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Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women's Movement

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Contraception and abortion were not originally part of the 1960s women’s movement. How did the women’s movement, which fought for equal opportunity for women in education and the workplace, and the sexual revolution, which reduced women to ambitious sex objects, become so united? In Subverted, Sue Ellen Browder documents for the first time how it all happened, in her own li Contraception and abortion were not originally part of the 1960s women’s movement. How did the women’s movement, which fought for equal opportunity for women in education and the workplace, and the sexual revolution, which reduced women to ambitious sex objects, become so united? In Subverted, Sue Ellen Browder documents for the first time how it all happened, in her own life and in the life of an entire country. Trained at the University of Missouri School of Journalism to be an investigative journalist, Browder unwittingly betrayed her true calling and became a propagandist for sexual liberation. As a long-time freelance writer for Cosmopolitan magazine, she wrote pieces meant to soft-sell unmarried sex, contraception, and abortion as the single woman’s path to personal fulfillment. She did not realize until much later that propagandists higher and cleverer than herself were influencing her thinking and her personal choices as they subverted the women’s movement. The thirst for truth, integrity, and justice for women that led Browder into journalism in the first place eventually led her to find forgiveness and freedom in the place she least expected to find them. Her in-depth research, her probing analysis, and her honest self-reflection set the record straight and illumine a way forward for others who have suffered from the unholy alliance between the women’s movement and the sexual revolution.


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Contraception and abortion were not originally part of the 1960s women’s movement. How did the women’s movement, which fought for equal opportunity for women in education and the workplace, and the sexual revolution, which reduced women to ambitious sex objects, become so united? In Subverted, Sue Ellen Browder documents for the first time how it all happened, in her own li Contraception and abortion were not originally part of the 1960s women’s movement. How did the women’s movement, which fought for equal opportunity for women in education and the workplace, and the sexual revolution, which reduced women to ambitious sex objects, become so united? In Subverted, Sue Ellen Browder documents for the first time how it all happened, in her own life and in the life of an entire country. Trained at the University of Missouri School of Journalism to be an investigative journalist, Browder unwittingly betrayed her true calling and became a propagandist for sexual liberation. As a long-time freelance writer for Cosmopolitan magazine, she wrote pieces meant to soft-sell unmarried sex, contraception, and abortion as the single woman’s path to personal fulfillment. She did not realize until much later that propagandists higher and cleverer than herself were influencing her thinking and her personal choices as they subverted the women’s movement. The thirst for truth, integrity, and justice for women that led Browder into journalism in the first place eventually led her to find forgiveness and freedom in the place she least expected to find them. Her in-depth research, her probing analysis, and her honest self-reflection set the record straight and illumine a way forward for others who have suffered from the unholy alliance between the women’s movement and the sexual revolution.

30 review for Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women's Movement

