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Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (1991)

by Susan Faludi

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,775215,108 (3.96)40
A new edition of the feminist classic, with an all-new introduction exploring the role of backlash in the 2016 election and laying out a path forward for 2020 and beyond Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award * "Enraging, enlightening, and invigorating, Backlash is, most of all, true."--Newsday First published in 1991, Backlash made headlines and became a bestselling classic for its thoroughgoing debunking of a decadelong antifeminist backlash against women's advances. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Susan Faludi brilliantly deconstructed the reigning myths about the "costs" of women's independence--from the supposed "man shortage" to the "infertility epidemic" to "career burnout" to "toxic day care"--and traced their circulation from Reagan-era politics through the echo chambers of mass media, advertising, and popular culture.    As Faludi writes in a new preface for this edition, much has changed in the intervening years: The Internet has given voice to a new generation of feminists. Corporations list "gender equality" among their core values. In 2019, a record number of women entered Congress. Yet the glass ceiling is still unshattered, women are still punished for wanting to succeed, and reproductive rights are hanging by a thread. This startling and essential book helps explain why women's freedoms are still so demonized and threatened--and urges us to choose a different future.… (more)
  1. 10
    The Mismeasure of Woman by Carol Tavris (tafergus70)
    tafergus70: The author provides a balanced, academic background that helps readers understand Faludi’s voluminous book.
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» See also 40 mentions

English (20)  French (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I read the original version of this book in college. I gathered all my courage afterwards and stuck it in a bag of books for my mom, hoping she would read it and magically turn into a feminist. Alas, it did not work. BUT she did accidentally read half of the book before she decided it was too "college-y". ( )
  Tosta | Jul 5, 2021 |
Not bailing because it's bad or not worth the read. Quite the contrary, I think this is a very important book, and I really like the way Faludi approaches the topic. But I was in college in the mid-90s, taking women's studies courses and marching in Take Back the Night rallies, and this book gets me grouchy about how slow progress is. I don't feel like being grouchy, but maybe it's a good one to show my teenager.
  ImperfectCJ | Mar 28, 2021 |
I didn't expect to read all this book. Released in 1992, I figured that it would be an interesting historical document but I'd eventually tire of outdated gender politics and move on, but I never did. Gripping and depressing, this book covered the world that my generation came to maturity in and I could revel in a kind of morbid nostalgia. But there was plenty to learn too - I hadnt thought about waves of emancipation and backlash, nor had I previously access to such compelling statistics and stories to illustrate the successes of both feminism and anti-feminism. Incredibly well paced and laid out, every section reveals another part of the big picture of angophonic misogyny and the hypocrisies and brutalities of the woman-hating right. The section where we are introduced to the men and women of the American right and how mostly they expect feminism for themselves but not other women, or tolerate feminism in their families where they deny it to others. Funny but sad. Finally we meet some women whose company forced them to get sterilised to keep their jobs, then sacked them anyway, and we learn about how justice was denied to them. It leaves you sad and angry, as it should. Of course, the people who need to read this book probably didn't read it. Really needs a 2020 update! ( )
  elahrairah | Oct 1, 2020 |
i read this in my first women's studies course and was super passionate about it at the time. interesting... though i've come to feel that some of her arguments are a tad exaggerated. ( )
  julierh | Apr 7, 2013 |
Only had to read the first section to be convinced that, holy crap, the eighties really were even more awful than I'd dreamed! While many of the absurd myths and trends that this book catalogues have long since passed, we still don't have important rights and benefits like paid parental leave, and people are *still* prefacing sentences with, "I'm not a feminist."

Oh, and the level of research and analysis that obviously went into this is incredibly impressive. That's why it's 460 pages long. ( )
  raschneid | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Faludi, Susanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgess, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reveillé, ThérèseTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, JoanPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stålmarck, YlvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother Marilyn Lanning Faludi
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To be a woman at the close of the twentieth century - what good fortune.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A new edition of the feminist classic, with an all-new introduction exploring the role of backlash in the 2016 election and laying out a path forward for 2020 and beyond Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award * "Enraging, enlightening, and invigorating, Backlash is, most of all, true."--Newsday First published in 1991, Backlash made headlines and became a bestselling classic for its thoroughgoing debunking of a decadelong antifeminist backlash against women's advances. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Susan Faludi brilliantly deconstructed the reigning myths about the "costs" of women's independence--from the supposed "man shortage" to the "infertility epidemic" to "career burnout" to "toxic day care"--and traced their circulation from Reagan-era politics through the echo chambers of mass media, advertising, and popular culture.    As Faludi writes in a new preface for this edition, much has changed in the intervening years: The Internet has given voice to a new generation of feminists. Corporations list "gender equality" among their core values. In 2019, a record number of women entered Congress. Yet the glass ceiling is still unshattered, women are still punished for wanting to succeed, and reproductive rights are hanging by a thread. This startling and essential book helps explain why women's freedoms are still so demonized and threatened--and urges us to choose a different future.

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