hits counter No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women

Availability: Ready to download

Repeatedly declared dead by the media, the women’s movement has never been as vibrant as it is today. Indeed as Stanford professor and award-winning author Estelle B. Freedman argues in her compelling book, feminism has reached a critical momentum from which there is no turning back. Freedman examines the historical forces that have fueled the feminist movement over the pa Repeatedly declared dead by the media, the women’s movement has never been as vibrant as it is today. Indeed as Stanford professor and award-winning author Estelle B. Freedman argues in her compelling book, feminism has reached a critical momentum from which there is no turning back. Freedman examines the historical forces that have fueled the feminist movement over the past two hundred years–and explores how women today are looking to feminism for new approaches to issues of work, family, sexuality, and creativity. Drawing examples from a variety of countries and cultures, from the past and the present, this inspiring narrative will be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the role women play in the world. Searching in its analysis and global in its perspective, No Turning Back will stand as a defining text in one of the most important social movements of all time.


Compare

Repeatedly declared dead by the media, the women’s movement has never been as vibrant as it is today. Indeed as Stanford professor and award-winning author Estelle B. Freedman argues in her compelling book, feminism has reached a critical momentum from which there is no turning back. Freedman examines the historical forces that have fueled the feminist movement over the pa Repeatedly declared dead by the media, the women’s movement has never been as vibrant as it is today. Indeed as Stanford professor and award-winning author Estelle B. Freedman argues in her compelling book, feminism has reached a critical momentum from which there is no turning back. Freedman examines the historical forces that have fueled the feminist movement over the past two hundred years–and explores how women today are looking to feminism for new approaches to issues of work, family, sexuality, and creativity. Drawing examples from a variety of countries and cultures, from the past and the present, this inspiring narrative will be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand the role women play in the world. Searching in its analysis and global in its perspective, No Turning Back will stand as a defining text in one of the most important social movements of all time.

