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When Katie Roiphe arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1986, she found that the feminism she had been raised to believe in had been radically transformed. The women's movement, which had once signaled such strength and courage, now seemed lodged in a foundation of weakness and fear. At Harvard, and later as a graduate student at Princeton, Roiphe saw a thoroughly new phenomen When Katie Roiphe arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1986, she found that the feminism she had been raised to believe in had been radically transformed. The women's movement, which had once signaled such strength and courage, now seemed lodged in a foundation of weakness and fear. At Harvard, and later as a graduate student at Princeton, Roiphe saw a thoroughly new phenomenon taking shape on campus: the emergence of a culture captivated by victimization, and of a new bedroom politics in the university, cloaked in outdated assumptions about the way men and women experience sex. Men were the silencers and women the silenced, and if anyone thought differently no one was saying so. Twenty-four-year-old Katie Roiphe is the first of her generation to speak out publicly against the intolerant turn the women's movement has taken, and in The Morning After she casts a critical eye on what she calls the mating rituals of a rape-sensitive community. From Take Back the Night marches (which Roiphe terms "march as therapy",and "rhapsodies of self-affirmation") to rape-crisis feminists and the growing campus concern with sexual harassment, Roiphe shows us a generation of women whose values are strikingly similar to those their mothers and grandmothers fought so hard to escape from - a generation yearning for regulation, fearful of its sexuality, and animated by a nostalgia for days of greater social control. At once a fierce excoriation of establishment feminism and a passionate call to our best instincts, The Morning After sounds a necessary alarm and entreats women of all ages to take stock of where they came from and where they want to go.


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When Katie Roiphe arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1986, she found that the feminism she had been raised to believe in had been radically transformed. The women's movement, which had once signaled such strength and courage, now seemed lodged in a foundation of weakness and fear. At Harvard, and later as a graduate student at Princeton, Roiphe saw a thoroughly new phenomen When Katie Roiphe arrived at Harvard in the fall of 1986, she found that the feminism she had been raised to believe in had been radically transformed. The women's movement, which had once signaled such strength and courage, now seemed lodged in a foundation of weakness and fear. At Harvard, and later as a graduate student at Princeton, Roiphe saw a thoroughly new phenomenon taking shape on campus: the emergence of a culture captivated by victimization, and of a new bedroom politics in the university, cloaked in outdated assumptions about the way men and women experience sex. Men were the silencers and women the silenced, and if anyone thought differently no one was saying so. Twenty-four-year-old Katie Roiphe is the first of her generation to speak out publicly against the intolerant turn the women's movement has taken, and in The Morning After she casts a critical eye on what she calls the mating rituals of a rape-sensitive community. From Take Back the Night marches (which Roiphe terms "march as therapy",and "rhapsodies of self-affirmation") to rape-crisis feminists and the growing campus concern with sexual harassment, Roiphe shows us a generation of women whose values are strikingly similar to those their mothers and grandmothers fought so hard to escape from - a generation yearning for regulation, fearful of its sexuality, and animated by a nostalgia for days of greater social control. At once a fierce excoriation of establishment feminism and a passionate call to our best instincts, The Morning After sounds a necessary alarm and entreats women of all ages to take stock of where they came from and where they want to go.

