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No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and…

No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women (edition 2002)

by Estelle Freedman

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314551,447 (3.75)2
Title:No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women
Authors:Estelle Freedman
Info:Ballantine Books (2002), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Feminist History, Cultural Criticism

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No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women by Estelle Freedman



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This was written in 2002, before the round of backlashes that we're currently suffering through happened, when to some degree there were a vision of progress, a future with more equality. A time before being female on the internet was an offence to some.

Yes I'm an angry feminist, I am tired of fighting the same fight, different day. A lot of the points made here are stuff we're still dealing with over a decade later, it would be so easy to let it drop and just keep my head under the parapet but damn it, I'm tired of listening to young women with privilege claiming that they don't need feminism or don't think feminism has done them any favours. Yes there are some women who are radical and take a very anti-male line but often that's also part of a conversation we need to have. We are accepting fewer and fewer boxes we're willing to let people live in and that's a sad thing to disallow people from variety. I have no problem with people who want to wear makeup or wear culturally/religiously appropriate clothing (sometimes referred to as "modest" but that's a whole other can of worms) but I have a huge problem when you tell me I'm not professional for not wearing makeup, when men don't have to, or that I was asking for it...

It's food for thought. One of the ones that stopped me and made me think compared some of the ways we have normalised plastic surgery as being somewhat comparable to, in a minor way, to genital mutilation, both culturally acceptable as ways of making women more "attractive" to men, but both have costs. One is more severe, yes, but when I read about labioplasty and the damage being done to some children by having parents without facial expressions curtsey of botox I wonder.

I found it an occasionally demanding book, and occasionally it made me rage that this stuff is still so pertinent. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jul 13, 2015 |
This is a thorough presentation of the history and development of feminism around the world. The aspect I most appreciated about the book is Freedman's nuanced cultural analyses. She does an excellent job of setting context, discussing the variety of "feminisms" and feminist movements that exist through-out the world, and pointing out the ways in which race, class, and nationality affect women's experiences and perspectives. In fact, from reading this book I gained a new understanding of the way in which my identity and my view of my relationship to the world are culturally determined. My biggest criticism of the book is that it was a bit dry in places. At times I felt that the historical facts dominated and I wished there was more analysis of the reasons behind the events and perspectives she was presenting. ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
A pretty wide-ranging look at the history of feminism. Very readable and broad-reaching. I especially appreciated the early chapters about women's roles before feminism and the discussion of capitalism and women. Great food for thought, and a really nice walk through the last 200 years of feminist ideas. ( )
  alwright1 | Apr 1, 2013 |
i found this book to be incredibly repetitive and rather shallow. disappointing. ( )
  shannonkearns | Jan 8, 2011 |
Freedman has managed to write a history and a survey of global feminism that is at once accessible, activist and academic.

The compact size and the colorful comic-inspired cover design of the trade paperback edition bely its serious scope. It is truly comprehensive, opening with a powerful argument for feminism (lingering on the term's ever-troubled, never-popular nature), proceeding through the history of various feminisms, marching on through topics as diverse as the impact of globalization on female laborers in the developing world to contrasting feminist opinions on the agency of sex workers. While the focus is primarily on the U.S., the global perspective does comes through. She manages to tone down the usual prominence of European and Euro-American influences while elevating the profile and contributions of feminists throughout the world. For the global sections, examples are drawn as readily from China and West Africa as from the United States. Freedman raises the bar for creating a feminist narrative that is continually mindful of the influences of class, race and culture as well as gender concerns.

I recommend this book for committed feminists, those lamenting the so-called `death of feminism,' and for closet feminists who are bothered by the f-word. ( )
1 vote geneticblend | Mar 1, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345450531, Paperback)

In the preface to her engaging narrative history of feminism, No Turning Back, Estelle Freedman thanks a woman we should all thank, someone who asked her to recommend one book that best presented feminist scholarship to date. Realizing that her only suggestions would require the woman to read extensively across a range of disciplines, Freedman set out to provide that book herself. The result is an expansive but eminently readable history of feminism, its political roots and objectives, and the case for its centrality to the future of women.

While displaying an in-depth knowledge of her field in discussing women's rights, work, and the more recent history of women's political strategies, Freedman also demonstrates a willingness to engage in critical thinking beyond her own sphere and range; she explores subjects ranging from the development of labor and social roles across centuries and cultures to the ways in which race, class, and other social hierarchies inform and define different "feminisms." Acknowledging that her book does not "tell a single, unified history of revolutionary triumph," Freedman examines issues related to politics, economics, race, relationships, health, sexuality, and violence within the context of feminist history. Though it could have been a dry polemic, No Turning Back is, instead, an enthusiastic look at how and why feminist ideas have remained a part of the political landscape since their emergence. Freedman not only recognizes the complex processes of adaptation and redefinition that feminism has undergone, but proposes that this malleability is what has enabled the movement to withstand the test of time. For an obviously impassioned (but still well-reasoned and solidly supported) presentation of the story thus far, Freedman's answer to this book's instigator should now be an easy one. --S. Ketchum

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:58 -0400)

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Traces the history of feminism and argues that the women's movement has reached a critical momentum which will help secure equality for women in the near future.

(summary from another edition)

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