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The H-Spot
Cover of The H-Spot
The H-Spot
The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness
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What do women want? The same thing men were promised in the Declaration of Independence: happiness, or at least the freedom to pursue it.


For women, though, pursuing happiness is a complicated endeavor, and if you head out into America and talk to women one-on-one, as Jill Filipovic has done, you see that happiness is indelibly shaped by the constraints of gender, the expectations of feminine sacrifice, and the myriad ways that womanhood itself differs along lines of race, class, location, and identity.


In The H-Spot, Filipovic argues that the main obstacle standing in-between women and happiness is a rigged system. In this world of unfinished feminism, men have long been able to "have it all" because of free female labor, while the bar of achievement for women has only gotten higher. Never before have women at every economic level had to work so much (whether it's to be an accomplished white-collar employee or just make ends meet). Never before have the standards of feminine perfection been so high. And never before have the requirements for being a "good mother" been so extreme. If our laws and policies made women's happiness and fulfillment a goal in and of itself, Filipovic contends, many of our country's most contentious political issues-from reproductive rights to equal pay to welfare spending-would be swiftly resolved.


Filipovic argues that it is more important than ever to prioritize women's happiness-and that doing so will make men's lives better, too. Here, she provides an outline for a feminist movement we all need and a blueprint for how policy, laws, and society can deliver on the promise of the pursuit of happiness for all.

What do women want? The same thing men were promised in the Declaration of Independence: happiness, or at least the freedom to pursue it.


For women, though, pursuing happiness is a complicated endeavor, and if you head out into America and talk to women one-on-one, as Jill Filipovic has done, you see that happiness is indelibly shaped by the constraints of gender, the expectations of feminine sacrifice, and the myriad ways that womanhood itself differs along lines of race, class, location, and identity.


In The H-Spot, Filipovic argues that the main obstacle standing in-between women and happiness is a rigged system. In this world of unfinished feminism, men have long been able to "have it all" because of free female labor, while the bar of achievement for women has only gotten higher. Never before have women at every economic level had to work so much (whether it's to be an accomplished white-collar employee or just make ends meet). Never before have the standards of feminine perfection been so high. And never before have the requirements for being a "good mother" been so extreme. If our laws and policies made women's happiness and fulfillment a goal in and of itself, Filipovic contends, many of our country's most contentious political issues-from reproductive rights to equal pay to welfare spending-would be swiftly resolved.


Filipovic argues that it is more important than ever to prioritize women's happiness-and that doing so will make men's lives better, too. Here, she provides an outline for a feminist movement we all need and a blueprint for how policy, laws, and society can deliver on the promise of the pursuit of happiness for all.

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About the Author-
  • Jill Filipovic is a journalist based in Nairobi and New York City. Formerly a columnist at The Guardian and Cosmopolitan.com's senior political writer, she is also an attorney. Her work on law, politics, gender and foreign affairs has appeared in Al Jazeera America, the Nation, Foreign Policy, GOOD Magazine, Marie Claire, and others. She was an editor at NYU Law's Journal of Law and Social Change, and a contributor to the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism and the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, named one of the best books of the year by Publisher's Weekly. A winner of a 2014 Newswomen's Club of New York Front Page Award for her global health reporting, and of a Society for Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi award for political commentary, she was also a 2013 UN Foundation Fellow in Malawi and Indonesia and a 2014 International Reporting Project fellow in Brazil and India.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2017
    A sound analysis of what really makes women happy.Filipovic, a New York Times contributing opinion writer and Cosmopolitan.com columnist, undertakes an assertive, eye-opening investigation of women's happiness. "The American pursuit of happiness," she writes, "has morphed from a political promise made in the very declaration of our independent nation into a thoroughly capitalist endeavor, packaged and sold to individuals with the promise that if you just get this thing--if you just choose to pay for this thing--you'll be fulfilled." But as the author adeptly points out, happiness is not a thing--not something that comes in a can or from an exercise class or even from a romantic partner. Deep, long-lasting friendships, the right to be sexual in all its myriad forms, being a wife, mother, and/or a boss are just some of the numerous ways women are pursuing their individual paths to happiness. She addresses the food/fat/fashion dilemma that women have faced for decades (the "desire to shrink oneself fattens the American diet industry to the tune of $61 billion"), the increasingly incendiary issues of sexual and domestic violence, and the growing concerns of women regarding their right to make their reproductive choices. Filipovic also takes up the change of power in Washington, D.C., with the ascendance of a president who has bragged about sexual assault, and she discusses what this means for women in particular as he begins his administration and makes changes that could take feminism backward. Coming on the heels of the best chance so far to have a woman in the White House, the author's research and analysis are spot-on, and she provides readers with plenty of useful information to drive deep and necessary discussions for years to come. A timely, enlightening exploration of what American women truly want and need to live purposeful, fulfilling, happy lives.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    April 1, 2017

    Part feminist history, part memoir, and part call to action, this engaging volume presents a sound argument for shifting both policy and cultural attitudes toward a prioritization of female happiness. Attorney and journalist Filipovic gives a comprehensive look into what makes American women happy--and why so many aren't--in a system that seems set up to limit them. Using detailed research and thoughtful analysis, as well as numerous interviews with women of varied backgrounds, Filipovic discusses some of the most significant points of female happiness (or lack thereof)--from female friendship to motherhood to equal pay, and more--in all their complexity and through an intersectional feminist lens. Filipovic, who writes for the New York Times, Cosmopolitan.com, among other publications, is unflinchingly honest in her analysis of what it means to be female in America, both in 2017 and throughout history. VERDICT Thought provoking and sure to spark discussion, this title will appeal to fans of Roxane Gay and other feminist writers, as well as readers seeking well-researched works that speak to today's political climate.--Molly Hone, Pequannock Twp. P.L., NJ

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Jill Filipovic
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