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Fire with Fire: New Female Power and How It Will Change the Twenty-First Century

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In her bestselling book The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf sought to change the way in which women see themselves in relation to their bodies. Now she focuses on how they see themselves in relation to power. She argues that the feminist movement has to change if it is to speak to a new generation of women, and that, even as women are gaining more ground than ever before, a warines In her bestselling book The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf sought to change the way in which women see themselves in relation to their bodies. Now she focuses on how they see themselves in relation to power. She argues that the feminist movement has to change if it is to speak to a new generation of women, and that, even as women are gaining more ground than ever before, a wariness of feminist orthodoxies keeps them away from the only movement capable of putting political clout behind their personal success. The book represents a call to women to throw off centuries of conditioning about the relationship between power and femininity.


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In her bestselling book The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf sought to change the way in which women see themselves in relation to their bodies. Now she focuses on how they see themselves in relation to power. She argues that the feminist movement has to change if it is to speak to a new generation of women, and that, even as women are gaining more ground than ever before, a warines In her bestselling book The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf sought to change the way in which women see themselves in relation to their bodies. Now she focuses on how they see themselves in relation to power. She argues that the feminist movement has to change if it is to speak to a new generation of women, and that, even as women are gaining more ground than ever before, a wariness of feminist orthodoxies keeps them away from the only movement capable of putting political clout behind their personal success. The book represents a call to women to throw off centuries of conditioning about the relationship between power and femininity.

30 review for Fire with Fire: New Female Power and How It Will Change the Twenty-First Century

  1. 5 out of 5

    Britta Böhler

    Re-read this after almost 25 years just to see how much of what Wolf predicted didn't happen... Re-read this after almost 25 years just to see how much of what Wolf predicted didn't happen...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Virtuella

    This book is excellent and I recommend it to everybody. Wolf analyzes in a clear, differentiated and personally honest manner the double standards and intellectual dishonesty of a particular branch of feminism - that which cast women in the roles of eternal, saintly victims and declares men to be "the enemy" - and how this "victim feminism" has damaged and still damages the struggle for women's rights. She makes it clear that women do not have to proove that they are somehow better than men in o This book is excellent and I recommend it to everybody. Wolf analyzes in a clear, differentiated and personally honest manner the double standards and intellectual dishonesty of a particular branch of feminism - that which cast women in the roles of eternal, saintly victims and declares men to be "the enemy" - and how this "victim feminism" has damaged and still damages the struggle for women's rights. She makes it clear that women do not have to proove that they are somehow better than men in order to claim their fair share of the world - we are entitled to it simply because we are human beings. The passages about acknowledging men's full humanity as well as women's and about embracing a positive concept of female sexuality are particularly inspiring. If I have a problem with the book it is the way power and money are presented as the primary solution. I love to see sucessful women and I cheer them on where I can, and I completely agree with Wolf that women can and should aspire to positions of power and wealth. However, it remains a fact of life that serious power and wealth can only ever be acquired by a few. The majority of women (like the majority of men) will remain ordinary citizens with moderate financial means. I'd like Wolf to explain more clearly what her vision for this majority is.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    Reading this more than 10 years after publication , the issues of North American feminism from that time do not seem so compelling in the face of greater problems today such as the prevalence of recreational rape and rape as a weapon of war and the massive growth in human trafficking.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aseel

