Peril, Lynn 1961-

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Peril, Lynn 1961-


Born 1961, in Milwaukee, WI; married Johnny Bartlett. Education: San Francisco State University, M.A., 1995.


Home—Oakland, CA. E-mail—[email protected].


Founder and editor of Mystery Date (Internet magazine).


Pushcart Prize nomination.


Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2002.

College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens, and Coeds, Then and Now, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including the London Guardian, San Francisco Bay Guardian, and Hermenaut. Author of column "The Museum of Femoribilia" for Bust magazine.


Lynn Peril has drawn on her interest in popular culture to produce books, a column, and a magazine. Specifically, Peril is fascinated by sex and dating manuals, etiquette and self-help books, and health, beauty and fashion guides from the 1940s to 1970s. In her first book, Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons, Peril examines how society in the form of advertisements and advice booklets proposed a skewered, male-oriented view of the "ideal" woman. From advertisements touting Lysol as a product for feminine hygiene to printed advice from a Catholic priest on menstruation, the author provides numerous examples of what she calls "Pink Think" and "femoribilia," that is a host of products such as books, magazines, and even board games that reflect societal standards concerning women.

"The great strength of the book is its sheer exhaustive scope, asserted Barbara Shubinski in Winterthur Portfolio. "Peril has a sharp eye for the ironic or ludicrous example and a witty sense of the patronizing, chauvinistic, heterosexist mentality driving the advertisements and advice texts with which she is so clearly fascinated." A Publishers Weekly contributor called Pink Think "hilariously entertaining." Although other reviewers similarly commented on the author's humorous writing style, many also noted that the book is more than just a fun look at outdated modes of thinking about women. Writing in Herizons, Jennifer O'Connor felt that the author "has turned her affection for daisy razors and ads for Serena sanitary pads into a thoughtful analysis of how femininity was, and is, constructed." Emily Toth concluded in the Women's Review of Books that "Peril writes about all this in a lively, breezy style that makes for easy, uncluttered reading."

College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens, and Coeds, Then and Now provides an historical look of women in American colleges primarily through materials such as advice booklets, advertisements, and various other writings. Peril includes such items as an 1830's newspaper editorial that berated a new women's college and suggested the creation of degrees such as M.D.N. (Mistress of the Darning Needle). The author also examines how the idea of whether or not women should attend college and receive the same education as men was a fiercely debated issue in the 1950s; she comments, too, on how a "women's curriculum" designed to make women good homemakers was proposed by some in academia following World War II.

College Girls received praise from many critics. "Researchers and pleasure readers alike will find a great deal to appreciate in Peril's fresh and engaging work," attested Colleen Mondor in Booklist. Once again, the critics noted the author's ability to provide sociological insights with humor. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author's "witty, irreverent style, her generous use of old advertisements and photos and her careful footnotes make this text unusually user-friendly." Library Journal reviewer Elizabeth M. Wavle called College Girls, a "fun, informative, and insightful read."



Booklist, July 1, 2006, Colleen Mondor, review of College Girls: Bluestockings, Sex Kittens, and Coeds, Then and Now, p. 14.

Herizons, winter, 2003, Jennifer O'Connor, review of Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons, p. 22.

Iris: A Journal about Women, spring-summer, 2004, Marisa Hoheb, review of Pink Think, p. 81.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2002, review of Pink Think, p. 1104.

Library Journal, August 1, 2006, Elizabeth M. Wavle, review of College Girls, p. 110.

New York Times Book Review, October 1, 2006, Jennifer Schuessler, review of College Girls.

Publishers Weekly, July 22, 2002, review of Pink Think, pp. 164-165; May 29, 2006, review of College Girls, p. 49.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2006, review of College Girls.

Winterthur Portfolio, winter, 2002, Barbara Shubinski, review of Pink Think, p. 278.

Women's Review of Books, January, 2003, Emily Toth, review of Pink Think, p. 13.


Atlantic Online, (March 6, 2007), Katie Bacon, "Girls Gone Studious," interview with Lynn Peril.

Atomic Magazine, (April 23, 2007), Dixie Feldman, review of Pink Think.

Brooklyn Rail, (April 23, 2007), Erica Wetter, review of College Girls.

Lynn Peril Home Page, (September 18, 2004).

Lynn Peril Page, (April 23, 2007).

Morphizim, (November 30, 2002), Sandra Fu, "Pink Peril: An Interview with Lynn Peril, Pink Think."

Research Publications, (September 18, 2004), interview with Lynn Peril., (April 23, 2007), brief interview with Lynn Peril.