30 review for No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marshall

    This book is a "feminism 101," an introduction and overview of feminist theory and history. It does a good job at that. It beautifully captures the ideology, misandry, history revision, emotional reasoning, ambiguity of terminology, fallacies, urban myths, and emphasis on anecdotes over facts so common in feminism. This book seriously pissed me off, so this is going to be a very long review. I didn't disagree with everything in this book. There are some serious errors here, which I'll discuss in This book is a "feminism 101," an introduction and overview of feminist theory and history. It does a good job at that. It beautifully captures the ideology, misandry, history revision, emotional reasoning, ambiguity of terminology, fallacies, urban myths, and emphasis on anecdotes over facts so common in feminism. This book seriously pissed me off, so this is going to be a very long review. I didn't disagree with everything in this book. There are some serious errors here, which I'll discuss in a moment, but most of her facts were correct, as far as I know. What I mostly took issue with is the way she spins those facts and interprets them with a gynocentric bias. She overlooks the ways men have corresponding issues that are as bad or worse, which allows her to use these facts to paint a pretty bleak picture for women. She portrays women as morally superior to men, and often says so out right. She points out the ways women have had their freedoms impinged, but never mentions, much less disputes, examples in which men have also had their freedoms impinged. The implication is that such examples don't exist, which is absurd. You'll find no mention of the men who are predominantly slaughtered in wars, jailed in far greater numbers than women, or killed or injured on the job in far greater numbers than women. You won't read about the high male suicide rate, the fact that men die earlier than women, the routine genital mutilation known as circumcision, or the fathers who are taken from their children. I'm guessing the author would consider such a discussion irrelevant in a feminist text, but that's the whole problem. If your goal is to make the case that women were oppressed, you must also argue that non-women (men) were NOT oppressed, even in different ways. Otherwise, it's not really class oppression, is it? It's just plain old, equal opportunity oppression. By glossing over this side of the argument, it implies that men have had it made, while women have consistently suffered, which I'm guessing is the hidden motive. For example, about Buddhist nuns, she writes, "though convent celibacy rested upon negative views of female sexuality, women used the institution to their best advantage as an alternative to patriarchal marriage." She implies the reason Buddhists renounce sexuality is because of misogyny. But she goes even further, to imply that these Buddhist nuns are just fleeing their male oppressors, rather than, I don't know, trying to live a spiritual life? The only times women's situation is compared to men's is when women seem to have it worse, such as the discussion of the wage gap. This was the only attempt I've seen at disputing claims that the wage gap is due to causes other than gender. The only study she cites which seems credible was from 1981, twenty years before this book was written, and thirty years ago now. The others correct for only one or two non-gender factors, but that's still pretty flimsy. Why Men Earn More identifies 25 factors that are routinely overlooked in wage gap studies. As she tells her anecdotes, I often found it difficult to know whether something is supposed to be good or bad. Of course, anything that hurts any woman, anywhere, is supposed to be bad. That was the easy part. But there were some cases in this book where women weren't being hurt, or they seemed to enjoy something or benefit from it, but the feel of the reading didn't seem to agree that this was a good thing. So I'd have to backtrack and see if I missed any clues that this was be something I'm supposed to be upset about. Eventually, I gave up and relied on this rule: if men enjoy something that involves women, it's bad. The word "patriarchy" is used in every other sentence, as a universal label for anything bad, but she never actually defines it, which I think we should expect from a feminism 101 book. I can only guess from the way she writes about it that patriarchy is a system which privileges men over women. In a section titled, The Evidence For Patriarchy, she cherry-picks a few examples in history when men were favored over women. That's it. Her only evidence of a worldwide, systematic privilege of men over women is a few anecdotes. She never asks why these cultural systems were in place. She never sought banal explanations for how they benefit those cultures, or how they might indirectly benefit women or harm men. She simply assumes the men are more privileged than women. She talks about domestic labor as if women are slaves and men reap all the rewards. She said that "some economists have attempted to [place a monetary value on womens' labor] by calculating the annual cost of purchasing women's services. In 1993 a family in the United States would have had to pay as much as $50,000 a year to buy all that a housewife contributed." Sounds like some smart economists crunched the numbers, doesn't it? According to the sources in the back, she pulled it from a Women's Studies textbook. This book is explicitely socialist. She argues in support of a welfare state, which is fine, but she actually says that the fact that women can't live on welfare permanently and be paid a living wage is an example of oppression, that they are just trading in one oppressive man for another ("THE man"), and they deserve a living wage because a mother's work is real work. Is it that single mothers are working on behalf of the state by raising children? This is where feminist logic really goes off the rails for me. It makes some pretty outrageous claims about biology. It relies heavily on a quote by Simone de Beauvoir (an existentialist philosopher, not a modern biologist): "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." But even that absurd claim wasn't enough: "De Beauvoir's point can be taken even further to argue that the body has no fixed meaning prior to language and customs." So, we're basically all born hermaphrodites until someone comes along and starts talking to us. Other gems this book offers up: "The separation of reproduction and sexuality occurred during the transition from a self-sufficient agricultural economy to an interdependent commercial one." So, there was no such thing as sex for fun until our economy became agricultural and commercial? "Pornography destroys her [women's] dignity as a human being and does injury to her identity and self-respect; it represents violence committed against her." (Kuniko Funabashi) So, offending someone is an act of violence because it "injures their self-respect." Or is it only violence if it's women who are offended? "It is important for men to . . . identify a new man within themselves whose identity does not thrive on conquest or on the use of violence against women." Which implies the existing, "old" man within ourselves thrives on conquest and violence against women. "Women have had fewer claims on the right to use force or to protect themselves physically." The opposite is true. Nine times as many men are incarcerated than women. Men can be beaten or killed for using force against a woman, even if it's in self-defense. "[Rape has been] nothing more or less than a conscious process of intimidation by which all men keep all women in a state of fear." (Susan Brownmiller) How can I not interpret this as a rape accusation against me personally? The claim is that all men, which includes me, consciously, which means intentionally and willfully, rape women in order to oppress them. And just in case I might think she's just talking metaphorically or hyperbolically, she says it's nothing more or less, which means, it's exactly this. "Half the women in England report that they still do not feel safe walking home at night." Not all fear is rational. Just because women feel unsafe doesn't mean they are unsafe. Men are far more likely to be victims of violence than women. Most women who are raped know their rapists, so they're statistically safer walking home than they are when they are home. "A culture of male entitlement allows men to act out this extreme form of gender privilege [, rape.]" There is no evidence that "entitlement" or "privilege" is a significant cause of rape. Most rapists are sociopathic and/or have extremely low self-esteems. Many have a history of being victims of rape or physical abuse themselves. These are not privileged, entitled men we're talking about here. I think this theory comes from emotional reasoning ("they don't seem sorry for what they do, so they must do it because they feel entitled") and a confusion between machoism and privilege. Just because someone acts tough doesn't mean they have a better life. In fact, it's usually the opposite--men act macho when they're compensating for something. "The 'rule of thumb' in Anglo-American law held that a husband could beat his wife as long as he used a stick that was no thicker than his thumb." This is an urban myth. There was never any such law. Those who perpetuate this myth take it on face value and don't check their facts, probably because it serves their ideology. Who Stole Feminism tracks down the origin of this myth. I've always wondered how feminists explain the fact that womens' oppression was completely overlooked for millenia, during which time many oppressed groups of all kinds have fought for and often won their freedoms. Then, only in the last century, when the world was safer, and only among a few white, wealthy women--the safest of all--did feminism finally arise. You'd expect the most oppressed among them and those with the least to lose--the poor--to be the first to rise up, as was true in every other revolution in the past. I finally got an answer in this book. Apparently, women didn't know they were oppressed until they learned to read. This implies that women aren't smart enough to learn of their oppression until they read about it in books, a requirement that was not necessary for any other oppressed group throughout history. You'd expect a feminist to have a higher opinion of women than that. Women have, in fact, been historically infantalized and their freedoms limited, but that doesn't necessarily imply oppression and male privilege. There's another, more banal explanation: children. Societies ravished by plagues, famine, and war could be wiped out in one generation if many children weren't produced and protected. Women are the only ones capable of producing children, and it requires a vulnerable nine months each to do so. For this reason, any endangered society that wanted to sustain itself must also protect the women, which means limiting their freedoms. Sex was regulated because sex meant children, and children needed to be regulated. The best way to ensure enough children survive the next tragedy is to have the women stay safe at home and focus on reproduction and nurturing the young, while the men do the hunting and dying, often sacrificing their very lives for the cause of protecting the women and children. Being the protectors required more freedom, and men were more disposable, so men were granted more freedom and the risks that came with it. Women have remained in their role for so long that everyone just assumed they were incapable of anything else. Once the coast was clear and societies were no longer so endangered, more women could come out and prove they're capable of pretty much everything men are, and you'd expect the safest women to do so first, hence all the first feminists being upper-class. The gift feminism has given us was to prove that women are capable and strong adults who deserve freedom, not protection. It saddens me to see this being reversed by modern feminists infantalizing women again; portraying them as victims and men as their oppressors; and focusing on protecting women, as societies have always done, rather than freeing them. Meanwhile, men are vilified rather than celebrated for their sacrifices.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    I enjoyed this book (between a 3 and 4), although I did find it a little dated. I can't blame the author for that one, obviously, since that's what you get when you write about a movement that's ongoing. (There was also a reference to Benazir Bhutto, which was sad; the book was written fiveish years before she was assasinated.) I think that this book did some things well - it gave a good overview of the feminist movement throughout the world, historically and currently. There were some deficienci I enjoyed this book (between a 3 and 4), although I did find it a little dated. I can't blame the author for that one, obviously, since that's what you get when you write about a movement that's ongoing. (There was also a reference to Benazir Bhutto, which was sad; the book was written fiveish years before she was assasinated.) I think that this book did some things well - it gave a good overview of the feminist movement throughout the world, historically and currently. There were some deficiencies, and I felt like sometimes she rushed through things that she could have spent a little more time with. I wish that she spent a little more time with...dare I say...intersectionality. Although the race and gender piece was well done and didn't look specificially at white, middle class women (a key issue with the 2nd wave), I think more time could have been spent discussing things like the LGBTQ issues in relation to feminism, and the marginalization of women and LGBTQ people. Maybe I'm asking too much? I also felt that the author painted a too rosy picture of the place of women in today's world. I fully agree that we have come a very long way, and sure, certain countries may have done one good thing to support women, but... let's talk a little more about where the problems still are. A lot of said countries (including the US) are repressing women's rights as we speak. There was an odd reference to Hosni Mubarak and what he did for Egyptian women (allowing them to divorce) that seemed somewhat myopic, considering...you know, being a dictator, and some of the other human rights issues. Essentially, I would have liked to see a little more realistic picture of where we are now, even though some decidedly good things are happening. Despite that, I did think it was a good book. Definitely on the academic side, and not a super quick read, but good.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alex Kartelias

