MixedThe Baffler... enslaved women are not named in Faderman’s history ... Indigenous womanhoods, too—or rather, female Indigenous people upon whom colonists inscribed \'woman\'-hood by force—feature in Faderman’s early narrative insofar as various tribes’ matriarchal customs and creation stories are described. But there are very few named Indigenous people in the text ... my sense is that she is hamstrung by an unwieldy uncertainty as to why reduction to woman is still happening, and in particular why women are (still) doing it to themselves ... Despite failing to supply a theory of why woman-ization is imposed on populations (and her fondness for 1970s lesbian separatism), Faderman on the whole does not pretend that men alone—or even white, ruling-class men alone—are responsible ... Some of the strongest sections of this history are those that expose the hypocrisy of bourgeois flappers and \'New Women\' (such as Rheta Childe Dorr) whose feminism translated into deeply classist, whorephobic Lady Bountiful-style initiatives to rescue working girls from the lure of prostitution, even as they claimed for themselves the right to sexual libertinism. Faderman has managed surprisingly well to integrate an account of this ever-present fifth column into her hugely ambitious feminist battle-epic ... the experience of reading Woman...is, ultimately, dissatisfying ... Faderman explicitly goes out of her way to undermine a movement—to abolish policing, to give no quarter to attempts to pinkwash the police—that is disproportionately spearheaded by proletarian Black trans women whose experience at the hands of the police has undergone no such transformation ... As a historian, Faderman does not question the legitimacy of the U.S. settler-colony, nor does she delve deeply into the function of its carceral apparatus. And while her approach to sexual identity...is wonderfully anti-essentialist, her social constructionism unfortunately does not extend as far as the cis/trans distinction, or, for that matter, to classes or markets ... Faderman’s gender history, while spiritedly horny, is nonetheless unabashedly homonormative, oriented toward inclusion rather than, you know, revolution.
MixedLondon Review of Books (UK)O’Meara shows more or less equal enthusiasm for girlbosses and for the proletarian and peasant women who made and sold drink ... Girly Drinks doesn’t dwell on the fact that the people who successfully campaigned to impose – and then overturn – temperance on the population of the United States were women. In her zeal to undo the erasure of feminine boozing and establish the female character of alcohol production, distribution and – ‘most importantly’ – consumption, O’Meara overcorrects ... She falls into the trap of subscribing to some of the patriarchal ideas she exposes, notably that women and alcohol, in and of themselves, spell feminist subversion. ‘Drinking women are a challenge to a patriarchal society,’ she announces. Are we? ... What begins as a study of the political economy of patriarchal enclosure, traced through the control and consumption of alcohol, becomes a succession of biographies of beverage capitalists who happen to have been female ... It’s actually easier to see the depressive, often isolated, boozing of the archetypal 1950s housewife as ‘a challenge to patriarchal society’ by virtue of its refusal of toxic positivity ... Women from the Islamic world don’t make it into Girly Drinks. I would have been interested to hear about Muslim analogues of the stories O’Meara tells about European and East Asian antiquity ... Perhaps narratives of extinction were thought incompatible with the upbeat tone required of a pop history. She nervously inserts girlpower stylings and winecracks into every third paragraph.
MixedThe BafflerQuite frequently, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Manne unequivocally names women’s misogyny, even if she only quotes privileged white women being misogynists. And she often notes the existence and validity of queer, working-class, and non-binary people. But it sometimes seems as though, through this rote inclusion, she can safely leave these complications, along with the male victims of misogyny (in its guise as antiblackness or queerphobia), out of the actual abstractions in her analysis ... . One would be forgiven for wondering if Wages Against Housework, Black feminism, queer feminism, and social reproduction theory ever actually happened. Manne’s world, in order to be as wonderfully clear as it is, is eerily shorn, not only of intrafeminist conflict, but of references to actual feminist efforts and campaigns ... To be sure, Manne is doing analytic and moral philosophy, not feminist theorizing ... But the absence of historicity in Entitled robs it of momentum, and of the imaginative resources required to know, in your gut, that another world is possible ... What is most conspicuously missing, ironically enough, is a pledge to teach her daughter about white women’s foundational role in perpetuating patriarchy, and a corresponding resolution to teach her not to enact, well, misogyny ... It is fair to say, I think, that this particular author evinces no real critique of the bakery, or pie-markets. In the end—even leaving aside the anti-utopianism—my personal dissatisfaction with Entitled probably stems from the fact that Manne, by her own admission, is \'not a marcher.\'