The Feminist Memoir Project: Voices from Women's Liberation

The Feminist Memoir Project: Voices from Women's Liberation

by Ann Snitow
     
 

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The women of The Feminist Memoir Project give voice to the spirit, the drive, and the claims of the Women's Liberation Movement they helped shape, beginning in the late l960s. These 32 writers were among the thousands to jump-start feminism in our time. Here, in pieces that are passionate, personal, critical, and witty, they describe what it felt like to makeSee more details below

Overview

The women of The Feminist Memoir Project give voice to the spirit, the drive, and the claims of the Women's Liberation Movement they helped shape, beginning in the late l960s. These 32 writers were among the thousands to jump-start feminism in our time. Here, in pieces that are passionate, personal, critical, and witty, they describe what it felt like to make history, to live through and contribute to the massive social movement that transformed the nation.
        
What made these particular women rebel? And what experiences, ideas, feelings, and beliefs shaped their rebellion? How did they maintain the will and energy to keep such an unwomanly struggle going for so long, and continuing still?
        
Memoirs and responses by Kate Millett, Vivian Gornick, Michele Wallace, Alix Kates Shulman, Joan Nestle, Jo Freeman, Yvonne Rainer, Barbara Smith, Ellen Willis, and many more embody the excitement that fueled the movement and the conflicts that threatened it from within. These stories tell how the world we live in changed.
        
With The Feminist Memoir Project, these activists contribute to yet another movement project, the political work of memory.

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Editorial Reviews

Winter N. Miller
...[C]aptures the exuberance with which many women embraced feminism and he link they felt as the movement spred nationally. —The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For this mammoth, I-was-there series of reflections on the second wave of American feminism (roughly 1965-1980), the editors invited women whose lives were "transformed by the contemporary U.S. women's movement" to contribute memoirs centering on their motivations and to "take a long view" of the movement's achievements and lingering fallout. Thirty women wrote memoirs, which were then, intriguingly, critiqued by six others. From "consciousness-raising," that de rigueur ritual of the movement, to worries over whether "a change of discourse changed social conditions," most authors were energized either by sexual identity questions (the "free love" movement of the '60s, the Pill, abortion rights, equitable division of child-care duties) or by professional or workplace questions, though civil rights and antiwar convictions drove others. Contributors include Kate Millett, Vivian Gornick, Barbara W. Emerson (daughter of civil rights pioneer Hosea Williams), Italian immigrant Anselma Dell'Olio, Carol Hanisch (who recalls the talismanic but apocryphal bra burnings of the 1968 Miss America Contest) and Lesbian Feminist Liberation founder Joan Nestle. Overall, the collection is successful in conveying the urgency and importance of the goals pursued during this crucial period in the history of feminism. Unfortunately, the selections made by editors DuPlessis and Snitow (literature professors at Temple University and the New School for Social Research, respectively) for the most part reproduce the well-traveled path of the movement's mostly white, elite leaders and membership. And it is striking that, even with hindsight, many authors seemingly can't manage the "long view," remaining narrowly focused on their own personal lives and problems. Still, these are memoirs, not histories, and with the legacy of slogans like "the personal is political" continuing to haunt public life, the circumstances that drove these citizens to action often make compelling reading.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780609803844
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/27/1998
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
544
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.26(d)

What People are saying about this

Katha Pollitt
The Feminist Memoir Project has put back on the historical record dozens of urgent voices that have been overlooked by the standard histories of the 1960's and were on the verge of being lost forever. What a fascinating, vital -- and vitally important -- book.

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