At a time when some feminist critics are saying that the feminist movement has been too individualistic and too market oriented, Joan Kennedy Taylor contends that feminists should cherish and celebrate their tradition of individualism and equal rights. This book points out that the most enduring voices in the womens movement - the voices that each successive generation of feminists rediscovers with a shock of recognition - have spoken out against government privileges and special protection for women so their individual differences might flourish.
This book argues that modern feminism grew out of the nineteenth-century Woman Movement, which, like much late nineteenth-century thinking, became a battleground between individualist and collectivist ideas. The book also discusses contemporary policy issues that affect women: affirmative action and comparable worth; rape, battering, sexual harassment, and incest; the many facets of sexual and reproductive choice; and the attempts to unify feminist and nonfeminist women against pornography or in support of social feminist issues.
On all these topics, Taylor offers a new and surprising individualist feminist analysis that asks feminists to make their philosophy more consistent - and more effective. She calls attention to the continuing voices within the feminist tradition that encourage women to reclaim their strength, their faith in their own abilities, and the community feeling of the seventies to find nongovernmental solutions to the problems women still face in managing work, family life, and relationships.