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Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine
Author: Lisa Jervis
Publisher: Published August 8th 2006 by Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN: 9780374113438
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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In the wake of Sassy and as an alternative to the more staid reporting of Ms. Magazine, Bitch was launched in the mid-nineties as a Xerox-and-staple zine covering the landscape of popular culture from a feminist perspective. Both unabashed in its love for the guilty pleasures of consumer culture and deeply thoughtful about the way the pop landscape reflects and impacts wom In the wake of Sassy and as an alternative to the more staid reporting of Ms. Magazine, Bitch was launched in the mid-nineties as a Xerox-and-staple zine covering the landscape of popular culture from a feminist perspective. Both unabashed in its love for the guilty pleasures of consumer culture and deeply thoughtful about the way the pop landscape reflects and impacts women's lives, Bitch grew to be a popular, full-scale magazine with a readership that stretched worldwide. Today it stands as a touchstone of hip, young feminist thought, looking with both wit and irreverence at the way pop culture informs feminism--and vice versa--and encouraging readers to think critically about the messages lurking behind our favorite television shows, movies, music, books, blogs, and the like. BITCHFest offers an assortment of the most provocative essays, reporting, rants, and raves from the magazine's first ten years, along with new pieces written especially for the collection. Smart, nuanced, cranky, outrageous, and clear-eyed, the anthology covers everything from a 1996 celebration of pre-scandal Martha Stewart to a more recent critical look at the "gayby boom"; from a time line of black women on sitcoms to an analysis of fat suits as the new blackface; from an attempt to fashion a feminist vulgarity to a reclamation of female virginity. It's a recent history of feminist pop-culture critique and an arrow toward feminism's future.

30 review for Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol.

    To be honest, I haven't read this particular compilation. I've actually been a subscriber to Bitch Magazine since I first learned about it in 2003, so I assume I've read most of these articles. I recommend this--but especially the magazine--to all my feminist friends who want to engage their brains in their cultural consumption. What's in it? Cultural deconstruction. Interviews with interesting people who usually have contributed some kind of outsider voice to culture/art, ranging from young arti To be honest, I haven't read this particular compilation. I've actually been a subscriber to Bitch Magazine since I first learned about it in 2003, so I assume I've read most of these articles. I recommend this--but especially the magazine--to all my feminist friends who want to engage their brains in their cultural consumption. What's in it? Cultural deconstruction. Interviews with interesting people who usually have contributed some kind of outsider voice to culture/art, ranging from young artists to ones who have been contributing in their field for decades. What kind of art? Film, fashion, music, visual, written, performance, video and all their sub-genres. (In other words, all the various ways people express themselves). Occasional rants. A profile of an activist and some of the organizations they recommend. Letters to the editor. A book, movie and music section that focuses on indies, and has led me in directions I would not have found on my own (Little Jackie was an especially awesome find). A two page smorgasbord of cool stuff staff members want to bring to readers' attention in every issue. A full-page comic. I love the way it celebrates as much as it deconstructs. I long ago dropped my Ms. subscription because it was more depressing than uplifting, loved its theory a bit too much and had trouble staying relevant. Bust was a bit too DIY and indie-band fangirl, and it definitely lacked the analytical angle I wanted with my cultural commentary. Bitch manages to overcome the tendency of outsider commentary to overwhelm when acknowledging and discussing the multitudes of challenges we face. I highly recommend it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ciara

