izhilzha (izhilzha) wrote,

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Random thoughts

The lovely new shoes I bought to wear to work, just a few weeks ago, have broken. This is deeply annoying to me, especially since I've no idea how to fix them myself (the strap across the top--the stitching wore through and it's now completely detached on one side). *sigh*

I have some fics to rec. Maybe tonight, or at lunch break.

I'm not doing as much writing as I should be, right now. Mostly this is because I'm being distracted by two very interesting books:

The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova

I'm not really into vampire lore, and have never read Stoker's Dracula. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is about as far as I've gone into that world. But this book, I think, I would recommend to other non-vampire fans.

The writing is beautiful, clear and sensual and doesn't slow the pace of the story. The narrative is layered: two different first-person narrators, one within the other, and other short tales within the second narrator's story. All with clarity, tension, and a powerful weight of time and history.

I'm very, very impressed so far.


Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism, by Daphne Patai

This isn't my normal type of reading--usually, if I'm deep in an academic sort of text (now that I'm out of school), it's about literature or various authors, or perhaps about the so-called culture wars.

I have to say that I'm really enjoying this read. It's been a long time since I couldn't put down a non-fiction book. Patai is a reasonable, straightforward author who is quite unafraid to say what she thinks. I am a moderate sort of feminist, myself; I am strongly for equality of the sexes, absolutely believe that most jobs can be done as well by women as by men (or, for that matter, the other way around), and I am against discrimination or persecution based on gender.

So it's quite refreshing to read the thoughts of another feminist (Patai is a lit professor and also works in the field of women's studies) who sees in the extremes of the feminist movement the same thing that has disturbed me for years: an anti-male bias no better than the misogyny we wish to be rid of.

The editorial review from Amazon is well put: With a lot more restraint, if also a lot less style, than Katie Roiphe or Camille Paglia, Patai argues that the proliferation of sexual harassment lawsuits, particularly in academia, is bad for feminism. She blames feminist ideologues for creating a repressive--and sexually repressed--atmosphere in universities, and she forcefully documents cases in which faculty members (both men and women, though mostly men) have had their reputations and careers ruined by false allegations, frivolous complaints and opportunistic charges. Patai, a professor of women's studies and comparative literature at U. Mass-Amherst, calls herself a "still-avowed feminist" who rejects the presupposition of a rigidly patriarchal world in which men are innately predatory while women are inherently virtuous and potential victims. She criticizes the "sexual harassment industry" comprised of campus administrators, radical feminists and "post-trauma" therapists who continue to expand the definition of sexual harassment and habitually disregard due process. Not surprisingly, she singles out Catharine MacKinnon, Andrea Dworkin and Mary Daly as "notorious heterophobes," slamming their "pathological aversion to men...and antipathy to heterosexuality." While her basic arguments--that women are not protected but infantilized by such zeal and that we neither can nor should try to expunge sexuality from the fabric of everyday life--have been articulated by others, Patai brings common sense and muscular reason to the task. Though focused on academia, her outspoken study should be required reading for the workplace.

I'll try to properly review both these books once I finish them.
Tags: books, feminism, fic recs, reading, real life, review, vampires

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