Jia Tolentino makes a clear distinction in her book Trick Mirror: reflections on self-delusion that women in our culture are not viewed equally in society. In Hofstra’s Great Writers, Great Readings series, Tolentino says in the interview of how we address issues to change the system which is to do whenever we can individually (Tolentino 30:01-31:00). She stated culture can be changed when people are calling out on it. It’s why Tolentino didn’t just want to write a book about women, she wanted to write about culture. Including women to make a point. Jia Tolentino reveals its not only American culture of how women are viewed, but throughout history. Mostly of how women are portrayed in stories.

In “The Cult of the Difficult Woman”, she mentions Delilah from the Bible story of Samson being harmless but also tempting. She tricked Samson for telling her the truth about his Strength. She betrays him by cutting his hair, becoming weak and captured pretending to love. Tolentino wants to illustrate stores that a long time ago would portray women will lead men into sin. Especially when Delilah was described as a, “dirty seductress” (Tolentino pg.239) Stated men should overcome the temptations of women. However, Jia writes, ”Women claiming the power and agency that historically belonged to men is both the story of female evil and the story of female liberation” (Tolentino pg.240). It means what women could do can be considered bad, it can be liberating to protest the traditions in our culture. Tolentino does argue that “feminism isn’t always the antidote to conventional wisdom” (Tolentino pg.248) It means when celebrities inspire people to break traditional ideas, they don’t translate it to an ordinary life. Our culture must push away the negative ideas of how women are seen. 

Work Cited

Tolentino, Jia. The Cult of the Difficult Woman. In Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self Delusions (pp. 236-262). New York Random House 2019.

Jia Tolentino – Great Writers, Great Readings – Hofstra University [Video file]. (2021, February 19). Retrieved March 7, 2021, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW8ehl3a3QI&t=4s

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