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Anarchism and Feminism: Scoring Feminist Totalitarianism
By Wendy McElroy
(The following essay by Wendy McElroy is from a chapter of her forthcoming book Sexual Correctness, to be published by MacFarland & Co.)
Sexual correctness is a dogma that permits no dissent. Gender feminists have no scruples about silencing and dismissing the voices of women who disagree. Thus--though individualist feminism is a rich tradition with deep roots in American history--it is virtually ignored. This bibliographic essay is a pioneering step toward reclaiming an aspect of feminist history that the orthodoxy would rather remain in the dustbin.
Today, the majority of American women feel alienated from forms of feminism that do not address their daily needs. One can understand their disillusionment. American feminism has forgotten its roots and has taken a disastrous turn away from the true interests of women. It is time to rediscover the rich and distinctly American tradition of individualist feminism: a tradition based on the principles of self-ownership and equal treatment under just laws. Although the American tradition draws heavily upon British classical liberalism--especially the work of British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft--American women organized around issues that were uniquely their own, such as Puritanism, the American Revolution and slavery.
As an organized and self-conscious movement, American feminism arose during the 1830's. Prior to this, women who made a stand for their own conscience against authority did so as individuals. Anne Marbury Hutchinson (1591-1643) led the first organized attack on the Puritan orthodoxy of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, thus evoking the sexual equality practiced by some European Protestant sects. The Antinomian Controvery 1636-1638: A Documentary History (1968; Durham: Duke University Press, 1990), edited by David D. Hall is an excellent collection of contemporaneous documents surrounding Hutchinson's trial and banishment. Selma R. Williams' Divine Rebel: The Life of Anne Marbury Hutchinson (N.Y.: Holt, Rinehart & Wilson, 1981) provides good biographical background.
Abigail Adams (1744-1818), wife of John Adams, had a genius for letterwriting. Her correspondence is replete with praise for the competence of her sex and with condemnations of slavery on the grounds that all human beings have equal rights. In deed, Page Smith in his two volume John Adams (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday 1962) considered Abigail to be a full partner in her husband's career. Most of Abigail Adams' surviving correspond ence is in the Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. A good selection of her letters can be found in The Adams Jefferson Letters: the Complete Correspondence between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c.1959) ed. Lester J. Capon.
Mercy Otis Warren (1728-1814) was the most prolific 'woman of the American revolution', with works that viewed history and politics as a struggle between liberty and power. Between 1772 1805, Warren published five plays, three political satires, three books of poetry, a pamphelet critiquing the recently proposed Constitution and one of the most important histories of the American Revolution. Much of her literary work appeared in Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous (1790). Her satirical play --The Adulateur first appeared anonymously in the Boston news paper the Massachusetts Spy (1772; pamphlet, Boston, 1773). This work portrayed Thomas Hutchinson, the royal governor of Massachusetts as the character Rapatio, a ruler who sought to crush the love of liberty. Her next play, The Defeat (1773) again featured Rapatio. The Group (1775) satirized the Massachusetts Tories under such evil names as Judge Meager. These satires are available in Plays and Poems of Mercy Otis Warren: Facsimile Reproductions Compiled and with an Introduction by Benjamin Franklin (Delmar, N.Y.: Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints, 1980). Warren's major work, History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution, Interspersed with Biographical, Political and Moral Observations(Boston: Manning and Loring, 1805; Liberty Classics, Indianapolis, 1988) is one of the most important contemporaneous histories of the period. The largest body of Warren's manuscript material rests with the Massachusetts Historical Society. Mary Elizabeth Regan's Pundit and Prophet of the Old Republic: The Life and Times of Mercy Otis Warren (unpub. Ph.D. dis., University of California, 1984) provides good biographical material. Linda Kerber's overview Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980) is valuable for a more general understanding of women's role in the American Revolution.
In the 1820's, Frances Wright--a follower of the Utopian philosopher Robert Owen--visited America and wrote a long series of letters home to Glasgow. These formed the well-received travel memoir Views of Society and Manners in America (1821; Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press, 1963) ed. Paul R. Baker. Written from a libertarian and secular pointofview, this book used American society to critique oppressive conditions in Europe. Returning to America, Wright championed the antislavery cause and that of the Utopian communities, serving as coeditor of the New Harmony Gazette, which subsequently became Free Enquirer (N.Y., 1829).
