Refusing Safety: The Feminist Struggle to Be Revolutionary

Women Studies Quarterly, Vol. 39, Nos. 1 & 2, pp. 262-269, Spring/Summer 2011

10 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2011 Last revised: 15 Jun 2011

Date Written: June 1, 2011


This review/essay considers three books and places them in conversation with each other: Kristin Bumiller’s, "In an Abusive State: How Neoliberalism Appropriated the Feminist Movement Against Sexual Violence," Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2008; Alyson M. Cole’s "The Cult of True Victimhood: From the War on Welfare to the War on Terror," Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007; and, "The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex," edited by Incite! Women of Color Against Violence. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2007.

Each of these books considers the process of the state’s use of feminist ideas and energies for its own ends, including by appropriation, revision, and co-optation. Each of these books also considers private power, including intellectual, cultural and economic capital, often conjoined with state power. Each of these books also engages critically with an issue that has become a mainstay of feminist legal theory and work: organizing against violence against women. Each raises vital concerns for anyone working on violence against women issues, or indeed, any feminist issues.

Suggested Citation

Robson, Ruthann, Refusing Safety: The Feminist Struggle to Be Revolutionary (June 1, 2011). Women Studies Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 1 and 2, pp. 262 - 269, Spring/Summer 2011. Available at SSRN:

Ruthann Robson (Contact Author)

CUNY School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States

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