Backlash: The Undeclared War against American Women

by Susan Faludi

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Susan Faludi wrote her book primarily in the late 1980s. Do you think the status of women in the United States has changed since then? What about societal attitudes? Is society in a period of backlash or of advancement for women’s rights? Provide specific examples from some of the sectors of society covered in Faludi’s book—the entertainment industry, the media, government, and so forth—to support your opinion.

Faludi mentions quite a few movies as evidence that a backlash against women occurred in the 1980s. Watch one of the movies she says is antifeminist and write a short essay agreeing or disagreeing with her position. Use specific examples from the movie to make your argument. Has she misinterpreted this movie or is she correct in her evaluation?

Research the four periods of American history during which Faludi says there were advancements in the status of women. Also research the years following these periods, when Faludi argues that there was backlash against women. Create a time line for each of these advancement and backlash eras, including both events pertaining to women’s rights and unrelated national and world events. Analyze and explain any patterns you see.

Interview a woman you know who has a career and is also a mother. Ask her questions about some of the issues explored in Backlash. Choose your questions based on the issues you find most interesting. Then write up your interview in the form of a newspaper feature article.

Choose someone Faludi interviewed for her book and do research to find out what that person is doing now and whether his or her views have changed.

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