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    4.5 stars. Absolutely fascinating. As a woman, I feel a little ashamed that I know so little about the actual history of the women's movement. I knew some names, knew (and appreciate) some of the rights the early suffragists fought for, but only vaguely understood what happened to the women's movement during the 1960s. I'm Christian, conservative and pro-life and I am extremely uncomfortable with many of the principles the current feminist movement espouses. I had a friend ask me the other day if 4.5 stars. Absolutely fascinating. As a woman, I feel a little ashamed that I know so little about the actual history of the women's movement. I knew some names, knew (and appreciate) some of the rights the early suffragists fought for, but only vaguely understood what happened to the women's movement during the 1960s. I'm Christian, conservative and pro-life and I am extremely uncomfortable with many of the principles the current feminist movement espouses. I had a friend ask me the other day if I would call myself a feminist, and although I absolutely believe in the equality of women, I cannot bring myself to actually identify as a feminist as it is popularly defined. If there was more room for my voice as pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-children, pro-family (in places other than the church), I would climb right on that bandwagon. But as it is, those opinions are not often welcome. Sue Ellen Browder takes you through the broader events of the sexual revolution and abortion rights becoming intertwined with the original women's rights movement (of which I knew nothing and I suspect most women have never studied in any great depth) while also chronicling how it affected her. She is extremely articulate, vulnerable, and honest. And also just a beautiful writer. Although she clearly believes that abortion and sexual freedom are harmful to women, she never disparages any of the key players - Betty Friedan, Helen Gurley Brown, Larry Lader, Margaret Sanger. Within the Christian community, some of these feminists often get painted as thoroughly evil so I appreciated her respectful disagreement. I had some assumptions corrected (such as that Betty Friedan was not initially pro-abortion and she eventually concluded that adding abortion rights to the women's movement was not helpful in the long run or that Margaret Sanger, despite all her other eccentricities and acceptance of eugenics, was vehemently anti-abortion) and I really appreciated that. I'm not a huge fan of spiritual memoirs and this very much is one. At some parts, I was a little bored by the family's financial troubles and cross-country moves. I'm also not Catholic (which she is) and there's a very brief portion where she makes an odd (and slightly snarky) decision that she cannot convert to Protestantism because it is a terrible place for women's rights since Martin Luther and King Henry VIII were either corrupt or misogynistic. Which, ok, not debating those specific points, but I also don't think it discounts an entire belief system. There's been plenty of corruption within the Catholic church as well. However, I still appreciated her story of how she came to genuine faith and found hope and redemption through Christ. I really kind of want to buy multiple copies of this and hand it out to friends simply because I think most of us have not spent time thinking about the history of abortion rights, whether casual sex is actually freeing for women, and logically forming beliefs either for or against abortion. It's way too easy to just accept the opinions of others or the slogans that are either present in our churches or the media. Whether or not you accept Sue Ellen's version of how abortion became such a central part of feminism or whether or not you agree with her perspective on abortion and casual sex, this is a worthwhile book to engage with the issue.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Sue Ellen Browder offers a highly compelling argument against mainstream feminism's embrace of abortion and artificial contraception in this book, equal parts memoir and investigative report. As a reporter for Cosmopolitan magazine in the late sixties and early seventies, Browder wrote in defense of the Sexual Revolution, even though she could see its terrible consequences in the lives of the women around her, and eventually, her own. Now she's coming forward with the slimy details of how abortio Sue Ellen Browder offers a highly compelling argument against mainstream feminism's embrace of abortion and artificial contraception in this book, equal parts memoir and investigative report. As a reporter for Cosmopolitan magazine in the late sixties and early seventies, Browder wrote in defense of the Sexual Revolution, even though she could see its terrible consequences in the lives of the women around her, and eventually, her own. Now she's coming forward with the slimy details of how abortion and the Pill, which were never on the agenda of the women's rights movement before, were pushed to its front and center (by a man, no less) and enshrined there. How a traumatic procedure that had, throughout human history, been a desperate woman's very last resort, was suddenly considered an inalienable right. How now we have to debate whether or not the embryo in a woman's womb is in fact human, or only becomes human when she brings it to birth - a question that up till then, was too obvious to need an answer. This book is a must-read for young girls like me who have seen Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright and *gags* Hillary Clinton deified in history textbooks and Women's History Month for as long as they can remember. Who have been told that these are the women we should aspire to be - chemically neutered women who want monetary and political power at any cost. Women who think like, act like, and often enough look like men. A lot of us find them unsettling but can't explain why. Browder can. But don't think Subverted is only a political screed. Browder shares personal details that show her heart, not just her opinion, has changed. (I don't want to share any more because spoilers). Her story unfolds parallel to that of her late husband, Walter, who emerges from the pages as the gentlest and noblest of men. I came away from this book finally knowing the name of that mysteriously problem in the women's movement. Browder tells us a lot of more than just the name. A meticulous researcher, she peppers the text with quotes and has additional reams of minutely detailed footnotes at the back of the book. Browder isn't arguing that we should return to the exaggerated gender roles of the 1950s - she's just pointing out what sensibly people have always known until forty years ago. Men and women are different. Neither is better or worse than the other, they're just DIFFERENT. Squelching our emotions and taking pills to minimize our periods - trying to become male - are acts of self-hating misogyny that don't solve anything in the long run. Browder's conversion to Catholicism is a major arc of the book and greatly shaped her conclusions, but she's not out to proselytize. Her faith should not be a problem to any non-Catholic reader with an open mind. (I'm Catholic too, for what that's worth). In short, you know feminism has lost its collective mind when Albright and Steinem threaten women who don't support Clinton with "a special place in Hell." When Beyonce embraces the label "feminist" and Joni Mitchell shuns it. When anyone at all takes Lena Dunham seriously. When "women's issues" are only those related to our reproductive system. Sue Ellen Browder is a desperately needed voice of sanity. Listen to her!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Koloze

