Susan Faludi: From Bette to Britney

Winona Daily News
Pulitzer winner Faludi speaks at WSU

Though the signs may be bleak, feminism is not dead, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning feminist author Susan Faludi.

Speaking to a crowd of about 200 people at Winona State University’s Somsen Auditorium on Wednesday night, Faludi, who won a Pulitzer in 1991, was the keynote speaker of the university’s observation of Women’s History Month.

“We feminists are a species that our culture has always seemed ready to declare extinct,” Faludi said.

Faludi is the author of such bestsellers as “Backlash: The Undeclared War against American Women,” and “Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man.”

She spoke at length about how the media has portrayed women in general, and feminists in particular, in a negative light.

“Sometimes when you turn on a TV, it feels like the only people talking about feminism and women’s rights are opposed to them,” Faludi said.

With Wednesday’s theme “Why does feminism still matter?” in focus throughout her speech, Faludi examined women’s roles and rights in today’s world as compared to the 1970s.

Though women have made some strides toward equality in the past 30 years, Faludi says there is still much work to be done.

She drew comparisons between pop-culture icons from 1974, such as Bette Midler, and today, such as Britney Spears.

“Now we have ‘Desperate Housewives’,” Faludi said. “In 1974, Bea Arthur was playing ‘Maude.'”

She said that though things may look bleak right now, there is hope.

“We shouldn’t be discouraged,” Faludi said. “No matter how many times feminism has been declared dead, it comes back and it will continue to do so if enough of us are willing to fight for it.”

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