It’s odd now to reflect that Maria Bustillos’s first appearance in the pages of the Los Angeles Review of Books was as the object (or maybe it’s better to say “catalyst”) of a lengthy critique by Sven Birkerts. Maria — who, unbeknownst to any of us at the time of the publication of Sven’s piece, is a native daughter of Los Angeles — has since become one of our favorite writers, having written a fabulous review of Tom Bissell’s Magic Hours and participated in a dialogue on David Foster Wallace with two of our editors. My favorite Bustillos piece, though, is the one I worked on with her: “Rising Together: A Corrective to Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men.” You could call it a review, but it’s also an informed, passionate, and (as always with Maria) hilarious meditation on the very idea of feminism. Whether or not you agree with her position — that “a belief in universal human equality” is in tension with calling yourself a feminist — she brings a level of moral seriousness to the discussion that blows away the merely snarky and wonky responses that Rosin’s book has mostly elicited. Whatever conversations we’re having about gender and equality in the coming years, I only hope that Maria will continue to be a part of them, and that we’ll be here to publish her.
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Photo by Lisa Jane Persky