Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future

Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future

by Barbara J. Berg
     
 

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The news in 2008 was that women had taken huge strides forward. Feminists’ decades-long struggle finally seemed to be paying off, not only in boardrooms, classrooms, and kitchens but also at the very top—in presidential politics. But what is the truth behind the headlines?

In Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future,

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Overview

The news in 2008 was that women had taken huge strides forward. Feminists’ decades-long struggle finally seemed to be paying off, not only in boardrooms, classrooms, and kitchens but also at the very top—in presidential politics. But what is the truth behind the headlines?

In Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future, renowned feminist author Barbara J. Berg debunks the many myths about how far women have come and the pervasive belief that ours is a postfeminist society. Combining authoritative research and compelling storytelling, Berg traces the assault on women’s status from the 1950s—when Newsweek declared “for the American girl, books and babies don’t mix”—to the present, exploring the deception about women’s progress and contextualizing our current situation. All women are hurt by a society lauding their attributes in speeches while scorning them in public policy and popular culture, and the legacy of the women’s movement is being short-circuited in every aspect of their lives.

Passionate, extensively documented, humorous, and persuasive, Sexism in America is simultaneously enlightening, frightening, and revitalizing. Berg, an ardent optimist, helps women understand where they are and why and how they can move beyond the marginalizing strategies. It is exactly the right book at exactly the right time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Berg . . . offers a wakeup call for young women entering the cultural and career trenches on what went wrong and how to fix it."  —Publishers Weekly

"Each chapter of this book offers an impassioned plea: feminism is not dead, but there is still a great need for feminist women and men to fight for the rights of women in America . . . Highly recommended."  —Library Journal

"In no-nonsense fashion, Berg lays out the case for a renewed feminist movement that can be at the center of progressive politics. Her passion and humor demonstrate why feminism is not a threat to us men but a gift."  —Robert Jensen, University of Texas–Austin, author, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity

"The time has come for a new wave of feminism and Sexism in America is just what we need to help bring it on."  —Diane E. Levin, PhD, professor of education, Wheelock College; coauthor, So Sexy So Soon

"Reminding us that the 'personal is political,' this book will provide women with an unambiguous understanding of a broader pattern of gender inequality."  —Miriam Forman-Brunell, professor of history, University of Missouri–Kansas City; author, Girlhood in America: An Encyclopedia

"Sweeping vision, sharp wit, and in-depth research . . . a road map to how the Far Right and conservative religious forces succeeded in pushing women's rights back from victories in the 1970s into an era in which women must begin again."  —Rita Henley Jensen, editor in chief, Women's eNews

"Sexism in America is vital reading for everyone to ensure that the quality of life for women continues to transform to ultimately create complete gender equality."  —Dr. Jane Greer, author, How Could You Do This To Me? Learning To Trust After Betrayal

Publishers Weekly
Sexism hasn't gone away, argues journalist/activist Berg, it has simply adapted to our changing culture. Berg offers a refresher course on the 20th-century women's rights movement and its unexpected devolution in recent years, drawing on aspects of culture like advertising and reality TV, scientific research and an online survey of 300 not-so-randomly selected women and interviews with 200 more. Contemporary women, Berg says, are encouraged to imitate vapid media darlings instead of breaking glass ceilings (or breaking even) in academia, business and government. Containing the requisite—and accurate—feminist media criticism and movement history, updates to the 2008 presidential election and Obama's first few months, this is an excellent, easily decipherable text for history, sociology and women's studies students—and even older feminists looking for an update. Berg uses short chapters for flowing discussions on work, reproductive rights, health and activism. She focuses on working women's issues, and more discussion on women who choose to be full-time homemakers and their particular concerns would have added balance. But Berg still offers a wakeup call for young women entering the cultural and career trenches on what went wrong and how to fix it. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This book is Berg's extremely persuasive dismissal of the claim that the United States is a "post-feminist, post-racial" society. Using testimonies from her survey of hundreds of American women, as well as extensively documented research, this self-admitted second-wave feminist gives a rapid-fire account of the advancement of women's rights and the continuing backlash on feminist progress from the 1950s to the present. Berg's feminist critique of seemingly gender-neutral events are a revelation. The attacks of 9/11, the war in Iraq, the current economic crisis, and the continuing health-care debate are examined with a keen eye toward their impact on women. Equally insightful is Berg's analysis of the setbacks facing the third wave of feminists in the United States. Limitations on contraception and abortion, the sexual harassment of women in the military, the fight for gay and lesbian equality, and the never-ending pay gap are but a few of the "new" issues tackled by Berg. VERDICT Each chapter of this book offers an impassioned plea: feminism is not dead, but there is still a great need for feminist women and men to fight for the rights of women in America. As Berg aptly states in her conclusion, "Everyone who believes in gender equality...must join together to push for progressive policies that will enhance all of our lives." Highly recommended.—Veronica Arellano, Univ. of Houston Libs., TX

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781556527760
Publisher:
Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
644,600
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

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What People are saying about this

Jane Greer
Vital reading for everyone to ensure that the quality of life for women continues to transform to ultimately create complete gender equality. (Dr. Jane Greer, author, How Could You Do This to Me?)
Miriam Forman-Brunell

Reminding us that the 'personal is political,' this book will provide women with an unambiguous understanding of a broader pattern of gender inequality. (Miriam Forman-Brunell, professor of history, University of Missouri-Kansas City; author, Girlhood in America: An Encyclopedia)

Diane E. Levin

The time has come for a new wave of feminism and Sexism in America is just what we need to help bring it on. (Diane E. Levin, PhD, professor of education, Wheelock College; coauthor, So Sexy So Soon)

Robert Jensen
In no-nonsense fashion, Berg lays out the case for a renewed feminist movement that can be at the center of progressive politics. Her passion and humor demonstrate why feminism is not a threat to us men but a gift. (Robert Jensen, University of Texas at Austin, author, Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity)
Rita Henley Jensen
Sweeping vision, sharp wit, and in-depth research . . . a road map to how the Far Right and conservative religious forces succeeded in pushing women's rights back from victories in the 1970s into an era in which women must begin again. (Rita Henley Jensen, editor in chief, Women's eNews)

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