1st Edition

Feminist Thinkers and the Demands of Femininity The Lives and Work of Intellectual Women

By Lori Marso Copyright 2006
    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    238 Pages
    by Routledge

    Examining the lives and work of historical and contemporary feminist intellectuals, Feminist Thinkers and the Demands of Femininity explores the feminist struggle to "have it all."  This fascinating interdisciplinary study focuses on how feminist thinkers throughout history have long striven to balance politics, intellectual work, and the material conditions of femininity.  Taking a close look at this quest for an integrated life in the autobiographical and theoretical writings of well-known feminists such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Emma Goldman, and  Simone de Beauvoir, alongside contemporary counterparts, like Azar Nafisi, Audre Lorde, and Ana Castillo, Marso moves beyond questions of who women are and what women want, adding an innovative personal dimension to feminist theory, showing how changing conceptions of femininity manifest themselves within all women’s lives.

    1. Feminist Genealogies: Connecting Women's Lives
    2. Women's Situation, I: The Material Constraints of Femininity
    3. Women's Situations, II: Existential Experiments with the Feminine
    4. Love in Exile: Reading the Memoirs of Mary Wollstonecraft and Germaine de Staël
    5. A Feminists Search for Love: Emma Goldman on the Politics of Marriage, Love, Sexuality, and the Feminine
    6. Maternal Genealogies and Feminist Consciousness: Simone de Beauvoir on Mothers, Daughters, and the Potential for Sisterhood
    7. Wanting it All: Contemporary Struggles for Freedom and Fulfillment


    Lori Marso is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Women's and Gender Studies program at Union College in Schenectady, NY.

    "In creating a conversation among pioneering feminist thinkers, who struggled to resist the demands of conventional femininity as a key component of their political activism, Lori Marso makes a critical contribution to building an "imagined community" of women as a strategy for continuing feminist struggles to achieve meaningful freedom."

    —Mary Hawkesworth, Editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society

    "Creatively exploring the complexities of ‘living as a woman’ and ‘thinking as a feminist’ in the writings of Germaine de Stael, Mary Wollstonecraft, Emma Goldman, and Simone de Beauvoir, Lori Marso breathes new life into the familiar feminist slogan, ‘the personal is political.’"

    —Linda Zerilli, author of Feminism and the Abyss of Freedom


    "...Marso's work, in my view, exemplifies an admirable tendency in recent feminist scholarship to reconnect and engage with classical feminist authors. The author envisages her project as opening a dialogue with these feminist mothers and potentially inspiring a shared consciousness among women of different races, classes, and cultures of the role that restrictive social norms play in their lives."

    --Regina F. Titunik, University of Hawaii at Hilo