Title: Push Comes to Shove
Author: Maud Lavin
Summary: A study of women's aggression in art,writing, films, and real life through varying genres and situations.
Here's what I liked about this book: it did not pull punches about how women are portrayed in society and actually talked about some of the problems we have with each other, men and the world. It takes an honest look about how women's aggression is portrayed in art, writing, film and even in real life situation, and tries it's best not to class it as either good or bad, but look at the positive and negative aspects of whatever subjects it was looking at. It also looked at a wide range of subjects from sports films, to erotica, women's violence, aging, activism, at and women's boxing.
Here's what I did not like: I think the introduction of this book sells something it doesn't have. The book tries, it honestly does, to talk about the aggression in the subjects and genres I described about, but it just didn't get there for me. I think my biggest problem with it was that it seemed like there was a lot of summarization about the works, and not enough analyzation about them, though that did fluctuate with each subject. Part of that might have been because Lavin tended to summarize an entire movie or set of works before she would really get into her meat about the aggression of it.
I think she was also trying to compensate for some works that were less well known, like the Murder Girls Pictures by Marlene McCarty, which admittedly, I did not knew existed before this book. However, I kind of got the point after a paragraph or two of good summarization. But she just goes on and on about the different pictures summarizing the way that they look (some of which, she actually included in the book), instead of why they are aggressive, or how it could be looked at in a positive light, or as, she says, "a force to affect change." She says she wants to show us these things in her thesis introduction, and I feel like she never does. It annoyed me, greatly.
At times, it also felt like some subjects were rushed, and even overlapped with the second subject in the chapter (as in the violence chapter, where the section about Kill Bill is highly overlapped with Murder Girls, and it felt like Murder Girls dragged on, especially with all of the picture description and summarization). I also feel like she was teasing us with this bone of women's boxing. She makes a point of mentioning that it's going to be discussed in the book, and the way I read it was that it was going to be at equal length with the other subjects mentioned. It gets a total of thirteen pages--less actually, because Lavin concludes her work in the same space.
There was also a really annoying thing she did a lot in the same space of one chapter, often saying: What I want to know... Well, we already know what you want to know. You want to know which one of and how your topics can be presented in a positive light. It just got on my nerves the way she would use her words sometimes.
Overall: A Bit of A Disappointment.
But See for yourself: Push Comes to Shove: new Images of Aggressive Women by Maud Lavin
Now Reading: The Wonderful Wizard of OZ by L. Frank Baum
5/5/11 WC: 4202