audiobook (Unabridged) ∣ The American History of an Idea
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A comprehensive history of the struggle to define womanhood in America, from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century
"Lillian Faderman's is a book many of us have been waiting for, the first comprehensive history of American women to capture the rich discoveries that have been made over the last half century, juxtaposing the abstraction of 'woman' with the range, resilience, and resistance of real women."—Ellen Carol DuBois, author of Suffrage: Women's Long Battle for the Vote
What does it mean to be a "woman" in America? Award-winning gender and sexuality scholar Lillian Faderman traces the evolution of the meaning from Puritan ideas of God's plan for women to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and its reversals to the impact of such recent events as #metoo, the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the election of Kamala Harris as vice president, and the transgender movement.
This wide-ranging 400-year history chronicles conflicts, retreats, defeats, and hard-won victories in both the private and the public sectors and shines a light on the often-overlooked battles of enslaved women and women leaders in tribal nations. Noting that every attempt to cement a particular definition of "woman" has been met with resistance, Faderman also shows that successful challenges to the status quo are often short-lived. As she underlines, the idea of womanhood in America continues to be contested.