Think Like a Feminist: The Philosophy Behind the Revolution

Norton. Sept. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781324003090. $25.95. SOC SCI
Hay (philosophy, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell) offers a useful primer on the state of feminism in the MeToo era, delineating the history of feminism’s various “waves,” and how they led to where we are today. The author applies a series of metaphors to break down the levels of oppression that women contend with, and her chapters on gender and sex as social constructions are straightforward and instructive. She also discusses the controversial sect of TERFS (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) and argues that “the future of the feminist movement is one that includes trans women.” Hay acknowledges that feminism is as varied as the women who subscribe to it, all of whom have vastly different experiences with regard to race, class, sexuality, and ability. However, that women are disadvantaged in a man’s world, and the belief that this reality can and should be changed, remains a core, unifying tenet. Many feminist texts render themselves inaccessible to lay readers; in seeking to avoid this, Hay can sometimes come across as awkwardly chatty, with gratuitous asides. Any primer runs the risk of being reductionist, which Hay occasionally is, but it doesn’t undermine the book’s overall effectiveness.
VERDICT Recommended for all readers, especially those new to feminism.

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