In Praise of Difficult Women

Book - 1998
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No one better understands the desire to be bad than Elizabeth Wurtzel. Bitchis a brilliant tract on the history of manipulative female behavior.  By looking at women who derive their power from their sexuality, Wurtzel offers a trenchant cultural critique of contemporary gender relations.  Beginning with Delilah, the first woman to supposedly bring a great man down (latter-day Delilahs include Yoko Ono, Pam Smart, Bess Myerson), Wurtzel finds many biblical counterparts to the men and women in today's headlines. In five brilliant extended essays, she links the lives of women as demanding and disparate as Amy Fisher, Hillary Clinton, Margaux Hemingway, and Nicole Brown Simpson.  Wurtzel gives voice to those women whose lives have been misunderstood, who have been dismissed for their beauty, their madness, their youth. She finds in the story of Amy Fisher the tragic plight of all Lolitas, our thirst for their brief and intense flame.  She connects Hemingway's tragic suicide to those of Sylvia Plath, Edie Sedgwick, and Marilyn Monroe, women whose beauty was an end, ultimately, in itself.  Wurtzel, writing about the wife/mistress dichotomy, explains how some women are anointed as wife material, while others are relegated to the role of mistress.  She takes to task the double standard imposed on women, the cultural insistence on goodness and society's complete obsession with badness: what's a girl to do?  Let's face it, if women were any real threat to male power, "Gennifer Flowers would be sitting behind the desk of the Oval Office," writes Wurtzel, "and Bill Clinton would be a lounge singer in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock." Bitchtells a tale both celebratory and cautionary as Wurtzel catalogs some of the most infamous women in history, defending their outsize desires, describing their exquisite loneliness, championing their take-no-prisoners approach to life and to love.  Whether writing about Courtney Love, Sally Hemings, Bathsheba, Kimba Wood, Sharon Stone, Princess Di--or waxing eloquent on the hideous success ofThe Rules,the evil that isThe Bridges of Madison County,the twisted logic ofYou'll Never Make Love in This Town Again--Wurtzel is back with a bitchography that cuts to the core.  In prose both blistering and brilliant,Bitchis a treatise on the nature of desperate sexual manipulation and a triumph of pussy power.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 1998
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385484008
Characteristics: 434 p. ; 25 cm


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PrimaGigi Oct 09, 2011

Ah the ramblings of a 20-something never get old. I wanted to like this book and stand behind the bitchiness of it. I kinda of outgrew the cattiness within this book into a more refined, subtler, feminist bitch.

It was interesting reading about the apparent downfall of stars who know have great comeback careers and are hotter then they were in their youth. Wurtzel name-checks Portman, Barrymore and shields. Barrymore and Shields we all know led tumulus lives. One of them even had Tom Cruise snap at them for not being crazy. Portman was apparently added on to this list to use that her over the counter date was might be-up soon. That her career as an ingenue was going to fade away as she got older. Which is hilarious once you think about all the smart moves made by Ms. Portman, she's still incredible beautiful and a risk taker with her career. going to college and now recently winning an oscar.

Not all actress that made movies as children or teens are bound for the chopping block. Now we expect our youth to be commodified before their due-dates. They are making millions of dollars (with the exception of a few whom are losing it. Oh Lilo, I am still rooting for you) these kids are suave and smart. Trying to forge their own way and stamp their names on everything like the boys.

Speaking of which... I only picked up this book for the reference of Amy Fisher. Poor, little, Amy Fisher. Whom was recently on Celebrity Rehab, the last thing she needed was to be on that show. What she truly needed was some real help and not more money and hype for "Dr." Drew. It's heartbreaking for me, because the trauma of Joey and the scars he left on her are still visible. I'm supposed to perceive her as a young girl trapped in a man's game. I can see that to a point. Only to a point.

Amy is a child that didn't have proper guidance and was left to her own devices. Something should have ticked off in her young head that was being feed to her and how she was being treated was degrading. Or maybe it didn't, maybe the attention from men was a heady thing. They made her feel like an adult, like she was finally being respected and someone saw her. Yet looking at her now on Celebrity Rehab I wonder how much of her was stunted because of that man and the media. How she won't take responsibility for her own actions is beyond me.

I'm sorry for Amy Fisher, I'm sorry for Mary Jo. Both of these women stood behind this man rather then simply each leaving him in the past. As he should be, left alone to die.

I would also like to point out, it took too long for Elizabeth to reach her point. She throw a lot of filler in, and then eventual wandered back to her first point in her narrative. Was slowed up the book and made it quite boring.

I'm also a big fan of Courtney Love's persona, But jesus praising her for not having healthy relationships is damaging to herself and to her daughter. Yes, I love that Love is so ballsy. No, I don't love her for all the relapses and unstable things that she does.

Aug 18, 2010

This book needs editing, or perhaps the aujthor needs to switch to decaf. Cascades of fifteen-word sentences that. in the end, say very little.


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May 07, 2011

Strong willed woman in male dominated society


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