New Book: Feminism’s Progress

Explores how popular novels, short stories, and television shows from the United States and Britain illustrate the positive effects of feminism and promote gender equity.


Feminism’s Progress builds on more than fifty years of feminist criticism to analyze narrative representations of feminist ideas about women’s social roles, gender inequities, and needed reforms. Carol Colatrella argues that popular novels, short stories, and television shows produced in the United States and Britain — from Little Dorrit and Iola Leroy to Call the Midwife and The Closer — foster acceptance of feminism by optimistically illustrating its prospects and promises. Scholars, students, and general readers will appreciate the book’s sweeping introduction to a host of concerns in feminist theory while applying a gender lens to a wide range of literature and media from the past two centuries. In exploring how individuals and communities might reduce bias and discrimination and ensure gender equity, these fictions serve as both a measure and a means of feminism’s progress.

Carol Colatrella is Professor of Literature and Codirector of the Center for Women, Science, and Technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She is the coeditor (with Joseph Alkana) of Cohesion and Dissent in America, also published by SUNY Press.