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Second-Wave Feminism. "Second Wave" Feminism -- Contexts:  feminism ebbed to its lowest point in the 1950s as Americans celebrated domesticity  more.

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Presentation on theme: "Second-Wave Feminism. "Second Wave" Feminism -- Contexts:  feminism ebbed to its lowest point in the 1950s as Americans celebrated domesticity  more."— Presentation transcript:

1 Second-Wave Feminism

2 "Second Wave" Feminism -- Contexts:  feminism ebbed to its lowest point in the 1950s as Americans celebrated domesticity  more women received higher education  married women became secondary wage earners  confronted sex and wage discrimination on the job  carried the "double burden" of wage work and housework  suburbanization created a female ghetto




6 Women’s Strike for Peace, est. 1961. Here, WSP members protest during the Cuban Missile Crisis


8 Ella Baker Septima Clark Dorothy Cotton

9 Dorothy Height Pauli Murray Shirley Chisolm

10 Feminism re-emerges demographic shift begins in 1957 women respond to civil rights movement early sign of dissent: Kennedy's President's Commission on the Status of Women (1961) and Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963)

11 Esther Peterson



14 If a woman had a problem in the 1950's and 1960's, she knew that something must be wrong with her marriage, or with herself. Other women were satisfied with their lives, she thought. What kind of a woman was she if she did not feel this mysterious fulfillment waxing the kitchen floor? She was so ashamed to admit her dissatisfaction that she never knew how many other women shared it. If she tried to tell her husband, he didn't understand what she was talking about. She did not really understand it herself.

15 But on an April morning in 1959, I heard a mother of four, having coffee with four other mothers in a suburban development fifteen miles from New York, say in a tone of quiet desperation, "the problem." And the others knew, without words, that she was not talking about a problem with her husband, or her children, or her home. Suddenly they realized they all shared the same problem, the problem that has no name. They began, hesitantly, to talk about it. Later, after they had picked up their children at nursery school and taken them home to nap, two of the women cried, in sheer relief, just to know they were not alone.

16 President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964


18 NOW’s stated purpose: – "To take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, assuming all the privileges and responsibilities of citizenship thereof in truly equal partnership with men."

19 Women's Liberation started in 1967 by female veterans of civil rights and antiwar movements repudiated negative cultural valuation of femininity (Miss America, 1968) introduced principle, "The personal is political," and consciousness raising


21 "I think a lot about being attractive," Ann said. "People don't find the real self of a woman attractive." And then she went on to give some examples. And I just sat there listening to her describe all the false ways women have to act: playing dumb, always being agreeable, always being nice, not to mention what we had to do to our bodies, with the clothes and shoes we wore, the diets we had to go through, going blind not wearing glasses, all because men didn't find our real selves, our human freedom, our basic humanity "attractive." And I realized I still could learn a lot about how to understand and describe the particular oppression of women in ways that could reach other women in the way this had just reached me. The whole group was moved as I was, and we decided on the spot that what we needed -- in the words Ann used -- was to "raise our consciousness some more."

22 Consciousness-raising -- studying the whole gamut of women's lives, starting with the full reality of one's own -- would also be a way of keeping the movement radical by preventing it from getting sidetracked into single issue reforms and single issue organizing. It would be a way of carrying theory about women further than it had ever been carried before, as the groundwork for achieving a radical solution for women as yet attained nowhere.

23 Whole areas of women's lives were declared off limits to discussion. The topics we were talking about in our groups were dismissed as "petty" or "not political." Often these were the key areas in terms of how women are oppressed as a particular group -- like housework, childcare and sex. Everybody from Republicans to Communists said that they agreed that equal pay for equal work was a valid issue and deserved support. But when women wanted to try to figure out why we weren't getting equal pay for equal work anywhere, and wanted to take a look in these areas, then what we were doing wasn't politics, economic or even study at all, but "therapy," something that women had to work out for themselves individually.

24 Scenes from the Miss America Protest:




28 Varieties of Second-Wave Feminism Liberal feminism Radical feminism Cultural feminism Socialist feminism

29 Feminism in the 70s and 80s ERA – NOW endorses ERA in 1967 – Women’s Strike for Equality, August 26, 1970 – ERA approved by Congress in 1972 – Failed to achieve ratification by 1982 deadline Abortion – Roe v. Wade, 1973 – Contributes to antifeminist backlash Pornography debates within feminism Women in politics

30 Roe v. Wade laws prohibiting abortion in the first trimester of the pregnancy are unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees a right to privacy – states reserve right to restrict abortion later in the pregnancy Roe v. Wade prompts a national debate Changes the face of national politics


32 Pornography Debates “Porn is the theory. Rape is the practice.” – Gloria Steinem Women against Pornography and the Christian Right “Pro-sex”/anti-censorship feminists

33 Women in Politics Shirley Chisolm became first African-American woman elected to Congress in 198; in 1972, she runs for President Bella Abzug (D-NY) elected to Congress in 1970: “A woman’s place is in the House.” Barbara Jordan (D-TX), first black woman elected to Congress from former Confederate State in 1973, delivers keynote address to the Democratic National Convention in 1976.

34 Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first woman nominated to the Supreme Court in 1981; she is unanimously confirmed. Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick becomes the first female United States Ambassador to the United Nations in 1981. Geraldine Ferraro is the first female Vice Presidential candidate in 1984 And the list continues…

35 Madeleine May Kunin 77th Governor of Vermont, 1985-91 Deputy secretary of education, 1993-97 U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland, 1996-99. Vermont's first and only female governor Also Vermont’s first Jewish governor

36 We have seen two women serve as secretary of state, Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice; one woman as U.S. attorney general, Janet Reno; and two women justices in the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. For the first time in our history, we [had] a serious, qualified woman candidate for president—Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. On January 23, 2007, we saw the portrait of political leadership change in the Congress with the election of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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