Reading Women: How the Great Books of Feminism Changed my Life

Stephanie Staal re-examines some of the central texts of her undergraduate feminist classes, now critiquing them from her position as a wife and mother. LonerGrrrl argues that we should all consider how our relationship to feminism may change over time


When Stephanie Staal came across Betty Friedan’s feminist classic The Feminine Mystique as a student, she thought it held no relevance to modern women’s lives. But when she picked the book up again a few years later – this time as a married mother-of-one struggling to keep a sense of her own identity amid the demands of career, chores and childcare – she was perturbed to find how closely its tales of housewife woe echoed her own.

Keen to discover what further insights other feminist books could now bring to her adult life, Staal decided to re-enrol in the ‘Fem Texts’ course she took at college: could delving back into the works of the feminist canon help her to recall those idealistic convictions they had inspired in her younger self, and allow her to reconcile them with the realities and responsibilities of adulthood she now faced?

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