Feminism lives

WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER WAVE: DISPATCHES FROM THE NEXT GENERATION OF FEMINISTS edited by Melody Berger (Seal), 320 pages, $19.95 paper. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN

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If you’re a feminist, you know which side of the stereotype you fall on. Second wave? You’re no fun, a practical dresser, anti-sex. Your vision is narrow. Third wave? You’re too into cosmetics, pop culture and your vibrator as a political tool.

Your vision is too open. In We Don’t Need Another Wave, editor Melody Berger groups together essays in a what amounts to a call to stop the categorizing and infighting, asserting that the wave metaphor has outlived its usefulness.

Instead, Berger wants us to listen to what the under-30s on the front lines are bringing to the table and re-evaluate what feminism means in 2007.

I’ll admit to skimming the opener, Alix Olson’s earnest poetry, to get to For Lovers And Fighters, an essay by Dean Spade, an FTM activist and attorney. With pointed and accessible language, he calls for a new look at love and romance, offering an even-handed perspective on radical formations of family.

Troubling The Performance Of The Traditional Incest Narrative is a lively, comprehensive critique of the common abuse-survivor narrative by theatre artist Alexia Vernon, author of the play The Joy Of Lex.

Kristina Wong examines her fascination with porn star Annabel Chong while discussing sexual representation of Asian bodies and her discomfort with inequities in the porn industry.

In a refreshing pro-sex-work essay, Mary Christmas doesn’t just rehash the “whores can be feminists, too” refrain. Shelby Knox, of the hot-topic documentary The Education Of Shelby Knox, discusses her experience trying to educate teenagers about sex in Lubbock, Texas. Kat Marie Yoas bites back at the classist academy.

While acknowledging the gains made by all waves of women fighting for justice and equality, Berger’s anthology proves that feminism can change with the times.

The perfect book for anyone who dares to wonder where all the feminists have gone.

Write Books at susanc@nowtoronto.com

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