Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto

Jessa Crispin (The Creative Tarot) is a writer, editor, founder of two influential literary websites and a woman known for applying her radical ideals directly to her life. Her third book, Why I Am Not a Feminist, seems inspired by years of accumulated frustration with a particular but large set of mostly white, straight, well-educated, economically secure feminists. Crispin denounces their brand of "universal feminism," which seeks mainstream inclusion and individual gain; it promotes the feminist label without the radical ideas. "Fighting for your own self-interest, without the awareness of your motives or the ramifications of your success, does not make you a hero. It makes you just the same as any other selfish ambitious jerk." Women who have always had to work at dull, grueling, badly paid jobs, who find their best rewards in their homes and personal relationships, are scorned and patronized by such feminists, if they are noticed at all, she argues.

Crispin is interested in broad social justice, and in building new forms of family, community and meaningful, supportive interdependence. She wants these women to cultivate discomfort and self-examination, and to address the roots of misogyny and injustice rather than shaming individuals. She rejects the idea that women are inherently more empathetic and nurturing than men, and challenges them to forgo the gratification hatred brings with its "lazy thinking, easy scapegoating and pleasurable anger." Few may agree with everything Crispin has to say. But every political movement needs a regular supply of thoughtful sharply pointed argument-starters. This is a good one. --Sara Catterall

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