The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability

The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, VulnerabilityFrom The Author Of The Acclaimed Against Love Comes A Pointed, Audacious, And Witty Examination Of The State Of The Female Psyche In The Post Post Feminist World Of The Twenty First Century Women Remain Caught Between Feminism And Femininity, Between Self Affirmation And An Endless Quest For Self Improvement, Between Playing An Injured Party And Claiming Independence Rather Than Blaming The Usual Suspects Men, The Media Kipnis Takes A Hard Look At Culprits Closer To Home, Namely Women Themselves Kipnis Serves Up The Gory Details Of The Mutual Displeasure Between Men And Women In Painfully Hilarious Detail Is Anatomy Destiny After All An Ambitious And Original Reassessment Of Feminism And Women S Ambivalence About It, The Female Thing Breathes Provocative New Life Into That Age Old Question

Laura Kipnis is the author of Against Love A Polemic How to Become A Scandal The Female Thing Bound and Gagged and the upcoming Men Notes from an Ongoing Observation out in November Her books have been translated into fifteen languages She s written essays and criticism for Slate, Harper s, Playboy, New York Times Magazine, New York Times Book Review, and Bookforum A former filmmaker, s

[Read] ➮ The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability Author Laura Kipnis –
  • Hardcover
  • 192 pages
  • The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability
  • Laura Kipnis
  • English
  • 06 December 2019
  • 9780375424175

10 thoughts on “The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability

  1. says:

    As I read my way through the first chapter, I felt like I was reading a Cosmo or Glamour for feminists, a little trashy and a lot of fluff, but just enough to have some bite Several times I almost put it down, but I m glad I kept reading due to taking some perverse pleasure in it.To some extent, it s a frustrating read It is just as dichotomous and contradictory as the subject Kipnis seeks to explain Her sweeping statements about how great women have it post feminism are irksome Though she states from the beginning that she is speaking from a middle upper class white woman s perspective She hits upon some great insights but rarely has the analytical depth to take it further Instead, the first chapter is replete with mocking swipes at feminists who invoke patriarchy to explain social behavior and the structure of society To say that a woman s behavior is influenced by patriarchy is not the same as denying her agency though Kipnis seems to think so.Sex and Dirt, the central chapters, are the strongest and quite captivating An interesting mix of science, history and culture mixed in with her own theories on the subjects at hand By the time I was through with them I was eager to read and genuinely interested in hearing of her theories.Unfortunately, Vulnerability went downhill and I felt it was as weak as the first chapter I thought her analysis of anti porn feminists and the issue of rape to be way off, both for the same reason Her discussion of prison rape misses the mark because she maintains that feminists put forth that rape is about violence Perhaps power and violence are synonymous to her, but when viewing all forms of rape through a lens of power, particularly with a focus on misogyny, the dynamic she scoffs at makes a lot sense She also skewers feminists who have been affronted by the sexual advances of men in power as female wounded bird syndrome Also thought this was way off it isn t about expressing delicacy and fragility and refeminizing oneself so much as it is wanting to be seen as a person rather than a conquest My question in the case she describes if the student had been a man, would her professor have taken her poetry seriously instead of using their meetings as an opportunity to make sexual advances towards her At times the last chapter had me pretty infuriated.Despite my issues with the book, I d recommend it There were times when I definitely felt challenged, and she gave me some things to think about I genuinely enjoyed it and at times it was hilariously funny It takes a lot for me to laugh out loud when reading a book, and she had me cracking up.

  2. says:

    Kipnis examines women and modern American society s relationships with dirt, sex, envy and vulnerability It s a huge subject, and she does not do it justice Kipnis focuses all too often on pithy cheap shots and sarcastic responses to other feminist thinkers I liked some of her analysis, but she overstated her case and made terrible comparisons women shouldn t worry so much about rape because violent things happen to men too they re maimed or die in pointless wars, for instance What The link between the two is nonexistent Kipnis does have a good point that the people who are the least statistically likely to be raped are the most worried about it Unfortunately, her insights are overshadowed in my mind by her pettiness and loledgy writing.

  3. says:

