The Dialectic of Sex
Originally published in 1970, when Shulamith Firestone was just twenty-five years old, and going on to become a bestseller, The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put forth a feminist theory of politics.
There are aspects of Firestone's analysis of gender inequalities that I found quite compelling. She sees women's oppression as a class issue (thus the regular statement...more
Pregnancy is barbaric. I do not believe, as many women are now saying, that the reason pregnancy is viewed as not beautiful is due strictly to cultural perversion. The child's first response, "What's wrong with that Fat Lady?"; the husband's guilty waning of sexual desire; the woman's tears in front of the mirror at eight months -- all are...more
Plus, I really liked how she characterized childbirth and pregnancy as a completely dehumani...more
Combines ideas from Freud and Marx. Like Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex, it relies too heavily on Freud (who was no friend of woman, if you ask me). Actually, it's worse than de Beauvoir, as de Beauvoir at least is sometimes ambivalent about accepting Freudian ideas...more
Like most early feminist writing, it's depressing to contemplate, but also kind of exhilarating -- imagine all these women, slowly beginning to make connections internally, then with each other, to say "wait a minute, something's not right here."
As with Kate Millett's "Sexual Politics", there is no feminism today worthy of the name that has not grown out of the seeds that Firestone planted.
It's interesting...it should be read with not so much a grain, but r...more
Chapters 1 and 2 in particular are fantastic.
In chapter 1 Firestone explores biology and gendering in the context of Marx, and starts to explore the critical issue of reproductive labour (not in the economic sense, but in the biological as in the creators of labour units). It also paves the way for third wave thinking
"...the end goal of feminist revolution must be not just the elimination of male privilage but of the sex distin...more
There are so many things to recommend about this book, but one of the best is that almost every sentence is quotable, aphoristic even: "My 'dream' action for the women's liberation movement: a smile boycott, at which declaration all women would instantly abandon their 'pleasing' smiles, henceforth smiling only when something pleased them."
Also? "In a culture of alienated people, the belief that everyone has at least one good period in life fre...more
The failure we are living is due to lack of integrity on part of collective feminists, as well a...more