Cover Image: Mean Girl Feminism

Mean Girl Feminism

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley and University of Illinois Press for the ARC in exchange of an honest review.

I was quite excited to receive this book. I am not proud to say this but few years back I didn't call myself a feminist because of many stigmas and misinformation propogated and sticked to the word. Then I stumbled across few books, we should all be feminists , bad feminists and fiction works like room of one's own, the awakening and I could relate to them.

Mean girl feminism is a serious book and topic but it didn't feel like reading a book. Rather it felt too plain, like reading a medical article without a stop. Even for me, I tried so hard to engage my brain and yet I failed. I will say I had to make myself finish this book even though the topic is important and much needed in today's world.

Kim Hong Nguyen covers lot many celebrities from Taylor Swift to JKR and I agree mostly with what she had to say but it would have been better if it was little bit reader friendly, if this book is made available to vast reader population out there.

It just felt little flat to me in all its seriousness and didn't leave an impact like we should all be feminists did.

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Kim Hong Nguyen's "Mean Girl Feminism" is like that friend who calls you out on your sass- but in the best way possible. It's a hilarious and thought-provoking look at how feminism can sometimes get caught up in the high school cafeteria, with "girl power" turning into "mean girl" power.

The book dives into four types of these "mean girl feminists" - the ones who think sarcasm is activism, the power couples who forget about dismantling the patriarchy while climbing the ladder together, and even the "global mothers" who swoop in to "save" the world (with a side of white savior complex).

Nguyen exposes the ways these tropes can actually undermine true feminist goals. It's like when you try to fight fire with fire, but you just end up burning everyone's metaphorical eyebrows off.

But this book isn't here to just point fingers and roll its eyes. It also explores how we can move beyond the mean girl game and build a feminism that's truly intersectional and radical.

Imagine a world where anger isn't performative, but a fuel for liberation. "Mean Girl Feminism" will make you laugh, think, and maybe even ditch your "girlboss" mug for something a little more revolutionary.

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The book has good premise and I honestly interested with the topic Kim Hong Nguyen's explained. It gave me another perspective about white feminism and why some of it can not be considered as intersectional feminism.

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Mean Girl Feminism by Kim Hong Nguyen is packed with challenges to people who call themselves feminist in the 21st century. The damage that gaslight, gatekeep, girlboss does to community and advancement is apparent in all of the author's data, support and anecdotes. This is an important call out.

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As someone who enjoys reading about feminism from an academic point of view, this book made me question and reevaluate the content on this subject that circulates and that "sells" the most. It added to the ideas that I have been constructing about feminism, both based on research, my experience, and my own deconstruction processes. However, I do not think this would be a good starting point for someone who know nothing or very little about feminism.

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The concept builds on White Feminism, drawing on archetypes like Karen which are already in our consciousness.
It points out that some forms of activism might overlap with ways that white women are able to perform such as being sassy or sarcastic, which women of colour might not have the freedom to engage in.
A really important point is that this aggressive feminism does not leave space for vulnerability and difference, showing that for truly intersectional feminism to flourish, we need to challenge this mean girl feminism.

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I have been trying to articulate what exactly mean girl feminism is since Roe was overturned, and this book has nailed it. It’s a simple idea on the surface: of course white women have colonized and appropriated gender. Because being able to open a checking account and become a CEO aren’t enough. Because it was never about equality to a mean girl feminist, it has always been about competition. Men were the sole competitors for the longest time and now it is their fellow women. Yes, the text is dense. This certainly isn’t narrative non-fiction and I had to look up many terms and do some supplemental reading to fully grasp some new ideas, but I appreciate Mean Girl Feminism for what it is.

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very interesting. it's far more dense and scholarly than the cover and zippy title implies, but i was still able to take something from it. we simply must dismantle white supremacy

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Mean Girl Feminism is a book I liked the idea of but the execution was a bit drier than expected. There were times (especially within the first couple chapters) where I felt like I needed to reread sections multiple times. I found the section about conservative feminism/Laura Bush/the war on terror the most fascinating.

