Outside Reading — Girlhood edition

The Downside of Raising a Feminist by Jessica Valenti

Jessica Valenti writes for her own Substack newsletter, All in Her Head, about watching her tween daughter navigating the treacherous terrain of school environments filled with offhand misogyny and adrenalized boy acting out the anxieties of their pending pubescence with repugnant performances of toxic masculinity. By acquainting her offspring with societal injustices and the duty to speak out against them, Valenti concedes she’s also introduced her to the burden of smothering responsibility. It’s a poignant piece, tinged with exhausted fury.

Grossed Out by Molly Young

With customary clever humor and a talent for deploying perfect side details, Molly Young writes this consideration of disgust. Young knows how to use unexpected metaphors and zingy turns of phrase. The topic lets her run that imagination a little wilder than usual, and yet she somehow manages to keep it all reasonable tasteful. She is writing for the Gray Lady after all: this article is published by The New York Times.

The Right to Sex: Feminism in the Twenty-First Century (2021) by Amia Srinivasan

The current Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford, Amia Srinivasan comes at modern feminism and associated sexual politics from the perspective of a philosopher. Whether considering professors canoodling with students, so-called incels, or the general predatory behavior women have to face all the time (All. The. Time.), Srinivasan weighs every side of argument before putting forth any sort of conclusion and sometimes dispenses with the idea of a conclusion altogether. The essays are dependably fascinating, even as the density of information can be a test, especially for anyone out of the habit of academic reading. I found it incredibly fulfilling to sort through Srinivasan’s wall of ideas.

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