On books, dedications, and moms

Hey y’all. So Huffington Post decided to excerpt a part of Full Frontal Feminism as part of their iVillage/Fearless Voices Mother-Daughter campaign. So if you want a sneak peak at the book, and an explanation of my cryptic dedication (To Miss Magoo), click here.
UPDATE: A savvy reader made a very good point about Amazon. If folks who have read the book want to leave a review…it would be super helpful. Thanks!

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  1. LindsayPW
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I loved Full Frontal Feminism so much I managed to read it in one sitting. I haven’t been able to do that in a long time, but I loved it so much I just couldn’t put it down.
    Jessica, I heart you. You are the best.

  2. LindsayPW
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Oh, not to mention, when I was little I was always told my nose was too big and that it made me ugly. That was always such a downer when I was young, but now I love my shnozz.

  3. Jessica
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Note to readers, I just erased a comment from Feminist Review which linked to her less-than-favorable review of Full Frontal Feminism. If ya’ll want to find it, go for it. But I don’t see why someone who comes here solely to plug their own shit and bash on Feministing should be given a forum. And I can’t help but wonder if the nasty review is a bit personal. Or hey, maybe it just sucks, what do I know. ;)

  4. sojourner
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Your mom sounds so cool!

  5. Jessica
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    She is–super cool!

  6. Posted April 27, 2007 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t come in to solely plug my blog, Jessica. I interact with other bloggers and respond to postings by the Feministing writers on an almost daily basis.

  7. Posted April 27, 2007 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    That’s a pretty harsh review, FR. It’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it, but I can see why Jessica wouldn’t be thrilled to have you posting on her blog, right now, especially on a post where she’s plugging the book that you tore apart at the very top of the page your name links to.

  8. Jessica
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure you do, FR, but I just find your plugging style a bit tacky and out of line. I’m happy to have your voice in comments, but I’d ask that you be respectful of the site.

  9. Posted April 27, 2007 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Jessica, I know I’ve been critical of your book, but it’s not necessary for you to create reasons for you to attack me personally. You’ve just accused me twice of things that I have not done: 1) posting solely for self-promotion and 2) not respecting the site. Let’s not play this game, please.

  10. Jessica
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    FR, I don’t care that you’ve been critical of my book and I’m not attacking you personally. But plugging a review that calls me “bratty” and “petty” on this thread is disrespecful and tacky. And it’s not something I have any obligation to stand for.
    So please folks, let’s get this thread back on track and talk about how cool my mom is. :)

  11. EG
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Here’s to cool mothers–I just dedicated my dissertation to mine!

  12. LindsayPW
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Because I know what FR usually posts on here, I didn’t bother reading the “review”. And again, I LOVED THE BOOK!!!

  13. Mipa
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m new to feminist blogs and always appreciate opportunities to be exposed to different blogs out there. FR: I will not be reading yours. I don’t have any particular allegiance to Jessica but from your comments, FR, I can see that you have a personal agenda here that I think is just absolutely ridiculous and petty. I like Lindsay’s review (above) and I am going to go out and buy the book today.

  14. Posted April 27, 2007 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I can honestly tell you, Mipa, that I have no personal agenda against Jessica. In fact, I admire her a great deal for her work, not only on Feministing, but also on other projects.

  15. Posted April 27, 2007 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I have no personal beef or past negative run-ins with Jessica – and I agree with most of what FM’s review had to say.
    I think its too bad that the review can’t be looked at in a critical way, and talked about instead of simply shot down – FM is certainly not the only person who thinks the things she’s written about Jessica’s book so I think it’s a worthy peice to talk about…
    Jessica I think it would be worth while for you to get some elaboration on some of the points for future reference and to help improve some of what you do.
    Although I respect all the women on this blog, and this it is a great way for a lot of different feminists to communicate with one another – I don’t think it should be a place of alienation of people who say a few mean things about the book. As a feminist community it should be discussed instead of dismissed.

  16. Posted April 27, 2007 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Go Jessica! I just got my copy last night and I’m going to read it on my plane trip out of the city tonight.

  17. Posted April 27, 2007 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Excuse me, but why has yet another of my posts been deleted? And with no
    explanation or acknowledgement at that.
    What I wrote in response to Jessica’s last post was that this blog is
    supposed to be “a platform for us to comment, analyze and influence,”
    which is exactly what I’m doing. The review is not of “Jessica Valenti.â€?
    The review is of Full Frontal Feminism.
    I also wrote that I think your mother must be wonderful for having raised
    two amazing feminist daughters.
    Please stop removing my posts. I haven’t written anything that warrants
    having a post removed.

  18. Itazura
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Dear Jessica
    Sorry About all that bullshit criticism I threw at you. I really just wanted to see how well you defended yourself before the onslaught of conservative anti-feminism gets thrown at from the both right and (supposed) left. A lot of people who claim to be liberals will criticize you harshly. I posted a review at amazon.com about how I really feel about your book. I think it’s great, and I can’t wait till my daughter is old enough to read it.
    PS Everyone who cares about women’s issues will know your serious.