    First half of the book was going to be a 5... and then it went downhill. What I liked about Wolf’s feminism was the focus on getting females into politics and grabbing power (she called it power feminism). The idea that we deserve recognition, rewards, money, choice to be sexual or not, etc because we are humans not because we are females is really important and I loved it. What I didn’t like was her concept of ‘victim feminism’. At first I understood the distinction between it and power feminis First half of the book was going to be a 5... and then it went downhill. What I liked about Wolf’s feminism was the focus on getting females into politics and grabbing power (she called it power feminism). The idea that we deserve recognition, rewards, money, choice to be sexual or not, etc because we are humans not because we are females is really important and I loved it. What I didn’t like was her concept of ‘victim feminism’. At first I understood the distinction between it and power feminism (victim feminism is the idea that woman are just so good and kind and we should give them rights because they are angels and we shall be nice to get our rights from people who took them away for us in the first place). But then she started victim blaming. Yup. Pissed me off intensely. Firstly, the idea that in a domestic violence situation, females should get themselves out of it when in reality society and the perpetrator has ripped them apart psychologically that they can’t fight back because they believe they deserve this criminally treatment. Next Wolf writes that men should understand no but it’s also up to the females job to ACTUALLY SAY NO. Yup, she said that. Not taking into consideration that no one is ever taught bodily autonomy and we should accept anything that others do to us as fine. I seriously see red reading that. She also talks about how females are getting more guns in America to protect themselves, therefore, we can’t be victims in rape or physical assault because we can ‘protect ourselves and should’... like more violence is the answer (also sounds so much like trump when he says if more people had guns, mass shootings wouldn’t occur..) Lastly, her statistics are all from the US, UK and Australia. And her future suggestions are definitely targeted to middle/upper class, western females. No intersectionality at all. She did mention that she was talking about females who have the choice like those in western countries but she doesn’t try to explain or help the other 2/3 of the worlds population. And believe me, there are impressive political statistics from Asian/middle east countries. On the whole, an interesting read but quite disappointed because I loved the beauty myth.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeweleye

    I read this book quite a few years ago, and it changed the way I thought about feminism. So much of what was written previous to Fire With Fire was about how women have been victimized. Naomi Wolf turned that attitude on its head with a powerful paradigm shift: As long as we think of ourselves as victims, we remain powerless.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cep Subhan KM

    The book has been translated as "Gegar Gender: Kekuasaan Perempuan Menjelang Abad 21" by Omi Intan Naomi and published by Pustaka Semesta Press in 1999. Naomi Wolf is my favorite contemporary feminist figure and so I enjoy reading it just like when I read her other books. The most interesting part of the book I think is part three, "Victim Feminism versus Power Feminism", in which she criticizes " Victim Feminism" who seeks power through an identity of powerlessness (for instance, in Indonesia w The book has been translated as "Gegar Gender: Kekuasaan Perempuan Menjelang Abad 21" by Omi Intan Naomi and published by Pustaka Semesta Press in 1999. Naomi Wolf is my favorite contemporary feminist figure and so I enjoy reading it just like when I read her other books. The most interesting part of the book I think is part three, "Victim Feminism versus Power Feminism", in which she criticizes " Victim Feminism" who seeks power through an identity of powerlessness (for instance, in Indonesia we found a common case when female got problem with male in the street, even if the female is wrong, people will be on her side as long as she shows her powerlessness, for example by crying). It is a kind of self-criticism and I like it because a thinker without an ability to self-criticizing her/himself is not a good thinker I think: we are human and there is nothing called as perfect human.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Luanne Coachman

    Fire with Fire provides an excellent reminder that what we think we know about women and how they differ from men is based on adaptations imposed by thousands of years of patriarchy. It stands for the proposition that the differences we see are not innate and that true feminism supports the freedom of each individual to discover and express their true selves.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Yuki Schofield

    A great read for anyone raising a girl, I feel like this book would serve parents better than many ‘parenting ‘ books out there. The author really unpacks the ways boys and girls are socialized so differently in regards to leadership, competition, power and team work, and how this plays out thought adult life.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris Metro

