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History 2185 Lecture Notes - Our Bodies, Ourselves, Sexually Transmitted Infection, The Feminine Mystique

Course Code
HIS 2185
Monda Helpern

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March, 11, 2013
The 1960’s
*Last Week:
-Early gay organizations: Mattachine Society (Gay men 1950 in LA), Daughters of Bilitis (Lesbians 1955 in San Fran)
-Huge fight against Communism shaped peoples lives in a big way
-The 1960’s was when the lid on the simmering pot exploded and the civil rights movement addressed all the
groups who were marginalized and fought for more rights for them
-Activists were generally young adults who were white and had grown up in the 50’s and they were rebelling
against the conformity and conservatism of their parents
-With black civil rights activists they were rebelling against the bigotry and discrimination of white America
-This new generation rejected all the badges of the establishment like 9-5 jobs, the education system (especially
universities), and the war in Vietnam
-This new generation also in many ways rejected the nuclear family and rigid gender roles by dressing in a unisex
way and with both sexes having long hair
-Young women rebelled against the lifestyles of their mothers who lived a sacrificial and sheltered existence who
were subordinate to their husbands and this new breed of young adults were called hippies and they really
enjoyed their own distinct youth culture
-They were centred on social activism, the music of the time, sexual freedom, and drugs
Women’s Rights:
-It was taking place all over Europe and North America and in North America it was popularized by Betty Friedan
and her book “The Feminine Mystique” and it showed the ways white middle class women were oppressed in
modern society and it showed their unhappiness living in suburbia
-The book advocated for women to get into the workforce and it said the only way they could be equal was to
emanate men and this was just part of it and the book spawned consciousness raising groups
-These groups had women get together at each other’s houses to complain about their unfulfilling lives as wives
and mothers and how they were undervalues and unappreciated and about their isolation
-This may have just seemed useless but it made women realize they weren’t suffering alone and other women felt
the same way and this was really important
-They found the problem wasn’t individual and they weren’t ungrateful or damaged but there was a problem
within greater society and the groups made them understand this
-Out of these groups women began to create more formal local women’s groups and national lobbying groups like
the groups NOW (National Organization for Women) which was founded in 1966 by Betty Friedan and in Canada
there was NAC (National Action Committee on the Status of Women) which was founded in 1971 by Laura Savia
-These larger groups advocated for a variety of causes like with economics to get equal pay and opportunity
-Other causes were political and the most notable in the USA was the ERA which was the equal rights amendment
which was proposed to amend the constitution to get women equal rights under the law and to end sex
discrimination and this was a huge fight and in 1972 it passed in congress but at the next level it failed
-They needed thirty eight states to support them by a particular date in 1982 but they only got 35 states and one
of the reasons it was not adopted was because of right wing counter-campaigns against them by government
powers led by Phyllis Schlafley
-She made her groups called REAL women (Real Equal and Active for Life) and they were anti-feminism, gay,
abortion, daycare, and more and through her connections she got the law thrown out and the ERA is still not part
of the US constitution
-Many said she was contradicting her goals because she was on the road campaigning all the time and exercising a
lot of freedom
-Feminists also fought for equality when it came to physical and sexual abuse of women and they objected to the
sexual objectification of women, impossible standards of female beauty, abuse of wives in suburbia, assumptions
of rape involving the women wanting it, and laws relating to rape saying her past sexual history was relevant
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