Letters of Intent: Women Cross the Generations to Talk about Family, Work, Sex, Love and the Future of Feminism

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Anna Bondoc, Meg Daly
Free Press, 1999 - Social Science - 239 pages
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Frustrated by the standoff between both camps of the feminist generation gap, twenty-somethings Anna Bondoc and Meg Daly decided that it was time to bring women of all ages together. What could young women learn from their foremothers, who had fought for sexual freedom, educational opportunity, and equality in the workplace? What did older women need to hear from the young women who now struggle with the day-to-day difficulties of life after the sexual revolution and the women's liberation movement? In order to find out, Bondoc and Daly invited twenty of their "third-wave" peers to identify an admired older woman and, in the form of a letter, pose the question she has always wanted to ask. The older "second-wave" women then responded in kind. The result is a wholly original exchange and one of the most remarkable books about the experience of women to appear in years.

The forty women whose original essays appear in Letters of Intent have left labels like Do-me Feminism, Girl Power, and Conservative Feminism at the door to talk in a personal and intimate way about real life for women in the nineties. Among this book's many surprises are exchanges in which Jennifer Baumgardner asks Judy Blume about being a feminist, a mom, and a writer rolled into one, to learn that the famous children's writer felt more imprisoned by her marriage than by her kids; Eisa Davis writes to Ntozake Shange to ask, "is poetry enuf?" and receives a poem in response; Starhawk reveals the influence of her Jewish roots on her goddess worship to a young Jennifer Hunter; Amy Richards shares her complicated feelings about abortion with a sympathetic Gloria Steinem; Katha Pollitt begs Emily Gordon to show passion andrebellion, asking, "Why so wistful, pierced and tattooed ones?"; and Tayari Jones implores Pearl Cleage for advice about negotiating the tension between work and political ideals. Sports, homophobia, racism, identity, food, and cancer are among the other topics addressed in these intimate exchanges, by writers who include Angela Davis, Susan Faludi, Mariah Burton Nelson, Liza Featherstone, Christine Choy, April Martin, and many others.

Letters of Intent is a celebration of the importance of forging connections. By turns funny, angry, reflective, and passionate, each woman shares a little piece of her self through the story she tells. This inspiring and enlightening book will delight women of all ages, who will discover in it an affirmation of the strength to be found in women's sense of shared community: an idea that is as old-fashioned as a pen-and-ink letter and as new as an e-mail.

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LETTERS OF INTENT: Women Cross the Generations to Talk About Work, Family, Love, Sex, and the Future of Feminism

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

A series of letters between 20- and 30-something women and their "foremothers" in the feminist movement, aiming both to bridge a generation gap and to elevate current discussion of feminist issues ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Anna Bondoc is a first-generation Filipina American who has worked as an advocate for young women's reproductive health, a chef, and a food writer. Her writing has appeared in A. Magazine: Inside Asian America, the Asian/Pacific Journal, and the anthology To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism. She lives in Los Angeles.

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