Bitch: In Praise Of Difficult Women

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Bitch: In Praise Of Difficult Women

by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | May 18, 1999 | Trade Paperback

4.3333 out of 5 rating. 3 Reviews
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No one better understands the desire to be bad than Elizabeth Wurtzel.

Bitch is a brilliant tract on the history of manipulative female behavior. By looking at women who derive their power from their sexuality, Wurtzel offers a trenchant cultural critique of contemporary gender relations. Beginning with Delilah, the first woman to supposedly bring a great man down (latter-day Delilahs include Yoko Ono, Pam Smart, Bess Myerson), Wurtzel finds many biblical counterparts to the men and women in today''s headlines.

In five brilliant extended essays, she links the lives of women as demanding and disparate as Amy Fisher, Hillary Clinton, Margaux Hemingway, and Nicole Brown Simpson. Wurtzel gives voice to those women whose lives have been misunderstood, who have been dismissed for their beauty, their madness, their youth.

She finds in the story of Amy Fisher the tragic plight of all Lolitas, our thirst for their brief and intense flame. She connects Hemingway''s tragic suicide to those of Sylvia Plath, Edie Sedgwick, and Marilyn Monroe, women whose beauty was an end, ultimately, in itself. Wurtzel, writing about the wife/mistress dichotomy, explains how some women are anointed as wife material, while others are relegated to the role of mistress. She takes to task the double standard imposed on women, the cultural insistence on goodness and society''s complete obsession with badness: what''s a girl to do? Let''s face it, if women were any real threat to male power, "Gennifer Flowers would be sitting behind the desk of the Oval Office," writes Wurtzel, "and Bill Clinton would be a lounge singer in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock."

Bitch tells a tale both celebratory and cautionary as Wurtzel catalogs some of the most infamous women in history, defending their outsize desires, describing their exquisite loneliness, championing their take-no-prisoners approach to life and to love. Whether writing about Courtney Love, Sally Hemings, Bathsheba, Kimba Wood, Sharon Stone, Princess Di--or waxing eloquent on the hideous success of The Rules, the evil that is The Bridges of Madison County, the twisted logic of You''ll Never Make Love in This Town Again--Wurtzel is back with a bitchography that cuts to the core. In prose both blistering and brilliant, Bitch is a treatise on the nature of desperate sexual manipulation and a triumph of pussy power.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 448 pages, 3.15 × 2.02 × 0.38 in

Published: May 18, 1999

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385484011

ISBN - 13: 9780385484015

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– More About This Product –

Bitch: In Praise Of Difficult Women

by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 448 pages, 3.15 × 2.02 × 0.38 in

Published: May 18, 1999

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385484011

ISBN - 13: 9780385484015

Read from the Book

As feminism has charged forward--and no one can deny the leaps and strides it has made--so has the invention of the overeager hypersexualized female body.  Nowadays you pay for sex not because you are lonely and miserable and can''t get laid, or married and looking for cheap thrills, but because sex as a commodity is not distasteful; it''s interesting .  The recent best-seller by three Hollywood call girls, You''ll Never Make Love in This Town Again, essentially chronicles the availability for money of just about anything.  The women write about their experiences servicing major Hollywood movie stars, men who presumably don''t "have to" pay for sex, but like to be able to control the action, or like the absence of any emotional involvement, or just plain think it''s cool.  In the midst of all this, it seems hard to talk about date rape or anything else, because as much as women may try to be seen not as sex objects there is a countervailing force, in which many women collaborate--mostly out of financial need--to turn women into nothing but sex objects. Which is why the good-time liberated lady whose sexual bravado could be celebrated by Germaine Greer and Helen Gurley Brown alike has metastasized over time into a harsh, hard force of flat, canned sexuality whose most protuberant and pertinent metonymy is the obvious and bulbous silicone breast implants that caricature a sexual reality that is already a cartoon, that don''t eve
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From the Publisher

No one better understands the desire to be bad than Elizabeth Wurtzel.

Bitch is a brilliant tract on the history of manipulative female behavior. By looking at women who derive their power from their sexuality, Wurtzel offers a trenchant cultural critique of contemporary gender relations. Beginning with Delilah, the first woman to supposedly bring a great man down (latter-day Delilahs include Yoko Ono, Pam Smart, Bess Myerson), Wurtzel finds many biblical counterparts to the men and women in today''s headlines.

In five brilliant extended essays, she links the lives of women as demanding and disparate as Amy Fisher, Hillary Clinton, Margaux Hemingway, and Nicole Brown Simpson. Wurtzel gives voice to those women whose lives have been misunderstood, who have been dismissed for their beauty, their madness, their youth.

She finds in the story of Amy Fisher the tragic plight of all Lolitas, our thirst for their brief and intense flame. She connects Hemingway''s tragic suicide to those of Sylvia Plath, Edie Sedgwick, and Marilyn Monroe, women whose beauty was an end, ultimately, in itself. Wurtzel, writing about the wife/mistress dichotomy, explains how some women are anointed as wife material, while others are relegated to the role of mistress. She takes to task the double standard imposed on women, the cultural insistence on goodness and society''s complete obsession with badness: what''s a girl to do? Let''s face it, if women were any real threat to male power, "Gennifer Flowers would be sitting behind the desk of the Oval Office," writes Wurtzel, "and Bill Clinton would be a lounge singer in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock."

Bitch tells a tale both celebratory and cautionary as Wurtzel catalogs some of the most infamous women in history, defending their outsize desires, describing their exquisite loneliness, championing their take-no-prisoners approach to life and to love. Whether writing about Courtney Love, Sally Hemings, Bathsheba, Kimba Wood, Sharon Stone, Princess Di--or waxing eloquent on the hideous success of The Rules, the evil that is The Bridges of Madison County, the twisted logic of You''ll Never Make Love in This Town Again--Wurtzel is back with a bitchography that cuts to the core. In prose both blistering and brilliant, Bitch is a treatise on the nature of desperate sexual manipulation and a triumph of pussy power.

About the Author

Elizabeth Wurtzel graduated from Harvard College, where she received the 1986 Rolling Stone College Journalism Award.  She was a music critic for The New Yorker and New York, and her articles have appeared in numerous magazines.  She is the author of the bestselling Prozac Nation, and she currently resides in New York City.

From Our Editors

Enough with the dried-up old form of feminist manifestos that urged your mother to burn her bra. Elizabeth Wurtzel is blowing the top off feminism and making it challenging and controversial once again. This is a realistic, in-yer-face look at where women really stand today, all things considered. Wurtzel doesn't shy away from any aspect of popular culture, throwing herself into drug-induced stupors and unwieldy situations. No more whiny feminists who insist on being dogmatically idealistic, this book grabs what it wants and flaunts it for all to see. Bitch has been a long time coming and now that it's here you might just want to run and hide from the truths it exposes.
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