    when "bitch" magazine found itself in dire financial straits a few months ago & begged money off the feminist community at large to put toward publishing its next issue, much debate was sparked over "bitch"'s relevance to the feminist community. "there are better causes," people said. "all 'bitch' magazine does is encourage people to consume," they said. i won't deny that "bitch" isn't a perfect magazine (what is?), but i think a lot of people were confusing "bitch" with its infinitely lesse when "bitch" magazine found itself in dire financial straits a few months ago & begged money off the feminist community at large to put toward publishing its next issue, much debate was sparked over "bitch"'s relevance to the feminist community. "there are better causes," people said. "all 'bitch' magazine does is encourage people to consume," they said. i won't deny that "bitch" isn't a perfect magazine (what is?), but i think a lot of people were confusing "bitch" with its infinitely lesser feminist magazine "bust". now, "bust" sucks. all it does is encourage people to consume. but i like "bitch". i don't always agree with them, but politics isn't about agreeing all the time. it's about thinking, & "bitch" usually makes me think. for example, i think that any magazine that has to beg upwards of $30,000 to publish one issue should maybe take another look at their overhead & make some difficult budget cuts. but still. one of my college majors was pop culture, which many of my fellow students perceived of as a soft option, an easy A. boy, were they ever surprised when they took intro to pop culture in pursuit of that easy A. pop culture was really challenging because it borrowed from so many different disciplines. & mostly what we did was examine the way pop culture functions within a political context. how does pop culture influence economics? how does pop culture influence religion? how does pop culture influence our perceptions of aging? etc. "bitch" magazine is about the relationship between pop culture & feminism. fabulous! & this book collects an assortment of essays that appeared in the magazine during the first ten years of publishing. again, i didn't agree with all of it, & of course, pop culture is ever-morphing, so some of the essays are hopelessly out-dated by our standards today, but it's still pretty interesting to see pop culture phenomena interrogated through a feminist lens & actually watch feminism as a movement change in response to pop culture. erego, i liked this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chrissy Hennessey

    BITCHfest is a collection of essays culled from the pages of Bitch magazine since its inception ten years ago, and through its many writers one finds an intelligent, angry and celebratory picture of how women and the media affect and influence one another. The first thing people notice about Bitch is its title. Hard, nasty, and entrenched in decades of negativity, the word at first seems a strange title for such a radically feminist publication. As editors Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler write in th BITCHfest is a collection of essays culled from the pages of Bitch magazine since its inception ten years ago, and through its many writers one finds an intelligent, angry and celebratory picture of how women and the media affect and influence one another. The first thing people notice about Bitch is its title. Hard, nasty, and entrenched in decades of negativity, the word at first seems a strange title for such a radically feminist publication. As editors Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler write in the introduction to the collection, "When [bitch] is being used as an insult, the word is most often aimed at women who speak their minds, who have opinions that contradict conventional wisdom, and who don't shy away from expressing them. If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we'll take that as a compliment, thanks." No matter how you feel about Bitch's choice of vernacular, what can't be denied is the chorus of opinionated, outspoken voices rising up from the pages of this compilation. Broken up into chapters like "The F Word", "Beauty Myths and Body Projects" and "Talking Back: Activism and Pop Culture", BITCHfest leaves no stone unturned, no issue unexamined. Lesbianism, pornography, marriage, gender, race, religion, cosmetic surgery, art, fashion, fame — everything that the media encompasses, co-opts and shuns is critically examined under the tough gaze of feminist wit, wonder and wisdom. Whether they're discussing the gender bias inherent in the phrase "you guys," the media's fascination with the "mean girls" phenomenon or Hollywood's problematic representation of single mothers, BITCHfest doesn't hold back. And, if we're lucky, they won't let it rest until pop culture and the world it reflects resembles something that fully represents the history and struggle that is humankind, rather than simply "man".

  4. 5 out of 5

    Faye*

    I have been in a major reading slump for almost two months now, so this took me FOREVER to get through. Even though this book and the articles in it are not the most up-to-date, I enjoyed reading and learning from them very much. I found many pieces very well written, educational, and thought-provoking. If you come across this book in your libary as I did, I highly recommend you pick this up. Even if you don't read through it all, the diversity of the topics covered make for a very stimulating r I have been in a major reading slump for almost two months now, so this took me FOREVER to get through. Even though this book and the articles in it are not the most up-to-date, I enjoyed reading and learning from them very much. I found many pieces very well written, educational, and thought-provoking. If you come across this book in your libary as I did, I highly recommend you pick this up. Even if you don't read through it all, the diversity of the topics covered make for a very stimulating read, and you can always focus on the sections that seem most relevant or interesting to you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ana Rînceanu

