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Fifty Shades of Feminism

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  617 ratings  ·  62 reviews
The antidote to the idea that being a woman is all about submitting to desire. There are many more shades than that and here are fifty women to explore them.

Fifty years after the publication of The Feminine Mystique, have women really exchanged purity and maternity to become desiring machines inspired only by variations of sex, shopping and masochism - all coloured a bril
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published March 28th 2013 by Virago (first published March 1st 2013)
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3.96  · 
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Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-of-women
4.5 stars
This is an interesting collection of brief vignettes by fifty women commissioned in the wake of the fuss over Fifty Shades of Grey. They examine in very different ways the state of feminism and the progress of justice and equality. Inevitably there are gaps; as the editors say, they could have come up with a list of five hundred, never mind fifty. As it originates from Britain (published by virago) there is a something of a bias towards British writers; but there are writers from a vari
Jessica Gaskin
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
The title of this book put me off and caught my eye at the same time. In the end, I'm glad I picked it up and had a look at the contributors. Big names such as Jeanette Winterson, Susie Orbach and Margaret Atwood, drew me in. But it was the women and stories that I hadn't read before that ended up being the best part of this book. For example, Naomi Alderman's piece comparing the game and book industries' forms of sexism highlighted some quite honest truths which I'd never considered before. The ...more
Jo (A follower of wizards)
This book contains a collection of stories from fifty women from around the world and they talk about what Feminism means to them. They explain to us why feminism is needed more than ever, when at the present time, some consider it as a "Dirty" word.
These short essays are thought provoking, but also rather fustrating to read too. I found myself reading these and thinking " Thank f**k, someone has put how I feel into words"
I particularly enjoyed reading this, as it was different opinions and voi
Mar 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My son bought this book for me - knowing how annoyed a certain book and film with a similar title have made me recently! It sometimes feels these days that people don’t like to admit to being feminists, that it’s somehow overly political and radical - but I am a feminist and I’m proud to be one and proud that my son has the feminist symbol tattooed on his arm (brought him up right!). And I’m angry, very angry, at the way feminism is currently portrayed and diminished, with terms like feminazis a ...more
Marla Haasz
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The last 10-15 pieces were the most hard hitting imo. I almost feel honored to have had the pleasure to read these stories from women all around the world. If you're looking for a collection of stories by women that only exist to be told to praise Feminism as this perfect movement, you should turn around. The writers were self critical not self indulgent, and not only about feminism in general but about their own specific brand of feminism. Feminists are people, not saints, and it is important w ...more
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"In my understanding, the women's movement is first and foremost about memory. It is about remembering the women who lived, struggled, worked and loved before us, including those we have never heard about. The women's movement is a sense of continuity in time, knowing that you are part of a river, constantly flowing, changing, expanding." – Elif Shafak
Alex Reborn
Yes, yes, yes! 50 times yes!
Beth (bibliobeth)
Feb 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I attended a meeting recently in London for The Fawcett Society which campaigns for equal rights for women in the UK on issues such as pay, pensions, poverty, justice and politics. The meeting featured talks by popular authors Kate Mosse and Lisa Appignanesi, both of whom were truly inspirational and we had an opportunity to buy their books afterwards over drinks and nibbles, obviously an opportunity I jumped at! Fifty Shades of Feminism appealed to me immediately as it features short essays fro ...more
Emily W
Jun 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Feminists everywhere
The Concept: 50 women, 50 experiences, 50 stories about journeys through feminism.

Favourite Stories: Sharon Haywood - "I was always a feminist... I just didn't know it", because I feel like this statement definitely applies to me and my views on feminism; Martha Spurrier - Women in Law, being a law student myself; and Alice Stride's short story, because being an older sister, I can relate to the desire of wanting the best for my younger sister.

Pros: This book presented a diverse range of stories
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Not perfect but close, more thought provoking than thought providing it's 50 opinion pieces with other scattered snippets, quotes and some cartoons about feminism, some of them explore the elephant in the corner of 50 Shades of Grey but many of them just talk about their experience of feminism and what it is to be female in the 20th and 21st Century. Many of them are asking why it's so hard for some people to see that it's still necessary and that maybe, just maybe, we're walking into another se ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were some outstanding essays in this anthology - thoughtful, bold, challenging, clever. It was a delight to read the perspectives of so many women in one collection. But it left me with one question: where are the Black women? There are women of colour in this collection. It's not all white. And there was a non-apology in the introduction saying the book made no claims about being representative. But basically overlooking the perspectives of Black women when compiling a sampler of worthwhi ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book was kind of disappointing. The first 15 essays (not sure what else to call them, though the longest isn't more than 5 pages long) were pretty boring to be honest and felt like filler - not sure arranging these alphabetically by author was the best way to format the book. I found the other 35 more interesting, I just felt that with the pieces all being so short, none of the authors had a chance to even scratch the surface, and they ended up being a little repetitive at times. I really l ...more
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good friend got this for me for Christmas because she knows I like puns and feminism! This book is an awesome collection of feminists from all walks of life, exploring the myriad of reasons why we all need feminism in our lives. It's an easy way to get exposed to different thoughts and experiences that I quite frankly will never experience. We should all be feminists: but how we do so is up to us.
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic
Highly recommend for anyone wanting to get a "taste-test" of feminism. Each story is only a few pages long so you can read as much or as little as you want. Each story appears personal but I found myself saying "me too" or "finally - someone has put that feeling into words!"
Sarah Emilia Hopkins
I enjoyed reading this book, but I found that a lot of the chapters weren't focused enough and kind of vague. I found myself thinking about other things while reading the text because it was a little confusing. The book was very informative and gave me a lot of insight, but I wish that the chapters would have been more easy to understand. I love how they told stories of women from all over the world, and it really showed the differing lives of women from different cultures.
All in all, an importa
On Start the Week Anne McElvoy explores the state of feminism today. It's fifty years since Betty Friedan's landmark book, The Feminine Mystique, questioned the role of women in society. Anne McElvoy discusses that role today with the Living Dolls author, Natasha Walter, the proponent of erotic capital Catherine Hakim, the radical feminist Finn Mackay and the journalist and academic Shereen El Feki who has been looking at the changing sexual attitudes and
Mira | I Read Like Phoebe Runs
I expected more from this, I guess. Some great writers with important topics, but with 50 women contributing to this book, each of them is just gently touching the subject. At this point I need something more in depth.
L.H. Johnson
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Fifty Shades of Feminism is a collection of short, bitesize pieces from a range of "some of the most significant feminists of our time". The list is impressive, juxtaposing Alison Bechdel with Elaine Showalter with Sandi Toksvig and Kathy Lette amongst many other equally talented writers and voices. The editors are overt in acknowledging that limiting the book to fifty was a struggle; and there's something in me that's both proud and sad of that. A struggle because the voices are out there and d ...more
I am hardly suggesting that women cease to criticize other women. That would be ridiculous. What I am saying is that we can disagree . even vehemently and without that criticism being reduced to mere bitchiness. But we don't need to tear apart another woman's view out of the fear that we are being misrepresented.

FIFTY SHADES OF FEMINISM offers fifty different women's thoughts on what it means to be a woman, feminist, or just life in general. It's not a manifesto that wants to proclaim they ar
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: faeminista
For me has been what I was looking for in the very right moment. I was very happy to be able to read what women around the world believe about feminism. And I was impressed to discover good, strong arguments for each story. This is a book for open minded people only!
Willow H. Wood
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an inspiring book with a wonderful range of content, and not just in subject matter, but in form too. Over fifty women have submitted to this book, each entry around three-four pages long. It consists of personal stories, poetry (Laurie Penny's was my favourite poem), inspirational, rally-like talks, historical accounts of women I didn't know about before and artwork.

