Cover: Speaking of Sex: The Denial of Gender Inequality, from Harvard University PressCover: Speaking of Sex in PAPERBACK

Speaking of Sex

The Denial of Gender Inequality

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$51.00 • £44.95 • €46.95

ISBN 9780674831780

Publication Date: 09/01/1999


352 pages

5-11/16 x 8-15/16 inches


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Deborah L. Rhode…gamely tackles a knotty issue in feminism: for many Americans, extant victories for women’s rights render any discussion of remaining inequities tiresome. She has written a scrupulously researched, balanced, sobering, and sober book… Rhode makes the persuasive argument that the achievement of true equality requires that we first ‘recognize the distance we have yet to travel’ …[She] focus[es] on hard research rather than easy sensationalism.—Jacqueline Boone, The New York Times Book Review

In Speaking of Sex, Rhode sets herself two tasks: to document gender inequality—separate chapters cover child-rearing, the media, sexual violence, work, and marriage and divorce—and to understand why so many of us are ‘in denial’ about it. Although Rhode breaks little new ground, the sheer accumulation of data and her cogent analyses make this an excellent guide to sexism in our time. Exhaustively footnoted and sourced, it is unlike most general-interest books on any side of this debate in that it draws on a vast amount of real scholarship and ranges widely over the available literature in and out of academia… Her calm, lawyerly, methodical approach lets the material speak for itself. And it does.—Katha Pollitt, The Atlantic

Rhode convincingly demonstrates patterns of denial about rape, sexual harassment, domestic violence, workplace inequality, and women’s poverty. She also discusses some of the tools of denial—appeals to biological determinism and ‘family values,’ the men’s movement, and media trivialization of women’s issues… The book is a kind of Backlash for the mid-1990s: a wake-up call to feminists, bolstered by a copious documentation of facts. What Susan Faludi did to counter the rise of antifeminism in the 1980s, Rhode…has done for the less sensational—but equally formidable—problem of denial.—Liza Featherstone, Ms. Magazine

Amid the rising tide of neofeminists bashing the women’s movement, Speaking of Sex returns the focus of the debate to the question of gender inequality… With careful research and…insightful analysis, [Rhode] says the advances won by the women’s movement in the past three decades have resulted in widespread and deeply engrained denial that gender inequality still exists.—K. Kaufmann, The San Francisco Chronicle

In spite of progress that has been made over the last few decades regarding gender discrimination, Rhode (law, Stanford) makes a strong case that it is not nearly enough. Through lively writing and myriad well-documented examples, the author shows how, for the most part, gender inequality is either ignored or denied. This is true for women in virtually all states of life and in all areas of endeavor, whether in their personal or public lives or at the workplace… This readable yet scholarly treatment is essential for all women’s studies collections.Library Journal

Deborah Rhode in Speaking of Sex intelligently combines authoritative insights and elegant prose to discuss America’s ‘no problem’ problem—the mistaken assumption that gender inequality is a problem largely solved.—Susan Estrich, University of Southern California

If you want to know why women and men are still not equal, this book will tell you. Rhode’s analysis is refreshingly clear, and her conclusions are stunningly powerful.—Herma Hill Kay, University of California, Berkeley

Deborah Rhode is one of the very finest writers on sexual equality and law; this book is a superb contribution, offering a fresh combination of empirical data, sophisticated theoretical insight, and simple good sense.—Cass R. Sunstein, University of Chicago

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