Shulamith Firestone (1945-2012); biography and famous works

Shulamith Firestone (1945-2012) was a Canadian born radical feminist scholar, activist, and writer. She is one of the central figures in the establishment of radical feminism. ounding member of three radical-feminist groups: New York Radical Women, Redstockings, and New York Radical Feminists. Within these radical movements, Firestone became known as “the firebrand” and “the fireball” for the fervor and passion she expressed towards the cause. She wrote short, pithy articles in which she diagnosed the reasons for what she saw as the failures of the mainstream women’s rights movements and also proposed elements for a solution: never compromise on basic principles; raise consciousness to prepare the way for the utilization of the freedoms to be won; and (the contentious one) always put women’s interests first in the women’s movement. Firestone published The Women’s Rights Movement in the US: A New View in 1968 in which she expressed her idea abour radical feminism. She is mainly known for her work The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (1970) which remains a crucial milestone in the field of gender studies.This work became important in both cyberfeminism and xenofeminism, as her ideas were a precursor for other subjects regarding technology and gender.

Firestone’s thesis was that the political inequality of women originates with their reproductive capacity, which forces them into a state of dependency on men (which in turn strengthens the power of the patriarchy by making a political choice appear a political necessity). Her political programme was built around the need for women to alter their circumstances by seizing control of the means of reproduction. At the extreme, she advocated non-human means of reproduction through the use of sophisticated biotechnology. Her work is cited as an influence by Riot Grrrl Kathleen Hanna and SF novelist Marge Piercy. It has been criticized for its biological determinism and failure to take into account other social factors such as class and race. Firestone was a vanguard author in the Second Wave of feminism.

Also read; John Heywood (c.1497- c.1580); biography and famous works