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Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising…

Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s… (2014)

by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, Astrid Henry

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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"Short" is a very apt description for this survey of mid to late 20th century American women's movements. I liked the fact that it covered the mid-century period between first wave suffragists and second wave 1960s and 1970s feminists, showing that feminism never died, it just took a different form. However, the book was too short to go into any depth on any subject, more of an appetite whetter. It wasn't a bad primer, and the "Selected Sources" is possibly turning into a personal reading list. ( )
  Bodagirl | Jul 31, 2016 |
A brief exploration of the history of feminism, designed to counter much of the misinformation that currently traces feminism only back to the 1960s. This book does not go all the way back to the early 19th century when women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton were active, but they do give a shout out to the existence of these early pioneers. They begin their treatment mostly with the end of the suffragettes, picking up the story where women had received the vote. The work is an important addition to feminist literature, especially since they trace the other social justice work being done by prominent feminists, showing that women of color and working women had important roles in the history of feminism. There were some moments in the final chapter where I had to groan, because statements they made when the book was written have since been rendered inaccurate by events of the past couple of years, as millennial feminism begins to tear itself to shreds over dogmatic assertions and purity policing, which the author did not believe would be a problem in the more individualistic mood of today. One of the weaknesses is that the authors never clearly define which wave is which, something I have difficulty keeping straight in spite of having been a feminist for more years than I care to admit. They mention the second wave and the third wave in some detail, and define the third wave rather well, but there isn't a good delineation of the ideas of the first and second waves; the authors appeared to assume that everyone already knows this information. The book reads quickly, and should be read by all who call themselves feminists, and by all those who believe the ideals of feminism but refuse to call themselves feminists. It should especially be read by younger feminists, who could definitely be well served by understanding the history of the movement a bit more completely. The book is an important corrective for much of what is believed about feminist history. ( )
  Devil_llama | Apr 27, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy Sue Cobbleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gordon, Lindamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Henry, Astridmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Giavaldi, ElenaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Welch, ChrisDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Feminism unfinished provides the first history of the American women's movement over the approximately one hundred years since the women's suffrage amendment passed in 1920. Equally important, it challenges many popular understandings of the women's movement.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0871406764, Hardcover)

The American women’s movement has been shrouded in myths, argue three leading scholars in this bold and revisionist history.

Eschewing the conventional wisdom that places the origins of the American women’s movement in the nostalgic glow of the late 1960s, Feminism Unfinished traces the beginnings of this seminal American social movement to the 1920s, in the process creating an expanded, historical narrative that dramatically rewrites a century of American women’s history. Also challenging the contemporary “lean-in,” trickle-down feminist philosophy and asserting that women’s histories all too often depoliticize politics, labor issues, and divergent economic circumstances, Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry demonstrate that the post-Suffrage women’s movement focused on exploitation of women in the workplace as well as on inherent sexual rights. The authors carefully revise our “wave” vision of feminism, which previously suggested that there were clear breaks and sharp divisions within these media-driven “waves.” Showing how history books have obscured the notable activism by working-class and minority women in the past, Feminism Unfinished provides a much-needed corrective. 20 illustrations

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:14 -0400)

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