Review of "Feminist Thought" by Rosemarie Tong

Submitted by: Peiying Chen -- USC

The second version of "Feminist Thought" is a comprehensive book for the first-timers who want to grasp the spectrum of contemporary feminist ideologies. Rosemarie Putnam Tong defines, interprets and compares the gamut of feminist schools with both supportive and opposing views. The diversity of feminist thinking spans across liberal, radical, Marxist & socialist, psychoanalytic & cultural, existentialist, postmodern, theories and has been updated to include multicultural & global, and ecofeminist points of view.

Readers can compare the strengths and weaknesses of feminist thought to determine how the different schools of feminists have intervened and changed the images of women since the late 19th century. Tong gives examples of how feminist academics and activists have contributed to the production of knowledge regarding gender during their struggles for women’s rights in particular, and human rights in general.

What Tong's presentation of the complexity of various "feminisms" does not tell us is to what extent these ideologies have mobilized a particular academic or social historical movement against masculine hegemony. The complexity of feminism is illustrated through theoretical abstractions rather than the portral of actual events.