Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D, is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies at City University of New York. She is a best-selling author, a feminist leader, a retired psychotherapist and an expert courtroom witness. Dr. Chesler is a co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969), The National Women's Health Network (1974), and The International Committee for the (Original) Women of the Wall (1989).
Dr. Chesler was an early 1970s abolitionist theorist and activist: She wrote about and delivered speeches which opposed rape, incest. pornography, sex and reproductive prostitution, and sex trafficking. She organized and/or participated in demonstrations outside the movie ITAL Snuff; outside Dorian’s Red Hand to protest the murder of Jennifer Levin by Robert Chambers after a night of drinking there; organized repeated demonstrations outside the Hackensack, New Jersey courthouse where the Baby M hearings were underway and outside the surrogacy pimp Noel Keane’s NYC clinic; outside the courthouse when Joel Steinberg was sentenced for the murder of Lisa Steinberg; and in numerous ways that concerned the trial of Aileen Carol Wuornos for which she assembled a team of expert witnesses which were never called upon.
She is the author of eighteen books, including the feminist classic Women and Madness, as well as many other notable books including With Child: A Diary of Motherhood; Mothers on Trial: The Battle for Children and Custody; Sacred Bond: The Legacy of Baby M; Woman's Inhumanity to Woman; and Women of the Wall: Claiming Sacred Ground at Judaism's Holy Site. After publishing The New Anti-Semitism (2003), she published The Death of Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle For Women's Freedom (2005) and An American Bride in Kabul (2013), which won a National Jewish Book Award. In 2016, she published Living History: On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews 2003-2015, in 2017 she published Islamic Gender Apartheid: Exposing A Veiled War Against Women, and in 2018, she published A Family Conspiracy: Honor Killings, and a Memoir: A Politically Incorrect Feminist.
Dr. Chesler has published four studies about honor-based violence, focusing on honor killing, and penned a position paper on why the West should ban the burqa; these studies have all appeared in Middle East Quarterly. Based on her studies, she has submitted affidavits for Muslim and ex-Muslim women who are seeking asylum or citizenship based on their credible belief that their families will honor kill them. She has archived most of her articles at her website: www.phyllis-chesler.com
She is working on a book on the Aileen Wuornos case.
In 1967 Valerie Solanas published the Society for Cutting Up Men (the SCUM) Manifesto. She shot artist Andy Warhol in 1968. Her Manifesto raises issues about whether a revolution can be fought or won without using violence. “Nice” girls were of no use to her Radical feminists, especially Ti-Grace Atkinson and Flo Kennedy, saw Solanas as a symbol of a feminist fighting back and rushed to her side. They found a smart, very paranoid woman who was a decided loner. Ultimately, Solanas would not work with Atkinson and Kennedy; she refused to allow them to help her or explain her case. This is an imagined conversation between the author and the cast of characters.
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Chesler, Phyllis (2020) "When Valerie Solanas Shot Andy Warhol: A Feminist Tale of Madness and Revolution," Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence: Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 2. https://doi.org/10.23860/dignity.2020.05.01.02
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