January 19, 2001 at 05:00 AM EST

Killer Woman Blues

Current Status
In Season
Benjamin Demott
Women's Studies
We gave it a C-

Pop culture’s current taste for strong women — from Sex and the City‘s stars to Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta — could, according to this muddled treatise, ”disastrously blight our country’s psycho-moral future.” That’s because, in the bemoaning terms of cultural critic DeMott, these bold female figures are really ”women-becoming-men” — a clunky term denoting women who seek power by mimicking men’s stereotypically jerky, arrogant, or violent ways. Ridiculously citing Disney heroine Mulan, Olympic soccer star Brandi Chastain, and women sporting milk mustaches in Milk Board ads as dire examples, DeMott compiles a lament against female aggression run amok by confusing women who are ”killer” in the murderous sense with women who are ”killer” in the awesome-cool-and-confident sense. Ironically, offended female readers may end up fitting both definitions or at least getting in touch with their inner Xena. C-

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