30 review for The Morning After: Sex, Fear, and Feminism

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    So, I knew some things about this book going in. I knew its author had written it when she was in her early twenties and that it was published when she was 25. I knew the book’s basic thesis was that most women who say they’ve been raped by someone they know (as opposed to the stranger-jumping-out-of-the-bushes-with-a-knife scenario) are either lying about or misinterpreting their experiences, and their “speaking out” about these (misrepresented) experiences (at Take Back the Night marches, or a So, I knew some things about this book going in. I knew its author had written it when she was in her early twenties and that it was published when she was 25. I knew the book’s basic thesis was that most women who say they’ve been raped by someone they know (as opposed to the stranger-jumping-out-of-the-bushes-with-a-knife scenario) are either lying about or misinterpreting their experiences, and their “speaking out” about these (misrepresented) experiences (at Take Back the Night marches, or anywhere else, really) leads to an “atmosphere of fear” on campuses, where women don’t feel safe walking alone at night, and men become afraid to have sex with anyone without getting their express consent first (poor men!). I knew Roiphe didn’t have a lot of evidence to support her points. I knew that her own publisher had felt that the book was reprehensible, but that it would get a lot of attention. I knew that, for all the attention the book did get, it actually hadn’t sold that many copies, and I knew that in the intervening years Katie Roiphe hadn’t become any kind of go-to authority on campus rape—or on anything else, for that matter. How mad could I really get about a book that didn’t have much of an impact on anything, I wondered. I decided, going into this, that instead of being disgusted, I was going to try to be amused. What I didn’t know was exactly how poorly this book was going to be argued. I mean, sure, she offers no documentation of any kind to support anything she says (well, she offers a little, but I already knew it had been handily taken down by Katha Pollitt in her New Yorker review of the book). But it wasn’t just that—the book is illogical and contradicts itself over and over. It accuses so-called “rape crisis feminists” of hyperbole but is insanely hyperbolic itself. Roiphe quotes writers she disagrees with and then restates their arguments, but it’s perfectly clear, just from the brief quotes themselves, that she’s misconstruing these writers. I read this with pen in hand, prepared to call out anything disingenuous, but I didn’t expect the book to be as covered with marginalia as it quickly became. A sampling: “Illogical,” “Hyperbolic,” “Contradictory,” “Weak,” “I don’t buy it,” “What?”, “Please,” “WTF,” “JFC,” “Shut up,” “You’re a mean bitch.” The book also reads like a senior thesis or a long editorial for the campus newspaper—in other words, the writing’s not very good. As others have pointed out, Roiphe wrote this from a position of privilege: She grew up in a wealthy, intellectual New York family, went to a fancy private school, then to Harvard, then to Princeton for grad school, which was where she wrote this book. She clearly feels that her experiences on Ivy League campuses are applicable everywhere—at religious colleges, for example; at small private or state colleges in conservative parts of the country; at urban campuses; rural campuses; at campuses with big athletic programs. If you want to get hammered while reading this (probably a good idea), just take a drink every time she says “at Princeton,” “at Harvard,” or “at Wesleyan” (one of her sisters must have gone to Wesleyan). She never questions her own assumptions or the limits of her own experiences; she never brings up privilege except in service of this point: “Who else besides these well-dressed, well-fed, well-groomed [Princeton] students would expect the right to safety and march for it?” Uh … what? Roiphe also shows a lack of compassion for others that’s practically pathological. She thinks most women who say they’ve been date-raped are lying, yes, but she also criticizes the women who she believes really have been raped, saying the way they talk about their experiences (feeling “violated” or “defiled,” for instance) “frames those experiences in archaic, sexist terms.” Hard to believe rape victims don’t spend more time worrying about whether their own feelings are archaic and sexist, isn’t it? (No.) In a completely misguided chapter, Roiphe attempts to show that campuses have become like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (with Roiphe as Alice, of course) in their bizarre focus on all things postmodern, deconstructionist, poststructuralist, feminist, and multicultural. (This was an easier argument to make in the 1990s, but of course, the way things were at Harvard and Princeton doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the way they were at most colleges.) How does Roiphe make her argument? By describing some of her fellow students—feminists who wear thrift-store clothes, for example, even though they come from wealthy families. Feminists who wear extremely stylish clothes, who I guess spend too much time on their appearance to really be feminist? (Not clear.) A feminist who shows a lot of ambition regarding finding a good job after graduation. (?) Poor, misguided male feminists. The clear intent here is to show how ridiculous these people are, but what I saw was a group of young people trying to figure things out, like most of us did in college. Roiphe’s sense of superiority is almost unbearable. She often depicts herself arguing with these people, or bringing up contrary points in class, and the clear implication is that she is a lone voice in the wilderness, crying out for reason and being shouted down at every turn. Of course, this didn’t stop her from going on to Princeton after she graduated from Harvard, so it couldn't have been that bad. The main conclusion I reached from this chapter is that Roiphe is mean, petty, and has a well-developed superiority complex, and it’s from these qualities that this book arises. I bought this book back in the early 1990s, when it first came out. I don’t really know why I bought it, except that I was a women’s studies minor in college and thought I should be keeping up with current arguments. But again, I knew what the book was about, and that made me reluctant to take it off the shelf and dive in. I’m glad I waited until now to read it—back then the book would have completely enraged me, but I might not have been able to see through her shoddy arguments so handily. Now, seeing through her arguments was easy, and although the book made me angry, I wasn’t quite as worked up as I would’ve been at 22 (good thing, too, because my blood pressure isn’t quite what it was back then either). Like I said, I now know this book didn’t really change anything. I’m pretty surprised by the positive reviews on Goodreads—don’t people recognize poor arguments when they see them? This book makes many claims, but in the end it proves nothing. 3/27/15: This book was much, much worse than I was expecting, and that's really saying something because I was expecting it to be totally awful. A TL;DR review is forthcoming.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    It's not that Roiphe has a contrarian opinion about rape. It's that her arguments are weak, supported mostly by conjecture and anecdote, and not very well conveyed. This book is just infuriating in its laziness. It's not that Roiphe has a contrarian opinion about rape. It's that her arguments are weak, supported mostly by conjecture and anecdote, and not very well conveyed. This book is just infuriating in its laziness.