Thursday, June 11, 2009

Can feminists be hilarious? You bet.

Jessica Valenti, you are like the funny, feminist best friend I never knew I was missing. Your book, Full Frontal Feminism, has been a much needed breath of fresh air that caught me off guard with its ability to make me laugh out loud, reconsider my identification as a feminist, and question (as promised) "where do I start?" The last time a book captured this much of my undivided attention, I was in junior high. The book? Harry Potter, of course (I’m just a sucker like that).

Perhaps the most captivating idea presented in Full Frontal Feminism is based upon the concept of "consciousness behind your decisions." Valenti relates the concept to the Girls Gone Wild empire. Valenti states that although the actions popularized within the Girls Gone Wild realm are viewed negatively by many, in some cases, such actions may act as a step in the development in one's sexuality. Why are you flashing your breasts? Is it a result of your own personal desires or the culturally constructed desire to get the attention of a man? It's also interesting to apply consciousness to seemingly non-feminist topics. For example, tattoos can be judged with consciousness as a criterion. Why did you get the tattoo? For whom? What’s your story? Furthermore, I feel this idea is not only relevant, but also quite useful for relating to and viewing others through a non-judgmental lens.

Still, while reading, it is important to keep in mind the overarching theme of the book: feminism can be a bomb. I have come to discover this on a personal level after attending a party or two and dropping the "F" word. Turns out, feminism has the ability to abolish friendships if not prescribed correctly. Yet, Jessica Valenti has found a way to approach feminism in a way that defuses the stigma, establishes legitimacy, and challenges the reader to spread the word. I can only hope that I’m not the only one who knows about this.

For more on Valenti and Full Frontal Feminism, read this:

1 comment:

  1. If you liked Full Frontal Feminism then I think you would really love The Purity Myth. Out of the two, I prefer the latter--but Full Frontal Feminism was, indeed, a good read.