jessa Crispin que sí acierta: reivindicar la lucha individual no sirve de un carajo.
La segunda manera de engrosar las filas feministas es convencer a las mujeres de que sus vidas serán mejores si se declaran feministas. De este modo, el feminismo se convierte en un nuevo método de autoayuda, en otra voz que les dice a las mujeres que deberían tener mejores orgasmos, ganar más dinero, incrementar su dosis de felicidad y ejercer más poder en sus casas y sus lugares de trabajo. La meta aquí es el empoderamiento —un término muy en boga entre las feministas últimamente—: la capacidad para vivir la vida que hemos escogido sin centrarnos en qué podría o debería ser esa vida.

Finalmente, quiero decir que me parece terriblemente malo que un libro se contradiga (primero dice que los hombres no son problema de las mujeres, luego que los hombres acusados falsamente de abuso deberían de ser problema de las mujeres), pero no planeo comentar nada en ese sentido fuera de gritarle a la pared que el libro se contradice, porque ni sé cuál es la idea que últimadamente defiende Jessa Crispin. El hecho de que se contradiga a sí misma ya habla por sí solo.

Ahora, ¿les recomiendo el libro? Sí, les recomiendo leerlo de manera crítica y formar sus propias conclusiones. Cualquier comentario que quieran dejarme sobre el libro, acá abajo es bienvenido. Si no pueden conseguirlo, lo pueden contrar en bookmate en este link. Si no lo han probado o no tienen para pagarlo, pueden usar el código NEAPOULAIN para obtener un mes gratis en la plataforma (canjeándolo en este link). Tampoco se pierdan el hangout de Libros b4 Tipos el 3 de febrero a las 12 del día, estaremos discutiendo el libro y me verán retomar esta crítica, lo más probable.
Profile Image for Amal Bedhyefi.
196 reviews645 followers
March 28, 2019
"If you are surrounded by people who agree with you , you do not have to do much thinking. If you are surrounded by people who identify themselves the same way you do , you do not have to work at constructing a unique identity. If you are surrounded by people who behave the same way you do , you do not have to question your own choices."

and that is why I chose to read this book . I wanted someone to challenge my own ideas on Feminism and to offer a different approach/perspective to the Feminism that i know/read about.
This book succeeded in doing so to a certain extent . I agreed with some of the concerns raised but overall found most of her arguments repetitive , contradictory and sometimes unrelaistic .
" Why I am Not a Feminist "does not call on people to dismiss feminism or feminist beliefs . In fact it's a long rant on today's Mainstream / Universal Feminists' shift in principles and goals .

Let me share with you a couple of points that made me think / that I learned from this book :

1. "There was no and is no generosity in the response to radical feminist work, either by women or by men. This campaign to erase the radicals from feminist history is regrettable. Rather than reading them within their context, empathizing with their position, allowing enough vulnerability to start to see your own life through their lens, we are to toss them out as jokes. Dworkin and her kin cannot be prettied up and made palatable." .

I remember having to explain myself whenever I mentioned Feminism ." I am a Feminist but trust me , I don't hate men , I am not a lesbian , I am not some hairy crazy woman " . I repeated this rhetoric a lot that now when I think of it , I feel disgusted for multiple reasons . First , I was trying to please whoever was offended by my feminist beliefs ( mainly Men) , so I always tried to reassure and comfort them . Now , looking back at it , why did I even do that for ? Don't they have brains to figure out that feminism is much more than loving men and being heterosexual ? Was i 'unintentionally' feeding the patriarchy ? . Second , and most importantly , by saying those words , I wanted to disassociate myself from the Radical Feminists .But will there be Feminism and talks about women's rights if it wasn't for those women's early work , struggle and fight for the rights that are now taken for granted by a lot of women ? I , by saying those words , took part in a movement that only wants to take away all their acheivements just because they ' sin differently' . I could have just said "no actually , I'm not a Radical Feminist " or ' No , I do not agree with some of their theories " and that would do the job . By falling into the trap of explaining myself while denigrating other women's work , I stripped these women away their qualities , denied them their acheivements and accomplishments and focused only on their differences . Isn't feminism the right to be whoever we choose to be after all ?.
This one in particular was a kick in the stomach that I had to share wih you . The more we Read , the more we Learn.

2. " This is the belief that no matter what a woman chooses, from her lifestyle to her family dynamic to her pop culture consumption, she is making a feminist choice, just from the act of choosing anything. The idea is that under the more rigidly patriarchal past, women’s choices were made for them. So simply by choosing anything at all, you are bucking the patriarchy and acting like a feminist."
Both Jessa Crispin & Nawal Saadaoui argue whether women have choice in the first place under a patriarchal/capitalist society and It has been in the back of my head ever since.

