Review of A Politically Incorrect Feminist

Robert Brannon: “Phyllis Chesler’s new memoir, A Politically Incorrect Feminist (St. Martin's Press, 2018), spans almost fifty years of second-wave feminism. She names 100s of women, both famous and virtually unknown today who took part in the awakening and growing women’s movement, marching, sitting-in, writing and organizing since the 1960’s. It is the personal life story of one of the earliest feminist authors and political activists of the secondwave, the author of Women and Madness and 17 other books. Chelser discusses major issues of the time and provides an insider’s view of many of the feminism’s most significant public events. This big book contains some surprises and revelations, and is likely to be controversial.”

Review of A Politically Incorrect Feminist by Phyllis Chesler
by Robert Brannon at Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence 10/3/18

No social movement in history changed American culture so profoundly as the feminist movement which re-emerged in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Although this new memoir is not meant as a book of history, I consider it to be the most extensive, richly-detailed and lucidly-written account of that historic movement yet to appear in print. It adds significantly to valuable earlier feminist movement histories by Susan Brownmiller, Ruth Rosen, Barbara Love, Flora Davis, Marcia Cohen, Judith Hennessee, Gail Collins, Judith Hole, and Ellen Levine.

This is a big, rich, detailed, often surprising memoir that is several things at once: the personal life-trajectory of one of the early central leaders of feminism, a brief discussion of many of the key issues and concepts of the movement, and an inside look at many major meetings, conferences, and events. Most of all, however, it is a loving, honest, and informative celebration of hundreds of women, “all the radical feminists who spent their salad years organizing, marching, sitting in, and writing articles and books that quite literally changed our world” (p. 101). Hundreds of women’s names are recorded here, each within a clear context. They include both well-known women and many who are now almost unknown, women in the U.S. and around the world. This memoir will be a treasure for serious historians of feminism, and for all students of modern American culture more generally.

Leave a Reply

Top
%d bloggers like this: