Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture—and What We Can Do About It

Da Capo. 2015. 272p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780738217024. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9780738217031. SOC SCI
Harding's introduction notes that she began her book in 2012 amid the conversations that emerged after Missouri Representative Todd Akin used the phrase "legitimate rape." Three years later, says the author, "Americans are still talking seriously about rape and rape culture." Harding's book serves as a welcome addition to the conversation. In it, she doesn't mince words about the systemic oppression of women. Occassionally, the book reads a little too much like an extended blog post; albeit a meticulously documented one with references to recent groundbreaking feminist texts such as Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist. Harding's brash language might be off-putting to those without a fixed opinion on some of the topics she covers. For example, underneath the heading "First, Let's Agree on a Definition of 'False Report,' " she writes, "Just kidding! Nobody can!" While it is a valid point, the exclamatory clause doesn't invite or provoke thought so much as it reduces the concept.
VERDICT Overall, Harding writes with courage and passion that may rankle some readers—which might not be an entirely bad thing.
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