    Couldn't have picked a better book to learn about feminism:covers a wide range of topics, brings up criticism and statistics, while bringing up a history that is too little known by most people. Even though I've supported equality for women for awhile, I never knew the extent to which women have been and still are suppressed. This book disproves all the assumptions men AND women make about feminism and shows how it's far from being a simple, black and white topic: it involves politics, economics Couldn't have picked a better book to learn about feminism:covers a wide range of topics, brings up criticism and statistics, while bringing up a history that is too little known by most people. Even though I've supported equality for women for awhile, I never knew the extent to which women have been and still are suppressed. This book disproves all the assumptions men AND women make about feminism and shows how it's far from being a simple, black and white topic: it involves politics, economics, sociology, religion, philosophy, etc. I lament the fact that I waited this long to have learned this information, but I refuse to believe in people who say feminism is dead, unless they have read this book. Everyone must read it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Shepherd

    Make no mistake, Estelle Freedman's book is a college level course in feminist history. From its inception, Freedman plots not only the motivation of feminist ideals but the reasoning and methods of opposition. I wore out my highlight pen marking passages I thought were pertinent and/or profound. This is data-rich, thought-provoking, eye-opening material. Light-readers will find this a hard read, but if you're serious about getting a grasp on the foundations and motivations of a movement, regard Make no mistake, Estelle Freedman's book is a college level course in feminist history. From its inception, Freedman plots not only the motivation of feminist ideals but the reasoning and methods of opposition. I wore out my highlight pen marking passages I thought were pertinent and/or profound. This is data-rich, thought-provoking, eye-opening material. Light-readers will find this a hard read, but if you're serious about getting a grasp on the foundations and motivations of a movement, regardless of your politics, this is a solid place to start.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    A very readable, comprehensive history of feminism. Includes a huge variety of topics, including but not limited to - the early history of feminism as a movement; abortion, birth control, and sexuality; involvement of women in politics; women in the workforce; the wage gap; how race, class, and sexuality politics intersect with and create different sets of oppressions for women; and gendered violence, one of my own pet issues as I am a survivor of sexual assault. Of course, Freedman's book is on A very readable, comprehensive history of feminism. Includes a huge variety of topics, including but not limited to - the early history of feminism as a movement; abortion, birth control, and sexuality; involvement of women in politics; women in the workforce; the wage gap; how race, class, and sexuality politics intersect with and create different sets of oppressions for women; and gendered violence, one of my own pet issues as I am a survivor of sexual assault. Of course, Freedman's book is one of a very huge scope, so she very well could have, and probably did, miss a few things that I'm sure others have made note of. But for what this text is - No Turning Back is a thoughtful, user-friendly approach to feminism from pre-history through today (although this was written over ten years ago, in 2002, so the material is a bit dated), and it's interdisciplinary as well as empowering. I've read my fair share of feminist books and articles, become very educated on topics related to and intersecting with women's rights, and even I found a lot of things in this book that I had no idea about. I was definitely pleased by how intersectional this text was, as well as how inclusive Freedman was of the contributions past and present of women of colour and also women not from the Western tradition. Feminism means a lot of different things to lots of different people, but overwhelmingly, especially in America, feminism as a movement suffers from a lack of intersectional politics and being inclusive and welcoming to women who aren't white, straight, or middle- to upper-class. However, Freedman's text illuminates the many contributions to the movement by women from many different countries, backgrounds and identities, and doesn't attempt to erase them or gloss over them, which is something a lot of white feminists do. Freedman's text also didn't gloss over lesbians (as white feminist hero Betty Friedan often did, calling them the 'lavender menace') or trans women, which is so, so great to see. Feminism should be a movement for everybody, and I think this book gets that across quite well. I will also say that criticisms that the book doesn't focus on men are childish and misguided, since in fact this is a book about feminism and about women, their oppressions and their place in the world, the things they go through and the fights and challenges they have to face. Men are mentioned quite a bit, but it must be said that in no way are men oppressed in similar or greater aspects than women. Men are statistically more likely to be perpetrators of sexual and gender violence, for instance, and Freedman always takes care to mention that men can be raped and harassed and sexually assaulted as well as women; that men can be victims of domestic violence; that some political imperfections, like alimony or mothers being granted custody of children in divorce, are in fact imperfections that need to be remedied. It doesn't mean that men are oppressed however; in fact, a lot of these issues can be traced back to patriarchy itself - the focus on woman as mother, her nature as nurturing and care-giving, ideas about masculinity and sex, etc etc. Another great selling point for me was to hear about all that women have accomplished, and in fact continue to accomplish, despite the various setbacks, oppressions, and red tape they have to fight through. Learning about a variety of different women, all the things they've done for their communities, sisters, mothers, and women worldwide is just so life-affirming, inspiring, and empowering. It enables me, a female reader, to see the great passion, drive, intellect and depth of feeling that other women have despite the patriarchy, despite sexism and misogyny, despite oppression, despite so many people and their societies telling them 'no.' These women have said 'yes, we can, and we will,' and that's so great to see. These are women that stand up to authoritarian regimes; that face threats of torture, kidnapping, rape, and death just for fighting for their rights; that seek to better their lives, and the world for future generations. So, so great.