  19. Itazura
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, something about my web browser keeps screwing up your previewer. I did not mean to post my comment twice, and I meant to write:
    Dear Jessica
    Sorry About all that bullshit criticism I threw at you. I really just wanted to see how well you could defend yourself before the onslaught of conservative anti-feminism gets thrown at you from both that right and (supposed) left. A lot of people who will claim to be liberals will criticize you harshly. I posted a review at amazon.com about how I really feel about your book. I think it’s great, and I can’t wait till my daughter is old enough to read it.
    PS Everyone who cares about women’s issues will know your serious.

  20. roymacIII
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    This is seriously the weirdest series of comments I’ve ever seen on here.
    Congrats on the book.

  21. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 27, 2007 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    “In fact, I admire her a great deal for her work, not only on Feministing, but also on other projects”
    Gee, FR, that’s sure not what you seemed to say in your review, when you said some pretty insulting things about Jessica’s work on femisting.
    I haven’t read the book at this point, myself, so I can’t speak as to whether I think it’s well-done (although I now plan to read it). I do, however, think FR comes across as a bit umm (well just let me say she gave me the WTF? reaction), for the personal insults and for the blatant contradiction I mentioned above.

  22. Posted April 28, 2007 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    I just finished reading the book and really enjoyed reading it. Your energy and passion really came through in your writing.
    Great job.

  23. Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    When’s it out in the UK? I can’t wait to read it and have several friends I wanna buy it for.

  24. Jessica
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    FR, no one deleted your comment. And you’re right, this is a space for discourse–but not for shameless and tacky plugging. And I have to laugh a bit at your outrage over comments here, when you seem only to be allowing comments on your site that agree with you! Just saying.

  25. Jessica
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and sorry Katie, didn’t see your comment at first. I’m all for constructive criticism. But I didn’t find anything constructive about FR’s review–and if you honestly think I’m going to let someone promote a post that calls me bratty and egotistical on my own site, you’ve got another thing coming. I also think it’s worth noting that it turns out I know FR in “real” life (just figured that out), which explains a lot to me about the vitriolic nature of the review.

  26. Phil V.
    Posted April 28, 2007 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Anyone that reads this blog knows that it has a wide and diverse following. The reason for this is the unflagging generosity and fairness of all of the contributers.
    Anyways Jessicas mom deserves
    the attention of this thread.
    What is it that we call someone who takes a thread out of context to serve their own agenda?

  27. Posted April 28, 2007 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    1. Awesome fucking party, Jessica! That cake was sooooooo good, I wish I could have stayed longer.
    2. I reviewed the book at Amazon. I really think that if we like the book it’s important to be supportive, before the wingnut trolls start posting their own reviews.
    3.FR: Uhm, what is your problem? Your review was so snotty & unprofessional.
    You know those little numbers after the sentences in the book? If you turn to the back of the book, there’s this part called “Notes” where you can find the little numbers & the corresponding source. Easy, huh?

  28. Posted April 29, 2007 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    Jessica, there was a comment removed that I posted.
    I’m not outraged at all at the comments here. It’s your “turf” so to speak and if people weren’t defeding your book, I would find that troubling were I in your shoes.
    As for my blog, I have approved EVERY comment someone has left about the review so I’m not sure why you feel the need to insinuate otherwise. Like I said before, I get that you’re miffed at the review, but this is the third false accusation you’ve thrown at me in this thread.

