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Why I Am Not a Feminist
Cover of Why I Am Not a Feminist
Why I Am Not a Feminist
A Feminist Manifesto
Outspoken critic Jessa Crispin delivers a searing rejection of contemporary feminism . . . and a bracing manifesto for revolution.
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.
Praise for Jessa Crispin, and The Dead Ladies Project

"I'd follow Jessa Crispin to the ends of the earth." —Kathryn Davis, author of Duplex
"Read with caution . . . Crispin is funny, sexy, self-lacerating, and politically attuned, with unique slants on literary criticism, travel writing, and female journeys. No one crosses genres, borders, and proprieties with more panache." —Laura Kipnis, author of Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation
"Very, very funny. . . . The whole book is packed with delightfully offbeat prose . . . as raw as it is sophisticated, as quirky as it is intense." —The Chicago Tribune
Outspoken critic Jessa Crispin delivers a searing rejection of contemporary feminism . . . and a bracing manifesto for revolution.
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.
Praise for Jessa Crispin, and The Dead Ladies Project

"I'd follow Jessa Crispin to the ends of the earth." —Kathryn Davis, author of Duplex
"Read with caution . . . Crispin is funny, sexy, self-lacerating, and politically attuned, with unique slants on literary criticism, travel writing, and female journeys. No one crosses genres, borders, and proprieties with more panache." —Laura Kipnis, author of Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation
"Very, very funny. . . . The whole book is packed with delightfully offbeat prose . . . as raw as it is sophisticated, as quirky as it is intense." —The Chicago Tribune
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About the Author-
  • Jessa Crispin is the editor and founder of the on-line magazines Bookslut — one of America's very first book blogs — and the on-line literary journal Spolia. She is the author of The Dead Ladies Project and The Creative Tarot, and has written for the New York Times, Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Review of Books, NPR.org, Chicago Sun-Times, and Architect Magazine, among other publications. She has lived in Lincoln, Kansas; Austin, Texas; Dublin, Ireland; Chicago, Illinois; Berlin, German, and elsewhere, and currently resides in New York City.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 24, 2016
    Crispin’s (The Dead Ladies Project) slim polemic fits into the long tradition of advocates for women’s rights condemning the feminist politics of their historical moment for betraying the cause. Modern feminism, the author argues, has become a nonthreatening, commercialized, narcissistic lifestyle. In a series of nine brief chapters, she charges feminists with embracing a “universal feminism, devoid of any real personal internal change” or political action that benefits a privileged few. Many young feminists, she points out, have rejected the fiery radicalism of activists such as Andrea Dworkin, Shulamith Firestone, Germaine Greer, and Catharine MacKinnon in favor of more banal and self-interested versions of feminist philosophy and practice. They embrace victimhood and ideological purity, and are obsessed with individualized power rather than collective action for lasting, systemic change. Critique from within is vital to any movement, but Crispin’s analysis relies heavily on outdated stereotypes of young activists and “Internet feminism.” This work ignores or disparages the diversity of feminisms embraced by contemporary activists, including those under 30, women of color, trans and non-straight women, disabled feminists, and male allies; “disowning” a falsely singular and caricatured feminism is likely to alienate more readers than it will convert. Those seeking radical inspiration would do better to start elsewhere, perhaps with Alexandra Brodsky and Rachel Kauder Nalebuff’s 2015 anthology The Feminist Utopia Project.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from November 1, 2016
    A taut and spirited attack on contemporary mainstream feminism.Despite the title, Crispin (The Dead Ladies Project, 2015), critic and founder of the pioneering literary website Bookslut, is indeed a feminist. She's a passionate defender of second-wave writers like Andrea Dworkin and Shulamith Firestone, and her chief complaint is that their critiques of capitalism and structural racism have been rejected in favor of weak-tea lifestyle feminism, where empowerment is making yourself attractive to men and activism is social media squabbling--and those second-wave radical feminists are lazily dismissed as men-haters. This transformation of feminism into "something soft and Disneyfied," Crispin argues, has produced a raft of lamentable and counterproductive consequences: it has alienated women who aspire to lives that don't demand climbing the corporate ladder, shamed women who speak about abortion in terms besides upbeat women's rights cheerleading, and excluded nonwhite, non-middle class women. What good is an uptick in women CEOs and politicians if they're just perpetuating the same divisions? ("Not a more egalitarian world, but the same world, just with more women in it.") What good is "self-empowerment" if it only translates into making oneself sexually available? Attacking the patriarchy, though, doesn't mean attacking men: "toxic femininity" is as pervasive as "toxic masculinity," writes Crispin, and she keenly balances a defense of men's role in supporting a more viable feminism without excusing male sexism. As with most manifestos, this one is better at laying out the problem--a "patriarchal, capitalistic, consumerist society"--than outlining solutions for it, and her case would be stronger if it addressed real-world divides as much as online ones. But the author's ferocious critique effectively reframes the terms of any serious discussion of feminism. You'll never trust a you-go-girl just-lean-in bromide again. Forget busting glass ceilings. Crispin has taken a wrecking ball to the whole structure.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    November 1, 2016

    With a title designed to entice and infuriate, this book provides an alternative to what Crispin (editor & founder, Bookslut) calls universal feminism and choice feminism. Crispin argues that a nonthreatening feminism is entirely pointless, maintaining that superficial feminism results in nothing. Anyone can "take up the [feminism] mantle, and terrible things are done in its name." Andi Zeisler's recent We Were Feminists Once offers a more compelling take on how feminism has migrated from action toward being a lifestyle or brand. With statements such as "despite our attempts at converting women to our values, we rarely seem to pause and ask ourselves if these things make us happy," Crispin detracts from the work feminists have done to take action against such acts as female genital mutilation, and she reduces women's achievements (e.g., calling Gloria Steinem "that banal, CIA-funded advocate for white, middle class women and almost no one else") in ways that aren't productive of meaningful change and instead have the tone of misogyny. VERDICT This manifesto potentially alienates without providing strategies that might help women to "stop thinking so small."--Emily Bowles, Appleton, WI

    Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • The New Yorker "The point of 'Why I Am Not a Feminist' isn't really that Crispin is not a feminist; it's that she has no interest in being a part of a club that has opened its doors and lost sight of its politics--a club that would, if she weren't so busy disavowing it, invite Kellyanne Conway in....Crispin's argument is bracing, and a rare counterbalance; where feminism is concerned, broad acceptability is almost always framed as an unquestioned good."
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A Feminist Manifesto
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