This a collection of essays about women, by women, which examine the production of femininity within a patriarchal society. The essays show that characteristics generally considered to be 'feminine' are in fact cultural constructions within a patriarchal order. The patriarchal culture is taken by us to be a system of meanings, as well as power relations, which pervades our view of women at both a conscious and an unconscious level. The symbolism of the rituals, myths, art works and polemics examined in the essays is related to the ways women are psychically constructed and constrained by the dominant heterosexual order. The Mother, the Witch, the Whore, the Pure Woman, the Amazon and the Free Woman are considered and the contributors make extensive use of original source material to give force to the argument that the stereotypic view of a feminine woman as naturally and inevitably weak, passive and powerless is one that can be seriously challenged.