Pantsuit Nation 'Livid' at Founder's Book Deal

Secret Facebook group's members outraged Libby Chamberlain cashing in on their stories
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2016 10:34 AM CST
Pantsuit Nation 'Livid' at Founder's Book Deal
A woman wears a suit with images of Hillary Clinton at a rally on June 6, 2016, in Lynwood, Calif.   (AP Photo/John Locher)

Hillary Clinton supporters flocked to a secret Facebook group during the final weeks of the election, and now the founder of Pantsuit Nation is hoping they'll also flock to pick up her upcoming book based on the group's narratives. The New York Times reports that Flatiron Books will be putting out the compilation by Libby Chamberlain on May 9, and Chamberlain described it in a Monday Facebook post as a "book of YOU. A book BY YOU." "I believe Pantsuit Nation was more important on the morning of November 9 than it was on the morning of November 8," she notes. "Our charge going forward—our MISSION—is no less than to shift the course of history. And we'll do it through stories." Reaction to her announcement has been uninspired:

  • The New York Post notes that, despite Chamberlain's "of you, by you" speech, some Pantsuit Nation members are "livid" she'll be profiting from their private stories shared in a "safe space." One member calls the book a "disgusting betrayal of trust," while others ask Chamberlain to clarify where the book's proceeds are going.
  • Other eye-rollers are criticizing the content itself, with writer Ijeoma Oluo tweeting, "5 Million members of Pantsuit Nation and the best they can come up with is another edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul." Activist Leslie Mac, meanwhile, exposes the divide between white supporters and supporters of color. "WW: how did this happen? What can we do? BW: Listen to Blk Women & put them in leadership. WW: Nah—let's tell some white stories instead," she tweeted.
  • Student activist Harry Lewis says the book is a "sham" on Huffington Post, noting how Mac's group Safety Pin Box, co-founded with another woman of color, was booted from Pantsuit Nation for supposedly looking to profit. He notes the "whitesplaining" that goes on in Pantsuit Nation comments and "how quickly and viciously" white women attack women of color who ask questions. He writes that Chamberlain has turned "a space of solidarity into an exploitative business model" and says she's "interested in making a quick buck off of other people's trauma, hurt, pain, and confusion."
  • Erin Gloria Ryan is similarly not enamored of the idea, or the group, calling Pantsuit Nation—aka "slacktivism's latest darling"—"the worst" on the Daily Beast and explaining "why a book of uplifting Facebook posts won't heal America." She notes the site's October founding date "makes it about as much a feminist institution as the leftovers in my fridge."
  • Not everyone's peeved, including Elizabeth Kiefer for Refinery29, which tells supporters to "rejoice." Kiefer notes that if every member of the secret group ends up buying the book, "it won't just be an iconic Facebook group, but also a smash hit publishing story. Who said the heyday of the printed word was behind us?"
(More Pantsuit Nation stories.)

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