    Browder’s autobiography is an important addition to the growing field of works documenting pro-life history since the 1960s. Her knowledge of the machinations of famous anti-lifers makes her work compelling reading. For example, twenty-first century readers need to know that Larry Lader was the rabidly anti-Catholic abortion activist who persuaded Cosmopolitan magazine and American feminists in the late 1960s to regard abortion as a right instead of an abuse of women’s bodies and the killing of Browder’s autobiography is an important addition to the growing field of works documenting pro-life history since the 1960s. Her knowledge of the machinations of famous anti-lifers makes her work compelling reading. For example, twenty-first century readers need to know that Larry Lader was the rabidly anti-Catholic abortion activist who persuaded Cosmopolitan magazine and American feminists in the late 1960s to regard abortion as a right instead of an abuse of women’s bodies and the killing of unborn children (page 12). Even though she argues that Betty Friedan at first advocated a “family feminism” that respected the rights of the unborn child (pages 29-31), Browder credits the famous former abortionist and later pro-life activist Bernard Nathanson for exposing Lader as the one who persuaded Friedan to include abortion as a right in the agenda of the National Organization for Women (page 51), Similarly, Browder’s investigative reporter mode is evident when she documents the machinations behind the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton abortion decisions, which legalized abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever. The lazy legal “scholarship” behind the abortion decisions can be summarized in one striking cause-and-effect relationship: Justice Harry Blackmun relied too much on his law clerk, George Frampton, Jr., who depended heavily on Lader’s faulty and biased writings on abortion (pages 94-95). (Fortunately, Lader’s reprehensible distortion of abortion history was rectified by Joseph W. Dellapenna’s scholarly work, Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History.) Contemporary readers will feel a range of emotions on reading Browder’s autobiography. They will be angry at the injustice that Browder experienced when she was fired from a journalism job for being pregnant (page 28). They will feel sorrow that she was persuaded into aborting a child because of economic hardships (pages 104-105). They will be astounded that her job at Cosmopolitan involved not investigative journalism, but a propaganda effort to sell the sex-without-marriage idea in almost every article she wrote (page 14 and passim). But those are negative emotions. Browder’s autobiography engenders many enduring positive emotions. Today’s reader will rejoice that someone who promoted the rabid Cosmopolitan stance on sexual gratification at all costs and abortion as a “right” would ultimately convert to the pro-life perspective. Browder’s testament of love for her husband as he lay dying is a fitting conclusion to the range of positive emotions that readers will experience. Moreover, Browder’s journey to the Catholic Church (covered in pages 176-177) makes sense because it is credible. Her story compares with other famous abortionists (like Nathanson) who converted to Catholicism as the fulfillment of their deepest desires for a life-affirming community. One passage on her conversion reads as sheer poetry: “The Church, in her all-forgiving love, is so beautiful that I feel as if I’m living inside a too-thousand-year-old poem” (186). Browder’s conversion is a delightfully happy ending to an otherwise tragic experience working among anti-lifers. Browder’s autobiography is recommended for at least three groups: college students who need to know the beginnings of pro-life feminist history, activists who wonder if their involvement in the abortion business is a satisfactory way to find fulfillment in their lives, and Hollywood producers who want to depict the reality of a feminist who escaped the despair of a life-denying lifestyle and chose a life-affirming one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mb

    Fantastic Book!!!! This book was absolutely fantastic and resonated with me on so many levels! I kept saying, "Oh, I love this book!" and felt that way as I read different chapters for different reasons. More than once I felt that the author's words should be plastered on billboards. I had no idea how deeply the abortion movement was founded on lies and how badly a well-intentioned women's movement had been hijacked by ill-intentioned liars. I was also happily surprised that those who were behind Fantastic Book!!!! This book was absolutely fantastic and resonated with me on so many levels! I kept saying, "Oh, I love this book!" and felt that way as I read different chapters for different reasons. More than once I felt that the author's words should be plastered on billboards. I had no idea how deeply the abortion movement was founded on lies and how badly a well-intentioned women's movement had been hijacked by ill-intentioned liars. I was also happily surprised that those who were behind the propaganda that destroyed so many people--so many women and children and families--considered the Catholic Church--the Church Christ founded--enemy #1. It's a confirmation when evil considers you the enemy!! Finally, I love the way that the author weaves together the beautiful story of her life--this is her spiritual autobiography, and I loved every minute of her story. She is an incredibly skillful writer who draws her readers in--who drew me in deeply to what she experienced and learned and how exquisitely God's grace has transformed her through the years. I was crying during the last few chapters, not because they were sad, but because they were beautiful. This book is not only good, it's a blessing, and although I read it on my trusty Kindle, I'll be buying a few hard copies to pass around to my family and friends.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Absolutely riveting!!! How misinformed we are about the Sexual revolution and the Women's movement! I also loved Sue's personal story throughout the book. I highly recommend this book! Absolutely riveting!!! How misinformed we are about the Sexual revolution and the Women's movement! I also loved Sue's personal story throughout the book. I highly recommend this book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sally Ewan

    The author writes a very interesting account of her life as an enthusiastic young woman excited to be writing for "Cosmo" magazine, embracing the new morality (or lack of) and making it sound enticing to her readers. She chronicles her own life story while including key events of the feminist movement and abortion rights movement and showing how they affected her thinking. What is so lovely about this book is that while she's fallen hook-line-and-sinker for the Modern Woman stuff, she knows deep The author writes a very interesting account of her life as an enthusiastic young woman excited to be writing for "Cosmo" magazine, embracing the new morality (or lack of) and making it sound enticing to her readers. She chronicles her own life story while including key events of the feminist movement and abortion rights movement and showing how they affected her thinking. What is so lovely about this book is that while she's fallen hook-line-and-sinker for the Modern Woman stuff, she knows deep inside that it is an ultimately unsatisfying path. In her own life, she has a great marriage and loves being a mother to her two children. So it is fascinating to hear about how she gradually came out of the fog of delusion and embraced the truth. I found this all very interesting because it was so recent. It's sad to read about how women as homemakers and mothers were totally cast aside in favor of working women pursuing sexual freedom at the cost of lasting, loving relationships.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Serwach

