Making Waves

BookMaking Waves

Making Waves

French Feminisms and their Legacies 1975-2015

Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures, 66


December 11th, 2019

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French feminism was central to the theory and culture of Second Wave feminism as an international movement, and 1975 was a key year for the women’s movement in France. Through a critical review of the politics, activism and cultural creativity of that moment, from the perspective of both preceding and subsequent ‘waves’ of feminism, this book evaluates the legacies of 1975, and their strengths and limitations as new questions and new conjunctures have come into play. Edited and written by an international group of feminist scholars, it offers both a critical re-evaluation of a vital moment in women’s cultural history, and a new analysis of the relationship between second wave agendas and contemporary feminist politics and culture.

‘This collection is exceptionally well curated. Each of the chapters has been very carefully written and edited, and together this is fascinating, informative, critical and scholarly.'
Gill Allwood, Nottingham Trent University

“This volume is a lively and accessible mix of history, culture and politics, which nonetheless does not shy away from the complexities of feminism both in the contemporary sphere: the controversy over the burkini ban and the #metoo campaign, and historically: between essentialists and materialists of the second wave, for example, or between radical and what might be considered more moderate feminists.”
Helena Chadderton, University of Hull

‘This collection of essays offers a remarkably diverse and intelligent exploration of the many faces of the feminist movement in France, and of the challenges women faced and still face today. It will be a very useful read for students, researchers, and teachers and for all feminists.'
Dominique Carlini Versini, Modern Language Review

'This is an important book. Even before one begins to read the individual essays, the volume’s usefulness is apparent: e.g., the glossary includes acronyms of various feminist organizations; the timeline extends from 1944, when French women got the right to vote, to the 2018 debate in Le Monde on sexual harassment and violence; and both the up-to-date bibliography and impeccably edited index extend to more than 20 pages. This well-documented, jargon-free volume will be valuable for those interested in feminism or contemporary French culture.'
A. M. Rea, emerita, Occidental College, CHOICE

Author Information

Margaret Atack is Professor of French at the University of Leeds. Alison S. Fell is Professor of French Cultural History, University of Leeds & Director of Leeds Arts & Humanities Research Institute. Diana Holmes is Professor of French at the University of Leeds. Imogen Long is Lecturer in French at the University of Hull.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Illustrations8
Introduction: Making Waves19
Part 1. Then: Second Wave Feminism in France35
1. Before Les Femmes s’entêtent: The 'Bermuda Triangle' of French Feminism?37
2. 1975: The Year of Women51
3. From Muse to Insoumuse: Delphine Seyrig, Vidéaste69
Part 2. Then and Now: Feminism and Public Arenas89
4. Work–Family Reconciliation Policy in France: Challenging or Reinforcing the Gender Division of Domestic and Care Work since the 1970s?91
5. Feminist Publishing in France 1975–2000: A Quest for Legitimacy103
6. Parole(s) de Femmes: From Le Torchon brûle to Les Nouvelles News119
7. Utopian Gaiety: French Lesbian Activism and the Politics of Pleasure (1974–2016)133
8. ‘La femme du soldat inconnu’: Feminism and French lieux de mémoire147
9. A Mediterranean Bazaar: The Bazar du Genre Exhibition at the Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM) in Marseilles, 2013159
Part 3. Now: Reappraisals amd New Agendas173
10. Time to Laugh or to Cry?: 'Le Rire de la Méduse' after 40 Years175
11. ‘Les hommes et les femmes, c’est vraiment pas pareil’ (‘Men and women just aren’t the same’): Nancy Huston’s Passions d’Annie Leclerc189
12. Across the Waves: Benoite Groult, Catel Muller and bande dessinée201
13. Voix Blanche?: Annie Ernaux, French Feminisms and the Challenge of Intersectionality219
14. Third Wave Collective Manifestos: What do Feminists Still Want?233
Notes on Contributors275