Posted on | February 28, 2014 | 12 Comments
Photoset: darksilenceinsuburbia: Jonathan Auch. Slutwalk | NYC On October 1st 3,000 – 4,000 people gathered… http://t.co/g7SlIjmsFv
— Robin (@msanimegirl13) February 22, 2014
As mentioned previously, I’ve been re-reading Susan Brownmiller’s feminist memoir In Our Time, and what stands out — if one reads with an informed and critical eye — is how Women’s Liberation (a/k/a “Second Wave” feminism) originated on the far-left fringe among women whose life experiences were atypical, if not downright weird.
Brownmiller herself had three illegal abortions before 1968, and her book’s biographical profiles of other feminist pioneers are littered with examples of how the movement’s leadership came out of the anti-war New Left and the bohemian “alternative lifestyles” of ’60s hippie culture. Here is Brownmiller’s description (pp. 189-192) of the founders of the Denver-based feminist newspaper Big Mama Rag:
Chocolate Waters, a Navy brat from Pennsylvania (she legalized her childhood nickname), got dumped in the city by her old college boyfriend. “Yeah, we were traveling across the country and he took off and left me with no money in one of those old-timey women’s bars. I was bisexual then, so I started hooking up with the dykes. At a women’s festival somebody had an idea about doing a newspaper. We passed around a sign-up sheet.”
Jackie St. Joan — then Jackie Bryson — arrived in Denver with her husband and two children. Her interracial marriage, the first in Virginia after the Supreme Court struck down the state’s notorious antimiscegenation statute in 1967, began to founder when the couple moved west. Jackie swallowed her pride and went on welfare for five months before she found work as a secretary. At a potluck dinner sponsored by the Denver Peace Coalition, she heard about plans for a women’s paper. . . . Big Mama Rag came to fruition late in 1971. Maureen Mrizek, radicalized at college in Carbondale, Illinois, set the tone of the first issue by asking, “How can you conquer an oppressor when you sleep with him every night?” . . .
After leaving her husband, Linda Fowler from North Carolina had taken her child to a commune in the Colorado Rockies . . . “Those were my days of pot and acid,” she says. “I was smoking dope, chopping firewood, learning carpentry, and trying to figure out who I was, and how lesbianism fit into feminism.” On a trip into Denver she stopped into a radical bookstore and saw Big Mama Rag. “The fog lifted,” she exclaims. “Within a month I left the mountains and got involved with the paper.” . . .
Some of the women paired off: [editor] Carol [Lease] with Linda, and Chocolate with Jackie, who solemnly chose St. Joan as her new last name. . . .
[In 1975] the women learned via the establishment media that “Carla Weinstein,” who’d been in on their start-up, was the fugitive Jane Alpert, wanted in New York on bombing charges. . . .
Non-conformists, radicals, misfits, druggies, divorceés, lesbians and, of course, a terrorist bomber: Such were the freaky ingredients of the fringe movement that feminism was in its origins. And I point this out because one sometimes hears people who are ignorant of feminism’s radical beginnings express the mistaken belief that there is, or once was, a “mainstream” feminism which has somehow been “hijacked” by radicals.
No, the women’s movement was radical from the start, and if you ever thought feminism was “mainstream,” you just weren’t paying very close attention. Not paying attention to the radical fringe may seem like a safe bet — “Just ignore those kooks!” — until one day you notice that the kooks and radicals have taken over the country:
Outrage Over Sexist Remarks Turns
Into a Political Fund-Raising Tool
In the past few months, Republicans have called Wendy Davis, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor, “Abortion Barbie,” likened Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Senate candidate from Kentucky, to an “empty dress,” criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton’s thighs, and referred to a pregnant woman as a “host.”
Democrats do not just get mad when they hear those words. They cash in.
In fact, they are trying to find even more examples by tracking Republican opponents, their surrogates and conservative news media personalities, then blasting their comments out to supporters to build voter lists and drum up donations, casting aside the well-worn advice to shrug off sexist comments lest they draw attention to gender over issues.
It is proving effective. Emily’s List, the political action committee that backs female candidates who support abortion rights, has raised a record $25 million this election cycle. . . .
So, a pro-abortion group has raised a record sum to elect Democrats, who are now The Abortion Party. If you are against abortion, you’re anti-woman, see? And this startling turnabout — a revolution in morals, standing common sense on its head — has been accomplished by those weirdo radicals you ignored for so long.