  6. 5 out of 5

    christine✨

    I want to say that No Turning Back is the best (academic/historical) introduction to feminist politics I’ve ever encountered. I’ve read intro to feminism books geared toward young people, intro books that focus on how to be an activist, and intro books that focus primarily on the major aspects of feminist movements specifically in the U.S. (and maybe Britain). This is the only book I’ve read that puts feminist politics into a historical, economic understanding and analyzes the way feminism has a I want to say that No Turning Back is the best (academic/historical) introduction to feminist politics I’ve ever encountered. I’ve read intro to feminism books geared toward young people, intro books that focus on how to be an activist, and intro books that focus primarily on the major aspects of feminist movements specifically in the U.S. (and maybe Britain). This is the only book I’ve read that puts feminist politics into a historical, economic understanding and analyzes the way feminism has appeared across the world. That being said, this is not a book to read lightly. While I’ve owned a copy on my kindle for longer than I can remember, it took me ages to actually read it. The only thing that worked for me was breaking it down and reading one chapter a day for two weeks. The language is very academic and very dry for the most part, and there’s a lot to unpack. I took pages and pages of notes on this book, and there’s a lot more that I didn’t write down that I probably could have. Estelle Freedman’s definition of feminism really resonated with me and it summarizes her purposes in writing the book and her unique take on things: “Feminism is a belief that women and men are inherently of equal worth. Because most societies privilege men as a group, social movements are necessary to achieve equality between women and men, with the understanding that gender always intersects with other social hierarchies.” Freedman goes back in history beyond the point that most feminist overviews do. Rather than starting with the suffrage movement, Freedman gives the reader a context for feminist movements around the world, describing the way women’s lives were before industrialization. She emphasizes the way that the world’s changing economy laid the groundwork for feminist movements: as countries became more capitalist and more industrialized, women applied political theory of individual rights to an analysis of gender. While Freedman does a good job bringing in analysis of race and class, I felt her intersectionality left a little to be desired. She makes a clear effort to bring in non-Western views in each chapter, which is particularly enlightening for a white U.S. feminist reader, but her discussions of race leave a lot to be desired in my opinion. She mentions the ways race, class, and gender intersect, but she tends to conflate all WOC as one huge group, only rarely bringing up issues specific to Latinas or African-Americans, and hardly discussing other groups in the U.S. at all. Additionally, the sexuality chapter left me wanting more; she brings up lesbian feminists but doesn’t really go any further. That being said, this says more about how feminism has changed since she wrote the book, and less about her specific intentions. At the end of the day, I’m glad I finally finished reading this book after multiple stops and starts. I gained an interesting economic understanding of feminism, and my interest is piqued when it comes to international feminism. If anything, this book made me want to seek out more information about feminism in African, Asian, and Eastern European countries, since I’m woefully ignorant in that arena. I appreciate the effort Freedman makes to be inclusive, and I enjoy the way she leaves the book on a hopeful note. While some authors bemoan young feminists, or complain about the media’s declaration that feminism is dead, Freedman argues that feminism will continue to be a movement as long as women anywhere in the world fight for their rights—a hopefulness that I think is even more important now than it was in 2000.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    This is a great book to get an overall sense of the feminist movement. It reads like a history book of the 20th century. The style is easy and loaded with examples and quotes. It's a good book to read if you want to put numbers and examples on vague ideas. I will probably use some of the examples in the book in future personal conversations. It covers the suffragist movement and the change that lead to the 'second-wave': After 1930, both interracial and interfaith cooperation found a foothold with This is a great book to get an overall sense of the feminist movement. It reads like a history book of the 20th century. The style is easy and loaded with examples and quotes. It's a good book to read if you want to put numbers and examples on vague ideas. I will probably use some of the examples in the book in future personal conversations. It covers the suffragist movement and the change that lead to the 'second-wave': After 1930, both interracial and interfaith cooperation found a foothold within the US women's movement. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's gradual rejection of the racism and anti-Semitism she hadl earned growing up foreshadowed a later trend. The tentative connections made across race and religious lines would nurture the rebirth of feminism in the 1960s. As in the past, African American women in particular provided a critical perspective for white women, alerting them to the integral connections between race and gender. By articulating their personal experience of race, African American women contributed the knowledge that enfranchisement alone could not ensure equality; that the female pedestal was a myth; that sexual stereotypes, whether of purity or immorality, exerted forceful social controls; that power relations always rested upon both race and gender hierarchies; and that dignified resistance in the face of seeming powerlessness could be a mighty weapon for change. p.83 It provides good statistics: In 1800 a married woman in the US could expect to live to around age forty and bear more than seven children. In 1900 her great-granddaughter lived into her fifties and had only four children. By 2000 that woman's great-granddaughter could expect to live to age eighty but would bear only two children. Over each century, women's reproductive labors dropped by half while their life span expanded. As a result, married women now have many more years without child-care duties. Although the dates differ for other industrial countries, the direction of change is the same. Since 1900 birth rates have fallen while life expectancy and women's wage labor have increased throughout the industrial world. In the US and Japan, for example, over half of all married women now work for pay. In Sweden over 80 percent of married women earned wages in the 1980s, compared with just under hald in the 1960s. p.152 Some notes: - The right to vote did not give women the break they expected as women broke along party lines - The way we calculate GDP does not take into account domestic work - Sweden is a good role model for gender equality and scores better than most of best when it comes to parental leave laws, the sharing of household duties, and number of women elected to office - Male domination dates way back: .When men understood how reproduction happens, they tried to isolate their woman so that they could be sure which child was theirs .When a society adopted the plough, agriculture became more physical and men became the breadwinners .Where having children meant that the family would have a bigger workforce, the women could be treated as factories (with dowries and such) .Birth control/contraception/pro-choice laws helped a great deal to empower women

