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Feminist City is an ongoing experiment in living differently, living better, and living more justly in an urban world
We live in the city of men. Our public spaces are not designed for female bodies. There is little consideration for women as mothers, workers or carers. The urban streets often are a place of threats rather than community. Gentrification has made the everyday lives of women even more difficult. What would a metropolis for working women look like? A city of friendships beyond Sex and the City. A transit system that accommodates mothers with strollers on the school run. A public space with enough toilets. A place where women can walk without harassment.
In Feminist City, through history, personal experience and popular culture Leslie Kern exposes what is hidden in plain sight: the social inequalities built into our cities, homes, and neighborhoods. Kern offers an alternative vision of the feminist city. Taking on fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, and the joys and perils of being alone, Kern maps the city from new vantage points, laying out an intersectional feminist approach to urban histories and proposes that the city is perhaps also our best hope for shaping a new urban future. It is time to dismantle what we take for granted about cities and to ask how we can build more just, sustainable, and women-friendly cities together.
Leslie Kern is an associate professor of geography and environment and director of women's and gender studies at Mount Allison University. She is the author of Sex and the Revitalized City: Gender, Condominium Development, and Urban Citizenship.
Jamia Wilson is a feminist activist, writer, and speaker. As director of the Feminist Press at the City University of New York and the former VP of programs at the Women's Media Center, Jamia has been a leading voice on women's rights issues for over a decade. Her work has appeared in numerous outlets, including the New York Times, the Today Show, CNN, Elle, BBC, Rookie, Refinery 29, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and The Washington Post. She is the author of Young, Gifted, and Black, the introduction and oral history in Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World, Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How to Live Your Best Life, ABC's of AOC, and the co-author of Roadmap for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Advocacy, and Activism for All.
Advanced praise for Feminist City:
"Visionary, intelligent, and humane, this book offers intersectional insights into the gendered nature of the modern city to promote 'living more justly in an urban world' … A timely, thought-provoking study."
"[An] insightful scholarly work … This provocative analysis will resonate with theoretically minded feminists."
"Cities aren't built to accommodate female bodies, female needs, female desires. In this rich, engaging book the feminist geographer Leslie Kern envisions how we might transform the 'city of men' into a city for everyone. Let's all move there immediately."
– Lauren Elkin, author of Flaneuse
"This book totally opened my eyes! Feminist City is an incredibly incisive look at cities and urban design through the lens of gender, while also inspecting how acts of claiming urban space affect other marginalized groups. Combining academic and lived experience, Leslie Kern's intersectional approach clearly lays out just how cities are failing and what it might mean to imagine a more just urban life. Feminist City made me see my own experiences in a whole new light, and Kern makes the field of feminist geography completely accessible and exciting to the average city slicker. Anyone who considers themselves a feminist or activist should read this book!"
– Julia DeVarti, Literati Bookstore