Fire with Fire

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Readers of Naomi Wolf’s first book THE BEAUTY MYTH, in which she detailed the victimization and abuse of women by the media and the cosmetics industry, will be pleasantly surprised by her new book FIRE WITH FIRE, in which the tone of privileged whining has been summarily replaced by the simply stated assertion that women matter. In a truly valiant attempt to rescue the term “feminism” from its recent malaise, Naomi Wolf has had the temerity to take a critical look at the second wave of the women’s movement, and in doing so has given that movement both the respect and the constructive criticism it deserves.

The fundamental argument of FIRE WITH FIRE is that the days for women to gather together and lick their wounds and bemoan their second-class citizenship are over; it is time for women to take responsibility for their own not inconsiderable power and make the world a better place for women—and probably for men as well. To begin with, Wolf believes that what she calls the “Genderquake” is already a reality and that women’s victories in the last few years, including the Family Leave Act, the appointment of a woman as attorney general, the introduction of a federal antistalking bill, the Violence Against Women Act, and a new Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is pro-choice and an expert on sex equality law, all point to the fact that women are gaining power in the public forums of this country for which they must prepare...

(The entire section is 411 words.)