I am Lucy Barr. Well, thanks. My name is April. Damn glad to know you—Juicy Lucy, she insolently addressed me. I scowled at her. But we got soaked anyway. The heavens opened up and we all got completely water logged. Good thing we were in bathing suits! We all looked like drowned rats as we climbed in my car, laying soggy towels on the seats. Ok kids, everybody put your seatbelts on, I instructed, trying to show some concern for safety. Thanks, said my emo passenger sincerely, as her shoulder strap went between her hanging breasts. I cranked up the defroster fan.
I think they looked extra big because she might have pierced nipples. In the sudden chill, my own nipples grew rock hard too. I pulled out of the parking lot. I turned on the radio to a soft rock channel, and she touched my hand and asked, Do you mind if I changed the station? What are going to listen to?
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I asked, while she already punched buttons. Some hard rock came on, but it was not too bad. We can drop the kids off first, she said commandingly.
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Basically she roped me into driving her home separately. She really assumed too much. Kind of disrespectful, right? This girl made me nervous. Turn right just past the next light and then I will tell you where to go. I questioned. Remember that I said the mother is waiting at home without a car? It is possible that I will still need you.
This is a big help. Well, I am sure everybody needs to get changed out of their wet things. I said awkwardly. That sounds like an invitation, she answered pointedly. What was she expecting? It is , and Greer Kadetsky has just started her freshman year at Ryland College, a middling institution in southern Connecticut. Cory, the son of Portuguese immigrants, is now at Princeton on a full ride; Greer was accepted to Yale, only to discover that her checked-out hippie parents had neglected to complete the financial-aid forms in time. On her first Friday night at Ryland, Greer finds herself at a frat party, where she is targeted by Darren Tinzler, a bro in a backward cap, who, in classic campus-predator form, appraises her drunkenness and gets her into a corner:.
His other hand ran experimentally up her shirt, and Greer stood in shocked suspension for a moment as he found the convexity of her breast and encircled it, all the while looking her in the eye, not blinking, just looking. Wolitzer homes in on a phenomenon that has featured in so many MeToo stories: the sudden paralysis that grips the body as the mind reels, trying to make sense of a brazen violation even as it happens. The fact of having frozen compounds the humiliation of the harassment itself, but what, Greer wonders, could she have done? Whenever they came upon resistance in the form of outright sexism or even more generic grossness, they either vanquished it or essentially rolled their eyes and acted as if it was just too stupid for them to acknowledge.
Best Friends Forever
Unsurprisingly, Darren Tinzler turns out to be a serial aggressor; Greer, encouraged by her new friend Zee Eisenstat, an outspoken lefty lesbian from Scarsdale, joins forces with his other victims and prevails on the college to hold a disciplinary hearing. The absurd unfairness of this outcome lights a spark of indignation in Greer. Corporate America had tried to get women to behave as badly as men, Faith Frank said, but women did not have to capitulate.
They could be strong and powerful, all the while keeping their integrity and decency. Peddling her wares on the college-lecture circuit, Faith aims to convert exactly the kind of Cool Girls who consider themselves to be post-feminist, or, at the very least, post-label. Sisterhood is still powerful, she tells the Ryland crowd.
In a long flashback, Wolitzer shows us how Faith arrived at her politics. The daughter of overprotective parents from Bensonhurst, she left the claustrophobia of home for Las Vegas, where she worked as a cocktail waitress and went to bed with musicians and blackjack dealers until her roommate had a nearly fatal back-alley abortion, which initiated a feminist awakening. Done something much more significant than sitting in a chair being passive and wearing a plastic cape like a superhero of nothing.
The Female Persuasion
Loci is supported by a venture-capital guy whose professed interest in the feminist cause also provides cover for his questionable business ethics. Over time, the work that Faith does there comes to seem aimed mainly at empowering wealthy women to open their checkbooks to her. Playfully and subtly, The Female Persuasion returns again and again to the debate over whether men and women are essentially different. Wolitzer has always been expert at capturing an emotion in a single image, and in this book she luxuriates in her skill.
Seductions: Tales of Erotic Persuasion by Lonnie Garfield Barbach
Gold leaf? The tears of a thousand women, collected in a small blue bottle?
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Like in a comic book. The novel ends in the year , with the current president still in the White House, generating wave upon wave of feminist rage. This feat of imagination is about not a prescriptive dictation of acceptable sexual behaviors but the desire for a kinder, more respectful, and more equitable world. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic.