Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women's Anthology for a New Millennium

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Robin Morgan
Simon and Schuster, Nov 1, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 640 pages
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Thirty years after Robin Morgan's groundbreaking anthology, Sisterhood Is Powerful -- named by The American Librarians' Association one of "The 100 Most Influential Books of the Twentieth Century" -- comes this landmark new collection for the twenty-first century.
Sisterhood Is Forever -- with over 60 original essays Morgan commissioned from well-known feminist leaders plus energetic Gen X and Y activists -- is a composite mural of the female experience in America: where we've been, where we are, where we're going. The stunning scope of topics ranges from reproductive, health, and environmental issues to workplace inequities and the economics of women's unpaid labor; from globalization to the politics of aging; from cyberspace, violence against women, and electoral politics to spirituality, the law, the media, and academia. The deliberately audacious mix of contributors spans different generations, races, ethnicities, and sexual preferences: CEOs, housewives, rock stars, farmers, scientists, prostituted women, politicians, women in prison, firefighters, disability activists, artists, flight attendants, an army general, an astronaut, an anchorwoman, even a pair of teens who edit a girls' magazine. Each article celebrates the writer's personal voice -- her humor, passion, anger, and the integrity of her perspective -- while offering the latest data on women's status, political analysis, new "how-to" tools for activism, and visionary yet practical strategies for the future -- strategies needed now more than ever. Robin Morgan's own contributions are everything her readers expect: prophetic, powerfully argued, unsentimentally lyrical. From her introduction: "The book you hold in your hands is a tool for the future -- a future also in your hands." •
Edna Acosta-Belén • Carol J. Adams • Margot Adler • Natalie Angier • Ellen Appel-Bronstein • Mary Baird • Brenda Berkman • Christine E. Bose • Kathy Boudin • Ellen Bravo • Vednita Carter • Wendy Chavkin • Kimberlé Crenshaw • Gail Dines • Paula DiPerna • Helen Drusine • Andrea Dworkin • Eve Ensler • Barbara Findlen • Mary Foley • Patricia Friend • Theresa Funiciello • Carol Gilligan • Sara K. Gould • Ana Grossman The Guerrilla Girls • Beverly Guy-Sheftall • Kathleen Hanna • Laura Hershey • Anita Hill • Florence Howe • Donna M. Hughes • Karla Jay • Mae C. Jemison • Carol Jenkins • Claudia J. Kennedy • Alice Kessler-Harris Clara Sue Kidwell • Frances Kissling • Sandy Lerner • Suzanne Braun Levine • Barbara Macdonald • Catharine A. MacKinnon Jane Roland Martin • Debra Michals • Robin Morgan Jessica Neuwirth • Judy Norsigian • Eleanor Holmes Norton • Grace Paley • Emma Peters-Axtell Cynthia Rich Amy Richards • Cecile Richards Carolyn Sachs • Marianne Schnall • Pat Schroeder • Patricia Silverthorn • Eleanor Smeal Roslyn D. Smith Gloria Steinem Mary Thom • Jasmine Victoria • Faye Wattleton • Marie Wilson • Helen Zia
 

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Sisterhood is forever: the women's anthology for a new millennium

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Celebrated author and activist Morgan compiles her third anthology of feminist writings, modeled on her now-classic Sisterhood Is Powerful, first published in 1970, and Sisterhood Is Global. While her ... Read full review

Contents

New World Women Robin Morgan
xv
Biologically Correct
3
Reproductive Rights
17
Electoral Politics
28
Multiple Oppressions
43
Violence Against Women
58
Womens Studies
70
A New Social Contract
85
Prostitution Slavery
315
Just a Housewife?
342
The Clerical Proletariat
349
Pink Collar Ghetto Blue Collar Token
358
Sustaining Farms Feeding People
368
Ins and Outs of Womens
387
Women in Academia
401
Claudia J Kennedy Lt Gen Ret
409

