Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell
March 16, 2015 1:44 PM   Subscribe

What is the equivalent of Halberstam's The Children for the American feminist movement of the late 60's and early 70's?

A bunch of us here at mefiChi saw the documentary She's Beautiful When She's Angry this weekend, which is largely composed of interviews with the women behind NOW, WITCH, the Lavender Menace, Our Bodies Ourselves, Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, Jane and other groups working for women's rights in the 60's and 70's. The movie at one point references how the organizations descended into dogma at times and splintered to meet the specific needs of differing groups but does not really trace the evolution of any one group or its accomplishments. It mentions, for instance, the Women's Strike for Equality, but just as an anecdote with some pictures. Because it's just one 100 minute documentary, it can't get deep into the subject and I really want more.

The Children takes what felt like a similar approach to the Civil Rights Movement, combining biography and history to not only document the big events, but also the planning behind them and how groups splintered and formed and changed things. Because it's a book, it has more time and space to explore and connect threads. Is there a book about the US feminist movement that does the same?
posted by crush-onastick to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

The book you are looking for is In Our Time: Memoir Of A Revolution by Susan Brownmiller. It really goes into all those groups, how they formed, what they fought for, and how they often fought each other!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 2:28 PM on March 16, 2015

Also: Daring to be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-75 by Alice Echols. Julia Serano reviews it here:
Many younger feminists have a fairly negative stereotype of radical feminism: that it was an exclusively white and middle-class movement that promoted gender essentialism, "woman's energy," separatism, transphobia, banning pornography, disparaging femininity, and so forth. Honestly, I had this impression when I first became interested and involved in feminism in the early 2000s. No book shattered that stereotype for me more than Daring to Be Bad.

... While I definitely do not agree with all of the ideas forwarded by the early radical feminists, Daring to Be Bad, more than anything else I have read, made me appreciate and understand the context in which those beliefs arose.
(Now I have to go reread it, especially in light of Serano's review. And I've already put The World Split Open and In Our Time on hold at the library.)
posted by virago at 3:15 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Ariel Levy wrote a really great New Yorker article a few years ago about the lesbian separatist movement.
posted by matildaben at 3:25 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

The Feminist Memoir Project is exactly what you're looking for.
posted by lunasol at 4:22 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

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