In 1828, Wright created a sensation by becoming the first woman to make a lecture tour of America. She demanded legal rights for married women, liberal divorce laws and birth control. A recent source of biographical data is Frances Wright: Rebel in America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984) by Celia Morris. Some of Wright's speeches are reprinted in Course of Popular Lectures (1829; expanded edition 1836). Wright's letters are scattered in various collections, but files of the Free Enquirer (for the period of her editorship) are at Rutgers Univ. and Cornell.
In the 1830s, a feminist movement grew from the ranks of abolitionism--a movement that demanded the immediate cessation of slavery on the grounds that every man is a selfowner. Many abolitionists were Quakers, reared in the tenet of sexual equality and with a tradition of female ministry. Inevitably, abolitionist women asked: 'Do not we own ourselves as well?' This was the birth of individualistfeminism. And it was expressed large ly through lectures, pamphlets and articles that appeared in periodicals, especially The Liberator (Boston, 1831-1865) ed. William Lloyd Garrison, available on microfilm from the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Sarah Moore Grimke (1792-1873)--an abolitionist Quaker from South Carolina-- shot one of the first feminist arrows in her essay Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and the Condition of Woman, Addressed to Mary Parker, President of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (Boston, Isaac Knapp, 1838) drew a parallel between the legal status of slaves and of women.
Sarah's sister, Angelina Emily Grimke (1805-1879) published a series of letters in the Liberator (1838), which later became the influential pamphlet Letters to Catherine Beecher in Reply to an Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism (Boston: Isaac Knapp, 1838). Two of these letters defended the rights of woman as a citizen and a human being.
Much of the Grimkes' impact came from the fact that they, as women, broke convention by publicly speaking out. On Feb. 21, 1838, for example, Angelina Grimke spoke before a Committee of the Legislature of the State of Massachusetts--thus becoming the first American woman to address a legislative body. The text was reprinted in The Liberator. (May 2, 1838.)
The Grimkes' key works and speeches have been reprinted in The Public Years of Sarah and Angelina Grimke: Selected Writings 1835-1839 (Columbia University Press, 1989). The definitive biography is Gerda Lerner's The Grimke Sisters from South Carolina: Rebels Against Slavery (1967; N.Y.: Schocken Books, 1971). However, The Grimke Sisters: Sarah and Angelina Grimke, The First Women Advocates of Abolition and Woman's Rights (Boston: Lee and Sheppard, 1885; Greenwood Press, 1969) by Catharine Birney is of interest because Birney was a personal friend who used diaries and letters from the Grimkes as source material. The primary manuscript source is the Theodore Dwight Weld Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
In 1848, the venerable abolitionist Quaker, Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793-1880) helped to organize the Seneca Falls Convention -- the first woman's rights conference. She delivered the open ing and closing addresses. In Discourse on Woman (1850) Mott attributed the alleged inferiority of women to the oppression they had suffered. Lucretia Mott: Her Complete Speeches and Sermons (ed. Dana Greene, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1980) is an excellent collection of her work. The most satisfying biography remains Otelia Cromwell's Lucretia Mott (N.Y.: Russell & Russell, 1958). Margaret Hope Bacon's more recent biography Valiant Friend: The Life of Lucretia Mott (N.Y.: Walker, 1980) also provides valuable background.
Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was probably the most popular American woman writer of her day, publishing more than forty works, from children's stories to abolitionist pamphlets to biographies of Madame de Stael and Madame Roland. Her two volume History of the Condition of Women, in Various Ages and Nations (1835; N.Y.: C.S. Francis, 1845) sketched the debased status of women thoroughout history in an informative, but sometimes inaccurate, manner. In this work, Child avoidedoffending her audi ence by only indirectly addressing feminist issues. Letters by Lydia Maria Child (1882) contains selected correspondence, with a biographical introduction by John G. Whittier. A recent and excellent biography is Deborah Pickman Clifford's Crusader for Freedom: A Life of Lydia Maria Child (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992). Cornell University has the largest collection of Child's papers.
Maria Weston Chapman (1806-1885) helped to transmit British classical liberalism to America through her two volume Harriet Martineau's Autobiography (J.R. Osgood, 1877; Boston, Houghton, Mifflin, 1877). Chapman appended some 460 pages of tribute and reminiscence. The reprint (Farnborough: Hants; England 1969) omits the memorials.
The scope of contributions from other abolitionist women--such as, Abbie Kelley Foster, Lydia White, Prudence Crandell and Lucy Stone--preclude mention. [Indeed, an exhaustive survey would include Harriet Beecher Stowe's (1811-1896) Uncle Tom's Cabin: or, Life Among the Lowly (1851; N.Y.: Viking 1982); in the preface to the 1878 edition, Stowe confessed to keeping an abolitionist text by Angelina Grimke's husband in her work basket by day and under her pillow at night, for inspiration.] Also, two essays defending women in William Graham Sumner's War and Other Essays ed. Albert G. Keller (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1919) were undoubtedly influenced by his experience with abolitionist women.
Overviews of this key period for individualist feminism can be found in Radical Abolitionism: Anarchism and the Government of God in Antislavery Thought (Ithaca: Cornell Univ., 1973) by Lewis Perry. Also, Blanche Glassman Hersh's The Slavery of Sex: Feminist Abolitionists in America (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978).
Meanwhile, another tradition provided a vehicle for individualistic women: transcendentalism. This philosophy was rooted in natural law and a belief in the perfectibility of human beings.
Margaret Fuller (1810-1850)--who had studied the works of John Locke with Lydia Maria Childs--came under the influence of the transcendalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Bronson Alcott. Fuller began to publish in the Dial (Boston, 1840-1844), the periodical of the Club of Transcendentalists. Indeed, between 1840-42, Fuller acted as editor. Her book Woman in the Nineteenth Century (1845; N.Y.: Norton, 1971) grew from an essay in the Dial and presaged the concept of 'sisterhood'. The book has become an American classic.
Fuller also worked as a literary critic for the New York Tribune; many of her articles were collected in Papers on Literature and Art (N.Y.: Wiley & Putnam, 1846). Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli (2 vols., 1852; N.Y.: Burt Franklin, 1972) ed. Ralph Waldo Emerson, William H. Channing and James Freeman Clarke provides excellent background material. Mason Wade's Margaret Fuller: Whetstone of Genius (N.Y.: Viking, 1940) provides valuable biographical data. The Woman and the Myth: Margaret Fuller's Life and Writing (Old Westbury, N.Y.: The Feminist Press, 1976) by Bell Gale Chevigny mixes biography with reprints of Fuller's material. The range of her work is well represented in The Writings of Margaret Fuller ed. Mason Wade, (N.Y.: Viking, 1941) which includes a full listing of periodical contributions. The Essential Margaret Fuller (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers, 1992) ed. Jeffrey Steele is also valuable.
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody's (1804-1894) Record of a School (1835; N.Y.: Arno Press 1969) presented a transcendentalist view of moral education and established Bronson Alcott (the focus of her report) as an important figure in intellectual circles. In May 1849, the single issue of her own Transcendentalist periodical Aesthetic Papers introduced Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience. Last Evening with Allston and Other Papers (1886; AMS Press, 1975) collects her essays from the Dial and Aesthetic Papers along with later pieces. Between 1861-1865, the civil war absorbed the energy of feminists, who put social causes aside to work for the war effort. Afterwards, many women joined a mainstream campaign to embed the rights of women in the U.S. Constitution. Individualist feminism became splintered, finding expression in radical periodicals, especially those championing free thought, utopian communities and free love. Free thought was the movement that denied that the church had any authority to regulate individuals. The best source for women in freethought is George A. MacDonald's two volume 50 Years of Freethought (N.Y.: Truthseeker, 1929, 1931), which centered around the periodical the Truthseeker (1873present). Raymond Lee Muncey's Sex and Marriage in Utopian Communities: 19th century America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973) provides a good general overview of feminism within utopian communities.
