The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear ... and Why

Book - 2016
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"From Mary Wollstonecraft--who, for decades after her death, was more famous for her illegitimate child and suicide attempts than for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman--to Charlotte Brontë, Billie Holiday, Sylvia Plath, and even Hillary Clinton, [this book] dissects a centuries-old phenomenon and asks what it means now, in a time when we have unprecedented access to celebrities and civilians alike, and when women are pushing harder than ever against the boundaries of what it means to 'behave'"
Publisher: Brooklyn : Melville House, [2016]
ISBN: 9781612195636
Branch Call Number: 305.4097 DOYLE
Characteristics: xx, 297 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

A funny, smart, and well-researched examination of the treatment of women, throughout history, who are most famous for their transgressions.

In this smart, eye-opening, and funny book, we are asked to consider why it is so easy—even cathartic--to deride and denigrate female failure and suffering, especially when those females dared to be famous.

From the critics

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Oct 02, 2018

Thought experiment: What do you picture when you hear the term "trainwreck"? Is it woman? Possibly a celebrity known by one name? Sady Doyle's book rides the zeitgeist of post-Trump (Although this came out before the election.) female empowerment and anger. Doyle brings a feminist's sharp critical skills and righteous anger to pop culture icons/trainwrecks like Britney, Amy, Courtney, and Whitney. She approaches them with empathy, something the media rarely does, instead reveling in their downward spirals and yet still finding time to scold them. Her writing is a bit sloppy, but here case studies are compelling, both funny and insightful. She also brings in more respectable feminist icons like Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Bronte, and a forgotten French Revolution. Doyle founded the blog Teen Beatdown. Also see "You Play the Girl," "Shrill," "Sex Object," and "We Were Feminists Once."

KateHillier Jul 09, 2017

his book is ferocious and I will definitely not look at Britney Spears or Miley Cyrus or Whitney Houston the same way again. Sady Doyle meticulously goes through the idea of the "trainwreck" - a famous woman who has somehow fallen out of favour and spiraled out of control. Control, in this instance, being society's expectations or demands of her. From Britney, to Charlotte Bronte, to Anna Nicole Smith, to Billie Holiday, to Hillary Clinton, this book makes you confront exactly what misogyny has done to culture and how entertaining and thrilling women find another woman's transgressions. If you don't leave this book hating yourself a little bit, you're probably not reading closely enough.

The final nail in the coffin here is the reminder that it's not just celebrities that are living in the public eye now. We all are and we may think we're safe and 'doing the right things' but you never know what barreling down the track.


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