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Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983)

by Gloria Steinem

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Useful advice on organising, historically interesting and even if all the issues are still relevant, the texts are anchored in the 70s and 80s and feel dated. Glad i read it, but won't recommend it to others than those with an interest in the history of feminism. ( )
  StigE | Feb 22, 2014 |
A collection of Steinem's articles and essays written between 1965 and 1982. Interesting not only for it's exploration of issues within the second-wave of feminism but also as a historical document. While I don't always agree with Steinem's stance or arguments, I did find the reading to be mentally provoking leaving me considering where I stand as a feminist. ( )
  MickyFine | Aug 23, 2013 |
Review from The Book Wheel:

About two months ago, during a class simulation, I was in the hallway speaking with several male classmates. Despite that fact that I had done my research and was an active participant, 90% of the men I was with completely ignored me, despite my overt attempts to join the conversation. It was so bad, in fact, that all but one of them walked away while I was still talking. Infuriated, I clapped my hands loudly and demanded that they listen to me. Had I not just been treated in such a way by a group of faculty members a few weeks before, I may have let it slide for the sake of civility, but I was tired of men acting as if they were placating me by allowing me to speak. They may as well have patted me on the head and told me to be a good little girl and play nice.

I’ve always been very outspoken and assertive, so I’m not entirely sure how I made it to 30 without reading Gloria Steinem, but here I am, reading her for the first time. To be honest, I don’t know that I would have fully appreciated her or her work ten years ago, so maybe it’s for the best that I read her now! I’ve always thought of Ms. Steinem as an amazing, confident, trailblazing woman. I had no idea that she had a massive fear of public speaking, overanalyzed what she had said for days on end, and was constantly seeking approval. As someone who can identify with and is overcoming these same traits, it her ability to succeed and make such a long-lasting and positive change fills me with hope.

Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions is a book of essays, most of which were written decades ago, and include relevant updates to keep the reader up to date on what the current state of affairs are. As Ms. Steinem points out in her introduction, some of these updates are depressing in that not much progress has been made. The essays range from how the transexual movement has affected gender roles, her time as a a Playboy Bunny, an essay about her mother and what would happen if men menstruated.

While all of the essays covered very serious topics, they were made more interesting with a type of humor that was not haha funny, but instead amusing in a this-is-real-life way. It made the book much more approachable and less preachy. In fact, the book didn’t seem preachy or “feministy” at all and yet I finished the book wanting to jump up and shout about how great it is to be a woman. ( )
1 vote thebookwheel | Feb 20, 2013 |
The feminist classic, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, a collection of essays by Gloria Steinem, remains largely relevant to today's society. In fact, I was a little surprised (and disheartened) by how few of these essays appear dated at all! Of course that means that the book itself is still essential reading, and brilliantly written, but it is disheartening that as a society we have not come further, that we can not look at these essays as examples of history.

In particular, Steinem's defense of abortion in her very clear, intelligent and eloquent treatises on the subject, remains desperately relevant in North American society. Her examination of right-wing political bodies and the patriarchal male supremacist reasons behind their anti-abortion and "profamily" "values" are as relevant as when they were written.

"According to our current right-wing and anti-equality backlash, a major goal is to protect and restore a family clearly defined by them as male-led and hierarchal. Thus, they condemn as "antifamily" any direct federal guarantee of rights to women or to children by law. ... So is any individual right to sexual expression outside the family, whether homosexual or heterosexual. So are abortion, contraception, and any other means of separating sexual expression from childbirth." (p. 324)

Houston and History provides important historical context for the important of women's long struggle for equality, and If Hitler Were Alive, Which Side Would He Be On? is absolutely excellent in its well researched debunking of the right wing's (still popular) equation of the left with Hitler.

Words and Change is an eloquent examination of how subtle changes in language can push a philosophy forwards and propel change. "New words and phrases are one organic measure of change. They capture transformations of perception, and sometimes of reality itself. We have terms like sexual harassment and battered women. A few years ago, they were just called life." (p. 149)

There is a very excellent essay that explains and highlights the differences between pornography and erotica - one being a medium which promotes the abuse and domination of women, or a partner taking the role of the "conquered woman," while the other is an expression of mutuality of love. In this way, Steinem is able to condemn pornography, but explain how other expressions the right considers "pornographic" or "obscene" such as sex education or gay romance are not at all the same thing. This is a well thought out examination of a subject which is usually only evaluated in terms of knee-jerk reaction either for or against.

I had read some criticism that Steinem's essay on transexuals condemned their lifestyle, but I found that the reality is far different. In her essay titled Transsexualism Steinem writes that "...transexuals themselves are also making a positive contribution by proving that chromosomes aren't everything." Her criticism lies mostly in the way the press reports on transsexualism, "as a testimony to the importance of sex roles as dictated by a society obsessed with body image." (p. 209) She expresses concern that men and women may be forced into "self-mutilation" because they feel the need to conform with society's expectations of what a "man" or a "woman" should be, but she acknowledges the right of an informed individual to make that choice and be identified as they wish.

The horrific facts of The International Crime of Genital Mutilation remain true in many parts of the world and essays such as In Praise of Women's Bodies will remain true as long as we live in a society obsessed with its own rigid ideas of "beauty" and the equation of this with self-worth.

Taken as a whole, this collection of essays is eloquent, informational and still hugely relevant. I highly recommend this to everybody. ( )
1 vote catfantastic | Apr 23, 2011 |
germinal ( )
  catherinewithac | Jul 6, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805042024, Paperback)

This phenomenally successful book, that has sold nearly a half a million copies since its original publication in 1983, is Gloria Steinem's most diverse and timeless collection of essays.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A collection of writings by Ms. Steinem from the last 20 years.

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