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To Believe in Women:
Taking up where her 1981 classic, Surpassing the Love of Men, left off, Lillian Faderman reveals that many of the early leaders who fought for women's suffrage, higher education for women, and women's entrance into "male" professions would in today's parlance be called lesbians: "women who lived in committed relationships with other women." Unencumbered by the duties of marriage and motherhood, they were more likely to have the time, energy, and freedom to work for women's rights. In fact, they were more or less obliged to try to better women's lives, Faderman argues, for there was no man to represent them at the polls or support them financially. (Although Elizabeth Cady Stanton's husband and seven children failed to distract her from the cause, her friend Susan B. Anthony used to help her with the children and housework before they settled down for political strategy meetings.) During the Depression, when women's social and economic gains began to dwindle, it was these "single" women who kept professions open while married women were being fired in favor of men. Faderman gracefully surveys a century of advancement and retreat, shedding light on America's debt to women-loving women. --Regina Marler [via]