    Kipnis covers 4 basic factors relating to feminism envy, sex, dirt, and vulnerability She discusses how there is a new femininity namely, women are voluntarily participating in hook up culture, willingly submitting themselves as sex objects and rejecting ideas of the old femininity , namely when women would be taken out to dinner and courted in an old fashioned way Basically, women are at odds between being assertive, independent, sexual beings yet the irony is that many of these women are only liberating themselves sexually assertiveness only in the form of shopping for lingerie, getting brazilian waxes, and breast implants and thus enslaving themselves by consumerism In their endless quest to achieve perfection, women are losing sight of many of the rights that past feminists fought for deciding to leave careers to instead become full time moms This is probably because the division of household labor is still unequal women now have the right to work but they re still the main caretakers of the home whereas before their domain was the home They re doing double shifts daily Kipnis posits that feminism and femininity are having such a hard time reconciling because there s so many various factors that affect today s society and the female psyche that are at odds Femininity is based off of a sense of feminine inadequacy while feminism wants to level the field, make things good and fair for both sexes Yet, feminists get such a bad rap men haters, hairy bitches, dykes In regards to sex, women nowadays have choices but they are still enslaved With the invention of birth control, women are now not expected to give birth compulsively but they re still chained to their bodies in the form of new fad diets, new body operations, new trends There s even the possibility that, if anything, the pill seemed to liberate men instead of women they no longer have to answer for the consequences of their sexual behavior Kipnis makes many points and offers hilarious insights into what is going on with today s women They re stuck between claiming emancipation yet they re still shackled to old world traditions They want to be independent but place much of their self worth on whether men find them attractive, they want to be free enough to sleep with men but complain when they re not respected, they want to be viewed as self sufficient yet complain when the man doesn t open the doors It s a pretty messy situation, with both sexes confused about what to do What s controversial and refreshing is that Kipnis doesn t lay the blame solely on men but acknowledges that women have a lot to say about this too and, in them, lies the power to change their situation If only they unplugged their hair straighteners and took a pause from getting their nails done long enough to take a look at what s going on and clearly define their stances.

  4. says:

    This shit was so contradictory, it was painful to read I had to put it down and come back to it at different points because I was like is this woman serious I couldn t tell if she was being sarcastic, facetious, or making an attempt at being purposefully controversial A lot of the contradictory information that she s collected and espoused felt barely analyzed or scraping the surface analyzed There was little context or account given for women outside of the author s wheelhouse who may be impacted or have a reason to be fearful surrounding rape and sexual violence, see Vulnerability I just couldn t rock with this book The writing style as well was pretty awful Huge sweeping mass mess of paragraphs that felt like diatribes filled with what felt like part overworked comedy sketches which, in my opinion, had no purpose or place in a book like this Large scale generalizations rooted in white feminism Skip this, there s gotta be better out there.

  5. says:

    So I pulled this rather randomly and haphazardly off the library bookshelf, based on a random and haphazard online review from a cartoonist I sometimes admire While I appreciate Kipnis s layman s speak, I am having trouble seeing her as the representative for All Western Womankind I can t help but wonder how influenced by Sex and the City is the normal modern woman Because that s how this reads if Carrie Bradshaw wrote a textbook on the female psyche, this would be it.

  6. says:

    Kipnis is the wry, well informed, playfully ranting feminist friend that we should all be so lucky to have Simultaneous paying respect to the multi faceted, many phased women s movement, while still being able to approach it objectively, Kipnis is able to suggest that feminism came up against an unanticipated opponent the inner woman, without self righteous finger pointing or woman aggrandizing propaganda she s actually remarkably empathetic with feminist backlash against undeserving males This is what Feminism was asking for originally, she shows us, and this is how it has or hasn t played out according to plan And if Kipnis has a one particular talent, it s revealing how principals that sounded so good in theory, really fall apart when put to practical use Doing so isn t a devious scheme to undermine Feminism as a whole, but rather to show how far we still have to go A fascinating element underlying some of Kipnis culture readings is a sort of proto Marxist economist s analysis of the female condition Watch as capitalism co opts the Revolution, with cleaning products sold to women, by women female on female emotional sabotage As pay equity ends up having some unexpected and unjust consequences Another lynchpin in her equations is the ability to relate abstract social conditions an obsession with cleaning one s home to the female body and how it perceived by both men and women the social purity movement In these cases and many others her discussion of rape and the gap between actual statistics of victimization and the perceived fear of the likeliness that one will be raped was rather eye opening for me , Kipnis shows a truly versatile flair for questioning our comfortably held assessments of the female experience.Minor complaints I m not sure that The Female Thing is as cohesive a text as it could be I for one, could have certainly used a let s put the pieces together now type of conclusion but each topic Envy, Sex, Dirt, and Vulnerability is approached with such a fresh perspective that I m happy to have read what could have easily been free standing essays all together And granted, Kipnis sarcasm and irony is spread on a little thick at times and she s far too fond of suggestive ellipses but, all things considered, these are balanced rather gracefully A notable example of this is found in the final chapter, when Kipnis takes on the indomitable Andrea Dworkin, whose work and feminist legacy Kipnis has frequently albeit rather playfully challenged Here, Dworkin is described as a bit unhinged, but nevertheless is still a gripping and symptomatic figure when teasing out the many contradictions at work within female emotional life But all knit picking aside, Kipnis has certainly provided a valuable trampoline for us to spring from As she says at the very end of her book, A full accounting of the female situation at the moment would need to start roughly here.

