Friday, June 29, 2007

What I've been reading

Three weeks ago I checked three books out from the library. On the surface, they couldn't have been more different. One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding chronicles the enormously profitable bridal industry, Infidel is the memoir of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who finds success and political clout in the Netherlands, and in The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much?, journalist Leslie Bennetts argues that working women who give up their careers for their families are sacrificing their financial and emotional independence.

Yet all three of these new releases share a rather empowering feminist message, a warning against letting women quietly slip into the roles expected of them by society--be it the princess model of the bridal industry, the patriarchal expectations of a tribal society or the right-wing fueled sanctimommy madness of today's culture of extreme parenting.

If you've already tied the knot, you can probably skip One Perfect Day (although it's an interesting read). Infidel offers a rivetingly critical glimpse of Islam from within and The Feminine Mistake is a must read for any woman. Leslie Bennetts has caused a lot of controversy--particularly among women who haven't actually read the book--but her work is well-researched. Her words are comforting to those of us who've felt guilty about being working moms and her advice to women who are taking time off from their careers is solid.