Three-dimensional problem

One-Dimensional Woman

By Nina Power

Nina Power isn’t one to mince her words. In this provocative polemic, she’s assertive, combative and as sharp as a scalpel. Power’s slim book can be classed as an analysis of where feminism stands today. And it isn’t pretty. She is drawn again and again into how capitalism’s gains are equality’s losses.

I found her section on employment particularly enlightening. We have all become, she says, walking CVs. These days you have to ‘sell yourself’ – that’s the kind of seemingly innocuous phrase around which Power scorches a pair of inverted commas and you know there’s some deep analysis coming up.

I also loved the way that Power appears to go to depths that others would not. In fact, she does so in a way that might even alienate her readers. This book contains brief passages on what are seen as alternative sex and family lives, including ones in which communities raise children, where children are raised around open sex, where a group of adults share sex freely – and even the line between paedophilia and minors’ sexuality.

Power is bold and audacious to mention these, especially as she does so briefly. She doesn’t quite take positions or analyse these notions. Rather, she mentions them as if to provoke. But I know that, for example, nodding her head at the paedophilia/youngsters’ sexuality line can anger and confuse readers. I personally thought it was brave and the only reaction I had was the desire for more analysis.

Overall, this is a hard and fast read, a sharp and direct analysis of modern capitalism and feminism. Highly recommended.

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