The most important vehicle for individualist feminism was the free love movement, which declared all sexual matters to be the province of the individuals involved, not of government.
The most important free love periodical was Lucifer the Light Bearer (Valley Falls, Kansas 1883-1890; Topeka 1890-1896; Chicago 1896-1907) ed. Moses Harman. Lucifer succeeded the Valley Falls Liberal (1880) which began with no formal editors; it was, in turn, succeeded by The American Journal of Eugenics (1907-1910), ed. by Moses Harman. Lucifer had a policy of publishing frank letters without editing language (eg. one letter argued that forced sex within marriage was rape). This policy caused Harman to be convicted three times under the Comstock laws of 1873. His final imprisonment occurred at the age of 75. During these confinements Lillian Harman, Lillie D. White, and Lois Waisbrooker assumed editorship. Many individualist feminists, such as Celia B. Whitehead, Lillie D. White and Lois Waisbrooker published in Lucifer.
Lucifer and its staff produced many pamphlets. Moses Harman's include: Love in Freedom (Chicago, 1900); Institutional Marriage (Chicago, 1901); A Free Man's Creed: Discussion of Love in Freedom as Opposed to Institutional Marriage (Los Angeles, 1908);
At the age of 16, Lillian Harman--Moses' daughter--was imprisoned for her nonstate, nonchurch marriage to fellow free lover E.C. Walker. Lillian's pamphlets include: Marriage and Morality (pamphlet, Chicago, Light Bearer Library, 1900); Some Problems of Social Freedom. (London, 1898).
Eventually, Lillian Harman and E.C. Walker broke from Lucifer and published their own free love periodical Fair Play (1888-1891), first from Valley Falls, Kansas and then Sioux City, Iowa.
The Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka has a run of Lucifer and most other Kansas free love periodicals, as well as many pamphlets. The Labadie Collection, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor contains some of the Harman papers. The best second ary source on this radical circle remains: Hal D. Sears The Sex Radicals: Free Love in High Victorian America, (Lawrence, Kansas: Regents Press, 1977.)
The Word, subtitled A Monthly Journal of Reform (Princeton & Cambridge, Mass.: 1872-1890, 1892-1893) ed. Ezra Heywood, began as a labor paper, but came to focus more and more on free love issues such as birth control. Elizabeth Cady Stanton was among its many female contributors.
The Word also sparked pamphlets. Ezra Heywood's essay on birth control Cupid's Yokes: The Binding Forces of Conjugal Life: An Essay to Consider Some Moral and Physiological Phases of Love and Marriage, Wherein Is Asserted the Natural Right and Necessity of Sexual SelfGovernment (Princeton Mass., 1876) was the most controversial pamphlet in the history of individualist feminism. Its distribution--estimated at 50,000 to 200,000--contravened the Comstock Laws, which outlawed birth control information as obscene. Heywood was imprisoned repeatedly.
Uncivil Liberties (1873) was also written by Ezra Heywood with his wife Angela's imput. The pamphlet called for woman suffrage on the grounds that it would socially emancipate both sexes. Many of Heywood's essays can be found in The Collected Works of Ezra H. Heywood (Weston, Mass: M&S Press, 1985). A microfilm run of The Word is available from the Massachusetts Historical Society and contains such gems as Angela Heywood's defense of abortion based on the idea of 'a woman's body, a woman's right'--perhaps the first such defense in American feminism.
The Word also published Walt Whitman who, as a child, at tended lectures by Frances Wright. After Whitman's book Leaves of Grass was threatened by the Comstock Laws, The Word (1882) boldly reprinted two of its poems: "To a Common Prostitute" and "A Woman Waits for Me."
No less controversial, but less substantial, was Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly (1870-1876), edited by Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927) and her sister Tennessee Claflin (1845-1923). Woodhull was a free love, free speech radical whose pamphlets were said to be written by others, especially by the libertarian Stephen Pearl Andrews and by Woodhull's husband, Colonel Blood. Her radical marriage views were aired in the pamphlet Tried as by Fire (published lecture, 1874). The Victoria Woodhull Reader (Weston, Mass: M&S Press, 1974), ed. Madeleine B. Stern,is the best source for Woodhull's original work. Emanie Sachs biography "The Terrible Siren": Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927), (N.Y.: Harper, 1928; Arno Press) is the most valuable source of biographical material.
