Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An Empty Voice Talking to No-one.

A summary of Laurie Penny's new book:
Modern culture is obsessed with controlling women's bodies. Our societies are saturated with images of unreal, idealised female beauty whilst real female bodies and the women who inhabit them are alienated from their own personal and political potential. Under modern capitalism, women are both consumers and consumed: Meat Market offers strategies for resisting this gory cycle of consumption, exposing how the trade in female flesh extends into every part of women's political selfhood. Touching on sexuality, prostitution, hunger, consumption, eating disorders, housework, transsexualism and the global trade in the signs and signifiers of femininity, Meat Market is a thin*, bloody sliver of feminist dialectic, dissecting women's bodies as the fleshy fulcrum of capitalist cannibalism.
I've no doubt that Penny's book is exactly the way it is described above. The problem is that pretty much everything Penny is writing about has been dealt with before. It has been dealt with by populists, by radicals, by academics and, with the best will in the world and basing my opinion on her blog rather than her book, by much better writers than her. There is nothing original or new on offer here.

So let me make a prediction - those who like Laurie Penny will laud this book as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Those who can't stand her will be vitriolic about it. The vast majority of people in this country won't give a fuck; they won't even know the book has been published, let alone engage with it enough to gain an opinion of it based solely on its cover.

No doubt Penny will make a couple of quid from her book, and good luck to her. But the chances of this book ever being influential, important or even widely read are minimal.

*At 79 pages, it is a pretty fucking slim volume. Less of a book, it sounds more a pamphlet in need of an editor.

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At 7:50 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, THAT silly cow...

How long before it's in the cheapo bin on amazon, like that fuckpiece browns?

At 12:16 am , Blogger PJH said...

"At 79 pages[...]"

... when will it out in paperback?


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