    Buying copies for my wife and daughters This amazing book is part memoir, part history and more importantly, the story of how families have changed since the 1960s. A former Cosmo writer explains how two men changed the trajectory of the Women's Movement by tying it to the Sexual Revolution and pro-abortion movement in 1967, making Roe vs. Wade possible just six years later. The author's very personal story seized my attention when she was being interviewed on a radio show and her life story is a Buying copies for my wife and daughters This amazing book is part memoir, part history and more importantly, the story of how families have changed since the 1960s. A former Cosmo writer explains how two men changed the trajectory of the Women's Movement by tying it to the Sexual Revolution and pro-abortion movement in 1967, making Roe vs. Wade possible just six years later. The author's very personal story seized my attention when she was being interviewed on a radio show and her life story is a humanizing part of the book showing how all these issues impacted women, families and humanity over the past half century. A fantastic read and an enlightening book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This is one of those important books, eye-opening and revelatory. It's also a lot of fun at times, always a bit of a wild ride. Worth the read! This is one of those important books, eye-opening and revelatory. It's also a lot of fun at times, always a bit of a wild ride. Worth the read!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    this book was a nice mix of history and memoir. Browder does a superb job of dismanteling the flimsy and shallow abortion mindset that developed in the midst of the women's movement. She explains that the women's movement and the sexual revolution were separate movements that became intertwined by devious and misguided propoganda. Interestingly, she also references official statements from some of the top architects of this murderous, selfish culture who deeply regreted their involvement in push this book was a nice mix of history and memoir. Browder does a superb job of dismanteling the flimsy and shallow abortion mindset that developed in the midst of the women's movement. She explains that the women's movement and the sexual revolution were separate movements that became intertwined by devious and misguided propoganda. Interestingly, she also references official statements from some of the top architects of this murderous, selfish culture who deeply regreted their involvement in pushing it forward. She speaks of her personal involvement in sabotaging the women's movement into thinking that sex can be separated from marriage and babies through her cosmopolitan articles. Her personal story has many twists and turns that show the development of her and her husband's conversion to catholicism. It is a moving story of an encounter with the ugliness of secularism and the beauty of finding truth in the midst of the messiness.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Wells

    An inside look at Cosmopolitan Magazine and the culture that legalized abortion. This is also the love story of two writers and their long married life together, of their many challenges, and of their religious conversion - ultimately to Catholicism. In many ways it is a Catholic apology and may not appeal to those outside of this faith. I found the book refreshing, inspiring and very often insightful.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    Sue Ellen Browder's book "Subverted" is a nice casual read for the most part. Despite what the blurb and titles may convey, it is more of a biography about her personal conversion to Catholicism and rejection of the mainstream understanding of "feminism", than a history of the rise of a sexualised neo-feminism. Furthermore, the subtitle of the book - "How I Helped The Sexual Revolution Hijack The Women's Movement" - is, to be rather harsh, arrogant at worst and misleading at best; It leads one to Sue Ellen Browder's book "Subverted" is a nice casual read for the most part. Despite what the blurb and titles may convey, it is more of a biography about her personal conversion to Catholicism and rejection of the mainstream understanding of "feminism", than a history of the rise of a sexualised neo-feminism. Furthermore, the subtitle of the book - "How I Helped The Sexual Revolution Hijack The Women's Movement" - is, to be rather harsh, arrogant at worst and misleading at best; It leads one to assume that Browder somehow played a major role in the joining of the two movements, perhaps as a "higher-up" at Cosmopolitan Magazine. In reality, she was merely a free-lance journalist who occasionally wrote for the magazine, and by her own admission, didn't pay much attention to Roe v. Wade (a case she discusses at length in the book) when the case passed in 1973. Reading the blurb, Browder eludes to offering a fresh look at the issues of abortion and contraception, as they pertain to the feminist movement. What she doesn't mention there however, is that she is converted to Catholicism in 2003.This does become obvious throughout the book, as she discusses Catholicism at length, and peppers anecdotes about Jesus around. Whilst there is of course nothing inherently wrong with that, for the "pro-choice" reader who already has their mind made up on these issues, it would appear that Browder's views on the topics of abortion and contraception are informed, in large part, by her faith. Whilst this isn't actually the case (as briefly addressed in the chapter about her own abortion), unfortunately Browder's - what appear to be - attempts at proselytising undermine her otherwise historically-observable claims, and they appear as nothing more than propagandas that are easy for these readers to dismiss with the cliche rallying cry of "keep your rosaries off our ovaries". For an issue like abortion, that is already so ridiculously partisan when it really shouldn't be, this isn't very helpful in getting "the other side" to consider her position. This is one of the many reasons why I always favour secular arguments over spiritual ones when it comes to the discussion of reproductive rights. A nice read overall but nothing particularly revolutionary (pun intended) regarding abortion and contraception history, or the feminist case against abortion and contraception. Though admittedly I've read neither, I have heard better reviews of sources like Pro-Life Feminism: Yesterday and Today (by Mary Krane Deer, Rachel MacNair and Linda Naranjo-Huebl), and Dispelling The Myths Of Abortion History (by Joseph W. Dellapenna) - the latter of which Browder quotes in this book. If you'd like to know specifically about Cosmopolitan's impact on the societal discussion of these topics, then this book is a helpful introduction.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rita Belluz

