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Antifeminism in cultural context
To give today's readers an understanding of the social and political forces that actively fought against any changes in women's status in the United States, the editors selected these original examples from the writings of the time that appeared in popular books and magazines. Opponents of women's equality frequently voiced their opinions about 19th-century issues of women's suffrage, dress reform, self-expression, independence, and other topics that touched upon the perceived roles and duties of women. Such public diatribes continued into the 10th century as determined antifeminists argued against increased opportunities for women in employment and education, denied the propriety of family planning, and admonished against women's involvement in politics.
Arguments based on ridicule, "natural law," and false claims
Some opponents merely dismissed or ridiculed calls for changes in women's status, without specifying particular flaws in the feminist position. Others cited divine ordination, applied to "natural law," and fanned public fears of familial and social disintegration. Frequently these critics resorted to charges of presumed lesbianism, communism, and socialism against advocates of women's rights and against the movement itself. This adamant opposition to equality for women was a manifestation of common apprehension about ongoing social, economic, and political changes beyond antifeminist control.
Antifeminists in their own words
Today few people have even an inkling of the vehemence, theatrical posturing, and convoluted reasoning of the antifeminist forces. This varied selection of original sources puts an illuminating spotlight on the arguments presented by opponents of women's equality that is drawn from an extensive body of writings, ranging from the elegant pronouncements of a popular politician to sincere endorsements of the status quo by female apologists for those opposed to the women's movement, to purveyors of low satire in the popular press. For modern readers, this collection provides the opportunity to encounter directly the reasoning, opinions, and perceptions of those that resisted and criticized the goals and achievements of feminism.
A valuable resource for many disciplines.
A particularly valuable feature of this set is its wealth of primary source material from the 19th and early 20th centuries, including material from books and newspapers. Very few libraries have collected these sources and chances are no single collection has them all. These volumes are of great interest to women's studies, women's history, gender studies, cultural studies, as well as history, political science, sociology, and literature. Many of the examples of antifeminist writing found in the set can enrich classroom discussions and assignments that involve communication, writing, and rhetoric.
Available individually by volume
1. Opposition to the Women's Movement in the United States, 1848-1929 (0-8153-2713-7) 400 pages
2. Redefining the New Woman, 1920-1963 (0-8153-2714-5) 344 pages
3. Reaction to the Modern Women's Movement, 1963 to the Present (0-8153-2715-3) 352 pages
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