Week 4 Feminism, the Family and Motherhood



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Week 4

Feminism, the Family and Motherhood
Questions to ponder whilst you read…

  • Why did feminists attack the institutions of marriage and the family?

  • Do you think their critique was valid?

  • What alternatives did they put forward?

  • What does a Black feminist perspective bring to these debates?

S. Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1971) [chapter 4 ‘Down with Childhood’] digitised


M. Barrett, Women’s Oppression Today (1980) [chapter 6 ‘Women’s Oppression and “The Family”’]
* H. Carby, ‘White Women Listen!’, in H. Safia Mirza (ed.), Black British Feminism: A Reader. Also in L. Back & J. Solomos (eds.), Theories of Race and Racism: A Reader (2000) [lots of copies in library]
J. Williams, H. Twort, A. Bachelli, ‘Women and the Family’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 31-36
Michaela Nava, ‘The Family: A Critique of Certain Features’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 36-44
S. Crockford & Nan Fromer, ‘When is a House Not a Home?’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 121-123
Rochelle P. Wortis, ‘Childrearing and Women’s Liberation’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 124-145
The Northern Women’s Education Study Group, ‘Sex-Role Learning: A Study of Infant Readers’, in M. Wandor (ed.), The Body Politic: Women’s Liberation in Britain 1969-1972 (1972), 146-149
L. Segal (ed.), What is to be Done About the Family (1983), pp.9-64 [some of this is digitised]
S. Rowbotham, ‘Whose Holding the Baby?’, in S. Rowbotham, Dreams and Dilemmas (1983), 125-128
Ann Oakley, ‘Feminism, Motherhood and Medicine – Who Cares?’, in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley, What is Feminism? (1986), 127-150
J. Stacey, ‘Are Feminists Afraid to Leave Home? The Challenge of Conservative Pro-Family Feminism’, in J. Mitchell & A. Oakley, What is Feminism? (1986), 219-248
E. Ross, ‘New Thoughts on the “Oldest Vocation”: Mothers and Motherhood in Recent Feminist Scholarship’, Signs 20:2 (Winter 1995), 397-413
S. Rowbotham, The Past is Before Us: Feminism in Action Since the 1960s (1989) [Part 1 ‘The Family and House work’]
J. Mitchell, Women’s Estate (1971) [chapter 8]
A. Coote & B. Campbell, Sweet Freedom: The Struggle for Women’s Liberation (1982) [chapter 3 ‘Family’]
L. Segal, Making Trouble: Life and Politics (2007) [chapter 3]
S. Dowrick & S. Grundberg, Why Children? (1980)


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