This is a succinct, accessible, and clear overview of feminism and the evolution of the feminist movement. Written in the form of an academic thesis, Deborah Cameron covers the four waves of feminism, provides deeper looks into areas such as sex, gender, representation, rights, culture, etc, and also adds her own thoughts on each area.
Deborah Cameron has an obvious deep knowledge of the topic, and provides quotes and ideas from a great selection of well-known and lesser known sources (some of whom I hadn’t heard of myself and who are now on my to-read and research list). While none of the actual ideas or thoughts were new to me, I found Feminism to be a great refresher on why the movement is so important and why I have to continue the fight onwards. I would have liked to see more focus on intersectionality and the continued disregard of white feminists to sit down and let women of color take the podium, but Deborah Cameron does do a good job of firstly mentioning the importance of intersectionality and secondly making it clear that her work focuses on western feminism and is therefore not an overview on the movement worldwide. I also liked how she stresses the contradictions within the movement, both in the past as well as the present, and the areas where more work is needed to be done.
I particularly liked reading the section on “choice”. It brings up a very important line of thought, mainly that women’s choices are not necessarily free choices, but structured in a way that push women to make a certain choice, even though it appears to be a free “choice”. I found myself nodding through that chapter and wanted to see it pushed a bit further (although for the book itself it was enough).
All in all this is a very good read, especially for people looking to learn more about feminism, but also beneficial to those who have been immersed in it for a while (forever). Don’t be put off by the somewhat dry, academic approach, the content is very accessible and well presented, and there is a lot of food for thought within the pages. I had actually never read anything by Deborah Cameron before, but now I see that she also writes a blog – I shall now be following! This is a book that I will be recommending high and low.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy!