Speaking of Feminism: Today’s Activists on the Past, Present, and Future of the U.S. Women’s Movement by Rachel F Seidman


“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” 
― Jane Austen

This book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and University of North Carolina Press in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: From the Women’s Marches to the MeToo movement, it is clear that feminist activism is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. But how does a new generation of activists understand the work of the movement today? How are their strategies and goals unfolding? What worries feminist leaders most, and what are their hopes for the future? In Speaking of Feminism, Rachel F. Seidman presents insights from twenty-five feminist activists from around the United States, ranging in age from twenty to fifty. Allowing their voices to take center stage through the use of in-depth oral history interviews, Seidman places their narratives in historical context and argues that they help explain how recent new forms of activism developed and flourished so quickly. These individuals’ compelling life stories reveal their hard work to build flexible networks, bridge past and present, and forge global connections. This book offers essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the contemporary American women’s movement in all its diversity. 

Feminism has been a subject that has had my interest for some years, hearing about the glass ceiling and movements like #metoo. I’ve never done a lot of reading on it, but I want to change that. This book is definitely one to pick up if you are looking for the stories behind feminists and how they are putting their voice and others into the world.

The book is seperated by generation. We hear stories from women in their forties, thirties and twenties. The author decided to do this because of the events and time they were born in that influences how they are dealing with sharing feminism. The older generation was new to computers and the internet and the younger generation has been impacted a lot by 9/11. I though this separation was smart to integrate. When reading the stories, I do notice that I can imagine the time these women grew up in easier, which make me understand them better.

The author takes interviews from the following people:
Noorjahan Akbar
Soledad Antelada
Elisa Camahort Page
Park Cannon
Soraya Chemaly
Dana Edell
Kate Farrar
Ivanna Gonzalez
Tara Hall
Trisha Harms
Kwajelyn Jackson
Holly Kearl
Emily May
Kenya McKnight
Samhita Mukhopadhyay
Ho Nguyen
Katie Orenstein
Patina Park
Erin Parrish
Andrea Pino
Joanne Smith
Rebecca Traister
Alice Wilder
Kabo Yang
Rye Young

While reading the interviews, I encountered a lot of different experiences and working grounds of showing feminism: abortion, racism, education, politics, law, abuse, rape. This shows that feminism is not just one thing, but consists of every aspect of life for women.

I consider this book highly inspirational. Hearing how these people set up all these mediums to tell their story is incredible, and motivates me in general in life. How these people put other people’s concerns and issues in front of their own is amazing.

As someone who is interested in feminism and doesn’t know a lot about what is going on, I found this a great book to get more knowledge. A lot of people you get familiar with and a lot of companies, movements, blogs, magazines, charities, and more to search more about. If you want to do more research on feminism and you don’t know where to start, this is a great beginning.

I gave this book 4/5 stars

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