A Quiet Revolution in Psychology
94
A Users Guide
103
We Are the Ones Who Can Make a Change
121
From Riot Grrrl Rock Star
131
The Thirtysomething Revolution
138
Notes of a Feminist Long Distance Runner
145
The Politics of Aging
152
Restoring the Power of Thought Woman
165
The Legacy of Black Feminism
176
Active at the Intersections of Gender
195
Ruminations on
205
Lesbian Feminist Overview
212
Poverty Wears a Female Face
222
Rights Realities and Issues of Women with Disabilities
233
Women in Prison
244
Whats the Score?
285
Sexual Harassment
296
Unmasking
306
Women in Broadcast Media
418
A Sacred Home for Women
430
Diary of the Feminist Masked Avengers
437
The Power to Change
447
Women Entrepreneurs
456
Combating the Religious Right
464
Dancing Against the Vatican
474
The Funding Struggle
485
Womens and Other Animals Rights
494
Feminism and the Environment
503
Networking the
517
A Strategic Advance for Feminism?
526
Why Peace Is More Than Ever a Feminist Issue
537
The Art of Building Feminist Institutions to Last
541
The Spiritual Frontier
551
The Worldly Frontier
560
To Vintage Feminists
571
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Page xxxi - Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

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About the author (2007)

Biologically Correct

Natalie Angier

In all my years as a science writer, I''ve sought to encourage friends, relatives, and other members of the laity not to be so afraid of science. Science doesn''t belong only to scientists, I''ve exhorted, any more than art belongs only to artists, or politics to the Eeyores and Dumbos of Washington, D.C. Science is the property of the human race. It''s one of our greatest achievements, and it doesn''t take nearly as much effort as nonscientists believe to become reasonably literate in a particular discipline, to the point where you may even venture an opinion on, say, the rights of a U.S. consumer to drive an SUV, global warming be damned, versus the rights of a citizen of Bangladesh to continue living above sea level.

But I''m afraid that when it comes to my most cherished of subjects, evolutionary biology, the concept of scientific populism has been taken too far. It seems practically everybody is now an amateur Darwinist, willing to speculate grandly on the deep Plio-Pleistocene origins of all modern vices known to man, woman, or Tony Soprano. Lawyers bring evolutionary reasoning into the courtroom. Psychologists discuss the evolutionary basis of depression, neuroticism, anorexia, alcoholism, a wicked sweet tooth. Theologians insist the human brain evolved to believe in god, who may or may not return the favor by believing in evolution.

Now, I don''t believe evolution is a "theory," any more than I believe gravity and the second law of thermodynamics are theories. I consider myself a Darwinist right down to my DNA, which I''m happy to share 98.5 percent of with our cousins, the chimpanzees. But it''s one thing to revel in Darwin''s magnificent, overarching theory of evolution by natural selection, and another to play Spin-the-HMS Beagle of a Saturday night and call the results "science." Yet to my disgust and occasionally crippling sense of despair, many of the slap-happy, data-free Darwinesque theory-ettes to emerge in recent years have been widely dispensed and accepted, to the point where they, too, are considered the biological equivalents of E=MC2. And nowhere has the acceptance of evolution-tinged notions been greater, more credulous, and more insidious than for those purporting to explain the supposed differences between the sexes. Darwinophiles, particularly the subspecies who label themselves "evolutionary psychologists," love to talk about the gulf that separates men and women. Everywhere I turn, there they are: thematic variations of the dreary old ditty, "Higgamus hoggamus/women are monogamous; hoggamus, higgamus/men are polygamous." Or, in another mildewed rendering: men are ardent, women coy. Or how about: men want quantity, women quality. Or take that: men want sex, women want love. Evolutionary psychology has newly proved old verities to be true. Not necessarily with data, mind you -- how much data do you need to prove the obvious? -- but with nifty new theoretical constructs and sufficiently high jargon-wattage terminology to lend a spangle of rigor to the field.

For example, evolutionary psychologists (evo psychos) love to talk about "mental modules," little cerebral fiefdoms that supposedly operate independently and subliminally to prevent us from behaving in the rational, integrated, thoughtful manner that we deluded femi-Nazi types might strive to accomplish. As a result of these finely honed modules, which evo psychos liken to the separate tools in a Swiss army knife, we will do things that may seem illogical and even counterproductive to our lives overall -- say, by choosing a dumb mate just because he''s tall or she has big breasts and our "mate-finding" module sees the person as a bearer of good genes or a fecund womb, thus the best tool for the job of reproducing. So what if our intellectual or kinship-bonding modules disapprove of what our mate-finding module brought home? And so what if there is as yet no evidence for the existence of these mental modules? Evo psychos also emphasize the "differential reproductive potential" between men and women, transmutating the numeric discrepancy between a man''s sperm cells and a woman''s egg cells into any and all sex-linked inequities you care to mention: the rarity of female CEOs or Nobel laureates; the spareness of the average female''s salary; the disparity in gumption, motion, get-up-and-go-tion.

