Sunny's bookshelf
Sunny's bookshelf photo by Judy Solomon

Online book reviews since 2011, the very best in reviewing – connecting good readers with equally good writers

Why I Am Not a Feminist

Sign up to receive our latest reviews by email


Like veteran news anchorman Howard Beale in the 1976 film Network, Jessa Crispin is “mad as hell,” and she’s “not going to take it anymore!”

Her beef is with how the tenets of feminism have been watered down to the point of innocuousness. In an effort to market the female liberation movement to a more universal base, she claims that like breakfast cereal, it has lost its snap, crackle, and pop.

Revolution has been traded for palatability,

Instead of rebranding feminism as a movement based on fairness and community and exchange, Crispin says it has been dumbed down to become as “banal, as non-threatening and ineffective as possible.”

“Are you a feminist?” she asks. “Do you believe women are human beings and that they deserve to be treated as such? That women deserve all the same rights and liberties bestowed upon men? If so, then you are a feminist . . . or so the feminists keep insisting.”

Instead, she advocates that her “feminism is not one of incremental change that is revealed in the end to be The Same As Ever, But More So. It is a cleansing fire…. The only task that is worth doing is fully dismantling and replacing that system.”

This 150-page book is a fast, snappy read. Sentences are short and punchy, a style that suits the book’s overriding tone of outrage

Take the chapter Men Are Not The Problem.

“You as a man are not my problem. It is not my job to make feminism easy or understandable to you. It is not my job to teach you how to deal with women being human beings. And don’t take that shit to other women either. It’s not their job.”

My beef with Crispin is that she does unto others what she claims others have done unto the women’s movement. She dismisses the Suffragette Movement, Betty Friedan, and Gloria Steinem as “white feminists” interested mainly in “self-empowerment” as an outgrowth of consciousness raising.

It would be easy for me as an early president of San Diego NOW who cut my teeth on white feminism to give this manifesto short-shrift on that basis alone, as well as her diatribes about marriage, beauty, and romantic love.

But to Crispin’s credit, her worldview, and the work we should all be doing to make that world sensational is worth deep thinking and reinvigorated activism.

Says Crispin, “Many of the ideas that were floated as potential goals for second wave feminism (like universal childcare and better schools) never found traction with the movement at large, because once you reached a certain level of money, fame or other commodities, it would be more personally advantageous for you to fight for your own needs rather than contribute to a system that offered fairness for all.”

Crispin’s incendiary call-to-arms about what we should all be doing now to reform and inspire can change the world.

Why I Am Not A Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto is a great book to bring to your next conscious-raising session.   – Sheila Sobell

Also available by Sheila Sobell:  The Doctor’s Guide to Diabetes and Your Child (with Allan E. Sosin); Smart Guide to Sports Medicine.

2 Responses

Add your thoughts and comments...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this Review

Related Reviews

Billy Blaster and the Robot Army from Outer Space

Billy Blaster

BILLY BLASTER AND THE ROBOT ARMY FROM OUTER SPACE – not necessarily a graphic novel only for the younger reader. No matter how old you

Read More »

The God of  Endings

Jacqueline Hollands’s debut novel, The God of  Endings, reveals the loneliness of the life of an unwilling vampire. Jacqueline Holland’s debut novel, The God of Endings, follows

Read More »

About the Reviewer

Sign up for reviews by email

You’ll get email updates from Bookin’ with Sunny when we add a new review or blog post, and we never share your email with anyone else.

Shopping in-store Fun!

Support your local community’s economic growth by shopping for books at your independent bookstore in person, online at their website, or by phone.