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by Gloria Steinem

Pub Date: May 16th, 1994
ISBN: 0-671-64972-8
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

 This outstanding collection of essays provides a history of the feminist movement based on Steinem's personal experience. Previously published essays are given new introductions, and the subjects range from an unusual analysis of Freud to discussions about women and sports, class, economics, and ``old age.'' In the first and longest essay, Steinem creates Dr. Phyllis Freud. In a matriarchal world of female dominance and supremacy, this Dr. Freud is a woman of courage greatly respected for her innovative research on undeserving men. Using the gender inversion to illustrate the absurdity of Freud's (Sigmund, that is) theories about sexuality, Steinem critiques social systems based on hierarchy and inequality, arguing that Freudians continue to deny that ``class or race or other social systems'' have had anything to do with the feelings of rage and inferiority experienced by their predominantly female patients. More than a witty satire, what emerges is a compelling examination of the male-dominated institution of mental health. Another essay, a reprint of the exposÇ written when Ms. magazine moved to an ad-free format, remains a compelling reminder of the far-reaching influence of advertisers on the lives of both men and women. Once, after Ms. printed a Front Page Award-winning story about feminists exiled from Russia, Revlon pulled an ad from the magazine because the Soviet women on the cover were not wearing makeup. The struggle to maintain the independence and integrity of the women's magazine will encourage readers to question the untold messages in advertising. In the final piece Steinem reflects on the transition to ``old age'' as a way of analyzing social systems designed to hide away the elderly. But rather than wither and die, Steinem finds herself growing more radical with age. For someone who has accomplished so much in a world not always receptive to visions of feminist change, Steinem keeps getting better and better. (Author tour)