    Mandatory reading for baby feminists such as myself.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    I definitely didn't unequivocally agree with every opinion in this collection of essays, but every essay tacked an important issue, and did it in a way that was thought-provoking and added to the debate. These kinds of topics (gender, feminism, sex, body image, media, etc.) need to be scrutinised, and our love for certain problematic parts of pop culture need to be questioned. I'm not about to start hating Bridget Jones for not doing a good enough job of reinforcing the validity of a woman leadi I definitely didn't unequivocally agree with every opinion in this collection of essays, but every essay tacked an important issue, and did it in a way that was thought-provoking and added to the debate. These kinds of topics (gender, feminism, sex, body image, media, etc.) need to be scrutinised, and our love for certain problematic parts of pop culture need to be questioned. I'm not about to start hating Bridget Jones for not doing a good enough job of reinforcing the validity of a woman leading a single life, but it's interesting and crucial to think about the wider societal implications of the media we consume. Essential reading. Highly recommend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I want to own this book. I'm afraid that once I return it to the library, I'll forget everything I know that I need to care about. I just watched a children's cartoon where a sea-faring boy and his captain friend are on an island populated by monkeys and one woman, named Matthew (yup) whom the captain soon grows to hate due to her constant references to her time at "the University". He states plainly that he doesn't like her because she acts (and, uh, is) smarter than him. He eventually THROWS HE I want to own this book. I'm afraid that once I return it to the library, I'll forget everything I know that I need to care about. I just watched a children's cartoon where a sea-faring boy and his captain friend are on an island populated by monkeys and one woman, named Matthew (yup) whom the captain soon grows to hate due to her constant references to her time at "the University". He states plainly that he doesn't like her because she acts (and, uh, is) smarter than him. He eventually THROWS HER INTO A VOLCANO. Because the captain is usually depicted as a kind of idiot, you would think this is a comment on how only stupid weird ship captains are dumb enough to hate a girl for being more educated than him. But no. The monkeys come over and thank the captain because they, too, found Matthew annoying. Because I just read BITCHfest, I go straight to thinking this is teaching kids early on that women who take on masculine characteristics (a smart girl named Matthew, hello) is not likeable by man nor beast. It's funny, accessible, honest and even though they authors of each article have clear ideas and opinions, it still is a piece that seems to have been created to start dialogue.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Val

    This is a collection that (thankfully) shows it's age. Most of the time? Half of the time? I want to say that things have improved. Sadly, it's not something that I can say with every essay. But for every 4 pieces that are laughably outdated, there are 1 or 2 that make me pause and consider things, something I am grateful for as a well-read feminist.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Good and varied collection of essays focusing on various aspects of gender. Several of the essays also deal with homosexuality and pop culture. Do you know there is labia plastic surgery?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I first heard about the feminist magazine Bitch in 2011 when they very controversially pulled three books (Tender Morsels, Sisters Red, and Living Dead Girl) from their list of top 100 feminist YA books after they received complaints. The magazine claimed that they read/re-read the books and decided the weren't so very feminist after all. I mean, you don't have to put items on a list of feminist books if you don't think they're feminist, but if you've already published the list, I feel like you I first heard about the feminist magazine Bitch in 2011 when they very controversially pulled three books (Tender Morsels, Sisters Red, and Living Dead Girl) from their list of top 100 feminist YA books after they received complaints. The magazine claimed that they read/re-read the books and decided the weren't so very feminist after all. I mean, you don't have to put items on a list of feminist books if you don't think they're feminist, but if you've already published the list, I feel like you should stick to your guns when people complain. And also, it's bad to put books on a list if you HAVEN'T ACTUALLY READ THEM. Suffice it to say, I didn't have a very good impression of the magazine. But I found this book in the library discards (where I go scavenging about twice a month) and I thought I'd give it a whirl. As with any essay collection, it's a mixed bag. But overall, I totally enjoyed it. Recommended for anybody interested in feminist and LGBTQ issues.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Crap. I can't believe I accidentally deleted my original review for this book. Now I will have to try to recreate it from memory. When I took a class on writing the personal essay, one of my classmates thought that my essays would be a good fit for "Bitch." However, when I asked, "What's Bitch Magazine?" She looked at me like, what you've never heard or read this 'zine before?! Then she promptly recommended this book. Now that I have finished reading this anthology, I must admit I am a fan and the Crap. I can't believe I accidentally deleted my original review for this book. Now I will have to try to recreate it from memory. When I took a class on writing the personal essay, one of my classmates thought that my essays would be a good fit for "Bitch." However, when I asked, "What's Bitch Magazine?" She looked at me like, what you've never heard or read this 'zine before?! Then she promptly recommended this book. Now that I have finished reading this anthology, I must admit I am a fan and these essays have inspired me to start revising some of my own works. I can't wait to check out their website and read more from their bitchin' contributors. Cheers to that and happy reading!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    After picking up my first copy of Bitch magazine when I was 15 years old, it has been a long time coming for me to read the book. In a culture of "alternative facts," it is important now more than ever to think critically about the media we consume each day. Bitch offers our society a "critical eye" on how societal norms about sex, race, sexuality and class influence the media we consume. It is hard now to watch any show again without being critical to the patriarchal themes found in our everyda After picking up my first copy of Bitch magazine when I was 15 years old, it has been a long time coming for me to read the book. In a culture of "alternative facts," it is important now more than ever to think critically about the media we consume each day. Bitch offers our society a "critical eye" on how societal norms about sex, race, sexuality and class influence the media we consume. It is hard now to watch any show again without being critical to the patriarchal themes found in our everyday shows. Not only does the stories give real examples, but the author provides suggestions for advocacy and activism. I applaud Bitch for the book and their work for women throughout the world.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sadie

