F-Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism

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Lauren McKeon’s book F Bomb: Dispatches from the War on Feminism is both exactly what I needed to read and exactly what I didn’t want to read. It is an exceptional and difficult examination of the problems with the concept of feminism, and it is the book anyone who calls themselves a feminist should read if only to understand the resistance so many feel to a term that is–for so many others of us–so important and defining.

McKeon begins by laying out the history of the term. In section one of the book, “How feminism became today’s dirtiest word,” she explores the rifts within and without the movement. She looks at what has turned people away from feminism altogether as well as what has caused people to abandon the term as a part of their identities. Her examples, backed by anecdotal and empirical evidence, make a strong case for the shifting tide as pertains to the term itself.

But it is in section two that the real heartbreak begins. As a proud feminist myself–I should say I adhere to the dictionary definition, as does McKeon–I found myself sorrowful as I pushed through the pages of this section, titled, “On the front line of the new women-on-women gender wars.” I have seen the infighting, the cattiness, the water-cooler ostracism McKeon writes about, but naively I assumed it was specific to my profession: high school teaching. What she makes clear is that women are actively working against each other all over the world, and the end result is seemingly hopeless. Working against our own interests, how could feminism ever recover, let alone survive?

The final and shortest section of the book, “The future is feminist,” is meant to be a hopeful end note, a reprieve against the darkness offered in the first 220 pages. For me, though, it wasn’t enough. I am happy to have read this book and think those engaged in the feminist fight should absolutely read it, too, but do so with puppies nearby or, at the very least, a good glass of wine.

Reviewed By:

Author Lauren McKeon
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 250 pages
Publisher BenBella Books
Publish Date 2018-Mar-06
ISBN 9781946885012
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue July 2018
Category Current Events & Politics


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