The Feminist Utopia Project Overview
The Feminist Utopia Project, edited by Alexandra Brodsky and Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, begins with a short but powerful declaration: “We want more.” In the fifty-seven pieces that follow, feminists present their views on the components of a feminist utopia. These views are expressed through art, poetry, photos, interviews, short fictional stories, and personal narratives spanning a variety of feminist-interest topics. One writer imagines a future where girls are coached in family planning from puberty and abortion restrictions are archaic. Another piece imagines how humans of the future will look back on the early 21st-century issues of “rape” and “consent” with incredulity because the concept of people having sex with each other without them both wanting to have sex is unfathomable. While some writers imagined a feminist utopia, others analyzed the issues humanity must overcome in order to reach a feminist utopia. Others imagine specific facets of a feminist utopia, such as justice systems, education reform, workplace reform, and medical practice. The feminism presented in this anthology is inclusive, with many pieces focusing on how sexism affects women of color, transgender women, and men. Each piece explores something “we want more” of, whether it’s more paid parental leave or more freedom to move freely through the world without the constant nagging feeling that we will be victims of gender-based violence.
This book, being an anthology, contains a little something for everyone, as long as you’re not a bitter, ill-informed meninist, I guess. There are fifty-seven unique works by fifty-seven different people. I enjoyed some of the pieces more than others, depending on each author’s voice. I really enjoyed the fictional imaginings of utopian futures where feminism isn’t a dirty word, it’s common sense. The pieces that centered on economics were a bit dry in my opinion, and I’m sure others would find it fascinating to consider a more feminist take on medical care but it just wasn’t stimulating enough for me. That’s not to say I disagreed with the authors’ messages, I just can’t get deeply invested in those topics past a page or two. The fact that a few of the chapters weren’t up my alley shows the diversity of the subject matter. At the end of the book is a categorized index for those who want to read about specific topics like food, sex, art, disability rights, queer rights, or trans justice. What strings together this cornucopia of opinions about all of the issues underneath the feminist umbrella is the theme of wanting more, and the question of why we’re struggling to reach a feminist utopia. I frequently see women being subtly demeaned by friends and family. Sexist ideas about what it means to male and female are so ingrained into our culture that they appear to be fact. It’s easy to demean emotions and other stereotypically feminine traits at the expense of both men and women. The visions of feminist utopias presented in this book depend on the willingness of people to challenge our own beliefs and imagine a better, safer, inclusive future.
Rating: 4 out of 5 feminist utopias