    Really really really awesome feminist anthology. Brilliantly summarized a wide range of issues/topics and each writer brings their own voice and ideas. YAY “These days, I strive to be a bitch, because not being one sucks. Not being a bitch means not having your voice heard. Not being a bitch means you agree with all the bullshit. Not being a bitch means you don't appreciate all the other bitches who have come before you. Not being a bitch means since Eve ate that apple, we will forever have to pa Really really really awesome feminist anthology. Brilliantly summarized a wide range of issues/topics and each writer brings their own voice and ideas. YAY “These days, I strive to be a bitch, because not being one sucks. Not being a bitch means not having your voice heard. Not being a bitch means you agree with all the bullshit. Not being a bitch means you don't appreciate all the other bitches who have come before you. Not being a bitch means since Eve ate that apple, we will forever have to pay for her bitchiness with complacence, obedience, acceptance, closed eyes, and opened legs.”

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    This is a great collection of thought provoking social commentary. If you like Bitch Magazine you'd like this look back over the last 10 years. I didn't always agree with the author's point of view, but each essay raised interesting questions about gender and gender roles in American society.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gaijinmama

    A collection of some of the best articles from just about the best magazine out there! Read this, it rocks! And subscribe to the magazine while you're at it. They are an independent, woman-owned, damn-good publication and need reader support to stay afloat.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gemma

    I like non-fiction works that read like New Yorker articles, or other extended pieces of good journalism, and this fits the bill perfectly.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Moss

    I wrote an essay in this book. If you don't purchase a copy of this book, basically you are saying that you think women are terrible. Oh my god, I can't believe you think that!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    While I have my disagreements, this collection of essays is thoughtful and thought provoking.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Dobrinski

    With Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and – especially – Texas in the news recently, my feminist sensibilities have been on extra high alert. This may be why, after borrowing the book Bitchfest almost a year ago, I finally sat down to read it. For those who are not aware, the magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture was launched in 1996 by Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler. Looking for (and not finding any) feminist commentary on pop culture, Jervis and Zeisler opted to create their own andBitc With Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and – especially – Texas in the news recently, my feminist sensibilities have been on extra high alert. This may be why, after borrowing the book Bitchfest almost a year ago, I finally sat down to read it. For those who are not aware, the magazine Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture was launched in 1996 by Lisa Jervis and Andi Zeisler. Looking for (and not finding any) feminist commentary on pop culture, Jervis and Zeisler opted to create their own andBitch became a reality. Three years after publishing the first issue, they created a nonprofit. Now known as Bitch Media, the name better represents the evolution into a multimedia nonprofit that has grown and gone beyond the boundaries of a magazine. If you want to dig deeper into Bitch’s history, check out their web site at bitchmagazine.org. Now that we are all on the same page, back to Bitchfest… Published for Bitch’s 10th anniversary, the book is divided into eight topical chapters ranging from puberty and feminism (“The F Word”) to sexuality, beauty, and activism. As editors, Jervis and Zeisler selected 54 essays that showcase the passion, intellect, and critical eye of the magazine’s contributors. The book breaks down a wide variety of perspectives on how popular culture deals with these topics. One particular essay that stuck out to me was “Teen Mean Fighting Machine: Why Does the Media Love Mean Girls?” by Gabrielle Moss. Having attended graduate school during my late-30s/early-40s, I made friends with women much younger than myself. Mean Girls is one of their “must see” movies – and they were aghast that I had never seen it. Interestingly, Moss’s essay confirmed some of the assumptions I had about the movie: stereotypes of teenage girls and having a boyfriend as a solution for girl angst. As Moss concludes, instead of “transform[ing] the way teenage girls are encouraged to think and act toward each other,” (48) the discussions inspired by the movie fell far too short of their potential. A very well organized book, the final chapter, “Talking Back: Activism and Pop Culture,” was the ideal way to wrap up the anthology. Each section builds up to a crescendo and “Talking Back” provides a reminder of how important activism is. It can seem trite, but without taking that step to speak up for what you believe in, things will never change. Seven years after Bitchfest was published, feminist voices such as those featured in Bitch magazine and throughout the Bitch Media outlets continue to remain a necessity. When you look at current pop culture, from Snickers commercials defaulting to the notion that the worst thing a man can be called by his friends is a woman to Susan Sarandon saying she no longer calls herself a feminist, women everywhere need to hear from those willing to speak out. As Jervis observed: “As the media landscape becomes both increasingly corporatized and more chaotic – with more grassroots potential through phenomena like blogs, low-power radio, digital video, and podcasting but also more risk that those venues will be used to sideline our voices in favor of more and more advertising messages – we need to take it further still.” (330) Hopefully, these voices will continue to inspire other women to stand up and take it further. This review originally appeared at Zen Dixie, http://www.zendixie.com/read.html

  20. 5 out of 5

    McKenzie Richardson

    Love it! This is a very good compilation of many of Bitch magazine's articles from 1996 to 2006. There are so many things to love about this book. Instead of throwing a bunch of articles together in an anthology, Jervis and Zeisler categorize the articles into broad groups such as Ladies and Gentlemen: Femininity, Masculinity, and Identity; The F Word; and Beauty Myths and Body Projects, just to name a few. Even within each category the articles vary greatly such as within Beauty Myths and Body Pr Love it! This is a very good compilation of many of Bitch magazine's articles from 1996 to 2006. There are so many things to love about this book. Instead of throwing a bunch of articles together in an anthology, Jervis and Zeisler categorize the articles into broad groups such as Ladies and Gentlemen: Femininity, Masculinity, and Identity; The F Word; and Beauty Myths and Body Projects, just to name a few. Even within each category the articles vary greatly such as within Beauty Myths and Body Projects everything is discussed from facial hair to fat suits to vaginal reconstruction (a few of my personal favorites). While I may not agree with everything written in the articles, each one brought a unique perspective to mull over. The styles vary by contributor, many of which utilize the satirical, sharp humor that made me love Bitch magazine in the first place. If you like Bitch magazine and are looking for articles from previous issues or if you are at all interested in a subscription, this is a great book to start with because it gives a nice array of various Bitch-quality articles. I enjoyed the wide variety of topics and the critical mentality in regard to everything about the media that Bitch is famous for. The last chapter, Talking Back: Activism and Pop Culture, ties the book up nicely with a call to action and strategies for fighting the ever-present battle against media misrepresentation and sexism (as well as other prejudice related sentiments) in media coverage.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marjorie Elwood

    Pretty academic in tone and a little out-of-date, this was not an easy read, but it was an essential one. I kept finding essays that I wanted to pass along to my friends, essays that challenged what I'd long believed or thought, or ones that put into eloquent words what I'd suspected or known. Eloquent, and with a bite: "Clearly, the strong, self-actualized woman is an image that sells. It makes sense, right? You see one of these ads, you get that strange sensation of--could it be? Could it actu Pretty academic in tone and a little out-of-date, this was not an easy read, but it was an essential one. I kept finding essays that I wanted to pass along to my friends, essays that challenged what I'd long believed or thought, or ones that put into eloquent words what I'd suspected or known. Eloquent, and with a bite: "Clearly, the strong, self-actualized woman is an image that sells. It makes sense, right? You see one of these ads, you get that strange sensation of--could it be? Could it actually be? Elevating self-esteem? Identification with an image in the media? Oh, my God! Ideally, advertisers are thinking you'll associate that good feeling (especially since it's so rare) with their brand and think, "Wow, Nike--they make me feel great!" Then you'll rush out and spend the seventy-five cents that you earn to the male dollar on their product." Other sections were simply alarming: apparently, Camille Paglia wrote: "Feminism...does not see what is for men the eroticism or fun element in rape, especially the wild, infectious delirium of game rape." There is also a section devoted to finding alternative media sources and getting the media to run more diverse stories that better reflect society's diversity.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Menezes

