Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry
A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements
Our guest today, Linda Gordon, is professor of history and humanities as New York University. Gordon and her co-authors Dorothy Sue Cobble and Astrid Henry have written Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements (Liveright, 2014).The book documents the women’s movement since the winning of the franchise in 1920. Its aim is to recapture feminism as a social movement. The authors address a diversity of issues and demonstrate feminism’s ubiquitous influence in changing American society. Cobble, Gordon, and Henry’s definition of feminism, or feminisms, is capacious; it is, they say, really an “outlook.” Each of the authors covers one of three feminist eras of the last century.They take on numerous myths, including the idea that the movement is dead or unnecessary. By focusing on less known women active on the ground rather than political leaders, they challenge the assumption that the movement was largely white and upper middle-class. By emphasizes intersectionality, the authors forward women’s differing critical concerns. They dispute the idea that feminism is only about women. Finally, they examine the myth that gains in leadership and power by a few elites is a victory for all women. The authors have enlarged the feminist tent and recovered a social movement that even today is re-shaping society.