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Feminism & Feminist Theory

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  1. 7.5 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    A son’s search for his mother, a feminist pioneer—and a casualty of her time In London, 1965, a brilliant young woman—a prescient advocate for women’s rights—has just gassed herself to death, leaving behind a suicide note, two young sons, and a soon-to-be-published book: The Captive Wife. No one had ever imagined that Hannah Gavron might take her own life. Beautiful, sophisticated, and swept up in the progressive sixties, she was a promising academic and the wife of a rising entrepreneur. But there was another side to Hannah, as Jeremy Gavron reveals in this searching portrait of his mother. Gavron—who was just four when his mother killed herself—attempts to piece her life together from letters, diaries, photos, and the memories of old acquaintances. Ultimately, he not only uncovers Hannah’s struggle to carve out her place in a man’s world; he examines the suffocating constrictions placed on every ambitious woman in the mid-twentieth century.

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    A Woman on the Edge of Time by Jeremy Gavron

    A Woman on the Edge of Time

    7.5 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 7.6 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    She’s everywhere once you start looking for her: the trainwreck.  She’s Britney Spears shaving her head, Whitney Houston saying, “crack is whack,” and Amy Winehouse, dying in front of millions. But the trainwreck is also as old (and as meaningful) as feminism itself. From Mary Wollstonecraft—who, for decades after her death, was more famous for her illegitimate child and suicide attempts than for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman—to Charlotte Brontë, Billie Holiday, Sylvia Plath, and even Hillary Clinton, Sady Doyle’s Trainwreck dissects a centuries-old phenomenon and asks what it means now, in a time when we have unprecedented access to celebrities and civilians alike, and when women are pushing harder than ever against the boundaries of what it means to “behave.” Where did these women come from? What are their crimes? And what does it mean for the rest of us? For an age when any form of self-expression can be the one that ends you, Sady Doyle’s audiobook is as fierce and intelligent as it is funny and compassionate—an essential, timely, feminist anatomy of the female trainwreck.

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    Trainwreck

    7.6 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 18.6 hrs • 7/12/2016 • Unabridged

    A bold and deeply researched biography of a complicated cultural iconWhen Helen Gurley Brown published Sex and the Single Girl in 1962, it sold more than two million copies in just three weeks, presaging the self-help boom and helping to usher in the unapologetic self-affirmation of second wave feminism. Brown declared that it was okay, even imperative, to enjoy sex outside of marriage; that equal rights for women should extend to the bedroom; that meaningful work outside the home was essential for a woman’s security and self-esteem. The book catapulted Brown into national renown, cementing her status as a complex and divisive feminist personality. And the ripple effects of her outspokenness about sex and her emphasis on friendships between women can still be seen today, on TV shows like Sex and the City and Girls, and in the magazine world as well. When she died in 2012, her obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times, which noted that “the look of women’s magazines today…is due in no small part to her influence.” She may not always have been loved—but she was always talked about. Brown’s life story—a classic American rags-to-riches tale—is just as juicy as her controversial books. In this wonderful new biography, the writer and reporter Gerri Hirshey traces Brown’s path from deep in the Arkansas Ozarks to her wild single years in Los Angeles, from the New York magazine world to her Hollywood adventures with her film producer husband. Along the way she became the highest paid female ad copywriter on the West Coast, and transformed Hearst’s failing literary magazine, Cosmopolitan, into the female-oriented global juggernaut it is today. Full of firsthand accounts of Brown from some of her closest friends, including Liz Smith, Gloria Vanderbilt, Barbara Walters, and more, as well as those whose paths she brushed—her 1939 prom date, a sorority sister from business school, Cosmo cover girls like Beverly Johnson and Brooke Shields—and writing from the woman herself, Not Pretty Enough is a vital biography that shines new light on the life of one of the most incomparable and indelible women of the twentieth century.

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    Not Pretty Enough by Gerri Hirshey

    Not Pretty Enough

    18.6 hrs • 7/12/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 9.4 hrs • 6/14/2016 • Unabridged

    A thought-provoking examination of how we think and talk about beauty today—and the unexpected and often positive ways that beauty shapes our lives. For decades, we’ve discussed our insecurities in the face of idealized, retouched, impossibly perfect images. We’ve worried primping and preening are a distraction and a trap. But have we focused too much on beauty’s negative influence? In Face Value, journalist Autumn Whitefield-Madrano thoughtfully examines the relationship between appearance and science, social media, sex, friendship, language, and advertising to show how beauty actually affects us day to day. Through meticulous research and interviews with dozens of women across all walks of life, she reveals surprising findings, like that wearing makeup can actually relax you, that you can convince people you’re better looking just by tweaking your personality, and the ways beauty can be a powerful tool of connection among women. Equal parts social commentary, cultural analysis, careful investigation, and powerful personal anecdotes, Face Value is provocative and empowering—and a great conversation starter for women everywhere.

