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6 Classic Feminist Books From The ‘70s

The books that defined an era of the movement.

It was the onset of the second wave-feminism, the movement came from major, paradigm-shifting victories during the past decade and many thoughts that it could never grow larger, that the feminism in the ’60s was it and it was all downhill from there. My, my, how wrong they were.

The ’70s proved out to be a productive decade for Feminism, not only there were the landmark rulings regarding reproductive rights, larger penalization towards gender and sex motivated crimes along with the promoting of equal participation of both sexes in education.

It also saw the formation of the first women’s studies department and, more importantly, the beginning of what came to be known as “feminist literary criticism”, a new literary genre that sought to re-examine many of our set cultural customs through the lenses of the feminist thought. It goes without saying that there’s was a myriad feminist literature produced during this decade that, even to this day, remain staples in defining what our moment is all about.  Here are the best of them.

#1 The Female Man by Joanna Russ

Published in 1970, Russ’s SF novel showcases the sharp eye for irony and fierce feminism of the author, who also wrote feminist nonfiction classic How To Suppress Women’s Writing.

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#2 Kindred by Octavia Butler

This time travel story takes an African American woman back in time to 19th century Maryland, where she meets her ancestors in an unflinching look at slavery. One of the most influential figures in feminist F&SF, Butler produced this work early in her career.

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#3 Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre

In a post-apocalyptic landscape, healer Snake travels to bring healing to a destroyed world. McIntyre’s feminism informs the world she creates, as well as the people who inhabit it.

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#4 The Wanderground by Sally Miller Gearhart

Told as a series of short stories, this book explores a women’s utopia and what its spiritual practices might be like.

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#5 Margaret and I by Kate Wilhelm

This sci-fi thriller is told from the point of view of a woman’s subconscious as it tries to help her solve the mystery of her aunt’s death.

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#6 Our Bodies Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective

This was a seminal work on helping women to understand their own bodies. I know one of the original authors and could connect you if you would find it helpful.

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Contributors to this article
Cat Rambo from The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers

Kelle Sparta from Kelle Sparta Enterprises

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