In The Dialectic of Sex, Shulamith Firestone argued that women’s liberation would require a radical rethinking of sexual mechanics, pregnancy, and gender roles. Raised in an Orthodox family, Firestone earned a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and a BFA in painting from the Art Institute of Chicago. She became involved in radical feminist politics in 1967 and moved to New York to help found three groups: New York Radical Women, Redstockings, and New York Radical Feminists. She edited Notes from the First Year, Notes from the Second Year, and Notes from the Third Year in 1968, 1970, and 1971, and published her own controversial book The Dialectic of Sex in 1970. In it, she argued that women’s vulnerability during pregnancy and the long period of infant care and childrearing cemented men’s dominant position over women. Women’s equality would therefore require birth control pills, lab-grown babies, and childrearing collectives to divorce sex, pregnancy, and childrearing from gender roles, and Firestone believed these technological and scientific breakthroughs were finally within reach. While Firestone withdrew from the feminist movement shortly after the book’s publication, it is still widely discussed in academic circles.
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Jewish Women's Archive. "Shulamith Firestone ." (Viewed on September 30, 2014) <http://jwa.org/people/firestone-shulamith>.