Liberty for Women

edited by Wendy McElroy

"The provocative book powerfully demonstrates that feminism is neither monolithic nor homogeneous. The interesting and thoughtful opinions represented here deserve broad dissemination. I hope Liberty For Women becomes a must-read in every Women’s Studies program in America, and for anyone who is interested in issues of equality and sexual politics."
Christie Hefner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Playboy Enterprises, Inc. 
"Mainstream feminism long ago ran into a variety of false trails and blind alleys and has ended up as a political appendage of the Democratic National Committee. Liberty For Women offers just the sort of intellectual barbs so sorely needed to jolt a near corpse back into life."
Alexander Cockburn, columnist, The Nation and Los Angeles Times
"Liberty For Women is likely to provoke both left-wing feminists and conservative traditionalists. It is lively and provocative and adds immensely to the debate on the role of women in contemporary life."
Linda L. Chavez, President, Center for Equal Opportunity, and former Director, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights 
"This outstanding collection of social commentaries and political analyses that make up Liberty For Women reflects the most significant and controversial topics in contemporary gender politics, addressed by some of the best independent minds addressing these issues today. It offers a crash course in progressive positions on women’s rights and roles that have not gotten the attention they deserve in women’s studies courses. The text’s comprehensiveness and accessibility leave no excuse for perpetuation of this gross curricular oversight."
Susan Sarnoff, Professor of Social Work, Ohio University
"There is an unwritten rule among many feminists: Only women on the political left have the right to interpret the lives of women. This unique and important, new book breaks that rule and provides an excellent forum for civil libertarian thinkers. Liberty For Women is a matchless book on the most important issues facing women now and in the future."
Christina Hoff Sommers, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute 
"Liberty For Women is a marvelous, incisive, and much-needed book demonstrating that unorthodox feminists are alive and well outside the rigid confines of women's studies programs. This intelligent and challenging book has an important role to play in both classroom and public policy discussions."
Daphne Patai, Professor, University of Massachusetts; author, Professing Feminism
"The divisions between libertarian and liberal feminists are not neat or especially consistent (the ideological divides are more readily summarized). Some women champion free markets but not free speech. Some (like me) favor free speech but not free markets. Some, from both camps, want to decriminalize prostitution, while others believe in prohibiting it. Differences like these—the complexities of women’s lib—invigorate this important book, Liberty For Women. Few feminists will agree with every contribution to it; the contributors probably disagree fairly often with each other. But they share a love of liberty that the feminist movement should have the courage to embrace."
Wendy Kaminer, Senior Correspondent, The American Prospect; Contributing Editor, The Atlantic Monthly; commentator, National Public Radio
"Liberty For Women brilliantly explains 'individualist feminism,' based on liberty and equal opportunity, as opposed to 'gender feminism,' which rests on preferences and group privileges. This fascinating book rehabilitates feminism as a political movement, making it attractive again to the many women who have dismissed its excesses.  This book shows that feminism is for everyone who believes in the significance of free choice. With verve and daring, the authors explore the surprising policy implications of true feminism."
Judith S. Kleinfeld, Director of Northern Studies and Professor of Psychology, University of Alaska
"Kudos to Wendy McElroy for demonstrating with contemporary authors in Liberty For Women that individualist feminism is robustly alive today.  This book and its disparate authors reminds us that a love of liberty underlies America's most viable and enduring political passions, whether identified as 'left' or 'right.'"
Joan Kennedy Taylor, author, Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered, Sexual Harassment, and What to Do When You Don't Want to Call the Cops
"This is the book that's been missing from university curricula all these years. We always knew there was more to feminist thought than what was on offer. The book's authors remind us of the root cause of the women's movement: more individual choice."
Amity Shlaes, Senior Columnist, Financial Times
"Liberty For Women is a thought-provoking, intellectually stimulating collection of essays -- some scholarly, but the majority hardhitting, well-reasoned and documented straight talk.  (Cathy Young's and Mimi Gladstein's contributions are outstanding!)  What comes through loud and clear is the crucial distinction between statist man-hating feminism -- personified by Catherine MacKinnon and her ilk -- and a more rational-based feminism that stresses equal treatment, not special privilege."
Erika Holzer, lawyer, essayist, novelist (Double Crossing; Eye For An Eye)
"Liberty For Women is a superb and stunning assemblage of clear-eyed feminist thinkers. They have staked out the intellectual free-center that clears an avenue between the radical authoritarians of the far left who want to regiment a collectivist conformity and those of the far right who aim to impose a rigid 1950's consciousness."
Sally Satel, W. H. Brady Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; author, PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine
"This book shows how feminism has evolved from simplistic ideological doctrine to a more relevant and sophisticated  analysis of the choices open to women at the dawn of the 21st century. Leading intellectuals offer cogent insights about major issues of concern to women. The volume can also be a useful guideline for women facing similar issues  in other countries.  I strongly recommend the book to everyone who is interested in a more fundamental approach to feminism."
Guity Nashat
Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago

Order this book on-line


From The Independent Institute

The editor invites you to sample this book!

What Does Affirmative Action Affirm? by Wendy McElroy, 
as it appeared in Sexual Correctness: The Gender-Feminist Attack on Women.

Breeder Reactionaries: The "Feminist" War on New Reproductive Technologies Part 1 and Part 2  by Wendy McElroy, as it appeared in Reason magazine.


Contact the editor | Wendy McElroy's Home Page

Table of Contents
Wendy Kaminer
Introduction: Foundations of Individualist Feminism
Wendy McElroy
Libertarian Feminism in the Twenty-first Century
Camille Paglia
Liberty and Feminism
Rechard A. Epstein
On Pornography: Lessons from Enforcement
Nadine Strossen
For Their Own Good: The Results of the Prostitution Laws as Enforced by Cops, Politicians, and Judges
Norma Jean Almodovar
Whether from Reason or Prejudice: Taking Money for Bodily Services
Martha C. Nussbaum
Chairing the Department: A Matriarchal Paradigm
Mimi Gladstein
Fetal Protection and Freedom of Contract
Ellen Frankel Paul
Abortion and Liberty
Alexander Tabarrok
What Does Affirmative Action Affirm?
Wendy McElroy
Groping Toward Sanity: Why the Clinton Sex Scandals Are Changing the Way We Talk About Sexual Harassment
Cathy Young
The Case Against Comparable Worth
Ellen Frankel Paul
Women and Violent Crime
Rita J. Simon
Disarming Women: Comparing "Gun Control" to Self-Defense
Richard W. Stevens, Hugo Tuefel III, and Matthew Y. Biscan
Breeder Reactionaries: The "Feminist" War on New Reproductive Technologies
Wendy McElroy
I Am in Mourning: A Doctor Writes to Her Senators and Representatives
Lois Copeland
The Official Plan to Eliminate the Midwife 1899-1999
Faith Gibson
The Third WWWave: Who We Are, What We See
Janis Cortese

Page updated 1 Jan 2003