The Public Woman

The Public Woman

9781908906045 May 2013 Paperback 286pp

About the Book

Women have never had more freedom yet questions of inequality persist from the bedroom to the workplace. A quarter of a century after the publication of her seminal text Misogynies, Joan Smith looks at what women have achieved – and the price they’ve paid for it.

From Amy Winehouse to Pussy Riot, from the veil to domestic violence, a war is being fought over women’s bodies and minds. Smith shows how misogyny has assumed new and dangerous forms as we confront an economic, social and religious backlash.

But that’s only part of the story. The female eunuch has become the public woman, and she isn’t going to go quietly. Written with wit and passion, this forensic analysis sets out what we’re up against – and how to fight back.

About the Author

Joan Smith is a novelist, columnist and human rights activist. She has been involved in campaigns for free expression, authors’ rights, and literacy in Sierra Leone. She currently speaks for Hacked Off, the organisation which represents victims of phone hacking. She is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society and supports Republic, the campaign for an elected head of state. Her publications include Misogynies and The Public Woman (both by The Westbourne Press). @polblonde

→ Author Website


‘Brilliant … A compelling rap sheet of 21st century misogynies and a reprimand to anyone who declares the battle for gender equality is over’
Robin Ince

‘Joan Smith dares to expose woman-hating in all its forms. She does not shy away from naming religion and cultural relativism as barriers to liberation, and names men and the system of patriarchy as the problem. Read this book, not least because it will open your eyes to how much needs to be done before we consign male supremacy to the museum of ancient relics.’
Julie Bindel

'Joan Smith is a one-woman campaign, and this relevant and disturbing book is a call to arms - so bring it on.'
Frances Wilson, Literary Review

'In a discussion of Amy Winehouse, the significance of the veil, the career of Rebekah Brooks and the ignominious trial of Amanda Knox, The Public Woman reveals itself as a clear-sighted, focused précis of the state of female rights.'
Sunday Times

‘A respected heavy-hitter in the feminist arena … Smith makes one realise the way that serious and important rights that most of us take for granted are distorted or marginalised for a large and alarming number of women – and she writes well enough to make you stick with this seriously important book.’
Katharine Whitehorn, Observer