Book Review: We Were Feminists Once by Andi Zeisler

Title: We Were Feminists Once

Author: Andi Zeisler

Genre: Feminism

Story: Feminism used to be rebellious. Women who kicked and clawed for the mainstream to hear them out. Now, big companies have adopted fragments of feminism to their advertising, seemingly screaming “WE HEAR YOU!” But is it all good intentions, is it to increase their bottom line, or a little bit of both?

What Worked: The story of where feminism in the marketplace began and how it has evolved into what it is now. Why women should be weary of some of the messages behind these ads – some of her writing gave me the feels! She changed my perspective on Hollywood, and some of the inequalities that still permeate throughout the movie industry. Some of her writing is powerful and convincing and non-debatable. Pieces of this book opened my eyes and heart to issues I was unfamiliar with, or had never even heard discussed. Women’s history is pretty much confined to the women’s right to vote and Roe V Wade in public school, so it was very interesting to get a more detailed account into women’s history.

What Needed Work: I had no expectations with this book, especially because I have never read a non-fiction book on feminism. What I wanted, was an apolitical account of how marketing is directed to women throughout history and how it has shaped our culture. While it didn’t disappoint, I could have done without all of the extra political add-ins and extreme feminist opinion.

Being a woman, and working in marketing, I’m obviously very interested in the two topics and how they intersect. Zeisler seemingly can’t help herself but to take advantage of the platform and bridge facts and reality with her own feminist viewpoints in an unbalanced manner. An example of this is when she crucifies Sarah Palin and Carley Fiorina for falsely claiming feminism but not balancing it with candidates from the other side who do the same thing (ahem…will Hillary Clinton please stand up: you know, the woman who doesn’t pay her female employees the same as the men she employs, the one who threw her husbands victims under the bus). Zeisler inserts these type of snippets throughout the book, which was a bit of a turn off to me.

Spelling and Grammar- I’m accustomed to reading summer stories that are published and have a few mistakes throughout. I don’t think much of it  because it’s just a story that will fade with the summer tans. But Zeisler’s book, I expect this to be around for some time. I expect little girls to read this if for nothing more than a different perspective. I expect many will read this book for an accurate historical perspective on how far we have come and where we still have left to go. There are spelling and grammar mistakes in this book though, that are inexcusable. A couple of the words do not even exist, unless there is a secret feminist dictionary I don’t know about, but none of my dictionary’s contained them. At one point, I started documenting all of the mistakes, and emailed them to the publisher – no response. Go Figure.

Overall: Leave it to women to ask the highly contentious question, “So, are you a feminist?” If I say no, does that mean I root against women? If I say yes, does that mean I need to stand behind every single sometimes senseless cause? It’s not easy being a woman, and it’s certainly not an easy question to answer. I ended the book more confused and frustrated than when I began it. Zeisler discusses the topics of many injustices that women face, with no proposed solution in sight.

Rating: 2/5

If You Wanna Read: Sold at Amazon

Follow The Author: Twitter Page

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We read to learn, to feel, to laugh, to understand others. We write to teach, express, communicate, to inspire others. I created Invisible Ink as an outlet of sorts, an area where I can organize the chaos; a place where hopefully I can be true to myself, and my readers. Writing is personal, it takes a brave and dedicated soul to formulate a piece and then share it with the world. That being said, I get just as much out of reading other's work as I do sharing mine ( I am always open to manuscript review swaps, just send me a message). Words read off a page evoke emotions. When taken out of context, or through an out of focus lens - anyone can mold the words, shifting their meaning to fit their agenda or distorted outlook. Staying true to form and myself, I won't censor my content, but I will censor my audience. Whatever lens you happen to be reading this through - I hope you enjoy!

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