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    Katie Roiphe clearly makes a lot of people really angry, and I can certainly understand how survivors of sexual assault might find this book hard to read, or even somewhat offensive. However, I appreciate the way in which she examines some of the sacred cows of the modern women's movement, and considers whether or not everything being done on college campuses in the name of protecting young women is really 100% positive. There were certainly things I reacted to with a bit of a "well, that's easy Katie Roiphe clearly makes a lot of people really angry, and I can certainly understand how survivors of sexual assault might find this book hard to read, or even somewhat offensive. However, I appreciate the way in which she examines some of the sacred cows of the modern women's movement, and considers whether or not everything being done on college campuses in the name of protecting young women is really 100% positive. There were certainly things I reacted to with a bit of a "well, that's easy for you to say" response, but I think it's important for feminists to turn a critical eye on ourselves from time to time, and there were times when I found her very articulately expressing things that had always made me vaguely uncomfortable about the way conversations about women's rights and safety play out on college campuses.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    some my GR friends might remember why i return to this book every july 4th, this review is for those who do not: after making the argument that rape-crisis feminists claim real rape, like real sex, is as much about violence as it is sex, she says this about a teenager charged with rape by his young lover, "the two sides differed on what happened that night. it's hard to define anything that happens in that strange, libidinous province of adolescence, but this court upheld that she was raped. if some my GR friends might remember why i return to this book every july 4th, this review is for those who do not: after making the argument that rape-crisis feminists claim real rape, like real sex, is as much about violence as it is sex, she says this about a teenager charged with rape by his young lover, "the two sides differed on what happened that night. it's hard to define anything that happens in that strange, libidinous province of adolescence, but this court upheld that she was raped. if the defendant had been an adult, he could have gone to jail for up to 10 yrs." is it just me or does anyone else feel like kicking her in the shins? and what exactly is a rape-crisis feminist...someone who answers the rape crisis center hotline? her notion that women began to speak up about sexual assault to control sexual male dominance is not just ridiculous, it's dangerous. she further gags the voice of women who -- while experiencing and discovering their sexual identity the first time -- are drugged, overpowered, taken advantage of, and forced to endure a lifetime of shame for one minute of poor judgement. after, they're told they should have known/expected 'boys will be boys'. or at least that's what she seemed to be saying. and what of the sexual assaults that occur between complete strangers. was my skirt too short, my hair too pretty? my experience with rapists and victims is multifaceted. one teen rapist - a frail looking AA all of 5'6" - used to break into a victims apartment for up to 2 straight weeks before the attack, getting her to slowly acclimatize to his musky scent. he did this by living in the space - eating, masturbating, using the restroom - helping him to build the confidence and anticipation necessary to seize his prey....exclusively from under the bed (yes, he hid there before every one of the 22 attacks he was charged with) at knife point. i know b/c i was his therapist. i was told NEVER to turn my back to him, ever. maybe he could tell i was a feminist too. so, in the decade since she first clouded a rape victims right to report the most intimate of violent crimes, i can't help but wonder if her own sexual evolution has changed her perceptions. i hope for her sake and ours, it has.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    I read this book a few years ago, I think 2003, and it really stood out from everything I had read or heard about Feminism. I don't know how well it would hold up today, but I like Roiphe's methodically and careful approach to the subjects, generally all taboo. She discusses sex, rape, gender relations, safety policies, and Feminist theory and ideology. I'm not surprised this book has received a lot of negative attention. I didn't have the sense that Roiphe at all apologized or justified rape in I read this book a few years ago, I think 2003, and it really stood out from everything I had read or heard about Feminism. I don't know how well it would hold up today, but I like Roiphe's methodically and careful approach to the subjects, generally all taboo. She discusses sex, rape, gender relations, safety policies, and Feminist theory and ideology. I'm not surprised this book has received a lot of negative attention. I didn't have the sense that Roiphe at all apologized or justified rape in any way in the book. She criticizes Take Back The Night and the now common university Blue Light system, and she does so by thoroughly explaining her position, not by angry blind attacks. I don't remember whether she targeted anyone specifically in the book, but she criticizes the contemporary Feminist Movement (at the time of publication, 1993) as working against its own goals and acting contrary to the Feminist ideals and values of her mother's and grandmother's generations; essentially she holds contemporary Feminism to be concerned with restricting dialogue and branding subjects (such as rape or sex in general) as taboo and restricting sexual freedom; she argues that previous generations strove to increase sexual freedom and to make taboo subjects open to discussion. Notably, she argues that today survivors have a "monopoly" on dialogue and no one else's opinion is considered relevant or worthy of consideration. It's pretty clear why her position creates a lot of heat. Her purpose for writing the book was to open up dialogue on (what she considers) a more and more closed subject. I don't know enough to advocate for or against any of the specific ideas or policies she brings up (such as the usefulness and the consequences of the Blue Light system), but I strongly agree that this has become a touchier subject in recent years with less and less room for (and tolerance of) controversial opinions. Roiphe makes a noble effort at least to put these topics back on the table. Well written, well organized, non-technical, easy to read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    The title of this book makes it seem far scarier than it actually is - I couldn't put it down! It is a fascinating take on the current (although it was written in 1993, it is still pertinent) feminist movements taking place on elite college campuses. Roiphe discusses Take Back the Night, the rape "crisis," safe sex, and feminine and masculine social roles in this deeply insightful and wonderfully written book. Agree or disagree with Roiphe, she provides a fresh, bold, and necessary perspective o The title of this book makes it seem far scarier than it actually is - I couldn't put it down! It is a fascinating take on the current (although it was written in 1993, it is still pertinent) feminist movements taking place on elite college campuses. Roiphe discusses Take Back the Night, the rape "crisis," safe sex, and feminine and masculine social roles in this deeply insightful and wonderfully written book. Agree or disagree with Roiphe, she provides a fresh, bold, and necessary perspective on feminist ideology.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pants

    Katie Roiphe is a rape apologist. She gets a kick out of blaming the victim. “The line between fact and fiction is a delicate one when it comes to survivor stories ... It’s impossible to tell how many of these stories are authentic, faithful accounts of what actually happened. They all sound tinny, staged.” (pp. 42) “Have you ever had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs? ... A man may give a woman drugs, but she herself decides to take them.” (pp. 53) Katie Roiphe is a rape apologist. She gets a kick out of blaming the victim. “The line between fact and fiction is a delicate one when it comes to survivor stories ... It’s impossible to tell how many of these stories are authentic, faithful accounts of what actually happened. They all sound tinny, staged.” (pp. 42) “Have you ever had sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to because a man gave you alcohol or drugs? ... A man may give a woman drugs, but she herself decides to take them.” (pp. 53) “Being a victim of sexual harassment is a way to get attention, a way to get the final word. In teaching children to recognize sexual harassment, we are training them in victimhood.” (pp. 163) This was required reading for a sociology course. The professor was an old creep that loved to talk about his past girlfriends. (“Just wet your finger with saliva and put it in her anus when she’s distracted!”) He also expressed how important it is for the victim to remain silent. (“You will ruin a man’s life by accusing him of rape!”) Roiphe’s drivel came as no surprise.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    Roiphe presents the viewpoint that feminism should exclusively promote the empowerment of women, and also neglect the rape, aggression, and brutality associated with legitimate feminist concerns. I found her premise completely absurd and offensive to everything related to the promotion of equality in the sexes. This author discredits activities like "Take Back the Night," (arguing that raped women embellish and promote an atmosphere of fear), and also asserts that campus awareness of rape is ofte Roiphe presents the viewpoint that feminism should exclusively promote the empowerment of women, and also neglect the rape, aggression, and brutality associated with legitimate feminist concerns. I found her premise completely absurd and offensive to everything related to the promotion of equality in the sexes. This author discredits activities like "Take Back the Night," (arguing that raped women embellish and promote an atmosphere of fear), and also asserts that campus awareness of rape is often subjective and dishonest. Overall, I'd say Roiphe responded exactly like any individual embracing the backlash movement concerning feminism in the early 90s. She discredits legitimate concerns and asserts herself as an authority on feminist values. Basically, her work is bullshit...and I'm immensely disappointed in her portrayal of campus feminism and action. Shame on you, Roiphe.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Deb Waterhouse-watson

