Neglected or Misunderstood: The Radical Feminism of Shulamith Firestone

Neglected or Misunderstood: The Radical Feminism of Shulamith Firestone

Should pregnancy and childbirth be transformed, in order for women to be free?


CATEGORIZED IN

Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex proved immediately controversial upon its publication in 1970. The book’s thesis is that the origins of women’s oppression lie in biology: in the fact that it is women and not men who conceive and give birth to children. Firestone’s solution is revolutionary: since it is biology that is the problem, then biology must be changed, through technological intervention that would have as its end the complete removal of the reproductive process from women’s bodies. With its proposal for the development of artificial wombs, its call for the abolition of the nuclear family and its vision of a cybernetic future, Firestone’s manifesto may seem hopelessly out-dated, a far-fetched, utopian hangover of Swinging Sixties radicalism.

This book, on the contrary, will argue for its importance to the resurgent feminism of today as a text that interrogates issues around gender, biology, sexuality, work and technology, and the ways in which our imaginations in the 21st century continue to be in thrall to ideologies of maternity and the nuclear family.

REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS

Clear-eyed, pedagogical and contemporary, Victoria Margree's reading of Firestone will be of use to anyone thinking about feminism and technology today. Providing clear historical and philosophical context, Margree provides a supremely balanced account of Firestone in all her complexity. With reference to other great feminist thinkers, the women's political movement, as well as recent developments in reproductive technology, Margree's book brings Firestone firmly up-to-date. ~ Nina Power, author of One Dimensional Woman

Questioning, rigorous, yet accessible, this is an important contribution to the current reconsideration of the demonized visionary of Second Wave feminism. With careful attention to its intellectual influences and analytical coherence, Victoria Margree offers a lucid exposition of Shulamith Firestone’s argument against the power imbalances created by maternity. As the conservative challenge to contraception and abortion intensifies in Europe and the US, Margree concludes with an invaluable discussion of the post-Firestone politics of reproduction. ~ Mandy Merck, Co-Editor, Further Adventures of the Dialectic of Sex

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Victoria Margree
Victoria Margree Dr Victoria Margree is a Principal Lecturer on the Humanities Programme at the University of Brighton, where she teaches feminist theory and...
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