The rise and fall of feminist counterculture is traced through feminism's liberation of popular media such as music, cinema, and television and provides portraits of personalities as countercultural models. In addition, the decline of feminism after 1980 is explored.
The book begins by suggesting relevant countercultural problems and failures throughout American history to provide a broad historical perspective. It also describes how the New Left countercultural stress influenced the women's liberation movement. Individual chapters focus on how feminists used music as a counterculture and how they attempted to liberate media such as cinema, television, and advertising. Cultural portraits of Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, and Gloria Steinem suggest how individual women can be effective countercultural models. The book examines the decline of feminism since 1980 and links that decline to the fall of feminist counterculture. Feminists of the 1960s seemed to be repeating the history of the 1920s, when feminists gained the vote, but then lost the next generation. Contemporary feminists made many economic and political gains, but again lost the next generation of women. Despite this loss, the book concentrates primarily on the positive and predicts that countercultural feminism will rise phoenix-like into a new future, feminist era.