The individualist anarchist periodical Liberty subtitled Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order (Boston, Mass. 1881-1907), ed. Benjamin R. Tucker, was another platform for women. Its contributors were a virtual honor list of individualist feminists: Gertrude Kelly, Bertha Marvin, Lillian Harman, Clara Dixon Davidson, Ellen Battelle Dietrick, Kate Field, Emma Schumm, Juliet Severance, Charlotte Perkins Stetson, Josephine Tilton, Helen Tufts, and Lois Waisbrooker. Unfortunately, most of the subjects discussed had only implied importance for women.
Stephen Pearl Andrews (1812-1886), a co-editor of Liberty, published the booklet Love, Marriage and Divorce and The Sovereignty of the Individual (1853; Weston, Mass: M&S Press, 1975). This was an exchange of sorts between Horace Greeley and Andrews. The fundamental difference between them concerned an individual's relationship with government. Andrews believed that individuals could and should govern themselves. He also suggested the superiority of women. Charles Shively's The Thought of Stephen Pearl Andrews (1812-1886) (Master's Thesis, University of Wisconsin, 1960) deals with Andrews' views of sex, marriage and the family.
Meanwhile, perhaps the most important theorist in individualist feminism worked in relative isolation: Voltairine de Cleyre (1866-1912). This poet-anarchist, named after Voltaire, is best remembered for her essay Anarchism and American Traditions, in which she argued that anarchism was the logical consequence of the principles of the American Revolution. De Cleyre's anarchism had the same root as her passion for women's rights--the hatred of tyranny.
The best source for de Cleyre's writing is Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre ed. Alexander Berkman, with a biographical sketch by Hippolyte Havel (1914; N.Y.: Source Book Press, 1972.) The definitive biography is An American Anarchist: The Life of< Voltairine de Cleyre by Paul Avrich (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1978).
The turn of the century brought a pervasive repression of sexuality. With the assassination of McKinley, political radicalism was persecuted as well. Individualist feminism, which drew lifeblood from free love and individualistanarchism, died. When it resurrected, the voices were isolated and altered.
Individualist feminism changed in another manner, as well. 20th century advocates generally expressed a different view of economics than their 19th century counterparts. 19th century individualists had accepted a labor theory of value. Although they championed the free market, they opposed capitalism as a distortion of the market place. By contrast, 20th century individualist feminism abandoned the labor theory of value and tended to incorporate a defense of capitalism.
In 1926 Concerning Women (N.Y.: Arno Press, 1972) by Suzanne La Follette became the first book length treatment of individual istfeminism. La Follette transmitted individualistfeminism into a new century. Her defense of the free market led her to vigor ously oppose state intrusion into women's lives, such as protective labor and minimum wage laws. As a journalist, La Folette worked with her mentor Albert Jay Nock on both The Nation and The Freeman.
Although Emma Goldman was a communist, her two books My Disillusionment in Russia and My Further Disillusionment in Russia (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Page, 1923, 1924) contributed to individualism by attacking the Russian social experiment.
Give Me Liberty (1936) by Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968) --one of the most influential women of her day--was in the same vein. This booklet charted Lane's progress from socialism to libertarianism as a result of directly experiencing life under socialist regimes. Published during the Great Depression by the Saturday Evening Post, it warned against the state socialism inherent in Roosevelt's New Deal. A consistent critic of Roosevelt, Lane withdrew to her farm in Connecticut where she refused to participate in social security or to earn enough to pay taxes.
Lane's most famous work The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority (1943; N.Y.: Arno Press, 1972) is an overview of mankind's intellectual progress through history. It attempts to explain the struggle between freedom and authority.
The Lady and the Tycoon (Caldwell, Ohio: Caxton, 1972) ed. Roger Lea MacBride provides a portion of Lane's correspondence. An interesting exchange of correspondence is captured in Dorothy Thompson and Rose Wilder Lane: Forty Years of Friendship 1921-1960 (Columbia: Univ. of Missouri, 1991) ed. William Holtz. The best biographical source is Rose Wilder Lane: Her Story (Madison Books, 1980). Some of Lane's papers are available at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa.
