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Letters of Intent: Women Cross the Generations to Talk about Family, Work, Sex, Love and the Future of Feminism
     

Letters of Intent: Women Cross the Generations to Talk about Family, Work, Sex, Love and the Future of Feminism

by Anna Bondoc (Editor), Meg Daly
 
This intimate exchange between today's young women and their feminist foremothers sheds new light on the issues that divide and connect the generations.

Overview

This intimate exchange between today's young women and their feminist foremothers sheds new light on the issues that divide and connect the generations.

Editorial Reviews

Lisa Marcus
...[W]ithin the constraints of their chosen format, the editors have choreographed excahnges that will certainly intrigue an audience hungry to eavesdrop on conversations about feminism's future. —The Women's Review of Books
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of 21 pairs of letters seeks to bridge what the editors perceive as a feminist generation gap through exchanges about abortion rights, mentoring, mothering, racism in women's rights groups, the role of lesbian activists, health and spirituality. Bondoc, a Filipina-American chef who has written about food and health, and Daly, who has edited an anthology about the politics between lesbians and straight women, solicited letters from young women, which were answered by feminists from the previous generation (or beyond). While some questions and responses are well articulated, the book is disappointing structurally. For example, it's not always clear how topics were selected or why there are two or three sets of letters on one subject and none on others, such as the status of African-American feminism. In a few cases, the letters are stiff, as in Amy Richards and Gloria Steinem's correspondence about their personal experiences with abortion. Among the most literate and unself-conscious exchanges are Marie Lee and Elaine Kim's letters on interracial marriages among Asians. While Eisa Nefertari Ulen's letter to Angela Davis is poetically phrased, her plea for Davis's active leadership rightfully elicits a lecture cautioning Ulen to avoid "a certain romantic idea of the Sixties" and to "make your own revolution." Overall, the letters convey one generation's hard-fought struggle to attain success and equality and the next generation's relative complacency. Agent, Jennie Dunham. (Mar.)
Polly Morrice
...[T]he reader has a sense of having encountered a host of independent spirits -- committed to feminist ideals, but determined to tread their own paths.
The New York Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
A series of letters between 20- and 30-something women and their "foremothers" in the feminist movement, aiming both to bridge a generation gap and to elevate current discussion of feminist issues above the level of mere "sound bites." The letters are organized in pairs, with a younger woman writing to her would-be feminist mentor with a question about women's lives. The foremothers, who include Gloria Steinem, Susan Faludi, Angela Davis, Phyllis Chesler, Wilma Mankiller, and Judy Blume, among celebrated others, answer with reference to both history and personal experience. Somewhat arbitrarily divided into five sections, the subject matter ranges from sexuality to careers, health, spirituality, and what the future holds. A useful appendix offers biographies of all the writers. But does the book actually kick off a new round of women nurturing "a collective vision," as Steinem envisions? Or is it messier than that, as poet/essayist Katha Pollitt explains to her former intern Emily Gordon, who wants all older women to be as supportive as Pollitt has been to her? Pollitt's reply to Gordon: "Women are just people. Feminists are just people preoccupied and self-centered [possessed of] anxiety, self-doubt, envy." In other words, get your own agenda, and don't count on the mothers to be hand-holders. Davis and Chesler echo the get-a-life message. Editors Bondoc and Daly, themselves writers, contribute letters wondering about nutrition (to health educator Annemarie Colbin) and breast cancer (to activist Sandra Butler) respectively. Elsewhere, they've tried to hold the whiners in line-there are dialogues about women in the military and sports and about the Wiccan religion, lesbianism, andracism. A passionate, poetic conversation between Eisa Davis and Ntozake Shange relieves the generally polite tone of mutual admiration. While personal relationships may have developed between the writers of these letters, young and old feminists scrambling for millennial focus will not find it here. .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684856247
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
03/05/1999
Pages:
239
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.79(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are Saying About This

Farai Chideya
Letters of Intent pairs the best of these women, from different generations, with one goal: to show the continuity between the struggles of the past and present...required reading for anyone burnt out by the shallow, status-quo gender debates.

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