An American journalist who became politically active in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Susan Brownmiller wrote for The Village Voice, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, and Vogue, as well as working for NBC and ABC. Her political profile of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman to be elected to Congress, led to her active participation in civil rights. After joining a consciousness-raising group who gathered to discuss the harsh realities of antifeminist attitudes and behavior, such as equal pay, abortion rights, and rape, Brownmiller became interested in women’s issues.
She participated in organizing the sit-in of The Ladies’ Home Journal, in which women demanded a female editorial staff, and columns and research on such women’s concerns as birth control, abortion rights, and spousal abuse.
In 1975 Brownmiller became an overnight sensation with the publication of Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. This was the first significant documentation of rape and its effects on women and society as a whole. The book was a best-seller. Early reviewers split along gender lines, with most women embracing the theoretical foundations of Brownmiller’s argument and many men questioning her research methodology.
Brownmiller spent about four years doing the research for Against Our Will, meticulously documenting the characteristics...
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