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Bitch

In Praise of Difficult Women

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eBook published by Anchor (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
No one better understands the desire to be bad than Elizabeth Wurtzel.

Bitch is a brilliant tract on the history of manipulative female behavior. By looking at women who derive their power from their sexuality, Wurtzel offers a trenchant cultural critique of contemporary gender relations. Beginning with Delilah, the first woman to supposedly bring a great man down (latter-day Delilahs include Yoko Ono, Pam Smart, Bess Myerson), Wurtzel finds many biblical counterparts to the men and women in today's headlines.

In five brilliant extended essays, she links the lives of women as demanding and disparate as Amy Fisher, Hillary Clinton, Margaux Hemingway, and Nicole Brown Simpson. Wurtzel gives voice to those women whose lives have been misunderstood, who have been dismissed for their beauty, their madness, their youth.

She finds in the story of Amy Fisher the tragic plight of all Lolitas, our thirst for their brief and intense flame. She connects Hemingway's tragic suicide to those of Sylvia Plath, Edie Sedgwick, and Marilyn Monroe, women whose beauty was an end, ultimately, in itself. Wurtzel, writing about the wife/mistress dichotomy, explains how some women are anointed as wife material, while others are relegated to the role of mistress. She takes to task the double standard imposed on women, the cultural insistence on goodness and society's complete obsession with badness: what's a girl to do? Let's face it, if women were any real threat to male power, "Gennifer Flowers would be sitting behind the desk of the Oval Office," writes Wurtzel, "and Bill Clinton would be a lounge singer in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock."

Bitch tells a tale both celebratory and cautionary as Wurtzel catalogs some of the most infamous women in history, defending their outsize desires, describing their exquisite loneliness, championing their take-no-prisoners approach to life and to love. Whether writing about Courtney Love, Sally Hemings, Bathsheba, Kimba Wood, Sharon Stone, Princess Di--or waxing eloquent on the hideous success of The Rules, the evil that is The Bridges of Madison County, the twisted logic of You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again--Wurtzel is back with a bitchography that cuts to the core. In prose both blistering and brilliant, Bitch is a treatise on the nature of desperate sexual manipulation and a triumph of pussy power.
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No one better understands the desire to be bad than Elizabeth Wurtzel.

Bitch is a brilliant tract on the history of manipulative female behavior. By looking at women who derive their power from their sexuality, Wurtzel offers a trenchant cultural critique of contemporary gender relations. Beginning with Delilah, the first woman to supposedly bring a great man down (latter-day Delilahs include Yoko Ono, Pam Smart, Bess Myerson), Wurtzel finds many biblical counterparts to the men and women in today's headlines.

In five brilliant extended essays, she links the lives of women as demanding and disparate as Amy Fisher, Hillary Clinton, Margaux Hemingway, and Nicole Brown Simpson. Wurtzel gives voice to those women whose lives have been misunderstood, who have been dismissed for their beauty, their madness, their youth.

She finds in the story of Amy Fisher the tragic plight of all Lolitas, our thirst for their brief and intense flame. She connects Hemingway's tragic suicide to those of Sylvia Plath, Edie Sedgwick, and Marilyn Monroe, women whose beauty was an end, ultimately, in itself. Wurtzel, writing about the wife/mistress dichotomy, explains how some women are anointed as wife material, while others are relegated to the role of mistress. She takes to task the double standard imposed on women, the cultural insistence on goodness and society's complete obsession with badness: what's a girl to do? Let's face it, if women were any real threat to male power, "Gennifer Flowers would be sitting behind the desk of the Oval Office," writes Wurtzel, "and Bill Clinton would be a lounge singer in the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock."

Bitch tells a tale both celebratory and cautionary as Wurtzel catalogs some of the most infamous women in history, defending their outsize desires, describing their exquisite loneliness, championing their take-no-prisoners approach to life and to love. Whether writing about Courtney Love, Sally Hemings, Bathsheba, Kimba Wood, Sharon Stone, Princess Di--or waxing eloquent on the hideous success of The Rules, the evil that is The Bridges of Madison County, the twisted logic of You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again--Wurtzel is back with a bitchography that cuts to the core. In prose both blistering and brilliant, Bitch is a treatise on the nature of desperate sexual manipulation and a triumph of pussy power.
Product Details
eBook (448 pages)
Published: October 17, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Anchor
ISBN: 9780307829887
Other books byElizabeth Wurtzel
  • Prozac Nation (Movie Tie-In)

    Prozac Nation (Movie Tie-In)
    "A book that became a cultural touchstone." -- The New Yorker Elizabeth Wurtzel writes with her finger in the faint pulse of an overdiagnosed generation whose ruling icons are Kurt Cobain, Xanax, and pierced tongues. In this famous memoir of her bouts with depression and skirmishes with drugs, Prozac Nation is a witty and sharp account of the psychopharmacology of an era for readers of Girl, Interrupted and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.  

