TheNation.com suffered a near meltdown from the firestorm of comments that erupted over Deborah Copaken Kogan’s “My So-Called Post-Feminist Lit Life” [April 29]. A few samples from the hundreds of offerings:
“Amazing article. Brava.” “Brilliant and infuriating!” “I’ll be post-feminist in the post-patriarchy. Wooooooooooo!!” “After millenniums of patriarchy the world isn’t going to change in just a few decades…. Give it a couple of hundred years.” “It seems we are as post-feminist as we are post-racist.” “You have earned my respect—as a writer, a feminist, a person. This piece is fantastic and moving, and your brutal honesty deserves applause.” “It bears pointing out that anytime a woman dares to have sex and complain about sexism, it strikes the biggest nerve.” “I hope you win that ‘prestigious if controversial’ British [women’s]literary prize.” “This piece rang so many bells I’m practically deafened.” “Thank you, thank you, thank you. This. Is. Necessary.”
Some longer comments follow. —The Editors
I applaud Kogan’s courage in writing the book that came to be called Shutterbabe. Titles are stuck on books by publishers against the will of the author—it has happened to me several times. Because she is female, her book was doomed to be reduced to sexploits.
As a photographer, I’m always interested in books about photos and photographers. I recently saw a copy of Shutterbabe and didn’t even pick it up because I made a snap judgment based on my visceral reaction to the title. Now I’ll look for that book again.
I loved Shutterbabe—and so did many women I know. Yes, do start that women’s literary prize here in the United States.
This is why so many women have decided to take their writing career into their own hands and self-publish.
You don’t need The New York Times. Reviews of books, movies, restaurants are irrelevant. You can skip that part of the dying infrastructure and get directly to the people who care with your dignity intact.
This article is fraud. Well-crafted fraud that fooled me, but fraud nonetheless. It is a clever rant against people who reviewed her books negatively…. Only someone fiendishly clever could make so many people sympathize so much with the problems of an Emmy-winning, bestselling, Harvard-educated journalist from the richest country in the world. Talk about privilege.
Nation, you have really slid downhill printing the petulant complaints of a bestselling author who wishes she was a slightly more respected bestselling author. Every day I read indignant comments, articles and posts by successful, assertive, well-educated women who are kvetching that this, that or the other thing can, with absolute certainty, be attributed to the pernicious, institutional and yet somehow personally targeted sexism to which the complainer has fallen victim. Sorry, “girls,” this is just how things are. Sometimes you don’t get into the magazine. Sometimes you don’t get reviewed. Sometimes the promotion is denied you. And, male or female, if you talk about using sex as a medium of exchange, people are going to call that what it is.