It's Not That I'm Bitter...: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World
Challenging the norms of our modern society and how the feminist movement has evolved into a misfire of sorts (a mix of improvements with unexpected setbacks), Gina Barreca wrote her book It’s Not that I’m Bitter... to share her perspective. She covers a wide range of topics, from the beauty-obsessed culture women live in to how the holidays are unnecessarily stressful for women due to misguided expectations to our tendency toward behavior dictated by guilt and fear. Yet, she addresses these topics with a snarky sense of humor, regularly citing, “Not that I’m bitter…”
Immediately tackling being a woman in her fifties surviving in this world defined by body image, despite being a feminist and an intellectual, Gina admits that even she suffers from common women-only setbacks of bathing suit season-induced low self-esteem, and the like. The truth is that men and women are very different, and there are many aspects of being a woman that only other women can understand. Reading It’s Not that I’m Bitter... is like having a long chat with a close girlfriend, where she vents about the pressures and expectations of society, questions her own neurotic behavior in hopes of finding validation, proudly defines her stance, and proclaims judgments while admitting to some self-deprecation in the process. It’s amusing, a bit confusing, but ultimately relatable in a way only a woman would understand.
The title of this book made it sound as if this author had found personal peace with all that ails womankind in our modern world. Apparently not, and I was very disappointed with the ending. It abruptly stops on a note of Gina’s advice and curious questions for the main female figures of the previous presidential election (i.e., Hilary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, and Cindy McCain). Yes, it was amusing, but I was expecting some grand conclusion, not another random capsule of thought. Conquering the world is apparently still a work in progress for Gina, as it is for the rest of us too. And this helps the author to come off as a pal rather than a patronizing professor.
A mix of feminist perspective, humorous angst about our beauty-obsessed culture, and random (albeit amusing) ramblings make up It’s Not that I’m Bitter.... You won’t find any solutions to the problems you face as a woman (though a man would surely gain insight into women… and probably run screaming), but you will find a comedic look at today’s society, and where women need to stop holding themselves back.