Contemporary Feminisms


In Contemporary Feminisms, Christen Clifford is this week turning to the first two chapters of Rory Dicker’s powerfully readable A History of U.S. FeminismsChristen’s clear in her syllabus about why: “We have to know our history.” Dicker’s book, first published in 2008, goes further with this sentiment, and she acknowledges personally how indebted she—and we—are to the subsequent waves of feminism in light of what she refers to as “patriarchy’s reign.” We owe to feminism terms like “sexism” and “sexual harassment” and the notion of “sex discrimination,” she argues. We owe to feminism the critical tools to “correct a culture that mandates a homogenous beauty ideal for all women.” And we need feminism, Dicker tells us, “to ensure that women are treated fairly in school and on the job.” There’s rage in the opening pages, and sadness—and as these students proceed, there’s the whole long history of feminism as an answer.

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