    While Roiphe does make some valid points - for example, it's true that suggesting that all women should assume that all men are rapists is not particularly helpful - however, there are substantial blindspots in her arguments. She implies that date rape either doesn't happen, or isn't really bad, as if having a penis or other object forced into you against your will would somehow be better if you'd seen the face attached to it before. She also seems so taken with showing feminists how wrong they While Roiphe does make some valid points - for example, it's true that suggesting that all women should assume that all men are rapists is not particularly helpful - however, there are substantial blindspots in her arguments. She implies that date rape either doesn't happen, or isn't really bad, as if having a penis or other object forced into you against your will would somehow be better if you'd seen the face attached to it before. She also seems so taken with showing feminists how wrong they are to publicise issues like date rape and sexual harassment that she's entirely missed the fact that the problem with their approach is that they're targeting the (potential) victims! This was a tendency of early rape theorising and consciousness-raising, because these women saw the problem as so monolithic. She's also completely reliant on anecdotes, and select quotes from (usually) the most radical early 70s feminist theorists, or quotes that just aren't representative of an author's work and are taken out of context. Despite her denials, it is a polemic work, from someone who clearly has no experience of sexual violence, and can't conceive of it as anything beyond an 'armed stranger jumping from the bushes', to quote Susan Estrich.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Khat

    Reading as a feminist in 2014, this book is a nice peek at feminism's past. Reading as a feminist in 2014, this book is a nice peek at feminism's past.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    A self-identified feminist blames feminism for failings in modern society. Yeah, of course, rape is a problem caused by feminism. Gack. When will those feminists stop raping themselves?

  12. 4 out of 5

    S.

    Embracing patriarchy and being a real gender traitor will never get you into the power-tripping white boys club. Joke's on you, misogynist. Embracing patriarchy and being a real gender traitor will never get you into the power-tripping white boys club. Joke's on you, misogynist.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    Well, she does have some good points about how some people narrowly define feminism. I do think feminism should be able to debate topics. However, honestly, if you are going to say rape statstics are wrong or inflated, you need to offer more proof than it doesn't seem to happen at the two colleges I went to. You know, rape rarely happened (if ever) at the college I went to, of course it was all women college (and even then a classmate was killed by her live in boyfriend less than year after grad Well, she does have some good points about how some people narrowly define feminism. I do think feminism should be able to debate topics. However, honestly, if you are going to say rape statstics are wrong or inflated, you need to offer more proof than it doesn't seem to happen at the two colleges I went to. You know, rape rarely happened (if ever) at the college I went to, of course it was all women college (and even then a classmate was killed by her live in boyfriend less than year after graduation). (Plus, Roiphe tells a story of a friend saying she was raped, doesn't this prove the stat?) And why is it okay for a complete stranger to touch a woman's boob or for a male friend to refuse to leave her room? Camille Paglia is on the somewhat same wave length and is far less insulting. Still, feminists should read this.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This book was vile, an attempt to turn rape into a matter of mutual responsibility between the rapist and the victim. I'm a feminist, but open-minded. I don't mind opposing opinions, but this book disgusted me. I can only speculate that Roiphe has never been victimized herself and/or she has an unfortunately large amount of self-hatred. I don't know whether to feel contempt or pity for her. This book was vile, an attempt to turn rape into a matter of mutual responsibility between the rapist and the victim. I'm a feminist, but open-minded. I don't mind opposing opinions, but this book disgusted me. I can only speculate that Roiphe has never been victimized herself and/or she has an unfortunately large amount of self-hatred. I don't know whether to feel contempt or pity for her.

