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Beauvoir and Her Sisters: The Politics of Women's Bodies in France
by Sandra Reineke
University of Illinois Press, 2011
Cloth: 978-0-252-03619-4 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09322-7
Library of Congress Classification HQ1617.R43 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.420944


Beauvoir and Her Sisters investigates how women's experiences, as represented in print culture, led to a political identity of an "imagined sisterhood" through which political activism developed and thrived in postwar France. Through the lens of women's political and popular writings, Sandra Reineke presents a unique interpretation of feminist and intellectual discourse on citizenship, identity, and reproductive rights.


Drawing on feminist writings by Simone de Beauvoir, feminist reviews from the women's liberation movement, and cultural reproductions from French women's fashion and beauty magazines, Reineke illustrates how print media created new spaces for political and social ideas. This sustained study extends from 1944, when women received the right to vote in France, to 1993, when the French government outlawed anti-abortion activities. Touching on the relationship between consumer culture and feminist practice, Reineke's analysis of a selection of women's writings underlines how these texts challenged traditional gender models and ideals.


In revealing that women collectively used texts to challenge the state to redress its abortion laws, Reineke renders the act of writing as a form of political action and highlights the act of reading as an essential but often overlooked space in which marginalized women could exercise dissent and create solidarity.

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