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Feminism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) Paperback – 27 Oct 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reprint edition (27 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019280510X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192805102
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1 x 10.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

"An enjoyable read." (Rosie Blau, FT Magazine)

About the Author

Margaret Walters did a B.Litt at Oxford, went on to lecture in English at Reading University for 20 years, and is now a freelance writer and reviewer: she is currently working on a book entitled Femme Fatale for Cape, and she reviews for the TLS and the Sunday Times.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Some of the first European women to speak out for themselves, and for their sex, did so within a religious framework, and in religious terms. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By P. Duval on 20 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a 28 year old mancunian man and i read this book when i was bored one day. I enjoyed it very much and it made me look at feminism with different eyes. I was particularly impressed with how Margaret Walters went right back into history to trace feminism's beginnings and progress up to the present day. The book remained vital and interesting at all times and never veered into dense academic waffle like some of the Very Short Introductions can. Added to that, i really enjoyed Walter's writing style - a key aspect i feel in making these short introductions attractive to the general reader.

A great read for anyone of any gender.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By TrisGibbons on 13 Sep 2010
Format: Paperback
Very Short Introductions are seldom short, but often brief. However this is a perfect example of how they should be written. It is a very informative introduction, expertly written (unlike many others in the series).

If you are hesitating on whether to buy this on the basis that you may not find it useful, I found it immensely helpful in understanding some of the history behind feminism. It touches on feminism from late 15th century Religious "Feminism" to modern (late 20th century) Feminism. Each chapter is long enough to give you an overview of the main players in the movement like Mary Astell, Mary Wollstonecraft, J.S Mill, Thompson, Reid and many others.

I am a male english lit student and take a more academic interest in the movement but when I started reading this I couldn't put it down, I most-whole-heartedly recommend this to anyone remotely interested in feminism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Hannah on 11 May 2013
Format: Paperback
I now own quite a few of the 'Very short Introduction To...' books. I'm studying Fine Art so I have bought a load that relate to that. I have found however that some of these books are quite difficult to get into and to read. I consider myself to be a good reader but I find they don't flow well and sometimes over-complicate things which is frustrating for books who's main purpose is to inform.

This one however, is definitely my favourite. Though I worried it would be like the others it's actually very interesting and gripping. The writing flows well and includes some fascinating chapters. It's endlessly useful for myself as I do tend to refer to feminism in pretty much every written task I have and this book was genuinely a real eye-opener.

Even my boyfriend who is reluctant to read feminist books found this one a good read.

Highly recommendable, particularly for students.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James T on 17 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a small hand sized book of about 150 pages which gives a brief introduction to feminism.
A lot of people today when asked to think of feminism picture the feminism of the 60's and 70's. This period of feminsim has been termed second wave feminism and is covered only briefly in this book. The sole chapter functions as a kind of bibliography. Much of the book is concerned with the time leading up to this period.
This book is a well written dispassionate account of an interesting subject. I think you will enjoy this book even if you think, as I do, that the laws passed in the name feminism have created tension and anxiety between the sexes and have made women (and men) more unhappy and insecure than ever before.
There are a quite a few good illustrations and photos too, which is an added bonus.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Sep 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a useful overview of the history of feminism. It doesn't go into the rights and wrongs of feminism at any point in history it simply relates information about people who wrote on the subject or were involved in the various groups set up to change the way women were treated and perceived.

The book mainly looks at Britain with some digressions to the US and to Europe and brief information about feminism in the Third World. I found the pre-nineteenth century chapters of great interest as I was not familiar with many of the names mentioned.

The book is written in a low-key style with plenty of quotations form sources as well as notes on chapters and a reading list and index. If you're looking for a simple overview of the subject you could do worse than read this as it can act as a starting off point for further reading.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By youngfeminist on 18 Dec 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book with high hopes. The Very Short Introduction series are usually very very good. I was hoping that I would find a thorough and critical approach to the arguments of modern feminism, instead I found myself reading a "Very Brief History of Feminists" which, while interesting in its own right is really not what I was looking for. Very disappointing.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Neutral VINE VOICE on 28 Dec 2009
Format: Paperback
Margaret Walters has written an excellent introduction to the subject of feminism. Walters traces arguments for the equal treatment of men and women back to its religious roots, referring to neglected voices such as Hildegard of Bingen and Margery Kempe. She also mentions the emergence of female preachers amongst the dissenting groups during the revolutionary period of the seventeenth century, in particular the Quakers and Anabaptists.

The "Amazons of the Pen", including Mary Astell and Mary Wollstonecraft used a simple argument - there was more to life than becoming a wife and attending to social duties. Wollstonecraft was a contradiction, arguing forcefully for women's rights but being emotionally devastated by her love for Gilbert Imlay. Although Wollstonecraft died prematurely her ideas continued, though stunted by their association with radical politics. However, there were different strands of feminism including the unsung Marion Reid who advocated educational opportunities, later put into practice by Emily Davies with the support of Josephine Butler.

Butler, who was driven by the pain of losing her own daughter in an accident, combined passion with beauty, determination with courage and, from a high social position, provided leadership with her analysis of the "double standard" and the debasement of men that came with State prostitution. Like many reformers she was conservative by nature and felt obliged to ask her husband for his permission to conduct her campaign against the Contagious Diseases Acts. It was to George Butler's credit that he gave up all hope of ecclesiastical preferment so she could do so. Not all men were so supportive, not all women appreciated the value of male support.
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