    The only good thing to come out of being stuck at the DMV over 3 hours was being able to finish BITCHfest. Because the articles are all from mid 90's to the mid 2000's, I felt a lot of nostalgia reading the articles (primarily the section titled "Hitting Puberty"), and they reminded me of how "ashamed" I was of my own inner feminist growing up, being afraid I would start to fit the stereotype that my family often clung to when mocking feminism. Only in the past couple of years have I been able t The only good thing to come out of being stuck at the DMV over 3 hours was being able to finish BITCHfest. Because the articles are all from mid 90's to the mid 2000's, I felt a lot of nostalgia reading the articles (primarily the section titled "Hitting Puberty"), and they reminded me of how "ashamed" I was of my own inner feminist growing up, being afraid I would start to fit the stereotype that my family often clung to when mocking feminism. Only in the past couple of years have I been able to fully realize what it means be a "feminist", and that is that there is no clear box for it, and the whole idea of a "feminist stereotype" goes against the goal of feminism and eliminating harmful gender-based stereotypes. This isn't to say I liked or even agreed with all of the articles, but I appreciated them all to an extent, and found some really refreshing. P.S. I think BITCH Magazine would approve of "ask the passengers" by A.S. King,which kept popping in my mind while reading several different articles.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephy

    BITCH Magazine, from the mid 90's was the fresh new voice of the woman's movement as viewed through the eyes of a much younger, hipper crowd than Ms. Magazine. In fact BITCH started out as a Zine, A few pages of writing on a topic in this case feminism, copied and stapled and mailed to whoever is interested enough to send postage. Today, it has grown up enough to write stories with sidebars like this: Hard Times At the New York Times Book Review, all the misogyny is fit to print Written by Sarah S BITCH Magazine, from the mid 90's was the fresh new voice of the woman's movement as viewed through the eyes of a much younger, hipper crowd than Ms. Magazine. In fact BITCH started out as a Zine, A few pages of writing on a topic in this case feminism, copied and stapled and mailed to whoever is interested enough to send postage. Today, it has grown up enough to write stories with sidebars like this: Hard Times At the New York Times Book Review, all the misogyny is fit to print Written by Sarah Seltzer The New York Times Book Review has never exactly embraced passionate advocacy—unless it was promoting Pynchon’s and DeLillo’s place in the postmodernist canon. Even worse, it has become the place where serious feminist books come to die— or more accurately, to be dismissed with the flick of a well-manicured postfeminist wrist.
 I loved it then and am delighted with it now. Subscribe! Bitch

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elyssa

    I have a realy hard time with the title of this book of essays and the magazine from which they are derived. To me, even when a marginalized group "reclaims" a derogatory word, it is still a derogatory word. Often people (especially members of the dominant culture) continue to use the former (and unempowered) version of the word because they think it has been endorsed by feminists and made acceptable. With that rant out of the way, I did enjoy these essays. I felt that they were well selected fr I have a realy hard time with the title of this book of essays and the magazine from which they are derived. To me, even when a marginalized group "reclaims" a derogatory word, it is still a derogatory word. Often people (especially members of the dominant culture) continue to use the former (and unempowered) version of the word because they think it has been endorsed by feminists and made acceptable. With that rant out of the way, I did enjoy these essays. I felt that they were well selected from ten years of this magazine and represented a wide array of feminist issues. Everytime I delve back into books about feminism, I am reminded that these ideas are not so radical. It all boils down to women wanting the same rights and access as men. Why is this such a threatening concept?

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Northrup

    The easiest way to sum up my impression is that I'd never read the magazine when I started this book, and when I was done, I ordered a (prepaid) subscription. I've still read very little on feminism, so even the presumably standard stuff was novel. It was surprisingly not-angry, given the title. Most pieces were just wry, and unnervingly close to resigned. On the other hand, except for one bit in one chapter intro, everything was thoroughly rational and quotable. I particularly liked seeing some The easiest way to sum up my impression is that I'd never read the magazine when I started this book, and when I was done, I ordered a (prepaid) subscription. I've still read very little on feminism, so even the presumably standard stuff was novel. It was surprisingly not-angry, given the title. Most pieces were just wry, and unnervingly close to resigned. On the other hand, except for one bit in one chapter intro, everything was thoroughly rational and quotable. I particularly liked seeing some of my presumably more out-there views expressed; the ones I've never heard anyone share before. And I still love "[apparently women] use their genitals only as sticky traps in which to catch wedding rings."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicki

