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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Herstory is history written from a feminist perspective, emphasizing the role of women, or told from a woman's point of view. Ii is a neologism coined in the late 1960s as part of a feminist critique of conventional historiography. The term is a pun: "history->his story->her story", a hint at an alleged "political incorrectness" of the word "history".

The herstory movement has spawned women-centered presses, such as Virago Press in 1973, which publishes fiction and non-fiction by noted women authors like Janet Frame and Sarah Dunant.



The Oxford English Dictionary credits Robin Morgan with coining the term in her 1970 book, Sisterhood is Powerful. Concerning the feminist organization WITCH, Morgan writes:

The fluidity and wit of the witches is evident in the ever-changing acronym: the basic, original title was Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell [...] and the latest heard at this writing is Women Inspired to Commit Herstory.

In 1976, Casey Miller and Kate Swift wrote in Words & Women,

When women in the movement use herstory, their purpose is to emphasize that women's lives, deeds, and participation in human affairs have been neglected or undervalued in standard histories. During the 1970s and 1980s, second-wave feminists saw the study of history as a male-dominated intellectual enterprise and presented "herstory" as a means of compensation. The term, intended to be both serious and comic, became a rallying cry used on T-shirts and buttons as well as in academia.

In feminist literature and academic discourse, the term has been used occasionally as an "economical way" to describe feminist efforts against a male-centered canon.


Christina Hoff Sommers has been a vigorous critic of the concept of herstory, and presented her argument against the movement in her 1994 book, Who Stole Feminism?. Sommers defined herstory as an attempt to infuse education with ideology, at the expense of knowledge. The "gender feminists", as she termed them, were the band of feminists responsible for the movement, which she felt amounted to negationism. She regarded most attempts to make historical studies more female-inclusive as being artificial in nature, and an impediment to progress.

Professor and author Devoney Looser has criticized the concept of herstory for overlooking the contributions that some women made as historians before the twentieth century.

The Global Language Monitor, a nonprofit group that analyzes and tracks trends in language, named herstory the third most "politically incorrect" word of 2006—rivaled only by "macaca" and "Global Warming Denier".


Recent books published on the topic include:

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Herstory" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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