  15. 4 out of 5

    G. Branden

    The front matter proudly boasts of positive reviews from George F. Will and the National Review. It takes great mental fortitude to not interpret that as a counter-recommendation.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I have a feeling that this book will make me considerably pissed off, but hopefully it'll be interesting at the same time. I have a feeling that this book will make me considerably pissed off, but hopefully it'll be interesting at the same time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    In short: readable, but awful. A master's class in victim-blaming. Slight, silly, snotty, judgemental, and dismissive. The worst book I've read in 2009. In short: readable, but awful. A master's class in victim-blaming. Slight, silly, snotty, judgemental, and dismissive. The worst book I've read in 2009.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Pre-Read Thoughts: I read an excerpt from this book last year in one of my classes as an English major and from that excerpt I was appalled at the blatant victim-blaming and lack of empathy for Roiphe's fellow woman. Our class had an entire heated discussion about it in which I heard echoed support for Roiphe's stance--something that horrified and shocked me to my core, as my class was comprised of 80% women--and found my voice to be the only voice questioning this mentality. I grant that perhap Pre-Read Thoughts: I read an excerpt from this book last year in one of my classes as an English major and from that excerpt I was appalled at the blatant victim-blaming and lack of empathy for Roiphe's fellow woman. Our class had an entire heated discussion about it in which I heard echoed support for Roiphe's stance--something that horrified and shocked me to my core, as my class was comprised of 80% women--and found my voice to be the only voice questioning this mentality. I grant that perhaps the excerpt was taken out of context, and that is why I'm willing to read the entire book to formulate my thoughts on it. I also want to remind myself in advance that Roiphe wrote this in the beginning of her career and perhaps her thoughts have changed since then. Lastly, I want to leave two notes for myself when I revisit this review section after reading the book. Letter from Rape Victim of Ex-Stanford Swimmer to Rapist My thoughts from six months ago: "My issue with Katie Roiphe's excerpt and her stance that rape victims shouldn't use the word 'victim' to describe themselves is that it implies that rape victims are not allowed to be not good right now in order to get better later. Like they're not allowed to fully feel their loss of agency, of control, of the ability to gatekeep who touches their body--when, how, how much, where, etc. Like they're not allowed to feel pain, to feel wronged, to feel vulnerable and broken. A person should be allowed to have those moments, to be able to claim that part of their identity--because it is part of their identity now, not the entirety of it, but a part nonetheless--instead of having people who claim to be fellow feminists tell them they shouldn't be 'weak' by claiming that piece of their identity or that by showing vulnerability they are weak. Crying and allowing people to see your vulnerability does not mean you are weak. Rape victims should be allowed to speak, to grieve, and not have other voices drown them out with invalidation. They should be heard. Any supposed feminist agenda that denies them that isn't a feminist agenda."

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Townsend

    Roiphe's biting analysis of the feminist mindset could just as easily have been written today as 20 years ago, from the persistence of the so-called "rape culture" to the very statistics being paraded around as "evidence" of a sexual assault "epidemic". I work on a university campus and can attest to the perpetuation of this clinging to victimhood, only now it has been ingrained in young women from birth by their mothers, the young women at Roiphe's Take Back the Night rallies and Sports Illustr Roiphe's biting analysis of the feminist mindset could just as easily have been written today as 20 years ago, from the persistence of the so-called "rape culture" to the very statistics being paraded around as "evidence" of a sexual assault "epidemic". I work on a university campus and can attest to the perpetuation of this clinging to victimhood, only now it has been ingrained in young women from birth by their mothers, the young women at Roiphe's Take Back the Night rallies and Sports Illustrated protests. The self inflicted dichotomy of the victimized feminist is tragic, disappointing, and off putting. This is not the feminism I was raised to believe in. My brand of feminism - the ideal that I can do whatever I want so long as I have determination and a work ethic - is now considered the "wrong" feminism. My outlook on the world is branded as anti-feminist. While the new feminists are determined to not only be treated as equals to men, but demand to be elevated to a higher status. A status that is somehow more delicate and sacred than men. Women want it both ways and decry the patriarchy when they are denied. Women today bemoan the alleged war on women while single mindedly waging a war on men. I wish this book were required reading at our university, particularly in a time when we are bringing women - Anita Hill, Soraya Chemaly, etc. - to our campus to speak to our young women on these very topics, (from a decidedly and determinedly one sided ideological position.) My only real issue with this work is technical. The transition in topics; it really could have been smoother. It felt as though there was no real final read through to ensure that it read as a polished, finished product, rather than several essays pieced together. The section on Catharine MacKinnon was particularly irksome.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I bought this book for a dollar at a stoop sale so had no expectations. It was a quick read and an interesting take on early 90's feminism but I wasn't a big fan of how the book was structured to convey her points. Three subjects basically take up the entire book (Take Back the Night, sexual harassment and anti-porn advocate, Catherine MacKinnon) which becomes a bit wearisome. If you are wanting legitimate, social research, you will not find it here. It's more like a rant from someone who was re I bought this book for a dollar at a stoop sale so had no expectations. It was a quick read and an interesting take on early 90's feminism but I wasn't a big fan of how the book was structured to convey her points. Three subjects basically take up the entire book (Take Back the Night, sexual harassment and anti-porn advocate, Catherine MacKinnon) which becomes a bit wearisome. If you are wanting legitimate, social research, you will not find it here. It's more like a rant from someone who was recently released from the trenches of a certain type of feminism. I can appreciate this book for what it is and can relate to many of Roiphe's grad school anecdotes of classmates who knew only how to be victims and, for lack of personal tools, incited mini-revolutions as a response to all perceived injustice. I don't think Roiphe is as blame-the-victim as some other readers make her out to be. I think she's just fed up with the brand of feminism she's been exposed to and can only see the negative and shallow of that movement. In the introduction Roiphe talks about the kind of feminism she grew up with--a more fluid form of feminism based on empowerment, speaking your mind and finding and pursuing your own interests. I thought she would eventually take us back to these roots, but no such luck. I guess we can only hope for a sequel?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hubert

    Somewhat controversial text that many readers have deemed detrimental to feminism and women's rights. She's overly critical of both the practical movements (e.g. Take Back the Night on college campuses) and academic trends (e.g. feminist literary studies in the 90s), never once taking into account that many of these movements have been constructive. I agree that much of this material has constituted a type of uncritical 'groupthink,' but that in itself does not invalidate an entire body of acade Somewhat controversial text that many readers have deemed detrimental to feminism and women's rights. She's overly critical of both the practical movements (e.g. Take Back the Night on college campuses) and academic trends (e.g. feminist literary studies in the 90s), never once taking into account that many of these movements have been constructive. I agree that much of this material has constituted a type of uncritical 'groupthink,' but that in itself does not invalidate an entire body of academic work. In accepting a reality of male privilege, the author seems to submit herself to that reality and discounts the possibility of social change for the better, for everyone. Given current discourse (2015) surrounding women's rights, rape culture, etc., this book, though 20 years old, still resonates.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Willow

    Roiphe has some brilliant ideas. Ideas that forced me to redifine the ways that I think about the world. Sadly these ideas are few and far between. The vast majority of this book is composed of anectdotal evidence of her college days and her perceptions of the members of the feminist movement around her. In the proper arena this has merit, however I wanted an examination of the direction of the feminist movement in the early nineties. I got a very long complaint instead.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mely

    Victim-blaming rape apologism. Roiphe argues that date rape doesn't exist/isn't really rape/is all mixed communications, based on the "evidence" that none of her friends have told her about being raped (except for the one that did). Well, no shit. If one of my friends had Roiphe's opinions, I wouldn't tell her about being raped, either. Victim-blaming rape apologism. Roiphe argues that date rape doesn't exist/isn't really rape/is all mixed communications, based on the "evidence" that none of her friends have told her about being raped (except for the one that did). Well, no shit. If one of my friends had Roiphe's opinions, I wouldn't tell her about being raped, either.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Colelea

    I picked this up at goodwill for like 50 cents.. not worth the paper it was printed on. She goes into detail about how in her perception TAKE BACK THE NIGHT marches are a big gathering of women to make up stories and falsely accuse men of rape and sexual assault.

  25. 4 out of 5

    caitlin e.

    Katie, you're kicking around somewhere in my unsorted, unpacked mess, but I have to confess: your book made me angry, really feminist angry. I usually admire writers who strike against a hive mind, but this? Suggesting ladies who were date raped were actually guilty? Yuck. Katie, you're kicking around somewhere in my unsorted, unpacked mess, but I have to confess: your book made me angry, really feminist angry. I usually admire writers who strike against a hive mind, but this? Suggesting ladies who were date raped were actually guilty? Yuck.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marty Liccardo

    This women hates herself and all other women. This book is not worth the paper it's printed on. I use this in workshops to illustrate Internal sexism. Please don't read this. Seriously, Don't read this. This women hates herself and all other women. This book is not worth the paper it's printed on. I use this in workshops to illustrate Internal sexism. Please don't read this. Seriously, Don't read this.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katy Johnson

    read it if you like uneducated, priveleged, snivelling self-indulgence revelling in the comforts of a misogynist status-quo. i hated this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Land

    Another book that had me nodding in agreement at some points, but throwing the book at the wall at others.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    blech. pretty much a "blame the victim" approach to rape victims. blech. pretty much a "blame the victim" approach to rape victims.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Faulty research and questionable motives.

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