    Fascinating Wish I found this book earlier. The documented facts of how the women's movement caused more harm than good for women. The participation of men to dictate what is best for women was disturbing. Their eugenic agenda was evil. How easy through Cosmo magazine women were swayed to dump their moral's , ethics and religion. I am so grateful that Americans are waking up and demanding change. Fascinating Wish I found this book earlier. The documented facts of how the women's movement caused more harm than good for women. The participation of men to dictate what is best for women was disturbing. Their eugenic agenda was evil. How easy through Cosmo magazine women were swayed to dump their moral's , ethics and religion. I am so grateful that Americans are waking up and demanding change.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave Brandt

    This book was a very insightful expose on Cosmopolitan's fake news, men manipulating the feminist movement and the underlying philosophical differences between major factions of modern women. But most of all, this was a beautiful, true and inspiring love story. A "Must Read" for anyone wanting to be truly culturally informed. This book was a very insightful expose on Cosmopolitan's fake news, men manipulating the feminist movement and the underlying philosophical differences between major factions of modern women. But most of all, this was a beautiful, true and inspiring love story. A "Must Read" for anyone wanting to be truly culturally informed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Rounds

    Speechless What an amazing book. It reads so easily, but has so much information. I have not went through and read the information she cited, but intend to further investigate the information she provides. Her prospective broke my heart and made it joyful. The life in this book is relentless.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Knapp

    It's a bit of an odd book, part memoir, part sociology, part philosophy, part spiritual memoir. I liked it, but I can't quite classify it at this moment, and I wonder if it wouldn't have been a bit better if it tried to do a bit less. It's a bit of an odd book, part memoir, part sociology, part philosophy, part spiritual memoir. I liked it, but I can't quite classify it at this moment, and I wonder if it wouldn't have been a bit better if it tried to do a bit less.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robert Federline

    This book was a surprise.In looking at the title, I was expecting a free-love hippie from the sixties, or some revolutionary wanting to change the world. The woman behind this book, however, is far more mainstream than ever suspected. Not so surprising is the fact that the abortion camp has built its case on lies manufactured specifically to legalize abortion, and to alter the morals and behaviors of society. While many journalists are honest and ethical, there are just as many that are not. The m This book was a surprise.In looking at the title, I was expecting a free-love hippie from the sixties, or some revolutionary wanting to change the world. The woman behind this book, however, is far more mainstream than ever suspected. Not so surprising is the fact that the abortion camp has built its case on lies manufactured specifically to legalize abortion, and to alter the morals and behaviors of society. While many journalists are honest and ethical, there are just as many that are not. The most effective lies are those that are lightly seasoned with a sprinkling of truth. It makes the lies go down much more easily. The abortion industry is built on a pyramid of lies happily promoted to "improve" society and the lives of women. Or maybe just to sell magazines. The lies are not designed just to kill babies, but created a lost generation, misguiding men and women and pulling them away from God. The battles are not just for the lives of the children, but for the souls of their parents as well. I cried in public in reading the final chapters of this autobiography. Good people can be used for evil purposes. But God can forgive us for many sins, and He grants mercy and grace when we come to Him. The book is written in the easy, breezy writing style of a magazine writer. It flows swiftly and surely and with sympathy . It is powerfully told, nonetheless, and is highly recommended reading for people on both sides of the abortion issue.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Hope

    I almost never rate things one star, and I almost never leave reviews, but I felt that the first should be accompanied by the second. I had high hopes starting this book. I’m a single woman in her late 20s with a career in law and familiarity that runs the gamut from Latin Mass to dating apps. I also firmly share GK Chesterton’s view that “I object most strongly to wrong arguments on the right side. I think I object to them more strongly than to wrong arguments on the wrong side.” This book is, q I almost never rate things one star, and I almost never leave reviews, but I felt that the first should be accompanied by the second. I had high hopes starting this book. I’m a single woman in her late 20s with a career in law and familiarity that runs the gamut from Latin Mass to dating apps. I also firmly share GK Chesterton’s view that “I object most strongly to wrong arguments on the right side. I think I object to them more strongly than to wrong arguments on the wrong side.” This book is, quite simply, a mess. It’s part investigative journalism, part social critique, part autobiography, part memoir. How I wish she had stuck to the first two. The author’s discussion of the actors at work behind bringing the women’s movement and the sexual revolution together is good. Very good. The calling out of magazine false promises is also good. Unfortunately, these moments of insight are hopelessly muddled in a narrative both self-loathing and self-centered—and eventually self-destructive. For instance, the description of the author’s own abortion is at first poignant. But then she bewails that when she returned to work from the lunch-hour appointment a few minutes past her scheduled break, no one noticed. She writes “I have just snuffed out a tiny life over my lunch hour. I have betrayed the bond of love that holds the universe together. And no one I work with seems any the wiser.” (Page 105). Why would they? And more importantly, why should they? Consider the opposite scenario: what would it be like if a woman’s coworkers all were “wise” to this event, either in general or because someone returned from lunch a few minutes late? This blend of scorn and entitlement continues later on when the author describes her husband throwing a 35lb typewriter through a wall after “he had poured out his heart’s blood in black words upon a white page. And this agent viewed it all with a jaded eye and scornfully turned away simply because he disliked first-person stories[.]” (Page 127). And these are just the two most obvious examples! The author also intersperses references to her current Catholic faith at random moments, with a random reference to Therese of Lisieux here and a mention of a pope there, despite her conversion occurring long after the events she describes. This incongruous revisionism further undercuts the insight and authority with which she speaks about the muddling of women’s and sexual liberation. Finally on the substance side, the author continually frets about what harm she was “so ardently promoting on the pages of Cosmo” while simultaneously discussing at great length how she and her husband were so broke because she was freelancing and writing books about baby names and bicycle tours of New England. If she was such a major responsible party in the Cosmo publishing business, why was she, in her own words, so “broke” that her electricity was turned off multiple times? The author cements her dissonance and lack of credibility with an anecdote that concludes “A banker had lied for us to help us get a fresh start in life. Praise God!” (Page 154). For someone who decries deception, “half truth,” and fabricated information in the publishing and political spheres, it’s frankly untenable that she rejoices in it in her personal sphere. On top of these serious substantive issues, there are also style and editing issues in the book: the author switches between past and present tense, flashes back and foreshadows with abandon, and speaks in voices alternating between incisive and oblique. There are also interludes I can only call bizarre, such as a family cross country road trip with a drooly dog and no air conditioning where the author likens the inside of the car to “a glazed donut” of “dog slobber.” (Page 143). I object most strongly to wrong arguments on the right side. This book, which had such promise, is unfortunately extremely problematic.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah Cossette

    This is a Catholic book. Nevermind the edgy title, the pink cover, the 305.42 stamped on the library spine label. These are the long winded tellings of a woman who wrote some feminist articles back in the day and now feels so bad about it that she's going to tell you her whole life story, regardless of it's relevance to women's rights or the sexual revolution. As a Christian, a feminist, and a lover of history, I loved the premise. I loved the historical content. I think that the marrying of the This is a Catholic book. Nevermind the edgy title, the pink cover, the 305.42 stamped on the library spine label. These are the long winded tellings of a woman who wrote some feminist articles back in the day and now feels so bad about it that she's going to tell you her whole life story, regardless of it's relevance to women's rights or the sexual revolution. As a Christian, a feminist, and a lover of history, I loved the premise. I loved the historical content. I think that the marrying of the righteously-intentioned women's movement to the derogatory sexual revolution is a topic not discussed enough by feminists or Christians. I wanted to give this book four stars during the first part, but then the analysis of the women's right's movements ended...and the book didn't. What I did not like was the heavy Catholic hand, the overly judgmental pearl-clutching of the author. How can other women farm their children out to the wretched hell of *gasp* day care, run by strangers??? Because we're not all work-from-home writers who have time to bake cookies for our children every day, Sue (I'm not exaggerating; that's a thing she actually tells us she did). Well over half of Subverted is just Browder's personal history, both marital and religious. She was really into the women's movement until she wasn't. She blames feminism for the fact that she got an abortion, when in reality it was her own fault that she got pregnant three times while on birth control. Yet she still opposes sex ed, placing it on the same level as actual abortion. She's deeply bitter that her husband's overly sentimental novels never got published, and she seems to blame that on feminism, too. Maybe he's just a bad writer, Sue. Have you considered that? By the end, I didn't care. The discussions of the feminist movement were over by the halfway point, and by the end I was rapidly flipping pages, not caring at all about the personal diary of this foolish follower who, after all her years, still doesn't seem to have picked up any critical thinking skills. Not recommended.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anna ✘ Scones & Tomes

