Feminist Double Take: Amanda Marcotte at St. Edward's

Controversial feminist blogger and author Amanda Marcotte will speak during the St. Edward’s University Visiting Writer’s Series about her book “It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.”

Marcotte, a St. Edward’s Alumnus, has come under much public scrutiny for her attacks on Catholicism, George W. Bush, and conservative values. After being hired as blogmaster for John Edwards in Jan. 2007, she came under a firestorm of attacks from conservative supporters, most memorably from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Right president Bill Donohue, who called Marcotte an “anti-catholic, vulgar, trash-talking bigot.” Known for her deep sarcasm and satire on her previous blogs, which she was still publishing in, conservatives accused Marcotte of insensitivity and naivety. Marcotte left the campaign less than a month after she was hired.

In an Editorial on Salon.com, Marcotte explained that she was unfairly targeted at Edwards campaign for being a feminist. “Even before Donohue stepped in,” Marcotte said, “Various right-wing bloggers were obsessed with my gender and sexuality…the majority of the hate mail I was receiving was from men, and almost all the e-mails made note of my gender or suggested that I would be a more pleasant woman if I wasn't so "angry."”

Before working for the Edwards campaign, Marcotte won the Koufax award for her blog “Mouse Words,” which discussed culture, politics and feminism. She was then recruited to work for a humorous liberal political blog “Pandagon.” She continued to write there during her stint with the Edwards campaign, and now publishes there full-time.

In late 2007, Marcotte published “It’s a Jungle Out There.” The book is a humorous collection of short, blog-like essays that span topics like pranks to pull on pro-lifers, what to do if your sorority kicks you out, and being told to smile by strangers. It’s primarily aimed at high-school and college level feminists.

The book has received mixed reviews, though negative critiques tend to focus on Marcotte’s choice of pictures for her book. Pulled from a 1950’s comic “Lorna, The Jungle Girl,” the images are of a busty, scantily clad woman warrior saving men from native tribes. A review on Feministe.com called the images “nauseating, racist, and stereotypical.” Marcotte later issued a public apology for them on Pandagon.com.

Later in 2007, Marcotte was accused of plagiarizing a blog posting on RHcheck by several feminist bloggers. The posting, an explication of discriminative language in immigration policy, had never been a topic of Marcotte's writing. The supposed victium of the intellectual property theft was Feminist Blogger Brownfemipower. Whil Marcotte claimed she was inspired by a speech of Nina Perales', she made no mention of it in her citations.

Marcotte will read selections from her book and discuss current feminist topics. The event takes place Thursday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Maloney room. The event is free and open to the public.

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