Feminism on Trial: The Ginny Foat Case and the Future of the Women's Movement

Ellen Hawkes, Author William Morrow & Company $18.45 (420p) ISBN 978-0-688-04850-1
In 1983, Ginny Foat, California president of the National Organization for Women, was tried and acquitted for the murder of a businessman, which occurred 18 years earlier. The complex casereopened by a fellow feminist's letter to authorities and based on an accusation by Foat's allegedly abusive ex-husbandmade headlines. In this thoughtful analysis, Hawkes, a freelance journalist, exploits the Foat case as a vantage on the contemporary women's movement, showing that it sparked rivalries, gossip and infightingthe ""vicious NOW wars,'' according to feminist Karen DeCrowas factions responded in diverse ways to Foat's plight. Drawing on interviews, the author argues that the case brought many feminist weaknesses to the fore, and she discusses Foat's courtroom depiction of her earlier life as a passive, hapless victim while the defendant made no mention of the strengths that had brought her to the women's movement. The case and attendant controversies show that feminists must avoid ``unrealistic stereotypes,'' and recognize their strengths and diverse pasts, if the women's movement is to grow, concludes Hawkes. (May 28)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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