There are moments of heartbreak as women share stories I never could have imagined, stories of women we never really hear
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's probably not a good reason to be attracted to a book but I loved its cover and decided to buy it as soon as I could, bearing in mind I don't usually buy hard covers.

The fact that the book is about feminism was enough of an attraction for me, being a feminist an' all that. But then my BFF informed me that 50 different women had contributed their views and experiences to this and my jaw drawer and my purse opened itself.

The various stories have inspired me and renewed my belief in a better
Matt Thackeray
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
As introduction to this book begins, there are as many flavours of feminism as there are women on the planet so no one book can truely cover it all. That being said the 50 essays by prominent women across many fields offers a interesting insight into some of these strands. Although there is a strong bias towards British figures, the majority of the essays touch on issues broader than just those of English white women. However, while some of the writers touch on intersectionality, none as far as ...more
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read about 10 of these essays, as I don't have much time at the moment, and I needed to give this back to my teacher. But for what I read, it was very well thought out and written, especially given that each author only had 5 or so pages to express their point. Each one gave a different account and something interesting to think about, and the history of the subject they chose was also often explained to give more insight to the argument and how some things really haven't changed for hund ...more
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Pussy Riot- Become a Feminist!
Every woman should read this book.
It's showing 50 different women,50 different cultures,50 different stories.
It represents feminism perfectly; it's N.O.T about hating men like some people assume it is.It's about equality being treaten the same way as men get treaten.All of these women perfectly reflect of how they deal with unequality in politics,jobs or just at home. It's such an inspiration for young women like me with stories about grandmas already fighting for t
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, feminism
I loved this book. It provides a great variety of perspectives from several sorts of women (I wrote 'all sorts' but that's not really true - they're largely professionals in some sphere and pretty well-educated and financially pretty well off as far as I'm aware.) Something I really liked is that some of the statements actually contradict each other, demonstrating neatly that feminism doesn't mean a set of commandments that all women agree entirely with and from which no deviation will be brooke ...more
Cesia Flores
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Even though I have mixed feelings with some of the essays in this book, this is one of the most interesting and inspiring things that I've read on feminism in the last years. It contains 50 stories from 50 extraordinary women with different ages, professions, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Ergo, it portrays feminism from 50 different perspectives; and I guess it is this diversity that makes the book extremely relevant to really understand the feminist movement. This does not mean that the book co ...more
Alyce Hunt
A good mixture of feminist essays from women of all walks of life. Some of the essays were uninteresting to me, as I'm sure that some will be to everyone: a lot of the essays are contradictory, because feminism is obviously a very personal aspect of life. Would have been nice to have an essay from a feminist man, because learning why men support equality for the sexes could be interesting, as they are on top in our society so they don't need to support the lesser sex. However overall it was an e ...more
Leels Treasure
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this book, attracted mainly due to the seemingly unfortunate demise of the Feminist debate. Did some photographs last spring in Derbyshire titled Fifty shades of green so was intrigued by this expression of fifty shades of feminism!. It is obviously a debate which needs to remain extremely active especially in the current culture of overt self mutilation and stereotypes, I wonder why after so many years of the Feminist struggle, the women before me my mother grandmother, etc etc, none of ...more
Heather Connolly
Aug 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a very good collection of peices from a fairly intersectional collection of women. It felt very empowering to read so many other women's thoughts around feminism. It has also inspired me to read some of the others books and sources referenced. I feel like this book addresses that there is still a long way to go, but it was written in such a way that acknowledges that every single day each person can try and make a change.
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aka Jessica Ayre

Elżbieta Borensztejn was born on 4 January 1946 in Łódź, Poland, the daughter of Hena and Aaron Borensztejn with Jewish origin. Following her birth, her parents moved to Paris, France, and in 1951 they emigrating to Canada. She grew up in the province of Quebec - first in a small Laurentian town, subsequently in Montreal.

She graduated from McGill University with a B.A. degree in 19