    Memoirs and exposes are usually not my cup of tea and this book is both. While I found the writing style dense and very reminiscent of the author’s journalist background, I was fascinated by her first hand accounts and well backed up (the back matter is like 20 pages) of the 1960s women’s movement and how the acts of a few people caused the sexual revolution to take it over. This book simultaneously caused me to feel for the author and also judge her for being so complicit in the propaganda sprea Memoirs and exposes are usually not my cup of tea and this book is both. While I found the writing style dense and very reminiscent of the author’s journalist background, I was fascinated by her first hand accounts and well backed up (the back matter is like 20 pages) of the 1960s women’s movement and how the acts of a few people caused the sexual revolution to take it over. This book simultaneously caused me to feel for the author and also judge her for being so complicit in the propaganda spreading. But at the same time, if I had been in her shoes I can’t say that I wouldn’t have taken any work I could either. This book was difficult to read but it gives a first hand account of the journey of the feminist movement that started in the 1960s and how it basically wrecked the way men and women interact, and I loved that. As a Catholic I adored the last portion of the boom which is more of a memoir style of the author’s journey into the Faith and I understand how the events of the beginning of the novel play into the last quarter, but I feel like these were two separate books. The prose and emotion just felt different to me. Everyone should read this book. You’ll gain first-hand understanding of the history of modern feminist movement, see what would drive a woman to kill her child, and also how the darkness can lead into some of the most beautiful moments of life.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This was an extremely interesting and informative look at the Women's Movement of the '60s and '70s from the perspective of journalist & long-time Cosmo writer Sue Browder. A convert to Catholicism from, well, extreme non-Catholicism, Browder paints a picture of what "feminism" could ideally mean. Intriguing enough to read in a day. Favorite quotes: "The Catholic Church was the last place on earth I would have thought to look for [truth and freedom]. It was the last place I DID look." (Browder con This was an extremely interesting and informative look at the Women's Movement of the '60s and '70s from the perspective of journalist & long-time Cosmo writer Sue Browder. A convert to Catholicism from, well, extreme non-Catholicism, Browder paints a picture of what "feminism" could ideally mean. Intriguing enough to read in a day. Favorite quotes: "The Catholic Church was the last place on earth I would have thought to look for [truth and freedom]. It was the last place I DID look." (Browder converted at age 58.) "The Catholic Church wasn't so old and out-of-date that she was obsolete. She was so fresh and new it was hard for anyone trapped in the old mechanistic Cartesian-Newtonian worldview to understand what she was saying....The Church is so beautiful that I feel as if I'm living inside a two-thousand-year-old poem."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda George

    This book should be required reading in all high schools. This book sheds so much light on how the women’s movement which started off so strongly and had such noble goals failed so miserably. As an avid reader of Cosmo in my teens and early 20’s, I’m now horrified at the amount of propaganda I ingested, and can see in hindsight so many ways that it damaged my way of thinking, my search for love, and my confidence. Cosmo was just one of the tools used by the hijackers to brainwash generations of This book should be required reading in all high schools. This book sheds so much light on how the women’s movement which started off so strongly and had such noble goals failed so miserably. As an avid reader of Cosmo in my teens and early 20’s, I’m now horrified at the amount of propaganda I ingested, and can see in hindsight so many ways that it damaged my way of thinking, my search for love, and my confidence. Cosmo was just one of the tools used by the hijackers to brainwash generations of women. The hijackers promised women would be happier, but studies show women are less happy today than in ANY previous generation. We have been lied to, and this book reveals exactly how. I wish every single person in the world would read this book! The truth will set you free!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Fascinating insight into the women's movement and how it changed from a pro-woman, pro-family organization that was genuinely invested in helping women in the workforce to an anti-family, anti-child movement that focused on the disposable romance. So sad to see how much it hurt the author and so many women like her. Fascinating insight into the women's movement and how it changed from a pro-woman, pro-family organization that was genuinely invested in helping women in the workforce to an anti-family, anti-child movement that focused on the disposable romance. So sad to see how much it hurt the author and so many women like her.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lannie Milillo

    Vital to all and Fascinating as well! Everyone needs to read this book. Not only does it contain vital information, it is a most enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down and I am constantly telling people about it. Vital to all and Fascinating as well! Everyone needs to read this book. Not only does it contain vital information, it is a most enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down and I am constantly telling people about it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie Donahue

    A must read for all who have thoughts and ideas about the women's movement in this country. I found my heart breaking, jaw dropping, and head shaking in disbelief several times as Sue Ellen tells her story. A must read for all who have thoughts and ideas about the women's movement in this country. I found my heart breaking, jaw dropping, and head shaking in disbelief several times as Sue Ellen tells her story.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    The author was a writer at Cosmo magazine and talks about how the feminist movement isn't what it was intended to be, and how a lot of the writing in Cosmo magazine was strategically written to advance that agenda. The author was a writer at Cosmo magazine and talks about how the feminist movement isn't what it was intended to be, and how a lot of the writing in Cosmo magazine was strategically written to advance that agenda.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Well researched book on the influence of the sexual revolution on the wome's movement and how the women's movement radically changed from the original suffragette movement. Well researched book on the influence of the sexual revolution on the wome's movement and how the women's movement radically changed from the original suffragette movement.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Lim

