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When Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique in 1963, the book exploded into women’s consciousness. Before the decade was out, what had begun as a campaign for women’s civil rights transformed into a diverse and revolutionary movement for freedom and social justice that challenged many aspects of everyday life long accepted as fixed: work, birth control and abortion, childcare and housework, gender, class, and race, art and literature, sexuality and identity, rape and domestic violence, sexual harassment, pornography, and more. This was the women’s liberation movement, and writing—powerful, personal, and prophetic—was its beating heart.
Fifty years on, in the age of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, this visionary and radical writing is as relevant and urgently needed as ever, ready to inspire a new generation of feminists. Activists and writers Alix Kates Shulman and Honor Moore have gathered an unprecedented collection of works—many long out-of-print and hard to find—that catalyzed and propelled the women’s liberation movement. Ranging from Friedan’s Feminine Mystique to Backlash, Susan Faludi’s Reagan-era requiem, and framed by Shulman and Moore with an introduction and headnotes that provide historical and personal context, the anthology reveals the crucial role of Black feminists and other women of color in a decades long mass movement that not only brought about fundamental changes in American life—changes too often taken for granted today—but envisioned a thoroughgoing revolution in society and consciousness still to be achieved.
“Both a comprehensive introduction to the movement and a persuasive defense of its revolutionary nature.”—Publishers Weekly
“This dazzling anthology is a gift, a love letter, a testament to the power, perseverance, and faith of women of all stripes and persuasions. Be prepared to be astonished.” —Emily Bernard, author of Black Is the Body
“In these pages, we can rediscover, or encounter for the first time, the groundbreaking writing and thinking that undergirded the eruptive push for liberation made by a previous generation, and that may again snap us to consciousness for the fights that lie ahead. An invaluable resource.” —Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad