[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]
I have always been a feminist. I was born thinking, speaking, and demanding my rightful place in the world. As a native Texan, I’ve certainly met many girls and women who don’t identify as feminists, and many who don’t believe in equality. Some of my friends are discovering the anti-female and anti-feminist sentiments in this country, but even they don’t easily identify as feminists. After years derision by the male power structure and the religion industry, the word is loaded with negative associations.
When I first started blogging, I was part of a trio who started a left-thinking teen blog, and my biggest complaint about my two male co-founders was their inclination to assume that they, as boys, had the right to make some of the major decisions without me. That was the first time I’d knowingly faced gender discrimination from my peers, but it hasn’t been the last.
What matters to young women? Are we feminists? What do we care about? How are these things different in different areas of the country? These are the issues addressed by 26-year-old Nona Willis Aronowitz and her childhood friend, Emma Bee Bernstein in their new paperback Girldrive. The two authors drove across the country and interviewed 200 young women, along with some of the mothers of their interviewees, and the mothers of Second and Third Wave Feminism.
They asked the subjects of their interviews about feminism, about their lives and experiences, about their futures and about their families. The book includes captivating photographs of all of the women and all of the cities and towns they traveled to, but the stories and characterizations of the women themselves are the most fascinating. Many of the minority women compare their status as women with their status as minorities, examining the struggles of several movements and often seeking to combine those struggles.
The interviews also incorporate opinions and experiences related to religion, education, parenting, teen pregnancy, gender identity, abortion, homosexuality, housework, the cost of college, class issues, sex, body image, music, incarceration, military culture, feminism in academia, and the role of men in feminism. The descriptions on all of these subjects are fascinating.
For me, the best part of reading this book has been the conversations it has ignited between me and my friends and between me and the family I’ve been staying with for the last year and a half. Nona, you’ve converted another one — a 12 year old girl who is also staying with my host family is now a confirmed feminist!
Please help me welcome Nona.