Friday, August 21, 1998

Rene Denfeld

Rene Denfeld is the author of The New Victorians: A Young Woman’s Challenge to the Old Feminist Order (published by Warner in 1995) and Kill The Body, The Head Will Fall: A Close Look at Women, Violence, and Aggression. Her work has also appeared in numerous publications, including Glamour, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the New York Academy of Sciences. She recently had an article titled "Outgrowing Your Parents at Age 8," on mentally handicapped parents, appear in the New York Times Magazine section.

The New Victorians rattles the sensibilities of old-school feminists with the postulate that today’s feminists are more in tune with the Victorians of the 1800s when women were politically helpless, weak, victimized and morally pure. She feels women of her generation are abandoning the women’s movement and maintains that the movement’s current leadership encourages a return to sexual repression and political powerlessness. The book, alternating memoir and commentary, contains descriptions of Denfeld’s experiences as an amateur boxer as well as arguments supporting her research that women are more violent than is ordinarily thought. The book offers a practical battle plan which includes confronting the issues of child care and birth control, working for equal government representation, and treating sexual assault as a serious crime.

In 1993, after lawsuits forced the opening of amateur boxing to women, Denfeld joined the Grand Avenue boxing gym in Portland. In her second book, Kill The Body, the Head Will Fall, Denfeld describes her experience in sweaty and bruising detail, and uses boxing as a window on the politics of female aggression. She challenges the notion that women are defenseless and less likely than men to become violent. Denfeld argues that the denial of female aggression and the trivialization of female violence are roadblocks to women’s equality. The book examines anger in the female; abuse and violence committed by women against children or adults with whom they have relationships; female criminals; and females in the military and in sports. She claims women are not less aggressive or less violent than men.

Rene was raised in Portland, Oregon by a single mother and was one of five siblings in a racially-mixed family. She is the mother of two adopted children, the second of which is a brand new addition to her family. In addition to writing, Rene has competed as an amateur boxer and in 1995 won a Tacoma Golden Gloves title.

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