Books Reviews

The Radical Housewife

I usually read a book on a ‘serious’ subject and one on a ‘not-so-serious’ subject at the same time. It helps balance the intense emotions and thoughts that I have from the former with the hilarity and frivolity of the latter.

In the past two days, though, I read just ‘The Radical Housewife’ by Shannon Drury and nothing else. I was thoroughly entertained by the way Shannon discusses feminism and what it means to be a feminist, stay-at-home mum (SAHM).
The book shows how Shannon began to view feminism in connection with her everyday life after she became a mother. The Radical Housewife describes her life as a wife, a mother and a liberal feminist. It contains material from her website and her column in the Minnesota Women’s Press.

I have heard many views on feminism because of my social work and journalism background. However, Shannon’s take on it is fresh and interesting. Or, if this is the norm now, it could be that I am no longer in touch with what has been happening recently.
The book made me think. It made me laugh (which I consider a huge plus in favour of the book). While I do not agree with everything that she says, I loved some of the things she said about rights and choices:

A cursory understanding of the modern women’s movement might boil down to one word: CHOICE. The choice to wear pants. The choice to cast a vote. The choice to enroll at Princeton or enlist in the Army. The choice to enter the workforce. The choice to use contraception. The choice to terminate a pregnancy. I’ll share what I want: the removal of this word from the feminist vocabulary.
It’s no longer useful in advancing women’s rights in the 21st century, for its message has been cleverly diluted,
if not co-opted, by those who oppose feminism’s goals….
… I suggest that women quit claiming that exercising our civil rights under the law is a matter of personal choice.  When the Nineteenth Amendment was adopted, suffragists didn’t say they won the CHOICE to vote, though casting a ballot each November is not required by law and fifty percent of eligible voters choose not to do it.
Rights belong to all—choices belong to a few….
… Rights assume differences, while choice implies similarity….
… Choices assume personal responsibility for every aspect of our lives, while rights assume that not everything will turn out as planned….

I also loved some of the things her son Elliott is quoted as having said:

    “Is Princess Leia the ONLY GIRL in the entire UNIVERSE?! Where are the rest of them?” (when he watched Star Wars for the first time.)
    “I think that bullying is just wrong,” he said. “Two moms, two dads, who cares? It doesn’t matter!” (at a public forum “discussing the implementation of Welcoming Schools, a comprehensive guide providing lessons and resources for teachers to address: family diversity, gender stereotyping, and bullying/name calling.)

Nowadays I do not recommend books to anyone. (Been there, done that, have the scars to prove it!) So I can only hope that others read this book and enjoy it as much as I did.
Note: This book was given freely to me by the publishers, Medusa’s Muse Press, Ukiah, CA., in exchange for an honest review. I thank them for that.

2 replies on “The Radical Housewife”

I read The Radical Housewife and really enjoyed it! It is smart and filled with good humor. I actually agree with Drury a lot of the time and find it interesting that although we start from different perspectives we seem to end up in the same place. Thanks for \”suggesting\” this book.


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