Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change the Twenty-First Century by Naomi Wolf - review by Barbara Howell

Barbara Howell

Thine be the Glory Thine the Light

Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change the Twenty-First Century


Chatto & Windus 256pp £10.99 order from our bookshop

Finally, someone has written a big, boisterous, well-documented, commercial book that tells women to shape up and stop feeling sorry for themselves.

It is written by Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth, a strident polemic portraying women as victims of the fashion and cosmetic industries. But what matters is that this young, talented author has radically changed her tune.

Her argument: women are on the brink of achieving the political and social clout they so ardently desire. The 1992 elections in the United States put a pro-choice, pro-woman president into office, tripled the number of women in the Senate and doubled that of women in Congress. This has proved that when women, who have 53 per cent of the vote, are sufficiently motivated, they will exercise their majority and outvote any other US interest group to get what they want. By the year 2000, American women should be able to achieve full political equality.

Standing in the way of this probable victory is the ‘victim feminism’ espoused by most of the traditional women’s political organisations in the US and abroad. To illustrate how demoralising ‘victim feminism’ can be, Wolf describes a Rape Crisis Centre where she worked as a volunteer for two years: ‘The

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