    Although not one of Wolf's more popular books (written in 1993, her follow-up to The Beauty Myth), it is to date my favourite book on feminism. Wolf disseminates and contrasts two schools of modern feminist thinking patterns: victim feminism and power feminism. The differences can be subtle or stark, and Wolf lists copious examples of each. Unsurprisingly, she favours power feminism. There is one sentence that can summarize the trajectory of the entire book: "It is time to turn outward in a fair Although not one of Wolf's more popular books (written in 1993, her follow-up to The Beauty Myth), it is to date my favourite book on feminism. Wolf disseminates and contrasts two schools of modern feminist thinking patterns: victim feminism and power feminism. The differences can be subtle or stark, and Wolf lists copious examples of each. Unsurprisingly, she favours power feminism. There is one sentence that can summarize the trajectory of the entire book: "It is time to turn outward in a fair and goal-oriented way, time to trade preaching to the converted for negotiating with the opposition from a position of strength". As I read Fire with Fire, I kept thinking how much today's radical feminists need to read it, specifically the ones that use angry, hyper-politicized messaging (victim feminism). Wolf is controversial and often polarizing amongst feminists though, and many of her arguments in this book would not be well-received by young feminists in 2015. An example: "The other side of the feminist demand for men to learn to listen should be the feminist responsibility for women to learn to speak." I suspect some feminists would not want any additional burden placed on themselves to be strong and brave. It's men that need to acquiesce, they might say. Nevertheless, Wolf offers a helpful and useless analysis (for men too!). My favourite theme in the book is Wolf's argument that women need to embrace the market and that the feminist left needs to get over its "reflexive anti-capitalism". Wolf is a liberal (and writes that capitalism is inherently exploitative -- which I disagree with), so I especially appreciate her opening up here. Again, some 2015 feminists will not be comfortable with this, but Wolf offers some good ideas on how feminists and women can embrace commerce to do good and to set ethical terms doing business. In one of her more recent speeches (about The End of America I think), she said "money is neutral -- it's energy". I agree, and money can be used for social change. My personal brand of feminism is a more libertarian feminism (as opposed to big government feminism), so I would like to see 2015 feminists embracing the dollar more (Independent Women's Forum is a good example of this). As I have learned from animal activism, making progress sometimes entails what feels like "sleeping with the enemy". The books is more than 20 years old now, but it is as relevant now, if not more than it was in 1993. Some things have changed since then, but some things really haven't. "Power feminism moves mountains with astonishing ease, even as victim feminism spins its wheels over the same manicured ground."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ritu Anand

    I enjoy Naomi Wolf's writing. It took me awhile to get through this book mainly because the writing is serious. Though this book was written in the 90s, the content is still extremely relevant. Naomi Wolf deconstructs the feminist movement into the concept of victim feminism versus the concept of power feminism. She discusses women's relationships with one another and with power and how the 90s sparked a movement among women when Anita Hill spoke out about sexual harassment and Clarence Thomas. I enjoy Naomi Wolf's writing. It took me awhile to get through this book mainly because the writing is serious. Though this book was written in the 90s, the content is still extremely relevant. Naomi Wolf deconstructs the feminist movement into the concept of victim feminism versus the concept of power feminism. She discusses women's relationships with one another and with power and how the 90s sparked a movement among women when Anita Hill spoke out about sexual harassment and Clarence Thomas. This book caused me to re-think how I have (successfully) related to other women and if that is because I have mastered the art of "connection" which women are encouraged to focus on instead of healthy competition. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in feminism.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ratna Herlina

    Power Feminism by Naomi Wolf is explained that women have to share their pleasure and strength of femaleness rather than share their pain. They also have to be equal to men in term of many sectors, such as ambition, independent, they also have to express theirselves without any under pressure. They have to set themselve free. They have to have good opportunities as well as men. They can be feminine and they still can be feminist too. Femininity is good and fun. Femininity is positive and empower Power Feminism by Naomi Wolf is explained that women have to share their pleasure and strength of femaleness rather than share their pain. They also have to be equal to men in term of many sectors, such as ambition, independent, they also have to express theirselves without any under pressure. They have to set themselve free. They have to have good opportunities as well as men. They can be feminine and they still can be feminist too. Femininity is good and fun. Femininity is positive and empowering