The successful novelist Isabel Paterson added her voice to the defense of capitalism in her nonfiction work The God of the Machine (1943; Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton, 1964.)
Aside from individuals, two traditions also carried on the threads of individualist feminism: (1) the School of Living called for decentralization, self-sufficiency and for replacing government action with individual initiative. This philosophy drew on the ideas of 19th century individualists Henry George, Josiah Warren, Ezra Heywood and William B. Greene. Mildred J. Loomis' Decentralism; Where It Came From; Where Is It Going? (The School of Living Press, 1980) has been republished under the title Alternative Americas (N.Y.: Universe Books, 1982); it sets out the basics of this tradition; (2) Christian pacifism as expressed through the periodical the Catholic Worker (1933-present) -- perhaps the most widely circulated of all libertarian newspapers. Even the F.B.I. was hard pressed to classify the Catholic Worker's brand of subversion: it opposed communism and capitalism, while supporting private property and decentralization. Followers often called themselves anarchists, yet respected the authority of church. Radical Christian pacifism places the duty to conscience above any possible duty to the state.
In her autobiography The Long Loneliness (N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1952) Dorothy Day (1897-1980)--the founder of The Catholic Worker--gives a sense of the philosophy and history behind this movement. Also valuable is Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker: A Bibliography and Index (N.Y.: Garland, 1986) by Anne Klejment.
Then, in the 50's and 60's Ayn Rand exploded onto the intellectual scene with the philosophy of Objectivism, which she expressed both in fiction and nonfiction works. Her first published work, a novelette, set the tone for the rest of her career: Anthem (1938; N.Y.: New American Library, 1946) is the futuristic story of a man who rediscovers individualism in society of absolute collectivism. Her two subsequent novels We the Living (1936; New York: Random, 1959) and The Fountainhead (1943; N.Y.: New American Library, 1952) continue this theme of rational egoism confronted by collectivization. Rand's most famous novel Atlas Shrugged (1957; N.Y.: Random House, 1959) chronicles the breakdown of society as rational egoists resist collectivization by going 'on strike'.
The themes dramatized in Rand's fiction become explicit ideas in her nonfiction works. The titles of two other non-fiction works are self-explanatory. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (N.Y.: New American Library, 1966) and The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism (New York: New American Library, 1964.)
Who is Ayn Rand (1962; New York: Paperback Library 1964) by Nathaniel Branden and Barbara Branden provides a sense of Rand's circle, with its tendency to idolize her. Essays analyse the many facets of Rand and her impact. The definitive biography is Barbara Branden's The Passion of Ayn Rand (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1986).
Ayn Rand built an interdisciplinary system that carried the defense of individualism and capitalism to sophistocated heights. It is surprising that her works have not ushered in a renaissance of individualistfeminism. But the movement only edges toward cohesion.
The novels of Objectivist Kay Nolte Smith, such as In the Eye of the Wind (N.Y.: Random House, 1991), have provided a continuing voice. In 1982, a CATO anthology Freedom, Feminism and the State, (revised, N.Y.: Holmes and Meier, 1991) ) ed. Wendy McElroy provided a much needed overview of the background of individualist-feminism. The Cato Institute has also provided a series of valuable policy studies such as Jennifer Roback's A Skeptical Feminist Looks at Comparable Worth (8 Cato Policy Report 6, 7, (1986).
A gust of fresh air swept through individualist feminism with Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickenson (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1990; N.Y.: Vintage, 1991) by the libertarian Camille Paglia. This politically incorrect view of the role of sex within Western culture made the feminist orthodoxy howl. Sex, Art and American Culture, (N.Y.: Vintage Books, 1992) caused controversy by refusing to define women as victims.
1992 also saw the publication of Joan Kennedy Taylor's excellent Reclaiming the Mainstream: Individualist Feminism Rediscovered (Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books, 1992), which ably charts the truest course for American feminism: individualism.
Perhaps the renaissance is at hand.
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