The Female Thing

Laura Kipnis is not afraid of telling you what it is like to be a woman. In fact all of her books concentrate on the dilemmas of being a feminist in western modern times. Her latest book, The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability points out how ridiculous the female position is with great panache. For our ease, Kipnis has divided the book into four clearly defined areas that she works her way through: dirt (housekeeping), sex (the ‘orgasm gap’ and the failure of the sexual revolution), envy (the self-help industry and consumerism) and vulnerability (the fear of rape and physical harm from men).

Kipnis writes with great humour and her anecdotal evidence is often laugh-out-loud material. However with each point she also calls on social commentators throughout history who have defined the world we live in. This is not always complimentary. In the style of others before her - Greer, Friedan, or even Wollstonecraft - she finishes with a call to duty: ‘A full accounting of the female situation at the moment would need to start roughly here,’ she writes. Well?

Chris Gordon is Events Coordinator at Readings