Book Review – Think Like a Feminist: The Philosophy Behind the Revolution
There’s something strange about feminism.
After all, it’s impossible to think of any 20th century social movement that was as successful or influential. There isn’t a single rational human living today who hasn’t been influenced by its core concepts, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone capable of reasonable discussion who doesn’t agree with its underlying principles. In terms of impact alone, it stands supreme among the achievements of human thought. And yet feminism retains its power to ignite controversy and generate heated reactions.
In “Think Like a Feminist,” UMass Lowell associate professor of philosophy Carol Hay brings the reader on a caffeinated tour through the history of feminist thought, and points at its future. Hay handles the topic deftly, and with humor. She has a philosopher’s knack for inverting assumptions, and along the way exposes the layers and nuances of ideas and terms that have been oversimplified in the public discourse.
While it’s an easy read, that doesn’t make it any less unsettling. Given how feminist thinking has evolved into our current century, I was left with an impression of a movement faced with a daunting series of tasks: from seeking economic justice and fixing a situation in which women remain the targets of aggression to overcoming the class and racial biases of its own adherents. The path ahead appears frustratingly complex, but rather than ending the book on a note of despair, Hay addresses small but useful steps we can take to go beyond the realm of ideas and achieve real-world results.
Think Like a Feminist: The Philosophy Behind the Revolution
By Carol Hay
W. W. Norton & Co.