Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Full Frontal Feminism

Over the last several weeks I have been reading this book:  Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti.  After watching "Iron Jawed Angels", I wanted to do a little research myself.  I found a few books about the suffragists and I also came across this book by Valenti.  I had seen it before and it was on my "To Read" list so I thought this would be perfect timing. 

The cover says "A YOUNG WOMAN'S GUIDE TO WHY FEMINISM MATTERS", and I would consider that a fair description.  This book was aimed at a reader who is younger, single and without children, most likely in her late teens and early 20s.  However, I still felt I learned a lot.  In fact, I wish I had read this as a younger woman.  It's never too late to learn anything.

Valenti is often irreverent and rather potty-mouthed, but it totally works.  I loved her chapter "Feminists Do It Better (and Other Sex Tips)".  These are our bodies and we should be the ones deciding what we do with them.  In an aside, she adds that "In Mississippi you can buy a gun with no background check, but vibrators are outlawed."  How absolutely insane is that?  I remember back when we lived in Texas, a woman was arrested for daring to host a "Passion Party".  About that Valenti says "Apparently, in Texas you can sell vibrators, but only if you sell them as 'novelties' or 'gag gifts.'  Selling them in any way that admits their actual role in sex is the illegal part."  Seems a little backwards to me.

She also writes about how pop culture has become "pornified" and is focused on telling us that our only value is in our ability to be sexy.  If we don't accept that, we're prudes.  If we do and embrace it, we're sluts.  Subheadings is this chapter include "Be a Virgin...But Be Sexy"and "Be Available...But Unattainable".  I love that she calls out all that crazy stuff. 

She discusses violence against women.  "The South Carolina House Judiciary Committee voted in 2005 to make cockfighting a felony, but tabled a bill that would have done the same for domestic violence."  Now doesn't that make you want to say "What the F...?"  You can understand her ''colorful language."

As you might expect, she has a chapter about reproductive rights.  It doesn't get more feminine (and feminist) than having babies or not having babies.  A frightening statistic she lists:  "Only one in five women knows about emergency contraception, and one-third of those women confuse EC with RU-486, the abortion pill."  These are our bodies and we have a responsibility to understand and care for them.

Valenti's goal is to educate young women of our rights and our responsibilities.  We must understand what is going on the in world around us and we must be involved.  It is vital that we vote and make our voices heard.  Our grandmothers fought for our rights, we are obligated to use them.  I hope you'll give this book a read and share it with someone. 

Here are a few links listed in this book that I found very interesting:

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