No longer are the "evolved" differences between men and women presumed hypothetical until proven actual, as they might have been as recently as the early 1990s; now they are pretty much post-factual. For example, in his essay "The End of Courtship," bioethicist Leon Kass (chosen by President George W. Bush to head a national bioethics advisory panel), quotes the tired hoggamus doggerel, declaring -- without apology, footnote, or citation -- that "Ogden Nash had it right." (Memo to Kass: the verse was written by William James.) This keeper of the nation''s moral compass asserts that a "natural obstacle" to courtship and marriage is "the deeply ingrained, natural waywardness and unruliness of the human male." One can make a "good case," Kass continues, "that biblical religion is, not least, an attempt to domesticate male sexuality and male erotic longings," although how good a case depends on whether you consider an Old Testament hero like King Solomon, who had 700 wives and 300 concubines, to be an exemplar of domesticated masculinity. As for modern women, Kass pities us as we hop unnaturally from bed to uncommitted bed, "living their most fertile years neither in the homes of their fathers nor their husbands." Far from enjoying "sexual liberation," he says, we are awash in quiet desperation, "unprotected, lonely, and out of sync with their inborn nature."

Apart from the general yuckiness of Kass''s aspartame-tainted nostalgia, I wouldn''t mind terribly if such self-styled neo-Darwinists restricted their pontificating to insisting that men are, on average, more sexually rapacious and prone to philandering than women. I don''t believe that claim, and in fact some evidence indicates otherwise: while performing routine prenatal screening tests for the presence of disease genes, genetic counselors have found incidentally that anywhere from

5 to 15 percent of babies are fathered by somebody other than the mother''s husband -- and surely not all these women were forced against their "inborn nature" into adulterous copulations.

Nevertheless, I can keep my erotic longings to myself, and if it makes a fellow feel better to insist that his are bigger and more unruly than mine, he can insist away. What is far more disturbing, and what I cannot accept without mounting my soapbox for a lusty rant, is the tendency of the evo-psycho crowd to attribute to men not only greater sexual ardor, but greater ardor for life. Kass writes that men are not only innate sexual "predators," but are also "naturally more restless and ambitious than women; lacking women''s powerful and immediate link to life''s generative answer to mortality, men flee from the fear of death into heroic deed, great quests, or sheer distraction after distraction."

Others are even more presumptuous. On a computer list populated by academic sex researchers, one member recently asked for commentary about the following quote from an unnamed source:

As a consequence of differential evolutionary histories, human genetic males, on average, differ from genetic females in fundamental behavioral ways. Males are more competitive, aggressive, creative, and inquisitive than females. These behavioral characteristics are evident throughout human societies to one degree or the other, and in aggregate are irrefutable. These average differences are clearly reflected in the dominance and achievements of males over the course of human history in politics, architecture, science, technology, philosophy, and literature, among other areas of human activity and intellectual concentration. It is reasonable to posit that these average differences between human males and females are functions of the differential environmental demands human males encountered over tens of thousands of years in human evolution. Today these differences are founded in the genetic and hormonal constitution of the human male.

My reaction on reading this was, Huh? Are you joking? Men by their "genetic and hormonal constitution," are more "creative" and "inquisitive" than women? Sez who? Sez what data? To my dismay, other members of the list were unperturbed. "It is pretty standard evolutionary psychology of sex differences," shrugged one professor, referring to various popular books about evolutionary psychology, including the bluntly titled, Why Men Rule: A Theory of Male Dominance. Woe to this professor''s female students if he conveys to them his settled opinion that males have a hardwired advantage in exactly those traits necessary to excel in his class. Well, every trait except cleavage.

I don''t mean to be flip and sarcastic. OK, I do. But I also want to express my frustration at how readily and arrogantly so much evolutionary blather can be bandied about, with hardly a whimper of complaint or an attempt at alternative interpretation. Remember, I''m a big fan of Darwinism, convinced that by considering the deep roots of our past we can enrich our lives now, if only because understanding always trumps ignorance and denial. I also believe that evolutionary biology is a growth industry, and that we will be seeing ever more effort, inside and outside of academia, to examine contemporary human behavior from a Darwinian perspective. Fine. But maybe we shouldn''t leave the analysis to a small, self-referential cabal of evolutionary psychologists, who attempt to reify the status quo with a few sweeping, simplis

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