  7. says:

    when it come to the female situation, contradictions speckle the landscape, like ingrown hairs after a bad bikini wax So writes Kipnis in the preface of the book, which is about the contradictions of being a modern woman This is the third book that I read by her, and I picked it up mainly because she is so incredibly witty, insightful, and hilarious Her Against Love A Polemic is the best book that I ve read on the subject of marriage I don t know what kind of feminist Kipnis is I ve lost track of different kinds , but I find myself agreeing with her quite often She picks four different areas in which women are struggling, and it s not a patriarchal conspiracy that is holding them back, but their own internal contradictions I especially liked her analysis of how feminism played into the hands of capitalism and a consumerist society.

  8. says:

    Well researched, wonderfully poetic, and at times the essays on Sex and Dirt quite fierce and funny all at the same time Even if you don t agree with everything Laura Kipnis has to say in this short, but gripping tome, I think it s an interesting social commentary that everyone in our post modern world should read We ve definitely made progress, but there s still a lot progress that needs to be made, and maybe a good place to start is looking within ourselves.I am intrigued to hear her lecture at Elmhurst College on Narcissism A Defense once it s rescheduled, It was originally supposed to take place March 5, but we had a big snow storm so it was cancelled as I like that she speaks her mind no matter what.

  9. says:

    This book was frustrating because I could not for the life of me tell when Kipnis was being sarcastic, funny, serious, or just what her position was on anything In a way, that made it interesting, because it forced me to think about my own opinions But mostly it just made me want to throw the book at the next biological determinist I see And I agree with the reviewers who said it reads like Cosmo which, in my opinion, only undermines any point she might be trying to make.

  10. says:

    Generally speaking, I thought this was a better book than Against Love, which I found quite mediocre and unmemorable There were some contradictions and things I disagreed with well, a lot I disagreed with , but it was of an interesting book Another short diatribe related to sexuality and gender, this one covers four themes Envy, Sex, Dirt, Vulnerability Envy was the blandest chapter, followed by Sex, which is mostly about female orgasm I found myself disagreeing with a lot, but it was an interesting chapter with some good sources I really would have liked endnotes Dirt is about some innate desire women have for things to be clean, which I definitely think is not true Possibly for a majority of women, yes, but not as large a majority as Kipnis would have you think The last section is the one that I most want to comment on, though I thought I d like it the most, because the Vulnerability chapter is about rape and sexual violence, and this is a topic I m interested in as a feminist Unfortunately, I went from disagreement to rage as I read through Kipnis s thoughts on the subject In the rest of the book, she seems to identify somewhat with feminism, though she has her issues Here, she calls feminists ridiculous, and doesn t really seem to agree with anything feminist, though it s a little complicated since she s dealing with an area where feminists split widely think the pro porn anti porn and pro sex work anti prostitution camps The most infuriating part is the finale, where Kipnis builds up to two personal stories, one told by Naomi Wolf and the other by Andrea Dworkin She says some mildly annoying things before that point, downplaying the significance of rape, implying that feminists overemphasize it and that we don t concern ourselves enough with male prison rape, even subtly seeming to imply that rape should not be a big deal, even if it happens She mentions that some feminists consider rape worse than death in a way that seems to refute the point, which triggered my anger But then we get to the two stories First is Wolf s memory of a situation in which Harold Bloom touched her thigh after drinking together at a dinner party and made her uncomfortable Now I m not saying that the facts are necessarily true, but Kipnis doesn t dispute them Her issue is that she thinks Wolf has far overblown the incident, which she calls hand on knee I think most women would agree that there is a big difference between knee and thigh I m very bothered with anyone refusing to let a victim of any sort of sexual harrassment tell her own story and experience the incident in her own way Who is Kipnis to tell Wolf that a hand on her thigh was insignificant In certain contexts, such a touch can be highly disturbing and unwanted There s also a touch of victim blaming, when Kipnis focuses on Wolf s own desire to meet with the professor though it is entirely possible that this was purely intellectual Even if a woman does have a crush on a man, it is completely acceptable for her to decide that she does not want this touch, at this time Kipnis should really consider reading the anthology Yes Means Yes, to understand that all touch should be a matter of mutual choice and understanding Then it goes on to Dworkin s story I may not like Dworkin generally, and I may disagree with her all sex is rape line, but when Kipnis described Dworkin s experience of what she believes was rape and then or less discounts it, I felt physically ill Whether or not the rape occurred, any woman who wakes up, feeling a pain deep in her vagina, and gushing blood after having had a couple of cocktails and feeling woozy, has every right to be terrified Kipnis suggests that because of Dworkin s experiences with rape, because of her writings that suggest, in Kipnis s view, a desire for rape at some level, she must have made it up or at least have wanted it to be true I may not agree with the way Dworkin thinks about sex and violence, but I would never suggest that an experience she describes didn t happen, just because she s been raped before, just because she seems obsessed with the subject Using this claim to finish up a book on the female psyche is appalling and deplorable.

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