Wolf Whistle Politics

The New Misogyny in America Today
Edited by:

In the wake of the most abusive political season anyone can remember, leading feminists reflect on the state of affairs for women in the political arena, with an introduction by the bestselling author of The Beauty Myth

“Given the sexualized nature in which women candidates and women’s issues are framed, ‘wolf whistling’ rather than ‘dog whislting’ might be a more apt way to describe this tactic [of eliciting votes based on gender biases and fears].” —Wendy Davis, Texas State Senator

The 2016 election year may be remembered as a year to forget, but for American women in politics and feminists alike it was unforgettably distressing—a flash point illuminating both the true state of play for women in public life and feminist politics in the early twenty-first century.

Wolf Whistle Politics is a book that tries to account for, contextualize, and even make some sense out of this trying political chapter in American history. With an introduction by Naomi Wolf and pieces by leading journalists and essayists ranging from Lindy West’s “Donald and Billy on the Bus” to Amy Davidson’s “What Wendy Davis Stood For” and Rhon Manigault-Bryant’s “Open Letter to White, Liberal Feminists,” this collection comprises the best political reporting and sociohistorical analysis on everything from the contentious meaning of a potential first female president to the misogynist overtones of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s electoral defeat by Donald Trump, from rape culture to reproductive rights, Pantsuit Nation to poor women of color, media double standards to hashtag activism.

Together these pieces form a constellation aptly symbolized by the lascivious “wolf whistle,” a demeaning, sexually loaded catcall that, unlike the racial “dog whistle,” has nothing subtle or covert about it. Wolf Whistle Politics shines a bright light on the complex relationship between women and politics today, reflecting on what we lost, what we won, and what we can do to move forward.

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