  29. Charity
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    FR, I don’t know you, or Jessica, and I haven’t read Jessica’s book so I can’t speak to it specifically (although the excerpts at HuffPo and elsewhere have not seemed to lack the kind of data you decry as missing, in my reading of them). I do think your review read very much like a critique of “Jessica Valenti” rather than a critique of “Full Frontal Feminism”, and I think it’s disingenuous to claim otherwise. I mean, you call the “writer” of the book “entitled.” You use adjectives that are not typically used to describe *writing*, but ARE typically used to describe *people*. And I think it’s very tempting to say that by talking in a “cool” way to high school and college students we underestimate their intelligence, and they should instead be reading bell hooks or something. OK, maybe some of them are able to do so and take something meaningful from it, but I for one read some serious feminist authors in college and it didn’t really sink in, because i couldn’t yet identify with that depth of wisdom and suffering and the need for that level of analysis. I think there are plenty of younger women who will appreciate something *lighter* and even if it does not expose them to the full complexities of feminist theory and activism, it will get them interested in learning more.
    One of the things I love about Feministing is the community of commentors here, who are blunt about their life experiences and often do have divergent opinions. I love to get my snark on with misogynist-in-feminist-clothing trolls, and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone else that guilty pleasure. But I don’t consider that contributing to some kind of cultish Jessica fan club. There are instances of genuine and thoughtful disagreement here everyday, and there is no “party line” to tow that I’m aware of, except perhaps the one that says women are the experts on their own experience, which a lot of people seem to have a serious problem with. Jessica and the other editors often post in “sound-byte” style because there is a continuous feed of issues, events, and cultural phenomena to call attention to, and that in itself is an incredibly valuable service. I learn so much here that I would otherwise be unaware of. I learn so much from other COMMENTORS with expertise in areas other than my own. The blog entries are specifically set up to provoke dialogue in the comments. I say all this to counteract your critique of Feministing’s writing as “oversimplified” and to counteract the folks in your comment section who as much as say this is a vapid and silly place run by a totalitarian dictator…and they are afraid to use their real names for fear of retribution!! Get real.
    One thing I think Jessica is very good at is tailoring her writing to the intended audience. I first found this site by way of one of her Guardian pieces – “Chastity is Chic,” which I did not find bratty, egotistical, or silly, and apparently, neither did the Guardian, which tends to have fairly high standards. In fact, having found and enjoyed that piece I checked out Feministing (I’m a bit of a latecomer to the blogosphere, obviously) and I’ll just be honest, my first reaction was to cry. I was so relieved and so touched that someone devoted their time and career to these issues, and took the enormous associated risks to do so. I was grateful, as I always am for the work of activists who are so much braver than I, to make this their life’s work so that people like me reap the benefits as we pursue other kinds of work. Through Feministing, I found Pandagon and Feministe and Twisty, and well, ’nuff said there.
    Now, reviewing others’ work is a valuable service (and hell, critical analysis is a cornerstone of feminism), and every work deserves some constructive criticism. But as I implied above, I came away from your review not feeling better informed, but rather with a bad taste in my mouth, and some doubts about your assertions (no citations? most editors would likely take issue with that before it went to press. No solutions proposed? well, that’s our perpetual problem, isn’t it, but the first goal seems to be getting the information and the motivation to the next generation of feminists, and that seems to be the book’s objective. I guess time will tell if it does truly *reach* its readers in a meaningful way, but in the meantime I see no efforts from you personally to create the kind of book or movement you call for. If I’m mistaken on that, please don’t hesitate to correct me.

  30. Jessica
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    This is the last comment I’m going to make on this thread, beacuse it’s clearly went off course. But I feel like I have to make it clear, FR, that I’m not making false “accusations.” I’ve gotten several emails from people (one of whom is a mutual acquaintance of ours) who tried to comment positive thoughts about FFF on your site and say their comments were never published.
    But again, thanks to everyone on the thread for the support. I’m all about constructive criticism–and frankly, I’m sure I’ll get plenty of it!

  31. Posted April 29, 2007 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Like I said, EVERY post has been published that has been submitted in the Full Frontal Feminism thread on Feminist Review blog has been published. These accusations are contrived and incredulous. The credibility of my work is in tact and responsibly supported so I don’t feel the need to concern myself with this kind of dubious evidence.

  32. Posted April 29, 2007 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Last comment, until my review was posted, Jessica (and Feministing) fully supported my work being critical of other feminists’ work, enough so to publish it less than two weeks ago (see Looking both ways with Jennifer Baumgardner). In order to grow as feminists, writers, activists and, indeed, human beings, it is necessary to have our work challenged. I choose growth over stagnation. I hope the rest of you do too.

  33. Ninapendamaishi
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Nothing in that story was anything like the review you posted of FFF, in tone or in substance. This is just weird, IMO

  34. Jessica
    Posted April 29, 2007 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh please, if your review of Baumgardner called her bratty, petty, egotistical, and trite I NEVER would have allowed you to post it. And since you’ve decided to out yourself, I see no reason not to say why I’m upset–and it’s not about a bad review.
    We know each other in “real” life, we work on similar projects, we have supported each other’s work. On Friday (the day of my book party and Feministing’s three year anniversary bash) you used a thread here to link to a nasty, personal, review that you wrote under a pseudonym. That same day, under your real name, you wrote an email to my sister and I expressing your excitement about the book party! It was only when we found out who “Feminist Reviewâ€? really was and confronted you on it that you started to backpedal in emails, claiming that you can call someone all sorts of names but still want to help them celebrate their success. I find this hypocritical and two-faced.
    I’m not pissed about the review—I’m sure I’ll get bad ones and good ones. I’m pissed that someone who is claiming all sorts of moral high ground here about reviewing and feminist criticism would be so deceitful as to pretend to be excited about my book launch as a friend, but then try to start a flamewar and use Feministing (which you find so bratty) to promote your agenda.
    Seriously, you know this isn’t about the review itself—it’s personal! What you did was fucking wack, and you’re only trying to spin this as being about feminist criticism and “having our work challenged� because you know that many of our mutual acquaintances and friends are going to find the whole thing pretty unsavory.
    Ugh. Sorry, folks, that a snippet of my real life had to be hashed out in such a nasty way here. I’m deading the comments here because we’ve gotten way off topic.
    On another note, I just wanted to let folks know that I’m going to have an open thread next week about the book where I’ll be on hand to answer questions, concerns and criticisms about FFF. Thanks!

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