A spirited, deeply researched exploration of why capitalism is bad for women and how, when done right, socialism leads to economic independence, better labor conditions, better work-life balance and, yes, even better sex.
In a witty, irreverent op-ed piece that went viral, Kristen Ghodsee argued that women had better sex under socialism. The response was tremendous -- clearly she articulated something many women had sensed for years: the problem is with capitalism, not with us.
Ghodsee, an acclaimed ethnographer and professor of Russian and East European Studies, spent years researching what happened to women in countries that transitioned from state socialism to capitalism. She argues here that unregulated capitalism disproportionately harms women, and that we should learn from the past. By rejecting the bad and salvaging the good, we can adapt some socialist ideas to the 21st century and improve our lives.
She tackles all aspects of a woman's life - work, parenting, sex and relationships, citizenship, and leadership. In a chapter called "Women: Like Men, But Cheaper," she talks about women in the workplace, discussing everything from the wage gap to harassment and discrimination. In "What To Expect When You're Expecting Exploitation," she addresses motherhood and how "having it all" is impossible under capitalism.
Women are standing up for themselves like never before, from the increase in the number of women running for office to the women's march to the long-overdue public outcry against sexual harassment. Interest in socialism is also on the rise - whether it's the popularity of Bernie Sanders or the skyrocketing membership numbers of the Democratic Socialists of America. It's become increasingly clear to women that capitalism isn't working for us, and Ghodsee is the informed, lively guide who can show us the way forward.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Capitalism is damaging to women’s economic and psychological well-being, while a shift toward democratic socialism—and its emphasis on equitable hiring and mandated parental leave—would enhance their lives. This is the central argument that University of Pennsylvania professor Kristen R. Ghodsee puts forward with wit and unassailable logic. And yes, sex is a real factor in Ghodsee’s equation: When employers and society treat (and pay) men and women equally, women are more independent, have more control over their professional and personal lives, and are more likely to demand fulfilling sexual experiences. It’s simple economics!
Eastern European studies professor Ghodsee (Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism) expands her viral New York Times op-ed into a passionate but reasoned feminist socialist manifesto for the 21st century. Drawing lessons from the history of women's experiences under mid-20th-century state socialism and then under the capitalism that followed its collapse, she argues that "unregulated capitalism is bad for women, and if we adopt some ideas from socialism, women will have better lives." Ghodsee devotes the most space to sexuality, arguing that in societies that have economic equality by gender, reproductive freedom, and social safety nets, women are freer to pursue their own desires. She also posits that the depression caused by living in a sexist society can squash heterosexual couples' libido and male-female emotional connection, supporting this idea with data from studies of women in East and West Germany, Hungary, and Poland. And she delves into the benefits of full participation of women in the work force, especially in the public sector, supported by childcare and freedom from "statistical discrimination"; visible presence of women at top levels of government and business; and women's participation in the political sphere. Pointing to successes not only in Communist countries but also in Scandinavian social democracies, Ghodsee's treatise will be of interest to women becoming disillusioned with the capitalism under which they were raised.
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Contrary to popular belief...
Kristen Ghodsee is an academic, she’s spent years studying Eastern Europe, for the other comments to simply dismiss this book as propaganda shows their hand on their ignorance.
Targets the naive with false information
Just from the title, it’s clearly false information and propaganda. How could one argue for “economic independence” in support of socialism. The very definition of socialism is controlled economy under a big government?
What a ridiculous concept.
Don’t buy this propaganda.