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This was very dense and read like a thesis or dissertation. This isn't a bad thing, it was just unexpected and meant that I really needed to be in a certain frame of mind to enjoy it
Which I did!
I found this to be really interesting and raised a lot of thought provoking questions
I was really, really getting into this book and then realised I was at the end and the last 20% was notes
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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Interesting premise. I appreciate the authors trying to bring in the intersectionality of feminism, and the tile white feminism plays into it.
It is very academically written. It does feels like reading a university paper, which makes it a bit harder to keep focus.

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I haven't had a graduate course in feminism, so this all went way over my head due to all the jargon. Definitely not written for an everyday audience.

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Mean Girl Feminism is the book on Feminism that I've been waiting for. It's clever, clear, and talks about things I've long wished would be discussed in the form of long-form essays.
I appreciated the author's insights and commentary. They framed topics in ways I found mostly easy to understand, and anything I didn't understand kind of just highlighted for me a lack of my own knowledge of different systems of power such as racism.
I hope this author continue to writes about this or other related topics and there is still so much to be said!

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This dense, scholarly work from the University of Illinois Press really packs a punch, exploring the intricacies of white feminism and the ways in which it works alongside both white supremacy and cis-heteropatriarchy. The last two chapters really stood out to me with their explorations of power couple feminism and global mother feminism. I appreciated the blended use of both well known American political figures and popular television and movie characters to highlight the ways in which mean girl feminism helps to uphold our current power structures.

Thank you to Netgalley and the University of Illinois Press for this eARC

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Mean Girl Feminism is an interesting analysis of white women with respect to intersectional feminism through the lens of pop culture.

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This was an interesting book on feminism has changed in its presentation, especially for white women and especially online. I enjoyed reading this but it was kind of hard and a bit muddled and too academic at times. 2.5/5

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In this scholarly work from the University of Illinois Press’ Feminist Media Studies book series, Kim Hong Nguyen examines the idea of ‘mean girl feminism’, in which white women take on particular roles that appear to be feminist, but upon further examination these roles do little but further the individual woman’s status in a particular in-group while failing to address systemic issues affecting their communities.

These ‘mean girl’ roles also fail to consider intersectionality and thus do nothing to aid women of color, transgender women, or anyone else who isn’t part of that specific white in-group. By gaslighting, gatekeeping, and girl bossing (to quote a popular phrase from the social media site Tumblr), many white women use ideas of feminism to make themselves into the victim and make it appear as though their apparent victories against patriarchy serve the greater good, when in fact these victories often serve instead to uphold patriarchal norms. Thanks to gatekeeping, white women often use their status as both a persecuted group (under patriarchy) and a privileged group (white, in a racist system) to keep people of color- particularly women- from gaining an advantage that might help further the cause of equality for all. White women have done this so often by doing things like calling the police on Black men who were out birdwatching or barbecuing in their own backyards, and then acting as though they, the white women, were somehow under attack from a threatening person, the Black person minding their own business. These are just a few of the examples that Nguyen examines in her work. The list continues, citing real-world situations and drawing upon pop culture to illustrate the points.

Divided into four sections, Mean Girl Feminism provides a clear-eyed look at the ways that modern white feminism has taken ideas from feminists of color in the past- often without properly crediting them- and then fails to address the genuine challenges women of color and transgender women face. White feminism also often fails to draw upon community values and seeks instead to promote the individual women who succeed at appearing to win at feminism without really challenging the patriarchal norms that plague all of us. Mean Girl Feminism is not a comfortable read, nor is it an easy one, but if we wish to advance the rights and well-being of all women, it is necessary to face the discomfort and accept that the work of advancing equality is uncomfortable and difficult, but worth it in the end.

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"Mean Girl Feminism" was an interesting read and a different take on present day feminism. Modern day with online and different types of “mean girls” was informative.

Author, Kim Hong Nguyen broke down the mean girl feminist into categories. Bitch feminism, Mean Girl feminism, the Power Couple feminism, and Global Mother feminism. Interesting dynamic and a glimpse into current feminism.

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i found this to be pretty thin overall - lots of stuff about white feminism repackaged as mean girl feminism, but i've read more expansively about white feminism and the connections felt superfluous overall. the pop culture-y stuff was slightly gimmicky as well. there are more productive takes to read i think!

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While the content of Mean Girl Feminism is so important and informative, however the writing was a bit muddled. Its not an easy read but I still enjoyed it.

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