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is a thorough presentation of the history and development of feminism around the world. The aspect I most appreciated about the book is Freedman's nuanced cultural analyses. She does an excellent job of setting context, discussing the variety of "feminisms" and feminist movements that exist through-out the world, and pointing out the ways in which race, class, and nationality affect women's experiences and perspectives. In fact, from reading this book I gained a new understanding of the way This is a thorough presentation of the history and development of feminism around the world. The aspect I most appreciated about the book is Freedman's nuanced cultural analyses. She does an excellent job of setting context, discussing the variety of "feminisms" and feminist movements that exist through-out the world, and pointing out the ways in which race, class, and nationality affect women's experiences and perspectives. In fact, from reading this book I gained a new understanding of the way in which my identity and my view of my relationship to the world are culturally determined. My biggest criticism of the book is that it was a bit dry in places. At times I felt that the historical facts dominated and I wished there was more analysis of the reasons behind the events and perspectives she was presenting.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Robbins

    I read this book to help me with my feminist theory comps essay and for my women's studies class. Parts of it were a little bit dry, but overall, I found it helpful. It gave me a better understanding of the history of women's rights and of how female representation in politics, literature, and the arts has evolved over time. Some chapters were more pertinent to my scholarly and personal interests than others, but it was interesting to read. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in female re I read this book to help me with my feminist theory comps essay and for my women's studies class. Parts of it were a little bit dry, but overall, I found it helpful. It gave me a better understanding of the history of women's rights and of how female representation in politics, literature, and the arts has evolved over time. Some chapters were more pertinent to my scholarly and personal interests than others, but it was interesting to read. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in female representation and feminism.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Salazar

    Although the author was a bit redundant with the examples on women suffrage, this novel is a great introduction to women gender studies. No Turning Back clearly defines feminism and exemplifies the struggles that women have faced and continue to face throughout the world.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Finally got around to reading this book, and I am very grateful. Yes, it is a feminism 101 book (looking at other reviews), and some of her examples are repetitive; however, it is a really accessible book and sparked inner dialogue about my own beliefs. This book reinforced what I believed, gave me a little more ammo for the haters, and made me more self aware. Recommend this to everyone.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathleengconverse

    This book is an excellent overview of feminism, covering first wave through modern day feminist approaches and their intersection with racism and other social justice causes. Well researched historical take on important issues.

  13. 5 out of 5

    JaNel

    I kept thinking I'd just skim, but then I'd be drawn in to this paradigm that all of this should be obvious, but it isn't. It's vital that this awareness to stay vigilant and proactive remain in the forefront of the world's to-do list. p. 7 Why we need feminism today: -"worth" does not equal "equality" Worth means that a woman's experience is just as valid as a man's (it's not a goal to be "equal" or the same to a man's experience as if that's the standard -most societies privelge men as a group, I kept thinking I'd just skim, but then I'd be drawn in to this paradigm that all of this should be obvious, but it isn't. It's vital that this awareness to stay vigilant and proactive remain in the forefront of the world's to-do list. p. 7 Why we need feminism today: -"worth" does not equal "equality" Worth means that a woman's experience is just as valid as a man's (it's not a goal to be "equal" or the same to a man's experience as if that's the standard -most societies privelge men as a group, so social movements for women are necessary p. 9 "viewing the world through male eyes can misconstrue the female w/ disastrous results" but you also can't assume that all women have the same viewpoint. p. 38 Scientific revolution used to reinforce female inferiority by broad overgeneralization (and use of current specific examples) equating to nature led to women being forced to stay at home during the industrial revolution rather than exiting the home to earn wages with men p. 39 many terms "provide insight into the Eruopean worldview but they're not an accurate description of the rest of the world. i.e. the terms '1st world and 3rd world'" -in some parts of the world colonization replaced non-patriarchal values w/ European (patriarchal) point of view which led to: --Europeans giving new technology to men of those societies --Europeans insisting on dealing only with males (instead of female heads-of-state/villages) --encourages only education of males --African women have resisted these changes 1848 Seneca Falls: "we the people" does NOT mean "we, the white men" p. 46 while on the whole capitalism and democratic revolutions benefitted the common MAN, it disadvantaged women on th whole--and also highlighted and exacerbated the differences between the two--why should not women also benefit from these new ideas? Why did the move from agricultural life--i.e. private arena (from which men and women both participated more or less with equal labor) to labor away from the home i.e. public arena become the realm of men in modern societies? p. 47 sicen capitalism advantages actually deepened women's dependence on men, the only wedge to use (for Europe and, for later feminists as well) was education because this was the only entry allowed them to the public sphere (this was true in ancient societies as well i.e. Hypatia for which she was murdered for her ideas which challenged the early Christan church in Rome). Many men saw and resented this entrance/pathway to a stronger presence in the public sphere and resisted the education of women, saying it would "unsex" them (which it would if your definition meant soft, compacent, and submissive), but there were reasons to education them that women claimed: 1. Republican Motherhood--they were the primary nurturers/educators of sons 2. Protestants believed that every person had to learn to read so they could read the Bible 3. Didn't God love everyone equally? Fun Fact: Mary Wollencragt's daughter, mary, married the poet Shelley and became an author, Mary Shelley, of Frankenstein p. 49 Mary Astall--"men blamed women for being irrational, but denied them learning. Assumptions about the natural inferieority of women might not stand the test of education." p. 50 In the 1880s, "the heated language of feminists' political rights generally replaced the polite request of earlier thinkers." --they rejected the divine right of men over women just as revolutions rejected the divine right of kings. p. 53 Women's "choice" to be a wife and mother was not a true choice as long as it was based on limited education and opportunities p. 80 non white/black feminist dilemma (ignored/sidelined by both movements): "All the women are white, all the blacks are men, but some the us are Brave"--essays p. 87 "personal is political" What happens in the home should also be governed by the idea of human rights. Husbands cannot treat their children and wives as possessions. "Power operates within and through personal relations, including the sexual and the family." p. 93 "Our consciousness of gender, race, or class are all favricated hybrids forced on us by the terrible history of patriarchy, colonialism, and capitalism." p. 97 "When colonialists argued that they should rule over "less civilized" people because of their superior treatment of women, they ignored their own deplorable practices such as child labor, prostitution, corsets, wife-beating etc." p. 124 Somehow women working at home was seen as "natural"--not as work per se. Why was this? Because it had to be done? How did women's labor in the home become invisible? p. 166 Wage Gap: patriarchal system serves capitalism well because women are assumed to be lesser workers (men more), therefore they're paid less (men more) and treated like less/expected less (men treated more/expected more from) and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because why go to school, leave home, pay chile cared for such a lame and unfulfilling job. It made more sense (and was used as a logical argument to keep women in the home) to stay at home and perform unpaid domestic service (Also, men who succeeded in the capitalistic/patriarchal economy did and continue to do so with the help of unpaid wife (9 out of 10 male CEOs) while women who succeed only rarely have a househusband as support. p. 181 Affirmative Action: asked how she felt about getting a job just because she was a woman, she responded, "It feels better than being rejected for the positiion because I'm a woman." --besides evalutation of personal merit are highly sibjective and contain social prejudices/biases p. 194 Feminization of Poverty: older women are more liely to be poor because they start working later, earn less, and thus accumulate less for SS. p. 196 unemployment pay (more likely going to men) is seen as a right, but welfare (more likely going to women) is constantly challenged p. 197 Gov'ts should enforce equality in workplace laws, but also value labor that women provide in homes w/o limiting women to motherhood OR excuding mean for parental benefits. p. 204 If differences between men and women had no social consequences, no economic disadvantages, feminists might not question the definitions of male and female or care WHO and how they are defined and controled the idea of feminity or the female body. p. 226 Assumptions about differences between male and femal capabilities may be more subject to social practices than biloty i.e. 1964, the difference between the male and female marathon times was 1 and 1/2 hours. In 1984, the difference was 20 min. Think about this more: p. 270 --"alienation of female sexuality is when it is defined by someone ELSE (i.e. men) for THEIR pleasure." So porn is porn because it uses women by men for men's pleasure. p. 272 --men have been dominant so long, that it's hard to say what women would do w/ utter freedom--men have even monopolized the construction of sexuality (perhaps towards heterosexuality?) so obscenity is defined by that which males (or women who are socialized with that construct) uncomfortable. p. 275 --regardless of the complexities of all these issues, one thing is clear..."sexualization of culture is by no means a feminist victory" but does that mean that women are victims whenever they want to "look pretty"? --to get close to the answer of what women's idea of sexuality would mean we need two things: 1. financial options 2. right to determine their own reproductive lives p. 284 "male entitlement" leads to raper or would if "they could get away with it" according to anonymous surveys. The idea that they (the male respondants) DESERVE what they take ***p. 288 "The process of naming (rape, harassment, etc) has identified as a CRIME acts once accepted as the price of femal existence" p. 330 "Why should we send our children to die because our leaders can't solve our problems through talking?"

