Book Review - Click: Moments When We Knew We Were Feminists

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

As part of my Well Women duties for next year, I am duty-bound to read a book from our library - you can imagine how giddy I was to receive this assignment. It's like summer reading, but revamped to suit my feminist and inspirational needs. In keeping with these themes, the first of two books that I chose to read was Click: Moments When We Knew We Were Feminists, which is edited by Courtney Martin (of Barnard and Feministing) and J. Sullivan.

This book was a really great collection of essays from a varied group of women (and one man) about their forays into feminism and all the different and convoluted routes to getting there. I went into this book as I was leaving Barnard and read a majority of it on the plane to Seattle. It was addicting.

For one, when I think of amazing people who are voicing their opinions about a particular topic, I think of them as representative of their movement. For some reason, it never occurred to me that they might have a progression that brought them into the fold, as it were. There aren't as many conversion tales told in feminism, let alone third wave feminism. Perhaps because it intersects with so many other social distinctions - class, race, disability, age, etc. - it allowed me to see how people really turn to caring deeply about their identity.

The second greatest bit of this book is the diversity it presents; I must admit, I held my breath to see some Asian (both East and South) voices available and was pleasantly surprised as I got towards the end of the book. There were also many black voices and a Latina voice, but aside from race there are other distinctions that I often don't see represented. I was particularly engrossed by the story "I Was a Secret Rich Girl" because it is not a perspective I have often encountered.

I felt a bit amazed - and also a bit put out - by the fact that many of the stories were about women who had feminist family members, especially mothers. It was amazing to hear that they had been fostered in those senses from the beginning. However, for me, those voices were not the most relatable. Instead, the story of Jordan Berg Powers, the one man (who shares my first name, coincidentally) whose mother did feminist things but did not claim the feminist label, was the most accessible to me. I feel like my own father fell into that class of people for the longest time - until I informed him that yes, feminists could also be men.

I think that it could be a great resource to show people how they themselves can attach to feminism - it's a lonely venture when you're first figuring out your values in this confusing world. I also feel inspired to write my own feminist click moment after reading this book.

Thus, the books I have read so far this summer have been 2/2 in terms of positive feedback and learning opportunities. Let's hope that continues!

 If you are interested in more posts like this, check out my other book reviews, articles on women, and pieces on feminist topics.