APPLETON, WIS. — Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and social commentator Susan Faludi, whose examinations of modern gender stereotypes earned her national acclaim, explores America’s psychological response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks Tuesday, May 22, in Lawrence University’s annual Honors Day convocation.
Faludi presents “Sexual Politics and the Tragedy of 9/11” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. She also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.
Based on her forthcoming book, “The Terror Dream: Fear and Fantasy in Post 9/11 America,” which is scheduled for release this fall, Faludi’s address will explore the reasons American culture responded to an assault on U.S. global dominance by calling for a return to “traditional manhood, marriage and maternity.” She will share her insights on why she feels Americans reacted as if the hijackers had attacked the family home and nursery, rather than symbols of the country’s commercial and military might.
Faludi rose to national prominence following the release of her first book, 1991’s “Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women,” which won the National Critic’s Circle Award and spent nearly nine months on the best-seller lists.
From plastic surgery advertisements to male harassment of female co-workers to Hollywood films that often depicted single career women as “desperate and crazed,” “Backlash” examined the societal attacks Faludi observed on feminism and the progress women had made on social, economic and political fronts. The book landed Faludi on the cover of Time magazine, which said her writing “set off firecrackers across the political landscape.”
In 1999, Faludi released a follow-up to “Backlash” that proved to be equally controversial. “Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man” explored the cultural forces that were shaping men’s lives and attitudes. According to Faludi, men’s hostile response to feminism was part of a larger social problem within a “consumer-driven, celebrity saturated culture” where civic engagement is undervalued.
A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she was the managing editor of the student newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, Faludi began her professional career as a copy clerk at the New York Times. She also worked as a reporter at the Miami Herald, Atlanta Constitution, San Jose Mercury News and the Wall Street Journal, earning a reputation as a “superb crusading journalist.”
Her expose on the leveraged buyout of the Safeway supermarkets as an investigative reporter for the Wall Street Journal earned Faludi a Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 1991.
A native of Queens, New York, Faludi, whose father was a Hungarian Holocaust survivor and her mother a journalist, today makes her home in San Francisco.