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kali

    To give a short synopsis, No Turning Back outlines the history of the feminist movements around the world and how global feminism is, and that they not only share several goals and beliefs, but they also have their own specific goals depending on the region and/or country that they are in. The author, Estelle B. Freedman also shows how feminism has evolved over the decades (mainly in the U.S. since she is a U.S. feminism expert), and divides the book into parts based on the problems that feminist To give a short synopsis, No Turning Back outlines the history of the feminist movements around the world and how global feminism is, and that they not only share several goals and beliefs, but they also have their own specific goals depending on the region and/or country that they are in. The author, Estelle B. Freedman also shows how feminism has evolved over the decades (mainly in the U.S. since she is a U.S. feminism expert), and divides the book into parts based on the problems that feminists face around the world. The sections are: before feminism; the emergence of feminism; work and family; health and sexuality; and feminist visions and strategies. Before Feminism: Freedman begins the book by talking a little bit about the status of women and minority groups in the U.S. and around the world before feminism became such a public and big movement. Women were denied access to education which, in turn, led to their economic dependency on men. The patriarchy is also something that Estelle contributes to the status of women, but acknowledges that it isn't present everywhere in the world, citing goddesses that were (and still are in some cases) worshiped on the same level that gods were, as well as pointing out that there were many empresses and other female rulers. Feminism is often seen from a Western (and even more often an American) perspective, but Freedman outlines women's statuses in places such as Africa, Asia, and pre-colonial Latin America. What I liked about this chapter is that it gave an overview of the status of women compared to men, as well as acknowledging that there were many regions that did, in fact, have something akin to equal rights long before Western countries did. I felt that it was important to have that in a book like this because it shows that, while many problems in regards to gender equality are universal, there are ways that women in other parts of the world that had more value in their respective societies than women in the West often did. The Emergence of Feminism: This section is dedicated to not only the beginnings of feminism, but also to the top priorities of each wave of feminism (education, reproductive rights, voting rights, etc.). One of the things that Freedman talks about that I had no knowledge of beforehand, was the fact that feminism took on racist rhetoric that white society permeated because feminists were afraid that the movement wouldn't be taken seriously if they were associated with people of color. The section also discusses feminism in terms of Marxism, Socialism, and Colonialism. This section had a lot of historical information and context in it, which is great for people who want to know why feminism evolved differently in one area of the world than in another. Work and Family: For the most part, "Work and Family" Freedman discusses how oftentimes jobs such as stay-at-home moms are often not seen as jobs by society at all, because of the assumption that women are required by women because of their ability to give birth. The section also talks about prostitution, and not only about how women become prostitutes, but also-and I feel that this is a more important thing to talk about-why they become involved in prostitution. There are also references to sex workers, and the difference between prostitutes and sex workers; also pointed out is the fact that just because there is a job out there (such as sex work) that we don't see as being a "proper" job, doesn't mean it deserves to be treated as such, and especially doesn't mean that we should all look down on those involved in sex work. This section goes over many parts of women's lives that are not often talked about, and subjects that are considered taboo. This is the thing that I enjoyed the most, which is why it is probably my favorite section in this book. Health and Sexuality: "Health and Sexuality" is in some ways an extension of the previous section in the sense that it pertains to childbirth and the ability to do so as a reason for certain things to be restricted towards women (in the past section it was employment outside the home, in this one it is birth control and other such things). Many times in politics and the media, people often site medical terms and knowledge to justify their sexist views, which is something that, unfortunately, isn't new. In this section, Freedman outlines examples of how that has happened over the years (mainly in the last few centuries) and how that has continued today in ways that we don't even really notice most of the time. There is one part titled "The Diminished Female Ideal" which pertains to body image and the unreasonable and unattainable body type that women are "supposed" to have, according to society. Since this is something that is a huge problem with women and girls (not only because of eating disorders but also because it flat out states that there is a "one size fits all" for women and that that is the only real thing that women need to worry about), and I'm very glad that the author dedicated part of her book to this, and showed how the female ideal differs in different parts of the world, but has the same affect on society as a whole. Another subject that I'm very happy was included was child sexual abuse because a lot of times it gets overlooked because many people find it too hard to talk about; but I think that is the very reason why we need to talk about it. It gives insight as to why it is hard for children to talk about the abuse (oftentimes because their abusers condition them to think that it's ok, or that the child will get into trouble for the abuse that is happening to them) and shows how feminists have helped redefine sexual abuse and incest, and how the theme of power plays a role in it. Feminist Visions and Strategies: Phew! Final part, are you still with me? To keep it short, the last section is about how language can be unintentionally sexist, such as when someone says policeman instead of police officer and things like that. There are actually examples of sexism in many languages (English, Arabic, etc.) and the first chapter in this section talks about the different things that feminists have done and are currently trying to do to have more gender inclusive terms. One example is the use of the title Ms. instead of Miss or Mrs. The reason for this is because it is implied that Miss is only used for unmarried women, and Mrs. is used for married women; have you ever noticed that there aren't two titles for men depending on their marital status? Many feminists have noticed this, and so Ms. was coined in response to it, showing that a woman shouldn't have to be defined by her marital status just like a man isn't. The rest of the section talks about current issues in women;s rights (mainly in the west and the U.S. but also in other parts of the world) and how they can affect the future of the world, not only women. All in all, I very much enjoyed this book and give it 5 stars. I would recommend this book to anyone (whether or not you identify as a feminist) to pick up this book if you are curious about the history of feminism, and what exactly it is.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jaclynn

