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on May 28, 2010
Feminist Frontiers has always been, for me at least, the leading anthology for women and gender studies courses. It has a long history (it was one of the earliest widely published textbooks for the subject) and it gives a rich array of readings that represent feminism's political and demographic diversity, as well as living up to its name by putting forward as many contemporary readings as possible. The Eighth Edition, for a few reasons which I will outline, does live up to its promise of giving students a good and detailed overview of the newest horizons in the study of gender.

Perhaps one of the rawest of frontiers in feminism is transgender feminism which is given a characteristically eloquent and robust introduction in a new reading by professor Susan Stryker entitled "Queering the Woman Question." I'm very pleased that the editors of Feminist Frontiers included her work and it stands aside other readings that touch on this issue in a favourable light. Prof. Styker's reading is included in the very beginning where the authors put numerous readings outlining basic theoretical perspectives, which is a positive boon. It's included among other long standing introductory readings like Judith Lorber's Night to His Day: The Social Construction of Gender, and none too soon. While Prof. Lorber's work is well established she does demonstrate that she doesn't quite get it when it comes to transgender issues (She calls Billy Tipton, a well known trans man and musician, a woman and 'she' for example). This is the only reading explicitly about transsexual women, but other readings do deal with issues of gender identity, performativity, and challenging sex/gender norms such as Learning From Drag Queens by the editors of the text, and Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics by Cathy J. Cohen.

I was also tremendously impressed with the readings on disability issues. There are several to choose from in this edition and compared to other anthologies I've read I would have to say this has the best selection of disability activism readings in an introductory reader. I found the stories to be intelligent, elucidating, and empowering. Readings like The Blind Man's Harley: White Canes and Gender Identity in America by Catherine Kudlick should make for very interesting reading for intro students, as will Feminism and Disability Studies by Rosmarie Garland-Thomson which ably outlines the intersectional issues between the two subjects.

For an introductory text, it also does a fairly good job of covering men and boys as gendered actors in society. Michael Kimmel and Michael Messner return with elucidating readings on the social construction of male heterosexuality and the socialisation of young men, and Raewyn Connell has an excellent reading in here mapping the relation between hegemonic masculinity and imperialism in her "Masculinities and Globalisation."

I could go on, but if I do I might end up plumping every reading in the text. They are all very good and it's hard to pick the most stand-out readings as they're all so enlightening. I believe that such readers should make it clear to students that women's activism is not just about abortion rights or the wage gap, and while those subjects do get discussed, they are dissected and examined from numerous perspectives that you certainly won't get on CNN or your average newspaper. For example a very challenging reading is in this edition entitled Beyond Pro-Choice Versus Pro-Life: Women of Colour and Reproductive Justice by Andrea Smith. In it she problematises the mainstream milieu of feminist pro-choice activism as well as the concept of choice itself, outlining how reproductive freedom for women of colour is not possible when poverty is so rampant, among other important issues. Planned Parenthood comes in for quite a withering attack. Like other Women's Studies/feminist readers there is a lot of internal critiquing of feminism, which can only be a good thing for the study of gender as a whole.

The book's readings are long, so assigning more than one or two per class is definitely going to pose a challenge. But it will be worth it and these readings do indeed engage students. It does its job in providing complex new ways of looking at gender. From re-examining feminist shibboleths, to raising trans voices, to hosting empowered Muslim women who speak for themselves in a discourse that too often had silenced them, this book does a fine job of bringing students to the cutting edge of feminism and gender studies.
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on October 24, 2010
I am currently using this book for a gender and sexualities college course. This book has a variety of 3-15 page articles from contemporary sociologists, writers, feminist activists, and other contributors that examine a multitude of aspects within feminist theory. Intersectionality of race, class and gender are highlighted themes. While some of the articles have difficult language, most readings are very straightforward.

I can't personally imagine someone picking up this book for any use aside from academic, given its length, complexity and subject-oriented format, but overall, it is a good compilation of writings that address feminist thought, activism, and feminist ethics in Western (primarily American) culture. Most of the articles are by women and about women, but there are some good writings from the male perspective as well.

As far as the format of the actual book, I have found that the softcover is a bit unmanageable and not terribly practical if you have to schlep it around in a backpack everyday - the entire book folds easily and the cover is just not very durable. There are absolutely no pictures - it would have been nice to see some highlights of influential feminists in this book. Additionally, there are no summaries or questions listed for discussion at the end of the articles. It is over six hundred pages of crammed text on white pages, and while each page is divided into two vertical columns, I felt my eyes swimming a bit when reading it, especially during commutes on the train.

That said, this book does a great job of selecting readings that address social change, social influence, diversity, theory, politics and a host of other topics from a feminist perspective. Paired with lectures and other supplemental materials in a regular college course, this is a "femme-tastic" textbook. It is worth keeping as a resource for reference material as well, as the articles address a host of sociological issues.
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on April 19, 2012
The articles are beautiful arranged to simulate (hopefully) the progression of the reader who utilizes the text. First, you get the typical introduction, and then the beginning chapters focus on some more accessible themes that we probably encounter. However, as you get deeper into the text, it gets a bit more analytical, but not to the point where you are overwhelmed. My professor said we should not sell the book since we will always be referring to it when a current event props up. She was right. I sold my book but a lot of times when I hear something in the media that is not necessarily related to Women's Studies or even feminist studies, this reader always finds a way to creep into my consciousness. The authors in the article are all well-respected in their fields, and they have a magnificent way of conveying their intentions without explicitly stating them.
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on April 26, 2013
Needed this book for my WGST class at A&M and I actually really enjoyed the stories in it and I hateeee reading for my classes (mostly because I'm lazy and like to skim), but honestly these were well written. My only complaint is the format with 2 columns of words per page because to me it makes a reading go by so much slower, so if there's a different edition without that I'd try to get it.
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on November 20, 2014
I think the book is fine and all, the shipment went well and the content is good. My issue is that it's only a compilation. If you can avoid buying it- do so. Every single article in it I can find by copy and pasting in a Google search. I bought it for the page numbers.
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on February 7, 2013
The book got here very quickly. Faster than it said it would. Also, the book is in perfect condition even though it is used. it has no highlighting, no rips, it is perfect. Exactly the book I need for my Women in Contemporary Society class.
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on February 10, 2014
I rent this book for my sociology class. It is very interesting and not difficult to read. The book came on time and in good condition. I have only one concern. It did not come with any instructions how to return the book. I probably have to search online.
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on March 20, 2016
My sister got this book for her women's studies class (which she was very excited for and really interested in), and she thinks this book is trash. She said it is not enjoyable to read, as most of the essays are overly wordy, repetitive, and dull. She also said a good number of the articles are old & outdated.
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on October 27, 2015
A book filled with articles I could have found online. Teacher didn't post articles so I had to get this book. Not worth the money when the articles can be found online for free.
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on September 8, 2013
I gave it a 5-star rating because the book is perfectly fine. Yea, it's a little worn from use, but that was to be expected. It arrived in perfect time. So far, so good!
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