3. " Any woman can become a feminist simply by declaring herself a feminist, any act can become a feminist act simply by a woman insisting it’s a feminist act. No debate, no consideration, no discomfort required."

What happens after you call yourself a feminist is what matters the most . How you're going to stand up for the less privileged women is what matters . The change you're about to bring to the world (workplace , surroundings , family ..) is what matters . Empowering other women is what matters. Labels are just labels . We Need To Do The Work.
Profile Image for Ely Rugiada.
Author 13 books33 followers
July 21, 2019
Avvertenze prima di leggere.Se siete una ragazza come me molto " celebrale" che preferisce i libri alle scarpe,che con una borsa nera fate 4 stagioni, i tacchi non vi interessano...Per voi conta essere... adorerete questo libro.Se invece amate curare molto il vostro aspetto vi sentirete offese .Io personalmente concordo nel non essere femminista come concetto " commerciale, ma sono consapevole che per molte altre invece come si appare conta.Indipendentemente di cosa amate.L" importante è essere come siamo per volontà nostra e non per influenze del mercato o per accalappiare un uomo.
Profile Image for Andrew.
573 reviews166 followers
October 3, 2016
Jessa Crispin is in for a world of internet hurt. But, she can handle it, and as she says, the radical truth isn't a comfortable place.

Why is feminism so focused on equality within a patriarchal system instead of upending the system?

This glaring question is at the heart of a seriously uncomfortable book. It calls out complacency, a safe universal feminism, the outrage culture that does no one any good, and men. Let's stop worrying about men. We don't have to take revenge on them or oppress them, but why does it remain the role of feminists and women to hand-hold men through their identity crisis or find a place for them in a feminist order? Time for men, to paraphrase Crispin, to own their own shit.

So read this book. It will perhaps challenge you, inspire you, enrage you, or wake you up. But you'll never forget it. I made notes on practically every page.
Profile Image for Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich.
Author 4 books599 followers
July 4, 2017
Look, this book *seeks* to pick an argument with you. I don't quite get the low ratings that fault it for doing precisely that-- Crispin's open about her intentions. And the book is difficult, impassioned, angry, considered, quarrelsome, and that over-used but here accurate word: searing. It will make you think. It will force you to argue with it. At times it will likely make you want to hurl it across a room; at others, it will make you exclaim in agreement. She's not here to reify your own thinking on the subject; she's offering hers, for you to do with what you will. One thing you *can't* do is simply dismiss it, because it will provoke strong thoughts and feelings, and unsettle you. That's my definition of a great book: one that gets under your skin, one you can't ignore.
Profile Image for Carrie.
235 reviews
September 11, 2018
I've been trying to put together a cogent review, and I have no idea how to rate such a book. I both admire and repudiate it. For feminists or anyone interested in feminism, it's worth reading, being angry over, and talking through.


Having had some time to digest it, I still think it's worth reading, with the understanding that it's a polemic, and that the Why I Am Not a Feminist title is not to be taken at face value.

I'm interested in books like Crispin's because, while I strongly identify as a feminist, feminism as a movement isn't well-defined, is often exclusionary, and is so watered-down in some forms as to be completely useless and self-serving. Crispin doesn't use names, but she takes direct aim at writers like Roxane Gay (she does use the phrase 'bad feminists') and Jessica Valenti, both of whose writing on feminism I've taken issue with for reasons similar to Crispin's. And I agree with her to a large extent on other issues like the barrage of sanctimonious, career-ruining Twitter takedowns - her example isn't the strongest, but anyone who remembers the Suey Park & friends era of publicly shaming random Twitter users over misunderstandings and false accusations will agree. She's also correct that older feminists and women from other cultures see women's issues from an entirely different perspective, and shaming them is problematic, too.

All that being said...it's a hot mess. She contradicts herself so often that it's hard to keep track of what she's really arguing. She laments that younger feminists dismiss, in particular, Andrea Dworkin (I don't think she's as dismissed as Crispin seems to think), Valerie Solanas (the whole attempted murder of Andy Warhol thing that Crispin neglects to mention might have something to do with Solanas's lack of credibility), and Germaine Greer (who really has had time to work on the whole trans-women-are-women issue). She doesn't mention trans women at all, and, while she gives some lip service to the women of color who have been excluded by mainstream feminism, she doesn't explore the topic in depth, preferring to focus on class and economic power. Most of the women she recommends and seeks to validate are white/Western.