    A well-rounded look at the history of feminism from a predominantly Western point of view, but does make an effort to include Islamic and Middle Eastern feminists, movements in Asia and the Americas as well as African feminist movements. The good: An overview of the history of feminism and the general theories and practices. It's very concise and a quick read. It's not complicated or difficult to comprehend as many theoretical texts tend to be on the subject. I enjoyed most the parts focusing on A well-rounded look at the history of feminism from a predominantly Western point of view, but does make an effort to include Islamic and Middle Eastern feminists, movements in Asia and the Americas as well as African feminist movements. The good: An overview of the history of feminism and the general theories and practices. It's very concise and a quick read. It's not complicated or difficult to comprehend as many theoretical texts tend to be on the subject. I enjoyed most the parts focusing on non-Western women, for example African women fighting colonialism via the Aba Riots. The bad: This isn't written objectively, the author clearly thinks highly of third wave feminism and speaks ill of the second wave movement. The author's constant use of gender when she means sex was like nails being run down a chalkboard for me. Gender is a fiction created by patriarchy, a hierarchy imposed by men to ensure their dominance over women. Our sex cannot be disregarded, in spite of recent efforts to reframe gender as an identity rather than a hierarchy. Sexual and reproductive exploitation of the female body are the material basis of women’s oppression – our biology is used as a means of domination by our oppressors, men. The assignation of gender roles (think 1950's stereotypes based on sex) based upon sex characteristics is a tool of patriarchy used to subordinate women. If not because of our bodies, our sex, why were and are women oppressed? Sex is WHY we are oppressed. Gender is HOW we are oppressed. I worry that people will read this book and conflate the two.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    I'm honestly a little befuddled by the rave reviews of this one. It's informative, but it's essentially an intro to gender studies textbook in a more readable format -- I didn't see anything revolutionary in its content, nor coverage of any truly new ground. The book seems to be aimed just at newcomers to historical feminism; for that audience, it's an excellent starting place. I'm honestly a little befuddled by the rave reviews of this one. It's informative, but it's essentially an intro to gender studies textbook in a more readable format -- I didn't see anything revolutionary in its content, nor coverage of any truly new ground. The book seems to be aimed just at newcomers to historical feminism; for that audience, it's an excellent starting place.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cathren Cohen

    Fantastic history of feminism touching on all issues of women's rights and empowerment. I also really enjoyed the examples from outside of the U.S. Slightly dated, as it was published 15 years ago; I would love to see an updated version! Fantastic history of feminism touching on all issues of women's rights and empowerment. I also really enjoyed the examples from outside of the U.S. Slightly dated, as it was published 15 years ago; I would love to see an updated version!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    A lot of fascinating information here, although, at 16 years old, it's already a bit dated. In some places, the presentation of information was too list-like for my taste, but overall I really enjoyed reading it. A lot of fascinating information here, although, at 16 years old, it's already a bit dated. In some places, the presentation of information was too list-like for my taste, but overall I really enjoyed reading it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne Bitar

    This is an incredible resource for teaching across the humanities.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cassidy

    Somewhat dated and lacking discussion of disability rights in reference to feminism but a nice comprehensive history from 1st through 3rd wave feminism.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    Interesting history of feminism but very dry with a number of names and dates which got tedious.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Dawn

