It is more than fifty years since Betty Friedan diagnosed malaise among suburban housewives and the National Organization of Women was founded. Across the decades, the feminist movement brought about significant progress on workplace discrimination, reproductive rights, and sexual assault. Yet, the proverbial million-dollar question remains: why is there still so much to be done?
With this book, Lynn S. Chancer takes stock of the American feminist movement and engages with a new burst of feminist activism. She articulates four common causes—advancing political and economic equality, allowing intimate and sexual freedom, ending violence against women, and expanding the cultural representation of women—considering each in turn to assess what has been gained (or not). It is around these shared concerns, Chancer argues, that we can continue to build a vibrant and expansive feminist movement.
After the Rise and Stall of American Feminism takes the long view of the successes and shortcomings of feminism(s). Chancer articulates a broad agenda developed through advancing intersectional concerns about class, race, and sexuality. She advocates ways to reduce the divisiveness that too frequently emphasizes points of disagreement over shared aims. And she offers a vision of individual and social life that does not separate the "personal" from the "political." Ultimately, this book is about not only redressing problems, but also reasserting a future for feminism and its enduring ability to change the world.
About the author
Lynn S. Chancer is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and Executive Officer of the Ph.D. Program in Sociology at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the author of four books and numerous articles on everything from gender, race, and class to pornography, prostitution, and beauty.
"In this sweeping, unflinching account, After the Rise and Stall of American Feminism tackles the paradox of American feminism. Interrogating feminism's own thorny contradictions and challenges, Lynn Chancer offers women a bold and inspiring plan for claiming equality with men—once and for all."
—Lisa Wade, author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus
"After the Rise and Stall of American Feminism is an engaging, well written, and accessible map of our feminist past, present, and future. This book should be required reading for everyone interested in gender justice and committed to the full human rights of all women and men."
—France Winddance Twine, coeditor of Feminisms and Antiracism: International Struggles for Justice
"With her characteristic brilliance, Lynn Chancer charts the hard-won victories and persistent obstacles that have marked women's changing status since the rise of second wave feminism. After the Rise and Stall of American Feminism is a tour-de-force diagnosis of contemporary feminism's conundrums and a blueprint for feminists of all stripes to come together to achieve equality."
—Kathleen Gerson, author of The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family
"Lynn Chancer offers us an alternative to 'leaning in,' one responsive to the needs of diverse groups of women and rooted in intersectional activism. Her insights are a welcome and revitalizing intervention, outlining a bold and practical way forward and a hopeful path toward 'big tent' feminism."
—Kerwin Kaye, Wesleyan University
"Lynn Chancer, a lifelong feminist scholar, has the perspective necessary to help us understand where feminism is now, where it came from, and where it could go. Whether you're a newly-minted feminist or an old hand, this book is a fresh read on feminism's promise for full liberation as well as the roadblocks that could stop the revolution in its tracks."
—Laurie Essig, author of Love, Inc. Dating Apps, the Big White Wedding, and Chasing the Happily Neverafter
"After the Rise and Stall of American Feminism makes a compelling case for how feminists can find common ground from an intersectional perspective to organize for social justice. Impressive and timely, this is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in gender, social movements, and contemporary culture."
—Isabel Pinedo, Hunter College, CUNY
"Lynn Chancer's advice for completing the feminist revolution is sage, practical, and eminently useful. Feminists young and old will be reinvigorated by this call to battle."
—Judith Lorber, author of Breaking the Bowls: Degendering and Feminist Change
"Lynn Chancer illuminates the commonalities that connect feminists from across the movement. Anyone who has been marginalized because of any aspect of their being—including gender, sexuality, race, class, education, and beyond—will find solace and hope in this book."
—Beverly-Xaviera Watkins, NYU College of Global Public Health
"Throughout this well documented and cogent book, Chancer puts her finger squarely on the inextricable links between the political and personal in tackling these major issues of American feminism."
—Joan Pennel, Affilia
"[This] book provides a well-written to-do list for the next feminist generation. In her standout chapter, 'Debating the 'F' Word,' Chancer provides a concise history of America's complicated relationship with feminism....Chancer's historical storytelling is exceptional here. It is both compelling and accessible."
—Trisha L. Crawshaw, Gender & Society
"[Chancer's] attempt to think through how feminism's sometimes-unproductive divisiveness is connected to structural forces around gender is brave and insightful....[Her] creative strategic suggestions should spark conversation and thought."
—Nancy Whittier, Social Forces