Shulamith Firestone (January 7, 1945 – August 28, 2012) (also called Shulie, or Shuloma) was a Canadian-born feminist. She was a central figure in the early development of radical feminism, having been a founding member of the New York Radical Women, Redstockings, and New York Radical Feminists. In 1970, she authored The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, an important and widely influential feminist text.
Shulamith Bath Shmuel Ben Ari Feuerstein was the second of six children of Orthodox Jewish parents born in Ottawa and raised in Kansas City and St. Louis. Her family Americanized its surname to Firestone when Shulamith was a child. She pronounced her first name shoo-LAH-mith but was familiarly known as Shuley or Shulie. She attended Yavneh of Rabbinical College of Telshe, near Cleveland, and Washington University in St. Louis before transferring to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received a BFA degree in painting. During her studies at the Art Institute, she was the subject of a documentary film which was never released. The film was rediscovered in the 1990s by experimental filmmaker Elisabeth Subrin, who did a frame-for-frame reshoot of the original documentary, with Kim Soss playing Firestone. It was released in 1997 as Shulie, winning the 1998 Los Angeles Film Critics Association award, Experimental 1999 US Super 8, a Film & Video Fest-Screening Jury Citation 2000 New England Film & Video Festival and Best Experimental Film Biennial 2002.
While living in Chicago, Firestone joined with Jo Freeman to organize the Westside Group, a predecessor of the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. In October 1967, she moved to New York and co-founded New York Radical Women, during which time she wrote three essays: "Women and the Radical Movement," "The Jeanette Rankin Brigade: Woman Power?" and "The Women's Rights Movement in the U.S.A.: New View."
When NYRW formed 'consciousness raising groups', Firestone and Ellen Willis co-founded the radical feminist group Redstockings, named after the Blue Stockings Society, a women's literary group founded by Elizabeth Montagu in the mid-18th century. Firestone left Redstockings to co-found New York Radical Feminists. In late 1968 she edited Notes from the First Year, followed by Notes from the Second Year (1970), and Notes from the Third Year (1971). By the time The Dialectic of Sex was published in 1970, she had largely ceased to be politically active. Firestone withdrew from politics in the early seventies, moved to Saint Marks Place and worked as a painter. In the late eighties she became mentally ill. In 1998 she published a haunting account of life in and out of psychiatric hospitals entitled Airless Spaces.
She was the older sister of Rabbi Tirzah Firestone.