Cheating on the Sisterhood
Infidelity and Feminism
by Lauren Rosewarne
May 2009, 272pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-36031-2
$65, £50, 57€, A90
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eBook Available: 978-0-313-36032-9
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Most heterosexuals—including most feminist heterosexuals—continue to regard monogamy as the ultimate goal in relationships. Still, once the longed-for sanctuary of monogamy is attained, impulses to infidelity arise, fueled by pornography, technological change, consumerism, narcissism, and unlimited sexual choice. But just who is cheating on whom?

Drawing on the author's own experience as 'the other woman' in an affair with am otherwise-committed man, this contemporary feminist study is the first to label the role of the two-timing male as 'sexual terrorist.'

Cheating on the Sisterhood: Infidelity and Feminism is a feminist analysis of the imbroglio of sexual politics, brute sociobiology, and pop-mediated passion that is conjured up when a married man cheats on his wife with a younger, single woman.

Drawing frankly on her own experience as the “other woman,” Lauren Rosewarne scrutinizes the alternate readings of the politics of cheating in terms of feminism’s program of gender equality. Arguing that contemporary feminism does not automatically endorse or reject any particular choices, she shows what happens when all three parties to the classic triangle happen to be feminists, each trotting out a different set of feminist arguments to justify, vilify, and rationalize his or her actions. Is the “other woman,” this book asks, just a tool of the cheating man’s assertion of gender dominance over both his mate and his mistress—and a willy-nilly a traitor to the sisterhood?

Lauren Rosewarne is lecturer in policy studies in the School of Political Science, Criminology and Sociology and manager of the Centre for Public Policy at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is the author of Sex in Public: Women, Outdoor Advertising, and Public Policy (2007) and of numerous papers on gender, media, and culture presented in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Japan.


"As a third-wave Generation Y feminist, Rosewarne (Centre for Public Policy, U. of Melbourne) explores the disconnect between many women’s feminist values and their handling of infidelity in intimate relationships. Drawing on the gender equality agenda, pop culture representations, and her own experience as the other woman, she argues that infidelity is a political as well as personal matter, not just a heterosexual problem as the ‘feminist academy’ views it, in presenting an analysis of the participation of the male betrayer, the female betrayed, and the female affair partner. The volume includes media references as well as a print bibliography."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2009

". . . a deeply personal, deeply political look at the issue of feminism in heteronormative relationships, sprinkled with pop culture and media references . . . a celebration of intelligent reflection on 'ouchie' relationships. . . The Third Wave of feminism sometimes wanders away from the simple idea that the Personal is Political, but that fact is highlighted in this book as a personal story is explored through the idea of cultural and feminist politics. It’s a writing that took some courage: the courage to expose not only her complicit role in infidelity against another woman, but also her deep feelings of betrayal and pain over this lover and to also turn a mirror on the sides of herself she may not be as proud of. This is the kind of honest struggle and self reflection that we all must do in order to collectively birth the next wave of feminism, the wave that will go beyond the external politics and change the way women deal with one another and what they are willing to accept from men, society, and themselves."—MP: An Online Feminist Journal, October 19, 2009

"Cheating on the Sisterhood is an enjoyable read, a feat for an academic text. . . . Rosewarne's dry humor and well-constructed arguments--and, of course, the juicy details of her own affair--keep the book flowing seamlessly between the academic and the personal."—Bitch, November 17, 2009

"Rosewarne's Cheating on the Sisterhood: Infidelity and Feminism is a lucid, complex and nuanced analysis, from a feminist perspective, of a certain kind of infidelity, that of a single woman with a man whose permanent commitment is to another woman. The autobiographical moments in the text serve to lend it depth, richness and immediacy."—Sandra Bartky
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago

"Lauren Rosewarne brings together impeccable intellectual skills, astute attention to popular culture and nervy self-revelation as she attempts to understand her experiences with infidelity and sexual love. Cheating on the Sisterhood is an important and engaging work and one that will inspire a good deal of reflection, and, undoubtedly, varying reactions of empathy, scorn, identification and outrage as it continues the ongoing feminist conversation about the fraught and meaningful connections between the personal and the political."—Jane Caputi
Prof., Florida Atlantic University
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