|Title of host publication||The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction|
|Editors||Brian W. Shaffer|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|
The term “feminist fiction” is extremely difficult to delimit or define. It can mean the work of a woman writer who identifies herself and her work as feminist; it can refer to fiction that directly challenges the social and political status quo, particularly as it affects women's access to opportunity. Equally, it can be a term applied to work by a writer who either does not declare her politics or denies her feminist credentials, but is read by critics to be feminist in intention, either at the time of publication or retrospectively. Feminist fiction is associated primarily with the emergence of the second wave of feminism (or women's liberation movement) in the mid‐1960s, when the term was used with critical approbation; while not used extensively in the earlier part of the twentieth century, the term also applies to earlier writers, especially those aligned with the suffrage and other left‐leaning political movements, which were producing work that could be seen to be politically aligned with the struggle for women's rights and for equal access for women to education and the professions.