I frequently read books on feminism, race relations, and other social justice issues–so when I received a digital, advanced reading copy of Problematic: How Toxic Callout Culture is Destroying Feminism by Dianna E. Anderson, I was excited to dig in!
Problematic, which will be released September 1st, dives into the current “callout culture” within feminism and feminist critique. Even I’ve sometimes struggled with adding my thoughts in public forums–whether that is on Twitter or in personal conversations–for fear of saying the wrong thing and having to deal with the guaranteed wave criticism. Anderson eloquently describes how modern feminism is often too quick to jump to overwhelming criticism, without taking time to analyze the situation–all in the quest for perfection.
“…fellow feminists have created an environment in which it is impossible to have a nuanced discussion about cultural issues. One poorly phrased tweet, one misstep, can become a storm from which there is no recovery.” – Dianna E. Anderson
She frequently uses feminist theory to explain how this “callout culture” has maybe gone to far. I took a graduate-level feminist theory course, but am confident that anyone could easily read and understand Anderson’s work; while Anderson does mention her academic background and influence, she uses real, pop culture references, like the Minaj vs Cyrus feud, the Swift vs West feud, Girls and Lena Dunham, #GamerGate and video game world, and the ever-enthusiastic Leslie Knope, to make her arguments easy to understand, enlightening, and entertaining.
Beyond her writing style–just a quick thank you to Dianna E. Anderson; she was able to verbalize the fear that so many activists face. Activism, advocating and justice are a constant developmental journey–you never “arrive.” Everyone is always learning more about society and cultural issues, about systems of oppression and how we either support or dismantle those systems. And yet, fearing this level of unrelenting and, sometimes, life-altering criticism frequently stops people from speaking up and speaking out. Ultimately, read this book–especially if you consider yourself a feminist and frequently engage in pop culture!
Best binged with: a double shot of espresso…to get you fired up and ready to fight the good fight.
[I received a digital, advanced reading copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.]