    A fascinating combination of history, journalism and the author's personal journey. Easy to read, but great footnotes. A fascinating combination of history, journalism and the author's personal journey. Easy to read, but great footnotes.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    A must read for women I think.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christina Haas

    I’m interested to the point of near obsession with the abortion experience and was looking forward to reading this book to understand more of the politics around the Women’s movement and abortion. That was a part of the book, and it showed, yet again, how the movement sought its goals to the detriment of humanity and compassion (I’m referring primarily to the way Norma McKorvey was treated by her attorneys as the Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade). Before I was halfway through the story, it became clear I’m interested to the point of near obsession with the abortion experience and was looking forward to reading this book to understand more of the politics around the Women’s movement and abortion. That was a part of the book, and it showed, yet again, how the movement sought its goals to the detriment of humanity and compassion (I’m referring primarily to the way Norma McKorvey was treated by her attorneys as the Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade). Before I was halfway through the story, it became clear that the book really wasn’t about the Women’s movement as much as it was about the writer’s own abortion and redemption story. As a recovering Catholic, I was disappointed that this was more truly a story of conversion than it was a story of calling out lies and deceit. I think it’s a common story for women after abortion to seek redemption and peace from religion. I know it’s a path I followed for a time and one that temporarily helped me feel better. The author speaks over and over about how she believes that Love is the answer to abortion and if we trusted God and believed in His son, Jesus, we wouldn’t choose abortion. This answer does not hold water for me. While I do believe Love is the answer to reducing the number of abortions in the world, I believe it’s by the patriarchy treating women and children as equals, and with love and compassion, that is the central issue. If we eliminated poverty, gave women equal pay (as compared to men), and had more family friendly policies, to name a few, abortion rates would diminish. I don’t think whether I love Jesus or not is going to fix the flawed and often cruel world we live in. Women and children need more love and protection, not judgement from the religious right, for things to change. Her conversion and redemption story felt like a way to assuage the guilt and shame Catholics are so good at doling out. This book was not what I was expecting from the title, but it was interesting to follow her life’s journey. I’d love to pick her brain sometime on the male dominated leadership in the church, the childhood sexual abuse scandal(yet another way the world is not showing love for our children), and how she sees the church as an advocate for women. My personal experience having been married to a Deacon and having lived through sexual abuse in my family, is that Catholic leadership does not act with the love they so deeply espouse.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I'm not gonna lie, I cried at the end of this book. Sue Ellen Browder's story, along with her details about the subversion of the Women's Movement by the sexual revolution, will move you. It has fewer details than I would have liked about the evolution of this subversion and contains more personal details than I thought, but that aspect of the story is necessary to see how anyone can be caught up in a hijacked movement without even realizing it. The consequences for Browder came down to life and I'm not gonna lie, I cried at the end of this book. Sue Ellen Browder's story, along with her details about the subversion of the Women's Movement by the sexual revolution, will move you. It has fewer details than I would have liked about the evolution of this subversion and contains more personal details than I thought, but that aspect of the story is necessary to see how anyone can be caught up in a hijacked movement without even realizing it. The consequences for Browder came down to life and death: she aborted her third child, a decision she regrets to this day. Though she lived an almost idyllic suburban life as a wife and mother, she wrote pieces for Cosmo about how to be a free and single woman having sex like a man. The tenets of the women's movement seeped into her own decisions. Hence the abortion. She details how, when, and where the women's movement was hijacked by this perverse sexual view, and how the real members of the women's movement left in disgust. Let it be known that this was a behind-the-scenes maneuvering by men and women. How easily some will sacrifice its ideals to please another. And millions follow along. One of the most poignant moments in the book for me comes when Browder describes talking to a friend who was dying of breast cancer, a disease linked to abortion. Her friend had falled hook, line, and sinker for the sexual revolution. As she died of cancer, she lamented, "We had sex like barnyard animals." That's a hard legacy for someone who thought she was free and possibly suffered the health consequences of such lifestyle choices. We do "suffer in the body" for our sexual sins. But perhaps not in the way we think. Browder describes her return to God that was years in the making. It is extremely moving to read. I don't want to spoil the book. This isn't a very long read, and is a good addition to really understanding what happened in the 60s and 70s with the women's movement. What should have been a movement to bring about the equality of women in the home and in the workforce, became a movement about sexual freedom: sex on demand and abortion on demand. Keys to happiness? I don't think so. And there are probably millions of women out there who were duped by what Cosmo and others were selling and lived to regret it.

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