F 'em! Goo Goo, Gaga, and Some Thoughts on Balls

Baumgardner, Jennifer

After a summer of subsisting on the literary equivalent of carbs (i.e., genre fiction), I started the school year off with Jeanette Wintersen then dipped close to chick flick territory, followed that with an international memoir and then feminist essay collections back-to-back. Not that I don't love my vampires and young adults, but it's satisfying to get back to spending some time in the minds of smart grown-up humans for a change. It helps that Jennifer Baumgardner is so damned likable in F'em.

I bet a lot of people have quibbles with this and that in Baumgardner's book of essays and interviews (two of the interview subjects irked me quite a bit) about feminism, from the perspective of someone who built her reputation being a young feminist and is now reaching middle age, but what I appreciate about Baumgardner is that her fierce commitment to her ideals (reproductive justice, in particular) comes with a willingness to understand the other's side's point of view. There's nuance and maturity, not to mention kindness, which I think are sorely needed in just about all activist communities.

I also admire Baumgardner for choosing to publish with Seal Press, an indie feminist imprint. As a freelance writer she might have need for the bigger payout a mainstream publisher might provide an author with four books to her credit.

btw the two Ani DiFranco interview excerpts below are not the interviews that I found irksome!


From an interview with Ani DiFranco

Also from Ani (everyone calls her Ani, right?)

Sep 21 2012