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April 23, 2007

Full Frontal Feminism on sale now

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I'm very pleased to announce that Jessica Valenti's new book Full Frontal Feminism is now available online.

You can read highlights from FFF here.

Clarification: This isn't an excerpt, it's an essay published in the Guardian summarizing Jessica's six key selling points for feminism.

Rebecca Traister interviews Jessica Valenti in Salon.

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Comments

I really hope the book's going to be better than the Guardian article.

Feminism is soooo hot. I mean that in a purely intellectual sense.

AF

Does whatshername--Nuthouse?--know about this?

Actually, the guardian piece isn't an excerpt...just an article. But thanks for the public spanking, Alon. No free copy for you!

The cover is definitely a selling point for me, I don't know what it is....

The Guardian article just seemed rushed and truncated. But, of course, lots of pop politics books are also rushed and truncated, so the problem might carry over.

When I was younger (9th, 10th grade maybe?) easy-to-read pop politics books did wonders for me. While it'd be fantastic if every kid in America got a thorough civic education through schooling, most don't, so it's good to have basic, accessible texts that they can engage with to gain rudimentary comfort with politics. I'm assuming based on the title and essay that that's the main purpose of this book, which is great - even if it places me well outside the audiece it'll serve best.

Well, we'll see. Unless Amazon decides to screw with me, I'm getting the book by Thursday. It might be good enough to make people like my sister start caring about politics and movement feminism... or it might be the sort of thing that won't appeal to anyone who isn't a regular commenter on Feministing.

Maybe the NY Times will ask Ann Althouse to review the book.

Are there any books about how feminism benefits young men? Or at least why men should accept feminism? I'd be interested to hear about them. Don't mind if they're written by a man or a woman.

I wonder if Althouse has a nice blurb on the back...

I think the book cover is degrading to all women.

/snark?

The publisher chose the cover photo, despite the author's misgivings. Ditto the title.

First-time authors don't have a lot of leverage in this regard.

The usual tired shit by the same boring neurotics of course.

Jessica Valenti writes:
====================================
You know, I figured some people wouldn't love the cover. But I'm really trying to reach out to younger women who are freaked out by the "f word" and who aren't all that familiar with feminism. I think that an edgy cover is a good way to grab their attention.

That said, I'm hoping folks will like the content of the book more than the cover... :)

Posted by: Jessica | October 18, 2006 12:58 PM
====================================

She doesn't write that the publisher over-ruled her.

At least not there.

Nicely self-referential, Tom! But this isn't a post-modernism site. Never mind, here y'go: http://fp.ignatz.plus.com/images/krazy%20kat.jpg

Two things, Lindsay. First, I don't think you're right about Jessica and the title. At least, whenever I asked her about it, she said she was perfectly fine with it, though at least once she expressed misgivings with the subtitle.

Second, I haven't gotten the book yet, but I expect to get it tomorrow or maybe the day after. So to ensure nobody criticizes the review I'm putting up on 3QD for arriving to predetermined conclusions, here's a short list of themes I will use to evaluate the book, based on both the Guardian article and the far superior Salon interview:
- Sex-positivity. For a lot of non-feminists I know, including myself four years ago, the stumbling block is anti-porn feminism, or even the notion that feminism has a significant anti-porn contingent.
- Intra-feminist fights. It's easy to fall between the chairs of making it clear that nobody cares for Andrea Dworkin anymore, and not giving a false impression that movement feminism is drama-free. Defining feminism as "the belief that men and women are equal" is disingenuous; Christina Hoff Sommers believes in that just as much as Kim Gandy.
- Positive appeals. Positive appeals, centering on what can be achieved in the future and how the movement can do it, are the best. Negative appeals, centering on what has been achieved and how it is in peril, convince nobody who isn't already in the movement.
- Good political appeals. There are a lot of young, politically minded non-feminists who can be convinced to orient themselves more toward gender issues.
- Good non-political appeals. There are also a lot of people who don't care much about politics and won't care much about politics. The Feminine Mystique managed to appeal to them by talking about education, personal opportunities, and psychological well-being (think Parkinson's law of housework).

Lindsay,

I hope you agree that flashing can be a feminist tactic.

Lindsay,

I hope you agree that flashing can be a feminist tactic.

Positive appeals, centering on what can be achieved in the future and how the movement can do it, are the best. Negative appeals, centering on what has been achieved and how it is in peril, convince nobody who isn't already in the movement.

This strikes me as reductive. A good number of, if not nearly all, broad sociolpolitical movements have had defensive and offensive agenda items, and I don't see any categorical rule saying that the offensive components have stronger recruiting power. For example, the religious right has typically emphasized the defensive character of its agenda when making appeals outside its core movement members. That's why their public appeals focus so heavily on concepts of preserving institutions and ways of life. Similarly, while the rise of so-called "economic populism" among liberal bloggers and writers has offensive agenda items, especially in the health care area, it gained much of its early traction on the defensive agenda item of preserving social security.

None of this is to say precisely what the best strategy for feminists is. But I don't think there's much ground for a categorical rule assuming that focusing on one's offensive agenda will be a better recruiting tool than focusing on one's defensive agenda.

Our review is up of Full Frontal Feminism Check it.

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