Obituary Note: Kate Millett

Kate Millett, whose 1970 book Sexual Politics "is credited with inciting a Copernican revolution in the understanding of gender roles" by examining "how patriarchy had been developed and then defended, by law, medicine, science, schools," died September 6, the New York Times reported. She was 82. Millett was a sculptor in her mid-30s when her doctoral dissertation at Columbia University was published by Doubleday.

Although out of print for years, since "the publication of a new edition of Sexual Politics last year, there has been renewed appreciation for Ms. Millett and how her work has shaped cultural studies and criticism," the Times wrote.

"Kate was brilliant, deep, and uncompromising," said Gloria Steinem. "She wrote about the politics of male dominance, of owning women's bodies as the means of reproduction, and made readers see this as basic to hierarchies of race and class. She was not just talking about unequal pay, but about woman-hatred in the highest places and among the most admired intellectuals. As Andrea Dworkin said, 'The world was asleep, but Kate Millett woke it up.' "

Leading feminist Eleanor Pam said Millett "achieved great fame and celebrity, but she was never comfortable as a public figure. She was preternaturally shy. Still, she inspired generations of girls and women who read her words, heard her words and understood her words."

Millett's book Flying (1974) "told of the dizzying fame Sexual Politics had brought and her reaction to it," the Times noted. Other books include Sita (1977), Going to Iran (1981), The Loony-Bin Trip (1990), and Mother Millett (2001).

Cultural critic Elaine Showalter told the Guardian: "A revolution needs leaders, and with Sexual Politics Kate Millett came forward to give the Women's Liberation Movement a national voice and a strong connection to higher education. She was an intellectual and a radical feminist who could also speak effectively to a wide general audience."

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