Women’s Liberation: The Next Great Moment in History Is Theirs – Vivian Gornick (Nov. 27, 1969)

“One evening not too long ago, at the home of a well-educated and extremely intelligent couple I know, I mentioned the women’s liberation movement and was mildly astonished by the response the subject received. The man said: ‘Jesus, what is all that crap about?’ The woman, a scientist who had given up 10 working years to raise her children, said: ‘I can understand if these women want to work and are demanding equal pay. But why on earth do they want to have children, too?’ To which the man rejoined: ‘Ah, they don’t want kids. They’re mostly a bunch of dykes, anyway.’ Again: Having lunch with an erudite, liberal editor, trained in the humanist tradition, I was struck dumb by his reply to my mention of the women’s liberation movement: ‘Ah shit, who the hell is oppressing them?’ And yet again: A college-educated housewife, fat and neurotic, announced with arch sweetness, ‘I’m sorry, I just don’t feel oppressed.’ Over and over again, in educated thinking circles, one meets with a bizarre, almost determined ignorance of a fact of unrest that is growing daily, and that exists in formally organized bodies in nearly every major city and on dozens of campuses across America. The women of this country are gathering themselves into a sweat of civil revolt, and the general population seems totally unaware of what is happening; or, indeed, that anything is happening; or that there is a legitimate need behind what is happening. How is this possible? Why is it true? What relation is there between the peculiarly unalarmed, amused dismissal of the women’s rights movement and the movement itself? Is this relation only coincidental, only the generally apathetic response of a society already benumbed by civil rights and student anarchy and unable to rise to yet one more protest movement, or is it more to the point in the case of women’s rights, is it not, in fact, precisely the key to the entire issue? Almost invariably, when people set out to tell you there is no such thing as discrimination against women in this country, the first thing they hastily admit to is a minor degree of economic favoritism shown toward men. In fact, they will eagerly, almost gratefully, support the claim of economic inequity, as though that will keep the discussion within manageable bounds. Curious. But even on economic grounds or grounds of legal discrimination most people are dismally ignorant of the true proportions of the issue. They will grant that often a man will make as much as $100 more than a woman at the same job, and yes, it is often difficult for a woman to be hired when a man can be hired instead, but after all, that’s really not so terrible. This is closer to the facts. …”
Voice: In 1967 Abortion Meant Indignity, Fear, and Pain by Anonymous (July 13, 1967)
Voice: The Abortionist on the Circuit of Fear – Marlene Nadle (August 18, 1966)

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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