“A unique, elegant, learned sweep through more than two centuries of women’s efforts to overcome the most fundamental way that human beings have been wrongly divided into the leaders and the led. It’s full of surprises from the past and guiding lights for the future.”—Gloria Steinem
What is the feminist promise? At different times, feminism has promised to bring about world peace, end prostitution, and abolish pornography, the sexual double standard, and the nuclear family. Feminists have promised to make women more like men and to teach men to be more like women, and to make sexual difference irrelevant altogether. They have sought a world where there was less sex, more sex, better sex, and better marriages, no marriage, gay marriages. In other words, feminism has encompassed a wide variety of social views and positions, sometimes antagonistic to one another . . . Feminists have embraced women's traditional loyalties to children and kin as a fundamental value, and they have also heralded individualism as the one basis for true freedom. Like any long-lived and durable political tradition, feminism has always promised more than it could deliver. But it has also produced stunning successes, challenging institutions and presumptions that have been in place for centuries.