Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook

By Jennifer Scanlon | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

This book provides the reader with compelling stories of individual women's lives, collective feminist struggles, and the possibilities of feminist social change. It highlights the lives and work of a group of fifty contemporary women who, engaging with feminism, provide the assurance that women can and do change the worlds they live in. As the media and politicians continually marginalize women's issues and minimize women's complaints, feminists maintain their determination to formulate and put into practice agendas about reducing the violence of sexism, racism, heterosexism, and the other forces that continue to oppress people in and outside the United States. This collection of essays pays tribute to many of those individuals and to their struggles.

The history of the second wave of feminism in the United States demonstrates the potential for serious social change as well as for seemingly intractable divisions among women. From the start of the women's movement, women embraced feminism for different reasons and from different positions. Race, social class, sexual orientation, and religion, among other identity factors, influenced individual women's perceptions of, and relation to, the feminist movement. In fact, three distinct groups of women formed the early second wave: the governmentally appointed members of the Kennedy Commission on the Status of Women, whose charge was to examine all aspects of women's conditions and status in the United States; grassroots organizers like those who emerged from civil rights and New Left organizations to form the Combahee River Collective, Redstockings, and many other feminist groups; and the discontented middle-class and educated housewives documented in Betty Friedan The Feminine Mystique. 1

Since then, great numbers of women and men with multiple other identities have engaged with this movement, struggling to define it and themselves in relation to it. They have taken a variety of actions in the name of feminism, naming and claiming identities and experiences. Yet their efforts have collectively been identified as second wave feminism--and collectively identified as

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Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bella Abzug (1920-1998) 1
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939-) 8
  • Gloria AnzaldÚa (1942-) 14
  • Frances Beale (1940-) 22
  • Rita Mae Brown (1944-) 28
  • Charlotte Bunch (1944-) 36
  • Pat Califia (1954-) 44
  • Judy Chicago (1939-) 51
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-) 55
  • Esther Ngan-Ling Chow (1943-) 60
  • Pearl Cleage (1948-) 66
  • Kate Clinton (1945- ) 73
  • Mary Daly (1928- ) 79
  • Angela Davis (1944-) 86
  • Shulamith Firestone (1945-) 98
  • Jo Freeman (1945-) 104
  • Betty Friedan (1921-) 111
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) 118
  • Bell Hooks (1952- ) 125
  • Dolores Huerta (1930-) 133
  • June Jordan (1936-) 138
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (1936-) 145
  • Florynce Kennedy (1916-) 150
  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 156
  • Catharine Mackinnon (1946-) 163
  • Olga Madar (1915-1996) 174
  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-) 181
  • Del Martin (1921-) 188
  • Kate Millett (1934- ) 194
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 201
  • Robin Morgan (1941-) 206
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985) 213
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1937-) 218
  • Alice Paul (1885-1977) 223
  • Anna Quindlen (1952-) 231
  • Adrienne Rich (1929-) 238
  • Faith Ringgold (1930-) 245
  • Rosemary Ruether (1936-) 251
  • Joanna Russ (1937-) 257
  • Patricia Schroeder (1940-) 264
  • Eleanor Smeal (1939-) 271
  • Barbara Smith (1946-) 279
  • Gloria Steinem (1934-) 283
  • Margo St. James (1937-) 290
  • Alice Walker (1944- ) 297
  • Rebecca Walker (1969-) 305
  • Michele Wallace (1952-) 311
  • Sarah Weddington (1945-) 317
  • Ellen Willis (1941-) 327
  • Selected Bibliography 335
  • Index 341
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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