This month’s book is Not My Mother’s Sister: Generational Conflict and Third-Wave Feminism by Astrid Henry.
I chose this book to start with because I think it’s a great jumping off point for our reading group–it blends where feminism has been, where we’re going (or where we think we’re going) and how wave termimology (second-wave/third-wave) creates generational conflict (mother/daughter) and how that may impact the success of our movement.
Oftentimes when I state that I am a feminist, people cock their head and say, “Well what do feminists do?” I understand their confusion because for most the word “feminist” brings back stereotypes of suffragettes or bra-burners–times quite far removed from our own, as many now claim that feminism is dead or the fight for equality was won.
And yet as many of us can see that while some strides have been made, women are still viewed as second-class citizens (look no further than the race for the Democratic nomination and some voter’s unabashed statement that they would never vote for a woman). Feminists now parade under the label of “third-wave,” disassociating themselves from the second-wave feminists of the late 60s and early 70s. But what do these third-wave feminists do? Are they political? What do they stand for? And how does their association and disassociation with previous feminist waves help or hinder their cause? These are just a few of the things Astrid Henry touches upon in this book.
I’ll just come out and say that I love this book. It’s fun to read, academic and yet easily accessible for people of any flavor of feminism. (I should however note that this isn’t a Women’s Studies 101 type book–it does presuppose a bit of knowledge of feminism on the behalf of the reader, just to warn you.) If you’ve read our [ABOUT US] section (which I suggest you read, if only to understand why we’re called “bucking the wave”), you know that we sometimes struggle to place ourselves within the feminist movement–are we third wave, are we fourth wave, do we even care? This book brings up all sorts of questions about who we are as feminists and how we can learn from “our mothers” and “our sisters” in our search for gender equality.
I obviously have a lot more to say about the book, but I hope I adequately introduced the book in a way that makes you want to dive into reading it yourself! You can purchase the book from amazon or half.com for pretty cheap, or you can always check your local library (shameless librarian plug!). Around mid-month I will post some questions to think about as we continue reading and by the end of the month I will start a discussion post where we can all…discuss!