With the March celebration of National Women's History Month, it is a good time to take a look at feminism through the decades. The Library offers a mixture of new and classic titles exploring the issues that have challenged women in America.
Check out 2010's Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message that Feminism's Work is Done by Susan Douglas, a University of Michigan professor who argues that that the mass media and popular culture perpetuate sexist stereotypes of women, thereby undermining the "girl power" of the 1990s and making men and women falsely think that feminism's war has already been won. Another recent title is Peggy Orenstein's Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, which looks at how the early sexualization of girls through advertising and pop culture puts too much emphasis on appearance and how that impacts girls over time. The Library also carries Orenstein's 1994 title School Girls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap. Also, see Jennifer Baumgardner's 2010 anniversary edition of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future. Other titles of interest are Full-Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman's Guide to Why Feminism Matters by Jessica Valenti from 2007, and Carolyn Maloney's 2008 title Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Why Women's Lives Are Not Getting Any Easier – And How We Can Make Real Progress for Ourselves and Our Daughters. To compare the new titles with classics, check out Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, and Kate Millett's Sexual Politics, published in 1970. For an overview, read Feminism In Our Time: The Essential Writings from World War II To The Present, edited by Miriam Schneir, and published in 1994.