Women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s
Imagine what the life of a woman was before the 1960’s. The life that she had called her own was beyond far from perfect, and this was just behind closed doors. These ladies were denied of what basic rights they had, they were then trapped in a home that they created not just for themselves, but also for their family, and not to even mention the discrimination that they faced in the workplace. Then, here come the 1960’s in full swing, these women could then have a say in their government, and with all these new changes for the women of this time, they could now receive equal employment opportunities as men, meaning the same wages. This then created brand new routines and they would not have to feel guilty about leaving their children at home. The women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s helped all of these changes to come about through its phases of policies and radical ways of thinking. In fact, just to show some of these radical ways of thinking, there were some extremist women who made a “Freedom Trash Can” and filled it with representations of the woman who was trapped in the home life. They would throw objects such as these; heels, bras, a girdle, hair curlers, and even magazines such as Cosmo, Playboy, and Ladies’ Home Journal in it. The women who put the Trash Can together planned to set it on fire, but decided not to do so because burning of the contents prohibited by a city law (Echols 150)1. Needless to say, given the numerous obstacles that were put in place to stop the women from changing their status in society, the women’s movement of the 1960’s made significant changes for women in regards to their basic rights, in the home, and in the workplace for the better.
Denied their basic rights in most aspects of society, all the way from political rights to reproductive rights, women in the U.S. have fought vigorously for equality. For example, women fought for their rights not to symbolize “beauty objects” or “sex objects.” In 1968, 100 women protested the Miss America Beauty Pageant because it promoted “physical attractiveness and charm as the primary measures of a woman’s worth,” especially the swimsuit portion of the contest (Echols 149)2. Since the presence of the media displayed beauty as the only way for happiness, the idea that women’s only importance was for their bodies became more widespread. Later, once women recognized that they were worth more than just looks, they took the measures to overcome the media’s hype about women’s bodies. The largest protests staged, the Miss America protest and the Freedom Trash Can protest, helped women claim national attention towards their struggles. Because of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement that was also going on at the time, the climate seemed just right for women to speak out as well, therefore they received attention too (Echols 153)3. Women also fought for the right to abortion or reproductive rights, as most people called it. In response to the 1960’s abortion effort, women established an underground hospital that was just for abortions, called Jane in Chicago. Following this example, other secret clinics launched up everywhere. In big cities, women’s health clinics, rape-crisis centers and women’s bookstores developed. As a result of the New York Radical Women, a group founded in 1967, a “women’s community” developed throughout cities and neighborhoods around the nation (Echols 160)4. In these communities women got together to talk about their problems, usually dealing with male chauvinism, and they discussed how to overcome their problems. Probably the largest achievement for women regarding abortion rights came in 1960 when the Food and Drug Administration approved birth control pills and approved them for marketing a year later (National Women’s History Project)5. This proved to be a major step for women in regards to their reproductive rights. Now...
Bibliography: Echols, Alice. Nothing Distant About It. New York: Harper & Row, 1994.
Gornick, Vivian. Essays In Feminism. New York: Harper & Row, 1977
“National Women’s History Project.” [Online] Available http://www.legacy98.com, Oct. 11th, 2014.
Sanger, Margret. Women’s activist on birth control, a sex edu., and a nurse
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