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The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution

“A landmark manifesto” — Susan Faludi, New Yorker

An international bestseller, originally published in 1970, when Shulamith Firestone was just twenty-five years old, The Dialectic of Sex was the first book of the women’s liberation movement to put forth a feminist theory of politics.

Beginning with a look at the radical and grassroots history of the first wave (with its foundation in the abolition movement of the time), Firestone documents its major victory, the expansion of the franchise in 1920, and the fifty years of ridicule that followed. She goes on to deftly synthesize the work of Freud, Marx, de Beauvoir, and Engels to create a cogent argument for feminist revolution.

Ultimately she presents feminism as the key radical ideology, the missing link between Marx and Freud, uniting their visions of the political and the personal. The Dialectic of Sex remains remarkably relevant today—a testament to Firestone’s startlingly prescient vision. The author died in 2012, but her ideas live on through this extraordinary book.


  • “No one can understand how feminism has evolved without reading this radical, inflammatory second-wave landmark.”
  • “A must-have for those interested in feminist theory, both past and present. Its reappearance now, during yet another period of ‘ridicule’ towards women’s rights, is perhaps even more pertinent than its first publication.”
  • “Without so much as a single fanny joke or wacky dating anecdote, The Dialectic of Sex gripped and electrifed thousands of people, giving the so-called Second Wave of feminism much of its initial impetus and energy.”
  • “Firestone’s vision of a future without natural inequality or the nuclear family is breathtaking in its scope as well as in its conviction that technology holds the key to the emancipation of women and children.”
  • “A landmark manifesto.”
  • “Betty Friedan proposed letting someone else make the bread; Firestone imagines a new society … With a name like Shulamith Firestone, how could you not change the world?”
  • “Written at fever pitch over the space of several months, The Dialectic of Sex is a visionary document that theorizes ‘sex’ as a category of gender apartheid: that is, the systematic segregation and enforced social, political and economic discrimination against women in society.”


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    At the beginning of March, in the run up to the International Women's Strike, Left Voice spoke with Nancy Fraser — author of Fortunes of Feminism and Henry A. & Louise Loeb Professor of Political & Social Science at The New School — about the motivations behind the strike, and the call for a "Feminism of the 99%" that Fraser co-wrote with other organizers (including Angela Davis, Barbara Ransby, Cinzia Arruzza, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Linda Martín Alcoff, Rasmea Yousef Odeh and Tithi Bhattacharya).

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