I really do, desperately, want feminism to be more of a political movement than a "Kim Kardashian's Top 10 Most Feminist Selfies" exercise, a stream of endless "Is Taylor Swift a feminist? Is Beyonce a feminist?" articles. Any book that dares broach the subject of Beyonce's feminism in a gently critical way only to say 'but of course Beyonce is perfect" (looking at you, Andi and Roxane) is an immediate eye-roll from me - not because I don't think she's a feminist (nor do I care about the question), but because it's such a timid, uninteresting way of introducing a point but not having the guts to follow through with it. So I am interested in books that challenge that. Crispin's book is great for discussion, but not as a way forward.
Profile Image for Stacy.
47 reviews7 followers
March 23, 2017
This book scratches a lot of surfaces. That's not a bad thing, but as Stephanie Convery states in herGuardian review, it falls short of offering ideas and alternatives to the current structure of society.

This is a quick read, and it's accessible. Crispin calls out universal (or white, or choice, or liberal, take your pick) feminism and the stress of the individual over society. I found myself nodding in agreement to most of this book, and laughing at (with) parts of it as well. I think this book would be a good introduction for young and/or new feminists; I think young particularly because of influencers like Emma Watson who I truly feel mean well but don't go nearly far enough outside of their own privilege in their understanding or preaching of the new gospel, if you will. Crispin also touches on how many of the goals of popular feminism, from suffrage onward, have been not about dismantling the patriarchy but about allowing white (and/or moneyed, educated, etc.) women to achieve the same footing within a system that still depends on hierarchy.

This is a good introduction, but I think Crispin could push out a few more volumes expanding on the issues she only touches on here.
Profile Image for Mackey.
1,073 reviews363 followers
March 16, 2017
WOW JUST WOW!! This book sums up everything I have been saying and feeling about the co-opted feminist movement since the new millennium. I was so happy to know that I wasn't alone after being hung out to dry by my so-called liberal friends. Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto is a wake up call for all women in America who are complacently still part of the patriarchal status quo. It is a call to arms for all women everywhere to join hands together to stand against violence, war, poverty that most often affects women the hardest and with more frequency. It is a book of empowerment to say once more that we can be strong and we do not need men or their system which is broken and failed. And yes that will piss off men and no we do not care. Most importantly it is time to realize that unlike Emma Watson you can not show your tits to the world as a sex object and turn around and claim to be a "feminist." The two ARE mutually exclusive and she is NOT a role model for strong women anywhere.
84 pages of pure power - female power. And it is about time!
Profile Image for Rachel.
584 reviews69 followers
March 15, 2017
(4.5 stars, rounded up because this book is so smart and necessary)

This book is so damn smart and sharp. Crispin looks at the term 'feminist' and how it's used so casually in our culture-- sometimes simply a trendy label one wears. She argues that feminism has been watered down out of fear making anyone uncomfortable. Yet revolutions aren't born from comfortable spaces and this book is a challenge for more than the mediocre goals of 'feminism' today. It's a short but very thought provoking book.
Profile Image for Virginia.
222 reviews31 followers
July 10, 2020
Boh. L'ho trovato un libro pieno di contraddizioni. A partire dal titolo, visto che nel finale del libro dice tutto il contrario di quello che aveva detto all'inizio. "Non mi definisco femminista, ma sono femminista": mh okay! In parole povere, secondo lei il femminismo "moderno" (e già qui c'è il problema di non spiegare cosa sia questo femminismo moderno, non accenna a quello intersezionale, ma più al femminismo liberale che dubito fortemente sia quello "moderno") fa il gioco del patriarcato perché si adegua alla società e non punta a ricostruirla completamente. Ma a) come ho già detto, non si capisce cosa sia 'sto femminismo moderno; b) non dà delle strategie pratiche per farlo, è tutto molto utopistico, non si capisce come dovrebbe essere veramente il femminismo che dice lei e che battaglie dovrebbe fare. Perché facile dire di rifare un sistema da capo, ma il sistema da capo andrà fatto una lotta alla volta, no? Non è che ci svegliamo un bel giorno, ci uniamo tutte insieme e cambiamo il mondo prima di sera. Non sarà mai così, sono le singole lotte che cambieranno gradualmente il sistema. Il patriarcato non è un ordine delle cose, è l'unico ordine delle cose che conosciamo, quello che è stato considerato universale. È tutto il nostro mondo. Perciò, in parte, il suo gioco lo facciamo per forza, a meno che non viviamo su una montagna in completo isolamento da tutto. Io (e non io sola, tutto il pensiero femminista che conosco e che appoggio) non penso che chi si definisce "femminista" debba essere perfetta e non fare mai nulla che possa essere figlio della cultura patriarcale. Ma che debba riconoscere il presente ordine di genere è fare il possibile per smantellarlo. Sbagliando anche, perché altrimenti non saremmo esseri umani. Una cosa su cui sono in assoluto disaccordo con l'autrice è che non si tratta di un'emancipazione personale di ogni singola donna. Io penso che invece lo sia, perché - come in tutte le cose - se non si parte da se stesse e dalla propria di consapevolezza e fioritura, non si può fare proprio un bel niente per gli altri e per il sistema. Un paio di spunti interessanti ci sono (ad esempio, mi è interessato il capitolo in cui parla dell'amore romantico), ma oscurati da tutto il resto è comunque non approfonditi bene. Sinceramente io ritengo che a fare il gioco del patriarcato sia più che altro intitolare un libro "Perché non sono femminista".
Profile Image for Michael.
83 reviews22 followers
February 6, 2017
Ms. Crispin does an excellent job clarifying a lot of basic and more sophisticated tenets of feminism in her effort to clarify how pop-culture has bastardized feminism's original initiatives. Her main arguments IIRC are against universal feminism, choice feminism, and outrage (the kind you see online mostly). I can't sum up the book, nor do it justice here, and I will likely have to listen again to really understand her message, but on first listen it her thoughts struck me on two distinct levels.

1. Before listening to this book I had only a laymen's understanding of feminism, one heavily influenced by pop-culture and my brief forays onto internet discussion boards and various TED talks (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's primarily). Crispin's arguments painted an entirely different portrait of feminism for me, and she was really right on the money with a lot of things I had perceived but couldn't put words to. For example her argument that measuring feminism through standard patriarchal success metrics (how many female CEOs are there now?) is a hollow, meaningless practice. Also she mentions that if we are working only on being individually more egalitarian then it becomes just another metric with which we measure ourselves against others within a patriarchal schema, and as such is useless/counterproductive.

2. Surprisingly, to me, her book underlined a lot of the areas where I (as a white man) suffer in life, that I previously thought had nothing to do with gender and thus nothing to do with feminism. I think this tied again to the idea of our self-development culture being a culture of anxiety wherein we measure ourselves against others - which is a patriarchal objective. I can't particularly remember the more profound things she said that really got my gears turning, so I will have to listen again, but I can say that there is something here for everyone.

As far as cons, and I figure I will get flack for this, especially commenting as a white man, but her overuse of profanity seemed unnecessary to me. It even, to a good degree, undermined some of her better arguments because she was too busy cursing like a sailor about something that was obviously personal to her. I get it, the grit is a nice touch and more than warranted, but it was distracting after a point.
Profile Image for Jenny Drai.
37 reviews1 follower
March 2, 2017
I found much to both agree and disagree with in Jessa Crispin' manifesto, Why I Am Not A Feminist. I connected most to her ideas about embracing feminism as a platform to challenge and dismantle patriarchy and capitalism, thus moving away from our current notion of what Crispin labels choice-based feminism. (In other words, "I'm a woman, I made a choice, therefore I am a feminist.") I also responded to her commentary on internet outrage, but I'm coming from a place where as a woman in my early forties, who was well into my twenties before using email, and into my thirties when I first got involved with social media, I am not entirely comfortable with online discourse in general, so some of my reaction may be generational. (This is also a thought I had after reading Sarah Schulman's Conflict Is Not Abuse. Crispin mentions Schulman in her acknowledgments.)

My main beef with this book, and the reason I gave it two stars, has to do with Crispin's treatment of second wave feminists. While she bemoans that many younger feminists have turned away from second wave feminism, she does not acknowledge (even once!) the sometimes virulent transphobia of some second wave feminists, and this omission is a glaring error. On the other hand, part of Crispin's point about second wave feminism seems to be that it wasn't necessarily pretty to look at, that second wave feminists were not concerned with measuring up to patriarchal standards of femininity/beauty, and that *this* is why many younger feminists have turned away. So it's difficult to know how much/if Crispin would acknowledge second wave feminism transphobia (at least from this text alone).

Basically, I finished reading this book with a feeling of: heh, some really good points (about patriarchy/capitalism), but also kind of...meh.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 708 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.