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    Face Value

    9.4 hrs • 6/14/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 4.1 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    Author and Guardian US columnist Jessica Valenti has been leading the national conversation on gender and politics for over a decade. Now, in a darkly funny and bracing memoir, Valenti explores the toll that sexism takes from the every day to the existential. Sex Object explores the painful, funny, embarrassing, and sometimes illegal moments that shaped Valenti’s adolescence and young adulthood in New York City, revealing a much shakier inner life than the confident persona she has cultivated as one of the most recognizable feminists of her generation. In the tradition of writers like Joan Didion and Mary Karr, this literary memoir is sure to shock those already familiar with Valenti’s work and enthrall those who are just finding it.

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    Sex Object by Jessica Valenti

    Sex Object

    4.1 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    6.2 hrs • 5/17/2016 • Unabridged

    Hailed by Lena Dunham as an “essential (and hilarious) voice for women,” Lindy West is ferociously witty and outspoken, tackling topics as varied as pop culture, social justice, and body image. Her empowering work has garnered a coast-to-coast audience that eagerly awaits Shrill, her highly anticipated literary debut. West has rocked readers in work published everywhere from the Guardian to GQ to This American Life. She is a catalyst for a national conversation in a world where not all stories are created equal and not every body is treated with equal respect. Shrill is comprised of a series of essays that bravely shares her life, including her transition from quiet to feminist-out-loud, coming of age in a popular culture that is hostile to women (especially fat, funny women) and how keeping quiet is not an option for any of us.

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    Shrill

    6.2 hrs • 5/17/16 • Unabridged
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  7. 7.4 hrs • 3/29/2016 • Unabridged

    The author of the New York Times bestseller Cinderella Ate My Daughter offers a clear-eyed picture of the new sexual landscape girls face in the post–princess stage—high school through college—and reveals how they are negotiating it. A generation gap has emerged between parents and their girls. Even in this age of helicopter parenting, the mothers and fathers of tomorrow’s women have little idea what their daughters are up to sexually or how they feel about it. Drawing on in-depth interviews with over seventy young women and a wide range of psychologists, academics, and experts, renowned journalist Peggy Orenstein goes where most others fear to tread, pulling back the curtain on the hidden truths, hard lessons, and important possibilities of girls’ sex lives in the modern world. While the media has focused—often to sensational effect—on the rise of casual sex and the prevalence of rape on campus, in Girls and Sex Peggy Orenstein brings much more to the table. She examines the ways in which porn and all its sexual myths have seeped into young people’s lives; what it means to be the “the perfect slut” and why many girls scorn virginity; and the complicated terrain of hookup culture and the unfortunate realities surrounding assault. In Orenstein’s hands these issues are never reduced to simplistic truths. Rather, her powerful reporting opens up a dialogue on a potent, often silent, subtext of American life today—giving readers comprehensive and in-depth information with which to understand, and navigate, this complicated new world.

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    Girls and Sex

    7.4 hrs • 3/29/16 • Unabridged
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  8. 9.4 hrs • 1/21/2016 • Unabridged

    In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft tackles the wasted potential she sees in women, refusing to see them as inferior to men; she decries their limitations and suggests that they are worthy of an equal standard of education, and that they should be taught to develop their own reason, not simply how to gain a man. Written in 1792, at the height of the French Revolution, A Vindication is an eloquent and persuasive response to the prevailing attitudes of the time—the original feminist manifesto.

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  9. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.4 hrs • 10/27/2015 • Unabridged

    Gloria Steinem—writer, activist, organizer, and inspiring leader—now tells a story she has never told before, a candid account of her life as a traveler, a listener, and a catalyst for change. When people ask me why I still have hope and energy after all these years, I always say: Because I travel. Taking to the road—by which I mean letting the road take you—changed who I thought I was. The road is messy in the way that real life is messy. It leads us out of denial and into reality, out of theory and into practice, out of caution and into action, out of statistics and into stories—in short, out of our heads and into our hearts. Gloria Steinem had an itinerant childhood. When she was a young girl, her father would pack the family in the car every fall and drive across country searching for adventure and trying to make a living. The seeds were planted: Gloria realized that growing up didn’t have to mean settling down. And so began a lifetime of travel, of activism and leadership, of listening to people whose voices and ideas would inspire change and revolution. My Life on the Road is the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality—and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding of Ms. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country—a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world. In prose that is revealing and rich, Gloria reminds us that living in an open, observant, and “on the road” state of mind can make a difference in how we learn, what we do, and how we understand each other.

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    My Life on the Road

    9.4 hrs • 10/27/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 9.6 hrs • 4/21/2015 • Unabridged

    “Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.” So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why she—along with over a hundred million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried. This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless—the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life. Intellectually substantial and deeply personal, Spinster is both an unreservedly inquisitive memoir and a broader cultural exploration that asks us to acknowledge the opportunities within ourselves to live authentically. Bolick offers us a way back into our own lives—a chance to see those splendid years when we were young and unencumbered, or middle-aged and finally left to our own devices, for what they really are: unbounded and our own to savor.

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    Spinster

    9.6 hrs • 4/21/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.1 hrs • 10/28/2014 • Unabridged

    A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origins of one of the world’s most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story—and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism. Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no superhero has lasted as long or commanded so vast and wildly passionate a following. Like every other superhero, Wonder Woman has a secret identity. Unlike every other superhero, she has also has a secret history. Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore has uncovered an astonishing trove of documents, including the never-before-seen private papers of William Moulton Marston, Wonder Woman’s creator. Beginning in his undergraduate years at Harvard, Marston was influenced by early suffragists and feminists, starting with Emmeline Pankhurst, who was banned from speaking on campus in 1911, when Marston was a freshman. In the 1920s, Marston and his wife, Sadie Elizabeth Holloway, brought into their home Olive Byrne, the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most influential feminists of the twentieth century. The Marston family story is a tale of drama, intrigue, and irony. In the 1930s, Marston and Byrne wrote a regular column for Family Circle celebrating conventional family life, even as they themselves pursued lives of extraordinary nonconformity. Marston, internationally known as an expert on truth—he invented the lie detector test—lived a life of secrets, only to spill them on the pages of Wonder Woman. The Secret History of Wonder Woman is a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history. Wonder Woman, Lepore argues, is the missing link in the history of the struggle for women’s rights—a chain of events that begins with the women’s suffrage campaigns of the early 1900s and ends with the troubled place of feminism a century later.

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    The Secret History of Wonder Woman

    9.1 hrs • 10/28/14 • Unabridged
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  12. 1 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (1)
    11.8 hrs • 8/5/2014 • Unabridged

    A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched young cultural observers of her generation, Roxane Gay “Pink is my favorite color. I used to say my favorite color was black to be cool, but it is pink—all shades of pink. If I have an accessory, it is probably pink. I read Vogue, and I’m not doing it ironically, though it might seem that way. I once live-tweeted the September issue.” In these funny and insightful essays, Roxane Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking listeners on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django Unchained) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society but also one of our culture. Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better.

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    Bad Feminist

    11.8 hrs • 8/5/14 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.7 4 out of 5 stars 4.7/5 (1)
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  13. 9.8 hrs • 3/6/2014 • Unabridged

    In her apron and rubber gloves, the woman of the fifties has become a cultural symbol of all that we are most grateful to have sloughed off. But what if there was another side to the story? In Her Brilliant Career, Rachel Cooke tells the story of ten extraordinary women whose pioneering professional lives—and complicated private lives—paved the way for future generations. Muriel Box, film director. Betty Box, film producer. Margery Fish, plantswoman. Patience Gray, cook. Alison Smithson, architect. Sheila van Damm, rally car driver and theater owner. Nancy Spain, journalist and radio personality. Joan Werner Laurie, editor. Jacquetta Hawkes, archaeologist. Rose Heilbron, QC. Plucky and ambitious, these women left the house, discovered the bliss of work, and ushered in the era of the working woman. This is the fifties, retold: vivid, surprising, and, most of all, modern.

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    Her Brilliant Career

    9.8 hrs • 3/6/14 • Unabridged
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  14. 4.6 hrs • 8/14/2012 • Unabridged

    Life is a work in progress, as ever-changing as a sandy shoreline along the beach. During the years Joan Anderson was a loving wife and supportive mother, she had slowly and unconsciously replaced her own dreams with the needs of her family. With her sons grown, however, she realized that the family no longer centered on the home she provided, and her relationship with her husband had become stagnant. Like many women in her situation, Joan realized that she had neglected to nurture herself and, worse, to envision fulfilling goals for her future. As her husband received a wonderful job opportunity out-of-state, it seemed that the best part of her own life was finished. Shocking both of them, she refused to follow him to his new job and decided to retreat to a family cottage on Cape Cod.  At first casting about for direction, Joan soon began to take pleasure in her surroundings and call on resources she didn’t realize she had. Over the course of a year, she gradually discovered that her life as an “unfinished woman” was full of possibilities. Out of that magical, difficult, transformative year came A Year by the Sea, a record of her experiences and a treasury of wisdom for readers.  This year of self-discovery brought about extraordinary changes in the author’s life. The steps that Joan took to revitalize herself and rediscover her potential have helped thousands of woman reveal and release untapped resources within themselves.

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    A Year by the Sea

    4.6 hrs • 8/14/12 • Unabridged
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  15. 2.9 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Abridged

    Women confront fear every day: fear of appearing foolish, fear of being assertive, fear of looking fat, fear of getting sick, fear of going broke. Enter Arianna Huffington with timely and powerful advice on how to be bold. Arianna is fearless, but not by nature; she's had to learn and practice all her life. And in On Becoming Fearless, she puts it all on the table, exploring fearlessness at work, fearlessness in parenting, fearlessness in love, fearlessness in aging, and much more.

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  16. 7.7 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    In this tenth anniversary edition of We Are Our Mothers' Daughters, renowned political commentator Cokie Roberts once again examines the nature of women's roles through the illuminating lens of her personal experience. From mother to mechanic, sister to soldier, Roberts reveals how much progress has now been made—and how much further we have to go. Updated and expanded to include a diverse new cast of women, including Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, Billie Jean King, and others, this collection of essays offers tremendous insight into the opportunities and challenges that women encounter today. Looking into the future, Roberts focuses on the question of "What next?" exploring how several women have begun to define themselves in the next stages of their life.

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