With her trademark clarity and wit, one of the leading intellectuals of contemporary feminism builds a troubling analysis of where mainstream American feminism has gone celebrating gains for middle-class women, but also converging with ruthless corporate interests that exploit or marginalize most of the world's women. Hester Eisenstein's diagnosis, and her remedy, need to be heard by everyone concerned with women's interests and with social justice. --Raewyn Connell, author of Southern Theory
In this impressive book, Hester Eisenstein provides a provocative update of the classic argument of the relationship between Marxism and feminism. Through a historical analysis of the political economy of, what she calls, hegemonic or mainstream feminism, Eisenstein charts the transformation of labor feminism into mainstream feminism in the US, which entailed a shift from protection to equality, and which resulted in feminism unwittingly serving the needs of global capitalism rather than that of women. While some of the terrain particularly of feminism in the service of empire, the disciplining of women's labor under neoliberalism, and the war on terrorism has been covered by others, what sets her analysis apart is her unflinching critique of hegemonic feminism's complicity in abandoning issues of class and race even as it pays lip service to them. Finally, Eisenstein provides an outline for action which is much needed if we are to remain relevant to the lives of men and women facing the ravages of the current crises of global capitalism. --Manisha Desai, Director Women's Studies Program, University of Connecticut
Feminism Seduced offers a compelling - and deeply unsettling - historically grounded account of the unintended consequences of late twentieth-century feminism. Eisenstein provocatively argues that ideas derived from the mainstream women's movement were appropriated by global corporations and the political forces that sustain them, and effectively used to legitimate the surging social inequalities that have emerged both in the United States and worldwide since the 1970s. This cautionary tale makes for timely reading, as the global economic crisis opens up new opportunities for feminists and other progressives. --Ruth Milkman, UCLA
About the Author
Hester Eisenstein is Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Her previous books include Contemporary Feminist Thought
(1983) and Inside Agitators: Australian Femocrats and the State
(1996). She has taught at Yale, Barnard, and SUNY–Buffalo, and served as a “femocrat” in the state government of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.