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A Brief Introduction to the Ideas, Debates, and Politics of the Movement


A Brief Introduction to the Ideas, Debates, and Politics of the Movement

Beneath the nonstop cacophony of voices across social media, online forums, and news outlets lie the stubborn facts at the heart of the everyday struggles of women today: more than a third of single moms live in poverty; the United States sees more maternal deaths than anywhere else in the developed world; one in five women will be raped in her lifetime; and women still make eighty cents for every dollar earned by a man. Between these brutal statistics and the ill-informed, often contentious public debate stand millions of women who feel alienated, disaffected, or just plain worn out.
In the era of #MeToo, Trump, and online harassment, innovative progressive feminist voices are more essential than ever. With her latest book, Deborah Cameron considers feminism from all sides—as an idea, as a theoretical approach, and as a political movement. Written in the succinct, sharp style that has made Cameron’s feminist linguistics blog so popular, this short book lays out past and present debates on seven key topics: domination, rights, work, femininity, sex, culture, and the future. Feminism emphasizes the diversity of feminist thought, including queer, women-of-color, and trans perspectives. Cameron’s clear and incisive account untangles the often confusing strands of one of history’s most important intellectual and political movements.
Broad in scope but refreshingly concise, this book is perfect for anyone who needs a straightforward primer on the complex history of feminism, a nuanced explanation of key issues and debates, or strategic thinking about the questions facing activists today.

144 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2019

Culture Studies

Gender and Sexuality

History: History of Ideas


“An energetic primer on women’s rights, both past and present. Cameron breaks key topics down in a clear and comprehensible way, without ever seeming patronizing.”


"Neither a historical account of feminism nor an attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of the various strands of feminist thought. Rather, it focuses on a number of central themes—domination, rights, work, femininity, sex and culture—around which feminist thought and mobilization have revolved and about which feminists continue to debate and disagree. Cameron skillfully presents the divergent ways that feminist thought and the women’s movement have approached these issues."

Times Higher Education

“Enlightening, generous, and lucid, Cameron’s take on feminism is an excellent basic introduction that can also serve as a solid refresher course for those well-versed in feminist histories, concepts, and conflicts. Cameron weaves together political, philosophical, social, and activist accounts to craft an impressively succinct and accessible history of what feminism is and why it matters. Pointing to some of the stickiest issues within feminism that are virtually always excluded from mainstream accounts—such as the range of feminist views on work, reproduction, religious liberties, gender identity, and the centrality of rights—Cameron toggles between perspectives in a way that clarifies rather than confounds.”

Rebecca M. Jordan-Young, Barnard College

“Cameron has written a brilliant guide to contemporary feminism—its radical vision of justice, its complexities, and the resistance it provokes. Though aware of such opposition, in past and present, Feminism radiates a welcome optimism. The stubborn, beautiful belief that women are people is not going to go away. Accessible and subtle, Feminism deserves a wide and appreciative audience.”

Catharine R. Stimpson, New York University

"Cameron (Univ. of Oxford) provides an up-to-date, accessible overview of key controversies shaping feminist political action. . . . Covering the themes of domination, rights, work, femininity, sex, culture, and “fault lines and futures,” the book establishes some of the major feminist debates and positions with reference to current events ranging from #MeToo to the hijab debate in France. . . . Recommended."


Table of Contents

Introduction: What Is Feminism?

1. Domination
2. Rights
3. Work
4. Femininity
5. Sex
6. Culture
7. Fault Lines and Futures


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