"The Man Who Hated Women": A Conversation with NYT-Bestelling Author Amy Sohn '95
Fighting for Gender Equality and Women's Rights During the Gilded Age
In the wake of recent threats to abortion laws, #MeToo movement, and the resignation of former Governor Andrew Cuomo due to sexual harassment allegations, the Brown Club in New York is pleased to present a timely discussion with New York Times-bestselling author and acclaimed journalist Amy Sohn ‘95 about her groundbreaking book, The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship, and Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age.
While the book is a narrative history that chronicles the life of Anthony Comstock, the U.S. Postal Inspector who spearheaded the anti-vice movement and eponymous Comstock laws that criminalized contraception and the mailing of obscenity, it also features the remarkable women who opposed his war on women’s rights at the turn of the twentieth century.
Between 1873 and Comstock’s death in 1915, eight remarkable women were charged with violating state and federal Comstock laws. These “sex radicals” supported contraception, sexual education, gender equality, and women’s right to pleasure. They took on the fearsome censor in explicit, personal writing, seeking to redefine work, family, marriage, and love for a bold new era.
Join us and hear the forgotten history of these extraordinary women and their fight to control their bodies, a battle that continues today.
You can buy The Man Who Hated Women: Sex, Censorship, and Civil Liberties in the Gilded Age here.
“Fascinating . . . One anecdote that Sohn relates—she has a gift for summoning up such scenes—reminded me vividly of modern-day Internet trolls . . . Purity is in the mind of the beholder, but beware the man who vows to protect yours.” —Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker
“With The Man Who Hated Women, [Sohn] makes a very successful transition to feminist historian. There is irony but little humor in her compelling, well-researched exploration of these pioneers, who faced jail time because they promoted contraception, gender equality, sexual education and a woman’s right to sexual pleasure . . . Sohn has successfully resurrected [Ida Craddock] and her radical sisters.” —Charlotte Gray, The Wall Street Journal
“Lively . . . Sohn deploys a veteran novelist’s skills to animate Comstock and his antagonists.” —Wendy Smith,The Boston Globe
Amy Sohn ‘95 is the author of several novels, including Prospect Park West and Motherland. A former columnist at New York magazine, she has also written for Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, The Nation, and The New York Times. She has been a writing fellow at Headlands Center for the Arts, Art Omi, and the Studios at MASS MoCA. A native New Yorker, she lives in Brooklyn with her daughter.
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