    More, Now, Again

    More, Now, Again
    A Memoir of Addiction
    Elizabeth Wurtzel published her memoir of depression, Prozac Nation, to astonishing literary acclaim. A cultural phenomenon by age twenty-six, she had fame, money, respecteverything she had always wanted except that one, true thing: happiness. For all of her professional success, Wurtzel felt like a failure. She had lost friends and lovers, every magazine job she'd held, and way too much weight. She couldn't write, and her second book was past due. But when her doctor prescribed Ritalin to help her focus-and boost the effects of her antidepressants -- Wurtzel was spared. The Ritalin worked. And worked. The pills became her sugar...the sweetness in the days that have none. Soon she began grinding up the Ritalin and snorting it. Then came the cocaine, then more Ritalin, then more cocaine. Then I need more. I always need more. For all of my life I have needed more... More, Now, Again is the brutally honest, often painful account of Wurtzel's descent into drug addiction. It is also a love story: How Wurtzel managed to break free of her relationship with Ritalin and learned to love life, and herself, is at the heart of this ultimately uplifting memoir that no reader will soon forget.

    Radical Sanity

    Radical Sanity
    Commonsense Advice for Uncommon People
    Miss Wurtzel is back, and this time she's armed with advice for the modern woman. She's found the secret of life, and it's within everyone's reach.  It's about enjoying your mistakes.  It's about being strong.  It's  about eating dessert.  It's about having opinions.  It's about adoring  feminism.  It's about embracing fanaticism. It's also about saying your prayers, not overpacking, and making your boyfriend do the dishes..  Some of her words of wisdom: - Think Productively:  It's not that you have to see it to believe it; on the contrary, you have to believe it to see it. - Be Gorgeous:  I myself believe that I am about ten times prettier than I actually am.  By dint of sheer will power, I have managed to convince many people of this. - Enjoy Your Single Years:  Do not think that the whole point of being single is being married; men don't think this way, and neither should you. In Radical Sanity, these lessons, and many more, are delivered with the sharp wit and candor we've come to expect -- and love -- from Elizabeth Wurtzel.

    The Secret of Life

    The Secret of Life
    Commonsense Advice for the Uncommon Woman
    Though she might not always follow her own advice, Elizabeth Wurtzel knows certain things to be true: Doing copious amounts of drugs leads nowhere you want to be; trying to be friends with your ex is always a bad idea; if you can’t afford to hire a mover, you can’t afford to move; and always doing the best you can is always good enough. Here are Wurtzel’s succinct and clever rules for living your best life. Fulfillment is within everyone’s reach. Grasping it takes enjoying your mistakes, being strong, and having opinions. Today’s woman should: • Be Gorgeous. Make the absolute most of what you’ve got. Believe that you are gorgeous, and you will be. It’s the only trick that really works. • Embrace Fanaticism. Harness joie de vivre by pursuing insane interests, consuming passions, and constant sources of gratification that do not depend on the approval of others. • Use All Available Resources. Let the M.D.s and the Ph.D.s help you solve your problems so that you don’t become everyone else’s problem. • Never Clear the Table at a Dinner Party Unless the Men Get Up to Help First. Cleanup should not be gendered. Change the world, one dinner table at a time. Hold a sit-in. One of the fiercest, funniest, and best-known essayists of her generation, Elizabeth Wurtzel infuses this modest gem of a rule book with a sharp wit and a real candor.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • In the November 1996 issue of Allure, editor-in-chief Linda Wells writes a column about how she wants to be dark and bad.

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  • It seems like, all this, all these years of feminism, Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Simone de Beauvoir, Virginia Woolf, Gloria Steinem, Susan Faludi—all that smart...

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  • The power you have as a girl at eleven is to make men uncomfortable; it is not yet to make them feel good.

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  • [...] in Vladimir Nabokov's novel she is actually rather vile, obnoxious, not in the least bit seductive. She chews on gum with bovine vigor and blows enormous pink bubbles that pop into...

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  • This is the story of a girl who pretty much just wants what boys are guaranteed as their birthright—to go out there and hunt and make claims and take lovers and take chances and take in...

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  • Beauty is so powerful to us that we forget that it is only what it is, it is its own closed system, open it up and it contains nothing, it signifies nothing and it implies nothing other...

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  • People liked Steinem because she was pretty and disliked Friedan because she was so damn froglike, which is just fine by me: given the choice between someone aesthetically pleasing and...

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  • People romanticize insanity because they believe it is the thing behind the art; in fact, it is the thing in front of the art, the roadblock and police barrier and phantom...

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  • And the photography and artwork that portray and celebrate depression not only fail to enlighten us about the emotional illness of the ravishing subject—if anything, they make us...

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  • How I would love to be that woman.

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