Bitch by Elizabeth Wurtzel

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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.

About Elizabeth Wurtzel

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Elizabeth Wurtzel is the author of the bestselling books Prozac Nation and Bitch. She graduated from Harvard College, where she received the 1986 Rolling Stone College Journalism Award for essay writing. She was the popular music critic for The New Yorker and New York magazines. Her articles have also appeared in Glamour, Mirabella, Seventeen, and The Oxford American. She lives in New York City.
Published October 17, 2012 by Anchor. 450 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Gay & Lesbian, Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction

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Studying women throughout history, from Delilah to Zelda Fitzgerald, who have gained influence by using their sexuality to manipulate men and events, Wurtzel points out that this path has often been —the only option— for women seeking —to be both powerful and sexy.— But a woman who uses sex appea...

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Entertainment Weekly

Just as she did with Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel is stirring up passionate debate with her smart new book, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women.

Apr 22 1998 | Read Full Review of Bitch

Entertainment Weekly

And when the time is right, if it comes to that, you can drive that car into a garage, turn on the engine, feel the air fill with carbon monoxide, feel the onset of asphyxia, feel your breathing slow, feel your body stop feeling, feel the only real freedom you will ever know.'' Is that...

Apr 24 1998 | Read Full Review of Bitch


As with her 1994 bestseller Prozac Nation, she poses on the book's cover—this time topless—and tells readers about so many of her own sexual proclivities that at times Bitch reads more like an elaborate come-on.

May 04 1998 | Read Full Review of Bitch

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