Righting Feminism: Conservative Women and American Politics

Hardcover | July 15, 2008

byRonnee Schreiber

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When we think of women's activism in America, figures such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan invariably come to mind--those liberal doyennes who have fought for years to chip away at patriarchy and achieve gender equality. But women's interests are not synonymous with organizations like NOWanymore. As Ronnee Schreiber shows, the conservative ascendancy that began in the Reagan era has been accompanied by the emergence of a broad-based conservative women's movement. And while firebrands like Ann Coulter and Phyllis Schlafly may be the public face of rightwing women's activism, ahandful of large and established women's organizations have proven to be the most effective promoters of the conservative agenda. Righting Feminism shows that one of the key-albeit overlooked-developments in political activism since the 1980s has been the emergence of conservative women's organizations. It focuses on the most prominent of these groups, Concerned Women for America and the Independent Women's Forum, toreveal how they are using feminist rhetoric for conservative ends: outlawing abortion, restricting pornography, and bolstering the traditional family. But ironically, these organizations face a paradox: to combat the legacy of feminism-particularly its appeal to the majority of American women-theymust use the rhetoric of women's empowerment. Indeed, Schreiber amply illustrates how conservative activists are often the beneficiaries of the very feminist politics they oppose. Yet just as importantly, she demolishes two widely believed truisms: that conservatism holds no appeal to women andthat modern conservatism is hostile to the very notion of women's activism. Based on interviews with colorful conservative activists and extensive analyses of organizational documents, Righting Feminism offers a new way of understanding the unlikely intersection of women's activism and conservative politics in America today.

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When we think of women's activism in America, figures such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan invariably come to mind--those liberal doyennes who have fought for years to chip away at patriarchy and achieve gender equality. But women's interests are not synonymous with organizations like NOWanymore. As Ronnee Schreiber shows, the con...

Ronnee Schreiber is Assistant Professor of Political Science at San Diego State University.

other books by Ronnee Schreiber

Format:HardcoverDimensions:224 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.98 inPublished:July 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195331818

ISBN - 13:9780195331813

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"Serve(s) as a detailed analysis of two highly prominent conservative women's organizations... does much to illustrate several key players in the conservative women's movement."--Feminist Review "This compelling study proves definitively that women are major players in modern conservative movements. By examining how conservative women's organizations frame their positions toward such issues as abortion, pornography, and violence against women, Ronnee Schreiber shows that the politics of gender is transforming conservatism in complex and unexpected ways. A 'must read' for anyone interested in women and politics today."--Kathleen Blee, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, University of Pittsburgh "The flourishing of anti-feminist women's organizations is an important but oft-ignored element of gender politics. Schreiber's book puts these organizations in theoretical perspective, and her empirical portrait will be of interest to scholars in sociology, political science, and gender studies. I learned a lot from this book, and recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about this movement."--Clyde Wilcox, Professor, Department of Government, Georgetown University "With many analyses of the second wave of the U.S. women's movement, the countermovement it gave rise to has been little more than a shadowy presence in much of the academic literature. Ronnee Schreiber's book provides a thoroughly researched look at the major women's organizations within the countermovement, their strategic efforts to counter feminist groups and the issues they actively contest. Students of the American women's movement, political countermovements, and women's issues will find this aneye-opening addition to existing scholarship."--Anne N. Costain, Professor of Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder