They Didn’t See Us Coming: The Hidden History of Feminism in the Nineties

Basic. Jul. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9780465095285. $30. SOC SCI
Like Andi Zeisler’s We Were Feminists Once, Levenstein’s latest (A Movement Without Marches) serves simultaneously as a history that is critical yet nostalgic; a call to action as well as a structural interrogation of the politics undergirding and contextualizing 90s feminism. Levenstein draws attention to the often-discussed power differentials that were unintentionally but problematically replicated by predominately white feminists, and she analyzes the enduring tension between intersectionality in theory and in fact. Especially astute is her chapter on the rise of digital feminism and online activism, as she spotlights pioneering ways in which specialists such as Barbara Ann O’Leary worked in the forefront of digital technology, while remaining aware of the digital divide. Levenstein adds nuances that will provide rich space for current feminist theorists, scholars, and activists to dig deeper into feminist history, and its social ramifications in a digital era.
VERDICT A valuable contribution to the history of feminism at its grassroots and global levels, as well as a message to readers about how difficult it is to anticipate what online tools and developments will emerge as feminism continues to grow, along with the material, political, and intellectual issues abutting it.



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