Wednesday, 28 March 2012

70/111 - One Dimensional Woman by Nina Power

I've had this book for a little while now, and I've been looking for the satisfaction of reading something quick and short, and it turns out this was it! At the moment my bookshelves are organised pretty haphazardly, and on one of my top shelves, I've got a load of books on feminism that I've been gathering up for a while until I feel suitably angry to begin reading them again. I think now might be the time, and this might be just the distraction I need.

I quite enjoyed this book, and there are a lot of interesting ideas in here, however it's very short and there were a lot of ideas which I wish had been fleshed out more fully. There's a section on the feminisation of labour which has some cool ideas - such as the idea that most part-time work is carried out by women, and when you apply to temp agencies, they have feminised names like 'Office Angels', who can offer you a job for no more than 13 weeks because then they would have to start paying you like a real employee. She also talks about the blurred lines between work life and your private life, and the idea that you need to be some sort of walking CV in order to get a job.

It's now much more common to be friends with our bosses and co-workers on Facebook, and I work in an environment not only where I can't really be open about my job in public, but it is also the norm that everyone at work socialises with each other, so there are no real boundaries anymore. I myself am in a relationship with someone I met at work, and although we don't work in the same department, we probably see one another most days per week, as well as several nights. I'm not really being critical of this, because I would far prefer to have colleagues that I get on with, and bosses that I get on with. That's all I have to say about that really.

The other thing which was interesting was the way Nina Power criticises a lot of contemporary feminists, people like Jessica Valenti for example, for a type of feminism that she sees as being driven by a love of chocolate and shopping. I don't really feel as strongly about this as she does, and I happen to have quite enjoyed some of Jessica Valenti's writing, however I understand where she's coming from. I can't really get on board with a feminism which sees our main problem in terms of whether we can wear high heels and still be respected, or whether we should pay for our own meals on a first date. The kind of feminism which is concerned primarily with middle class white women's struggles is valid up to a point, however it shouldn't be the most important thing we focus on. Things like fashion magazines really piss me off and offend me as a (intelligent) woman, but I'm under no illusions that we have much bigger fish to fry, such as the financial distress of single mothers, reproductive rights, and on a larger scale, the treatment of women across the globe. These women are not so concerned with fighting for their right to pole dance, as fighting for their right to stay alive when a society favours male babies, fighting for their right not to be violated as a weapon of war, and fighting for their right not to have their genitals mutilated in the name of purity. So basically what I'm saying is that I get where she's coming from.

That's all I have to say about that.

Next: An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

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