Before I embark upon an evaluation of the emergence of Second Wave feminism and consider the relationship of feminist bestsellers to feminist politics, it is worth considering the legacy of some earlier works of popular fiction and non-fiction which give some insight into an informal ‘tradition’ that later women writers draw upon. As shocking as some of the material in the feminist bestsellers was, it is apparent that they were able to follow the success of earlier women writers whose work similarly caused consternation in its time, but was devoured hungrily — especially by women readers. These books are remembered mainly for being scandalous — usually for elements of sexual explicitness in their content — but looking back, they are inevitably a commentary on their time, containing some profound insights into women’s lives. It is reasonable to assume that the act of reading these texts might have been found liberating if these books were able to confirm personal insights normally concealed or obscured in the more sedate literary publications of the time. These kinds of books were sometimes banned and were always censured for their immoral content; yet it is certain that even where they were disapproved of, they were passed between friends and perhaps more clandestinely by girls who might use these novels to try to obtain insights reserved for married women.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Sex and the Single Girl
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number