    I've never read an actual issue of Bitch but ever since I discovered feminism, Bitch's website has been one of my favorites. I was really excited to find this compilation and it didn't let me down. Even though some of these articles are dated, they are still effective and relevant (makes you wonder about the state of third wave feminism!) Awesome read, it covers a huge range of topics. And it's one of those books where you can start anywhere and end anywhere. Would definitely recommend to feminis I've never read an actual issue of Bitch but ever since I discovered feminism, Bitch's website has been one of my favorites. I was really excited to find this compilation and it didn't let me down. Even though some of these articles are dated, they are still effective and relevant (makes you wonder about the state of third wave feminism!) Awesome read, it covers a huge range of topics. And it's one of those books where you can start anywhere and end anywhere. Would definitely recommend to feminists, budding feminists, or for anyone who wants to read a savvy, critical, honest compilation of Western/North American culture.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Miri

    I expected to like this a lot more given how much I love the magazine. However, the pop cultural references were obviously very dated and lost on me (not the writers' fault) and almost every piece had essentially the same exact snarky tone despite the fact that they're all by different writers. I love snark as much as anyone, but reading a long series of pieces with the same tone got very tiresome. All the same, I learned a lot of good stuff and I'm glad to see how much better Bitch has gotten i I expected to like this a lot more given how much I love the magazine. However, the pop cultural references were obviously very dated and lost on me (not the writers' fault) and almost every piece had essentially the same exact snarky tone despite the fact that they're all by different writers. I love snark as much as anyone, but reading a long series of pieces with the same tone got very tiresome. All the same, I learned a lot of good stuff and I'm glad to see how much better Bitch has gotten in the years since these pieces came out.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lani

    There were certainly some essays I enjoyed more than others, but in general a good read. Some laugh-out-loud stories, some interesting points, and some perspectives I hadn't considered before. It was sometimes slow going when a string of articles didn't address anything I cared about, or beat a dead horse, but it was worth slogging through to find the good stuff. This is a book I'd like to share with a reading group - or more accurately, I'd like to photocopy chunks of this book and assign readin There were certainly some essays I enjoyed more than others, but in general a good read. Some laugh-out-loud stories, some interesting points, and some perspectives I hadn't considered before. It was sometimes slow going when a string of articles didn't address anything I cared about, or beat a dead horse, but it was worth slogging through to find the good stuff. This is a book I'd like to share with a reading group - or more accurately, I'd like to photocopy chunks of this book and assign readings. :-)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Satiating. Good to read, like bell hooks, just after a class in which a few loud students are insisting that feminists are merely man haters, and racism is a thing of the past. some of the articles in the magazine itself are pretty out there. like, my little ponies teach little girls how to raise their humps and bat their big, dilated eyes. i'm not saying it's bad to question the toys we hand our kids, but still. the fare in the book is a bit more selective. these collected articles tackle some pr Satiating. Good to read, like bell hooks, just after a class in which a few loud students are insisting that feminists are merely man haters, and racism is a thing of the past. some of the articles in the magazine itself are pretty out there. like, my little ponies teach little girls how to raise their humps and bat their big, dilated eyes. i'm not saying it's bad to question the toys we hand our kids, but still. the fare in the book is a bit more selective. these collected articles tackle some pressing issues in just the ways i want them tackeled. for once.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Makayla Osipenko

    I am so pleasantly surprised with this book. I got it on a whim, and wasn't sure if I would actually enjoy it. It was actually wonderfully educational and enjoyable. There is many different opinions expressed in this book, which was nice to see. This is a wonderful collaboration of work. I enjoyed so many of the articles, and the ones I didn't enjoy were still pretty good. I would recommend this to anyone who has a bit of knowledge about feminist and women's issues and were interested in learnin I am so pleasantly surprised with this book. I got it on a whim, and wasn't sure if I would actually enjoy it. It was actually wonderfully educational and enjoyable. There is many different opinions expressed in this book, which was nice to see. This is a wonderful collaboration of work. I enjoyed so many of the articles, and the ones I didn't enjoy were still pretty good. I would recommend this to anyone who has a bit of knowledge about feminist and women's issues and were interested in learning more.

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