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Linden Press/Simon & Schuster, Jan 1, 1984 - Social Science - 270 pages
3 Reviews
Brownmiller addresses the set of societal strictures, esthetic ideals, and assigned "characteristics" which governs the lives of half of America, and which goes by the name of Femininity. Biological femaleness, writes Brownmiller, is the smallest part of the elusive quality we know as femininity, which "always demands more. It must constantly reassure its audience by a willing demonstration of difference, even when one does not exist in nature." Body and gesture, skin and hair, conversation and clothing; the way a woman speaks, the way she sits, the way she smells: all are ruled by a code that requires enhancement, containment, exaggeration, or even denial of woman's nature. Whether an individual woman finds in femininity the luxuriant pursuit of a positive identity or an implacable standard she can never hope to meet, femininity remains, at bottom, "a powerful esthetic based upon a recognition of powerlessness."--Publisher description.

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Review: Femininity

User Review  - Goodreads

One of the books that brought me to feminism. Maybe a little dated now, but Brownmiller presents the common assumption that aspects of femininity are pre-determined by nature, and proceeds to demolish all of them. Unapologetic and potent. Read full review

Review: Femininity

User Review  - Goodreads

Love love love. Jam-packed with very interesting information and perspectives. The writing is just formal enough that it's understandable but sophisticated and not dumbed down. Except for that part where she said "The phantasmagorical specter of the engulfing superbeast". Wow, Susan. Read full review


Hair 53
Clothes 77

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About the author (1984)

Susan Brownmiller's work has appeared in "The New York Times," "The Village Voice," "Esquire," "Vogue," "Rolling Stone," & many other publications. In addition to "Against Our Will," her landmark treatise on rape, she is the author of "Femininity," "Waverly Place," & "Seeing Vietnam." She lives in New York City.

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