    BECAUSE! I want to live in a world where both men and women can vote. Work whatever jobs they wish and be payed at the right wages. Where men and women can take leave to spend time with their babies and children. Where violence against men is taken seriously instead of laughed at because he was 'hit by a girl'. I want to live in a gender equal world, but not the one this book promotes. This isn't fixing the problem, it's just flipping the scales. Yes, our ancestors played the game differently and BECAUSE! I want to live in a world where both men and women can vote. Work whatever jobs they wish and be payed at the right wages. Where men and women can take leave to spend time with their babies and children. Where violence against men is taken seriously instead of laughed at because he was 'hit by a girl'. I want to live in a gender equal world, but not the one this book promotes. This isn't fixing the problem, it's just flipping the scales. Yes, our ancestors played the game differently and generally, the men took care of business, leaving their wives at home to play house. Yes, we did have to stand up for our rights to do everything they did, but we have these rights now. Why are we still fighting? There are no curfews on women, we don't have to sit separately to men or have limitations on places we can go, products we can buy. Yes women get raped, but let me inform you that so do men, the unfortunate thing is though that when a man gets raped or abused, he isn't taken seriously. It's funny to think that even once women have all of these rights, they still just want to have their Facebook job listed as 'Full Time Mummies!!', letting their husbands bring in all of the money, working 12 hours a day, but still giving them freedom self reliance respect WHATEVER THEY WANT! Whether that be going out every single weekend, a fancy car with personalised 'wifey' license plates, a holiday every. Single. Year. Women like these show the bad sides of the gender and (I will add) do not speak for all of us! Oh and next time, my dear feminists friends, you want to make a video detailing how hard life is for us, don't dress up six year old girls in Disney Princess dresses and get them to swear to make a point. You're not convincing me there's no equality, you're convincing me that you're bad parents. You're also putting your fight a step back, because now no one takes you seriously.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I like how the author went into detail about feminism in other countries, and didn't just gloss over it I like how the author went into detail about feminism in other countries, and didn't just gloss over it

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I wanted to love this book. But it was so hard for me to stay interested in what the author had to say. I may return to it later but for now I need to just move on.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Freedman tries to show how the feminist movement began much earlier than many have seen and that it's not over. She tries to present the "holes" that she sees in the arguments of many over the years. She has her own definition of feminism, so she presents the pieces of "truth" she feels Stanton, Anthony, Mill, etc. were lacking. She measures examples throughout history and into our modern age against her own point of view. I guess the greatest value I've seen in this book is that her writing cha Freedman tries to show how the feminist movement began much earlier than many have seen and that it's not over. She tries to present the "holes" that she sees in the arguments of many over the years. She has her own definition of feminism, so she presents the pieces of "truth" she feels Stanton, Anthony, Mill, etc. were lacking. She measures examples throughout history and into our modern age against her own point of view. I guess the greatest value I've seen in this book is that her writing challenged me to think more deeply,dialoguing with the author, because I was looking for the holes in her argument as she presented the holes in others'.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This is a decent history of global feminism, although it focuses mostly on the second wave in the U.S. There is also very little coverage of the contributions that working-class women, women with disabilities, and trans women have made to the feminist movement, which is REALLY disappointing. This book may be a good introduction if the reader is new to feminism, but those who know the history of mainstream feminist politics already will probably desire something a bit more nuanced and that does n This is a decent history of global feminism, although it focuses mostly on the second wave in the U.S. There is also very little coverage of the contributions that working-class women, women with disabilities, and trans women have made to the feminist movement, which is REALLY disappointing. This book may be a good introduction if the reader is new to feminism, but those who know the history of mainstream feminist politics already will probably desire something a bit more nuanced and that does not leave out certain groups of women almost entirely (save a few mentions).

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Great book for people looking for an overview of the history of feminism and the general theories and practices. It's very concise and a quick read. It's not complicated or difficult to comprehend as many theoretical texts tend to be on the subject. I suggest this to women (AND men) of all walks of life. Interestingly I read it the summer after it first came out only to have it assigned in class the next semester in college (woohoo one less book to read that semester!!). Great book for people looking for an overview of the history of feminism and the general theories and practices. It's very concise and a quick read. It's not complicated or difficult to comprehend as many theoretical texts tend to be on the subject. I suggest this to women (AND men) of all walks of life. Interestingly I read it the summer after it first came out only to have it assigned in class the next semester in college (woohoo one less book to read that semester!!).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    A good Women's Studies primer. Maybe it's my age, maybe it's my apathy, but at some point I had to stop reading about the domestic workload discrepancy. The inequitable distribution of domestic/parenting responsibilities and labor is absolutely true. Even for those of us who married well. And the dynamic is changing, slowly. Reading about it, though gives rise to a resentment that I don't feel comfortable living with. A good Women's Studies primer. Maybe it's my age, maybe it's my apathy, but at some point I had to stop reading about the domestic workload discrepancy. The inequitable distribution of domestic/parenting responsibilities and labor is absolutely true. Even for those of us who married well. And the dynamic is changing, slowly. Reading about it, though gives rise to a resentment that I don't feel comfortable living with.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Montana

    You can find this review and others on my blog https://montanasmusings.wordpress.com This book covered a variety of feminist topics, such as reproductive justice, women in politics, body images, etc. It is a good read, but I would recommend it for people who are just beginning to learn about feminism. As someone who is majoring in feminist studies, it was a bit of a repeat of information, but it's still worthwhile to read. You can find this review and others on my blog https://montanasmusings.wordpress.com This book covered a variety of feminist topics, such as reproductive justice, women in politics, body images, etc. It is a good read, but I would recommend it for people who are just beginning to learn about feminism. As someone who is majoring in feminist studies, it was a bit of a repeat of information, but it's still worthwhile to read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Freedman does a good job of spanning the history of feminism, and touching on the various global, racial, economic, sexual, and other factors that have shaped the feminist movement throughout time and around the world. Of course with a book that aims to cover the history of feminism, no one topic is delved into fully or covered in great depth. Overall, though, a skilled overview.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.