Molly Fischer

  • Fierce Detachments

    Katie Roiphe is someone who, by her own account, writes prose as if heading into combat: She describes her preferred authorial voice as “a vehicle, a tank.” But a while back she began to feel something lacking. “My usual ways of being in the world were no longer working,” she writes at the beginning of her new memoir, The Power Notebooks. “My theories and interpretations were wrong or inadequate.” She was used to building arguments and taking stands, but she wanted to try something different—something looser, more fragmentary, more vulnerable. She began keeping a notebook where she collected

  • Home Truths

    In her new book, Women’s Work, celebrated war correspondent Megan K. Stack remembers scoffing when she first read Sheryl Sandberg’s corporate-feminist manifesto Lean In. “Who were these women who didn’t speak at meetings or take their seats at the table?” Stack wondered. She had thought she knew how to navigate life as a woman; she’d earned a place of respect in a high-stakes field. She was used to a certain amount of quotidian sexism, but it was “basically manageable,” she writes, “not ideal, certainly, even enraging, but navigable.” Or at least it seemed that way—“right up until the baby

  • Type Setting

    MERVE EMRE STRIKES a rare off-note in her crackling new book, The Personality Brokers, when she briefly purports not to understand the appeal of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). A questionnaire that sorts humanity into sixteen personality types, the MBTI is a means of “annihilating individuality,” Emre points out. “What remains unexplained,” she writes, is why so many individuals embrace it.

    Unexplained? Please. People love to think about themselves, and they love a pseudoscientific rubric with which to do so. Every person to whom I mentioned this book asked immediately whether I’d

  • Daring to Be Good

    At a certain point in January 2018, “second-wave” seemed to have become a slur. “The Backlash to #MeToo Is Second-Wave Feminism,” declared a post on Jezebel—referring to Katie Roiphe, Daphne Merkin, and Catherine Deneuve. A “burgundy-lipstick, bad-highlights, second-wave-feminist has-been”: This was what writer Katie Way called Ashleigh Banfield (b. 1967) after the HLN host criticized Way’s article about Aziz Ansari.

    Though used without any particular regard for historical context or ideological specificity, the term second-wave expressed genuine frustration. To speak of any clear-cut