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Posted in: Feminism

Published on Jan 01, 2000 by Phyllis Chesler

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Notes of an Expert Witness


"Phyllis Chesler has remarkable courage: these are brave and far seeing essays, brilliantly written and conceived. The essay on women of the asylum is a model for any work to come, superb in its understanding of family betrayal and social condemnation – a heroic piece of insight."
-- Kate Millet

"There is both honor and grace in these strong and beautiful essays. This isn't feminism for cowards. Chesler stands up for real women in trouble, in pain, hurt by patriarchy's cruel domination. These are intellectually exciting, truly visionary essays; and they may just remind those with feeble convictions and political amnesia that the women's liberation movement is deep and wide, stubborn and brave, hates injustice, loves freedom, and ain't dead yet."
--Andrea Dworkin

"Phyllis Chesler is our leading feminist beacon, reminding us of the roads we still have to travel, the issues yet to be resolved. She remains one of the most radical and uncompromising of passionate voices, in this collection her intelligent analysis and sense of outrage creating a torch in our present post-feminist darkness."
-- Jill Johnston

"Assesses sexual inequality in America and demands deep structural changes for the survival of all women and men… Chesler is on track in challenging women at a time when the feminist movement seems to have stalled… she sharply challenges the liberal thinking of gender neutrality… an ardent analysis of critical issues."
-- Kirkus

"'Heroism is the only alternative', Phyllis Chesler writes in this important book. But despite our heroism, feminist gains are made only to be eroded in each generation. To prevent this constant whiplash, this constant erosion, we must take Dr. Chesler's words with utmost seriousness and translate them into action. An essential text for our time."
-- Erica Jong

Selected reviews of Patriarchy: Notes of an Expert Witness

Library Journal, 1995

"Chesler, perhaps best known for Women and Madness (Library journal 10/15/72), presents a collection of feminist issues. She discusses patriarchy, psychiatric treatment of women, custody battles, child abuse, women and the criminal justice system, and Camp Sister Spirit, a space in Mississippi created for lesbian women. In one paper she espouses the cause of Mary Beth Whitehead of the Baby M case and in another criticizes Naomi Wolf's Fire with Fire (LI 1/94) for sounding like 'women's magazine advice.' A scholar and radical feminist, Chesler does not equivocate. Recommended for all women's collections in high school, public, and academic libraries."
- Sharon Firesonte, Ross-Blakely Law Lib., Arizona State Univ. Tempe

Ms. Magazine, 1995

"I recommend Phyllis Chesler's Patriarchy: Notes of an Expert Witness (Common Courage Press) to anyone feeling worn down by the O.J. Simpson trial. Her essays remind every reader what a deep, smart and undefensive analysis sounds like. Among other things, Chesler plumbs the double-standard reasons why people, including women, 'hate' surrogate contract mother Mary Beth Whitehead, wife Hedda Nussbaum, and tax evader Leona Helmsley, but remain emotionally 'flat' about William Stern, Joel Steinberg, and Ivan Boesky."
- Gloria Steinem

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