Jessie Bernard was one of the foremost early feminist sociologists and public intellectuals in women's studies. In The Jessie Bernard Reader, Michael S. Kimmel and Yasemin Besen have compiled her most intriguing and influential work on marriage, the family, sexuality and changing women's roles in the United States. Bernard's pioneering works bridged the gap between academic social science and public advocacy for gender equality. Her books were landmarks in demarcating the effects of the "separation of spheres." Among her most celebrated arguments was that couples experienced two different marriages, "his" and "hers"-and that his was better than hers. This volume will inspire a new generation of scholars, a generation that inherits the gains for which Bernard struggled her entire career.
“The Jessie Bernard Reader is a wonderful gift to all of us, whether sociologist or lay reader. Although reluctant to wear the mantle of feminism, Professor Bernard was a feminist before the Second Wave came along to give it heft. In her quiet insistence that empirical work mattered—and her demonstration of that belief in her work—she helped to change the face of sociology and made a lasting contribution to the study of gender. Her notion of a ‘his’ and ‘her’ marriage and her critical examination of motherhood were revolutionary for the time and permanently changed our understanding of both the dynamics of marriage and the romantic myths surrounding motherhood.”
—Lillian B. Rubin, Ph.D.