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Call for Book Recommendation

August 26, 2010

What one book would you recommend for a young woman who:

Will definitely read the book.

Believes people are good even when there is evidence those people are not good.


Believes people deserve a chance even though she has been fucked over by those people.

Does not stand up for herself.

Too willing to tell the truth even when that truth will hurt her.

Over analyzes.


Immature for her age.

Has never hurt anyone.

Unable to see through pretentious veneers.

Does not always tell you the whole story.

Equates her crimes to crimes that are far worse.

  1. atheistwoman permalink
    August 26, 2010 9:44 pm

    Is she merely gullible or is she autistic/Aspergers/whatever. I ask not because I have any idea how to help with a book recommendation 😦 but because that sort of information might help other people who do know.

  2. theunmarrieddaughter permalink
    August 27, 2010 12:41 am

    Well, I am not sure and am hesitant to recommend these two books, because my knowledge on complete feminist theory is decidedly lacking. Which is I can’t always give reasons why this book, or that thought, or that idea, or that commercial or show is misogynistic, other than it just is. So, I apologize for my ignorance, and I am working on putting the words behind the thought of “it’s just wrong because I as a woman says it is.”

    With that in mind, I give two books to every woman in my life, regardless of whether I think they need them or not(sadly, they always do), The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, and Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft. I know De Becker’s book has it’s critics, yet taken as a whole a lot of his thoughts resonated with me and the women who received my gift.

    Bancroft’s book delves into domestic violence and male violence against women. And while the title is offputting to me, as it seems like another one of those self-help “oh he can’t help himself so you stop being such a nag, woman and he won’t beat you so much” it is anything but. If anything it is the first book I read on domestic violence did not hint once that the woman was somehow at fault for her male partner’s behavior. If anything, I found Bancroft, especially his commentary of the stalker/abuser aspect of the play, Frankie and Johnny, to be a strong ally for the women in his book.

    Anyway, I start giving these books out to the women in my life on their 16th birthday.

  3. August 27, 2010 7:26 am

    I’d recommend one called “Behind the Burqa” – my folks gave it to me when I was 11 or so and it certainly opened my eyes.

  4. August 27, 2010 6:24 pm

    Apart from being young, and ‘has never hurt anyone’, this person sounds very much like me a few years ago. I’m going to be checking out whatever anyone recommends, and I’ll have a think about what I’d suggest. Mine would probably be fiction though – is that any good?

  5. joankelly6000 permalink
    August 27, 2010 6:44 pm

    I’m trying to think of something, Kitty, I’ll let you know. I don’t know that this would be helpful at all, but I keep thinking of “Feminism Unmodified” by Catharine MacKinnon. I think only because I was a lot like the woman you describe when I was younger, when I was at the age where I first read Feminism Unmodified, and it hit me like a ton of bricks, even though some of the language at the time was a little too academic for me (a college student, ha!) and even though it has plenty of limitations and is written by a heterosexual middle/upper middle class white woman.

    I think why it keeps popping into my head is that it was the first place I, personally, encountered such simple (but for me, profound at the time) ideas as how I wasn’t even allowed to be like, “*You?* No thanks” in response to any/all overtures by males. Something about her pointing out that I wasn’t even allowed to say no without simulaneously saying yes in some way (dress up the “no” as ego-pleasingly as possible to avoid male wrath and possible violence at rejection), it struck me then how little I had ever been allowed to own of myself. And was the start of me feeling entitled to claim more and more, regardless of whether other people were good, bad, nice, deserving, didn’t want to “hurt their feelings,” whatever. That’s the main thing I got out of that book. That, and the first clear anti-prostitution views I would ever agree with.

  6. August 27, 2010 7:12 pm

    I’m talking about a young woman who right now is in a place where she could not possibly absorb or handle direct feminist literature. She needs to see “evil” (for lack of a better word) in a general sense and not just in men and stop feeling like she has to be the one to save someone. Focusing on males as “evil” may make her shut down. It is a long process to move away from being conditioned that there is one Prince Charming and/or one soul mate out there for everyone and all anyone has to do to find him is too change and/or wish hard enough and/or see the good in everyone and/or be willing to work with the poor thing that has landed in her lap, “because there must be a reason he is in my life.”

    Fiction may help along with a self-help book. I am thinking more like a bunch of denser-superficial (that may be too light of a word) a-ha producing paragraphs. You know. The first book that unmarried daughter suggested about the fear may be helpful, especially if it has more to do with listening to your intuition as some of the Amazon reviews suggest. Except that bit about crime in general is a little too, well general, for this young woman’s case. I think I may actually go to the bookstore and read parts of that book. The thing is, I know a few books but they are drowning in religion. I hate that. Because many philosophical- religious base books are beneficial when a person needs to find a footing in life. It just so happens those books also may influence that person to head into religion, which personally I think just muddles the message. Some people really do just need a how to for life. God knows I read a lot of self-help books when I was in my 20s and they did in fact help me stop making a fool out of myself. However, I did not internalize the religious aspects of the messages. I am not sure she will be able to ignore the seduction of religion. A person needs to be able to compartmentalize in a healthy way. I’ve found it is the more mentally healthy who compartmentalize the best. In contrast to people whose compartmentalizing happens to be the problem.

    I am adding all the recommended books to a list and see if I can make a progression chart, as in a suggestion to read them all in a particular order. An order determined by how it can be read based on how much she can handled at the time (if I am still around).

  7. FemmeForever permalink
    August 27, 2010 10:02 pm

    I like this question a lot and the answer will be very useful to all of us because we all know someone like this. In fact, I still struggle with some of the items on this list. I need to know her actual age. I tend to think only a lot of life experience will ultimately cure these good traits but barring time I would say that a list of movies that deal with how women are repeatedly betrayed in spite of (or precisely because of) our goodness will get her on the path to self preservation. I’m working on it.

  8. August 27, 2010 10:22 pm

    I would recommend Marge Piercy’s novel, Woman at the Edge of Time. Just because it gives a good account of racist and woman-hating psychiatry and medicine suffered by the main character, along with a vision of a sort of society that could exist without woman-hatred. And it’s a novel where the characters draw you in, I don’t think it’s especially ‘preachy’. It doesn’t have a happy ending, though. I’m racking my brains to think of other books that have that ‘a-ha!’ factor.

  9. August 27, 2010 11:23 pm

    It is so disgusting how Mr. Harney cannot stay away from this blog. I find him to be the most deplorable person on the internet.

  10. joankelly6000 permalink
    August 28, 2010 12:55 am

    Ah, okay, needs non-direct-feminist literature. I will think about this and hopefully come up with something.

  11. August 28, 2010 3:47 am

    I really wish I could be of some help, here, Kitty, but I was just such a different case than her that I don’t feel as if any of the books that were meaningful for me would be of any use to her. I jumped right into Dworkin, wrote her off as too conservative (men are bad because of culture), and immediately began looking for something more radical. She might like The Handmaid’s Tale, but I’d be afraid she would focus too much on the complicity of the women to the exclusion of any notice of the overall male dominance. Sigh.

  12. Jennifer permalink
    August 31, 2010 7:23 am

    The Diary of Anne Frank (I actually thought you were describing Anne Frank at first. . . ).

    Plus, how fitting is it that Anne Frank writes to “Dear Kitty”?

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