Table of Contents



Lisa Huffaker












Fascinating Womanhood was self-published in 1963 by Helen Andelin, with whom I (once) shared a religious background. Reacting against 2nd wave feminism with a gospel of self-limitation, infantilized "femininity," and doting dependence upon men, the book became the foundation of a well-organized movement spread by thousands of teachers among millions of women. I first encountered the book in the library of a religious institute as a young college girl, inwardly torn between my educational ambitions and the "God given role" I'd been raised by my culture to accept. It was the most demeaning book I'd ever read. I did what I've never done before or since: I defaced the book with the beginnings of a timid rebuttal (in pencil) and returned it to the library shelf. Years later, I happened upon a yellowed copy of the mass market paperback, published by Random House in 1982, and have now returned to this book with gusto, finally ready to finish the job. Page by page, I am transforming the book into its own counterargument, leaving the words in their original positions on the page, but delineating an alternative reading of the text. My hope is to turn this book into a remedy for its own harms—to make it call forth the very power it was written to repress.