He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut: And 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know – Jessica Valenti
This book is comprised of 50 short chapters on what Valenti considers to be the most ubiquitous and damaging double standards affecting women (and men to a lesser extent) in America today. There are about 3 pages of discussion about the issue and then a short paragraph about what the reader can do to combat the problem.
For a real-life, grown-up feminist there’s not much new here. There were no double standards I wasn’t already aware of and no arguments about why those things are bad that I hadn’t heard before. I think this is probably best suited to young or burgeoning feminists, people who still think that hard work is all it takes and that being one of the boys is a sucessful coping strategy. Though there is tons of cursing throughout, and a few too many exclamation points for my taste.
That said, I had a lot of problems with the book. I think Valenti undermines otherwise strong arguments in favor of making emotional points that sometimes aren’t true, and ignores complexity to be pithy and sometimes inaccurate. She expects us to take her pronouncements as true without anything to back them up, she refers to a lot of anecdotal evidence and studies and someone somewheres; she needs citations. She even puts Joss Whedon on a pedestal he doesn’t deserve and acts like Buffy was a perfect example of feminist tv (I love both Whedon and Buffy, but he shouldn’t be given a free pass: lots of his female characters are problematic.) I guess I don’t have the stomach for printed polemics, at least on the internet people include links.
I don’t have similar problems with her blog, Feministing, maybe just because the nature of blogging is different and I’m more forgiving when I can just skip posts I’m not interested in or disagree with.