A Woman to Know: Shulamith Firestone

A revolutionary in every bedroom can't fail to shake up the status quo.— Shulamith

(Photograph by Lori Hiris)


Shulamith's friends called her "a flame," "a fireball," "a firebrand" and "a Red Stocking." The latter term inspired the name of her 1960s girl gang, a group of badass lady activists that rallied around the call of second-wave feminism and advocated for radical change in contemporary gender politics. In addition to her work with the Red Stockings, New York Radical Women and other community organizing, Shulamith authored countless feminist texts, including a 1970 book, "The Dialectic of Sex," that remains a staple on women's studies syllabi (although her conservative father called it "the joke book of the century").

But in her late 20s, Shulamith self-exiled from feminism, struggling with schizms in the sisterhood, "trashing" and her own life-long battle with schizophrenia. In 2012 she was found dead in her apartment, alone.

"When I think back on Shule's contribution to the movement, I think of her as a shooting star," writer Jo Freeman remembered upon Firestone's death in 2012. "She flashed brightly across the midnight sky. And then she disappeared."

(Photo by Andrew Klein)


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*Thank you to Lisa Bonos for recommending Shulamith as a woman to know! Lisa writes about dating, sex, relationships and (duh) radical feminism. You should follow her on Twitter.*

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