Landmark, groundbreaking, classic—these adjectives barely do justice to the pioneering vision and lasting impact of The Feminine Mystique. Published in 1963, it gave a pitch-perfect description of “the problem that has no name”: the insidious beliefs and institutions that undermined women’s confidence in their intellectual capabilities and kept them in the home. Writing in a time when the average woman first married in her teens and 60 percent of women students dropped out of college to marry, Betty Friedan captured the frustrations and thwarted ambitions of a generation and showed women how they could reclaim their lives. Part social chronicle, part manifesto, The Feminine Mystique is filled with fascinating anecdotes and interviews as well as insights that continue to inspire. This 50th–anniversary edition features an afterword by best-selling author Anna Quindlen as well as a new introduction by Gail Collins.
Norah Vincent became an instant media sensation with the publication of Self-Made Man, her take on just how hard it is to be a man, even in a man’s world. Following in the tradition of John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me), Vincent spent a year and a half disguised as her male alter ego, Ned, exploring what men are like when women aren’t around. As Ned, she joined a bowling team, took a high-octane sales job, went on dates with women (and men), visited strip clubs, and even managed to infiltrate a monastery and a men’s therapy group. At once thought-provoking and pure fun to read, Self-Made Man is a sympathetic and thrilling tour de force of immersion journalism.
By presenting the novellas in light of such texts as Wollstonecraft’s letters, her polemical and educational prose, similar works by other feminists and political reformists, the literature of sentiment, and contemporary medical texts, this edition encourages an appreciation of the complexity and sophistication of Wollstonecraft’s writing goals as a radical feminist in the 1790s.
'All the men I did get to know filled me with but one desire: to lift my hand and bring it smashing down on his face.'
So begins Firdaus's remarkable story of rebellion against a society founded on lies, hypocrisy, brutality and oppression. Born to a peasant family in the Egyptian countryside, Firdaus struggles through childhood, seeking compassion and knowledge in a world which gives her little of either. As she grows up and escapes the fetters of her childhood, each new relationship teaches her a bitter but liberating truth – that the only free people are those who want nothing, fear nothing and hope for nothing.
This classic novel has been an inspiration to countless people across the world. Saadawi's searing indictment of society's brutal treatment of women continues to resonate today.
‘I would give up the unessential; I would give my money, I would give my life for my children; but I wouldn't give myself.’
Heralded as one of the first instances of feminist literature and rejected at its time of publication by the literary set on grounds of moral distaste, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening caused consternation in 1899.
Constrained and confined by the limitations surrounding marriage and motherhood in the late 1800s, Edna Pontellier begins to challenge the notion of femininity through her thoughts and actions. Questioning her love for her husband, and opening herself up to the possibilities of other men and a life outside of societal convention leads to a gradual awakening of her desires.
Chopin’s fascinating exploration of one woman challenging the expectation that surrounds her is powerful, daring and ultimately tragic in its conclusions.