Libby's Reviews > Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History

Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
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's review
Nov 13, 2008

really liked it
Read in November, 2008

Thoroughly enjoyed this book, though it wasn't at all what I expected. Ulrich makes this a very accessible (while still academically based) discussion of three waves of feminism.

Pardon the long quote, please, but I love this and dearly want to share it:

"Some people are happy to give feminists credit for things they fear — like abortion rights, contraception for teenagers, or gay liberation — but less willing to acknowledge that feminist activism brought about things they support, like better treatment for breast cancer or the opportunity for young girls to play soccer as well as lead cheers. As Rosalyn Baxandall and Linda Gordon observe, 'Although the word "feminist" has become a pejorative term to some American women, most women (and most men as well) support a feminist program: equal education, equal pay, child care, freedom from harassment and violence,' and so on."

I'm 36, a lifelong feminist (thanks, Mom) and am still at a loss to explain why "feminist" is a pejorative term.

And now I'm going to have to buy that T-shirt.

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Reading Progress

10/31/2008 page 74

Comments (showing 1-3)

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message 3: by Jessie (new) - added it

Jessie great quote! I think I should have read this book instead of The Mommy Myth... it basically says that in the first chapter, and the rest of the book is repetitive, sarcastic and long.

They do however discuss the fact that the word feminist is used with scorn... Like when people start a sentence with "I'm not a feminist, but.." or just plain think all feminists are women who hate men and don't shave their legs:). It's just silly, isn't it? The meaning of the word feminist has been lost as well because of this, as the quote says.

Libby So, yeah, maybe the movement got a bit strident and militant in the '60s...but what didn't?

message 1: by Jessie (new) - added it

Jessie True true. Oh how I wish I could have seen it!! What a sight to behold I suppose.

Maybe our real problem is our inability to define what we mean when we're talking about feminists... radical feminism vs. second-wave feminism or third-wave... etc. We bundle all feminist ideologies together to suit whatever meaning we are trying to convey, whether it be pro or anti feminist.

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