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nurliah

    Membaca tulisan naomi wolf seakan menghadirkan lagi kesan mendalam terhadap kepiawaiannya mengartikulasikan gagasan. Wolf patut mendptkan tempat tersendiri dlm wacana feminisme,bkn sj karena ia tak risih dan canggung menyandang predikat feminis tetapi jg krn upayax mengikis apa yg ia sebut sbg feminis phobia. Wolf berkeyakinan bhw tdk ada yg salah n tdk ada cacatx mjd feminis dan tdk perlu melakukan pengingkaran2 hy agar selamay dr tudingan masyarakat. Menghindar tdk akan menolong pihak lain unt Membaca tulisan naomi wolf seakan menghadirkan lagi kesan mendalam terhadap kepiawaiannya mengartikulasikan gagasan. Wolf patut mendptkan tempat tersendiri dlm wacana feminisme,bkn sj karena ia tak risih dan canggung menyandang predikat feminis tetapi jg krn upayax mengikis apa yg ia sebut sbg feminis phobia. Wolf berkeyakinan bhw tdk ada yg salah n tdk ada cacatx mjd feminis dan tdk perlu melakukan pengingkaran2 hy agar selamay dr tudingan masyarakat. Menghindar tdk akan menolong pihak lain untuk menerima feminisme secara wajar.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Noelle

    After being so inspired by the Beauty Myth I anxiously awaited Naomi Wolf's next book and this was disappointed. I saw her interviewed for this book tour and found a disconnect between what she was saying she wanted to achieve with this book and what I read. The gist is we need to jettison the victim mentality and claim our power. I am all for that, but did not find anything in the book that resonated with that message After being so inspired by the Beauty Myth I anxiously awaited Naomi Wolf's next book and this was disappointed. I saw her interviewed for this book tour and found a disconnect between what she was saying she wanted to achieve with this book and what I read. The gist is we need to jettison the victim mentality and claim our power. I am all for that, but did not find anything in the book that resonated with that message

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sian

    I found this book very helpful in understanding the history of feminism and its complexities, broadly from the 70s into the 90s. Wolf explains the issues that men and women have with feminism in an accessible way, and also tackles a lot of the questions and impasses that feminists are met with. She also provides a thorough explanation of victim and power feminism.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Buku ini saya baca awal awal masa kuliah. Sangat recomended buat yang sedang mempelajari feminisme. Buat para feminis ini buku yang wajib dibaca. terlepas dari ideologgi Wolf dan pandangannya ttg feminisme. Menurut saya ini buku yang dapat menceritakan fakta dan issue kewanitaan dengan lugas, extraordinary dan bener bener membuka mata kita.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fishface

    Excellent book that explains how women could run America in a few years if they wanted to make the effort. So good I always want to tell everyone on the bus to shut up, right now, and listen to this page I'm reading. Excellent book that explains how women could run America in a few years if they wanted to make the effort. So good I always want to tell everyone on the bus to shut up, right now, and listen to this page I'm reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    My first feminist book. I loved that she doesn't rant or have angry overtones. Her comments and perspective are supported with facts, newspaper articles and specific examples, leaving the readers to draw their own conclusions. My first feminist book. I loved that she doesn't rant or have angry overtones. Her comments and perspective are supported with facts, newspaper articles and specific examples, leaving the readers to draw their own conclusions.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    The premise of this book is very promising; the execution doesn't follow as well. It is a hopeful book, but the writing feels rushed and not nearly as well edited as I would have thought, given The Beauty Myth. The premise of this book is very promising; the execution doesn't follow as well. It is a hopeful book, but the writing feels rushed and not nearly as well edited as I would have thought, given The Beauty Myth.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Velvetink

    bought for daughter

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I'm reading this book as part of the Dangerous Reading Challenge http://dangerouslychallenge.blogspot.... I'm reading this book as part of the Dangerous Reading Challenge http://dangerouslychallenge.blogspot....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pera

    Gegar Gender, terjemah Indonesianya... buku tebal ini terpaksa kubaca demi syarat mengikuti training LKK. isinya...cenderung emosional.tapi cukup menarik kok...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Fortune

    It's one of those books that your feminist self wants to love, but I just didn't find it to be that well written. It's one of those books that your feminist self wants to love, but I just didn't find it to be that well written.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    When I read it I thought more highly of it. In retrospect, Wolf has been not very helpful to the work of feminism for some time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Westerfield

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tara

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heather Weber

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily Crow

  28. 4 out of 5

    Terry

  29. 4 out of 5

    Martha E.Chaves

  30. 4 out of 5

    A.Z. Zehava

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