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Shulamith Firestone

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.

More on: Women's Rights
The Dialectic of Sex by Shulamith Firestone
Full image
Cover of Shulamith Firestone's The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution.
Date of Birth
January 13, 1945
Place of Birth
Ottowa, Ontario
Date of Death
August 28, 2012

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Shulamith Firestone ." (Viewed on January 23, 2018) <>.


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