The Bonobo Sisterhood: Revolution Through Female Alliance

Harper Wave. Sept. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780063085077. $28.99. WOMEN’S STUDIES
Through the study and inspiration of bonobo monkeys—humans share 98.7 percent of their DNA—Rosenfeld (founding dir., Gender Violence Program; Harvard Law Sch.) calls for a women revolution and societal reform. In this book, she describes the monkeys’ strong, female coalitions, found in forests south of the Congo River, and how they band together to fight off male aggressors of their species. The author presents decades of bonobo research by evolutionary biologists and primatologists, cross-sectioned with statistics, firsthand accounts, and legal history. By addressing human campaigns for self-defense, the status quo of a male-dominated society, and promoting the physical and psychological benefits of an alliance through sisterhood, Rosenfeld imagines a world where women somewhat mimic the female bonobos by answering each other’s call for protection against male supremacy, separation assault, sexual violence, street harassment, and what the author calls the “male protection racket.” Completely original, thoroughly researched, and as heartbreaking as it is inspiring, this book ushers in a new age of women alliance by spotlighting women’s true strength and power in numbers.
VERDICT Recommend to readers of Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her and Deborah Tuerkheimer’s Credible.
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