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History 2185
Monda Helpern

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 March, 11, 2013 -A chief concern for their feminist movement was the overall right for women to control their bodies and this had far reaching implications and it meant asserting personal choice over how one dressed, control over sexual preferences, control over sexual freedom, and choice in the use of birth control and abortion -There was a big focus on women’s health care and they didn’t want to be seeing male doctors and to have them dictate how they gave birth and their treatments (caesarean births were being forced inappropriately to make scheduling easier for doctors) -There was a popular book called “Our Bodies, Our Selves” and feminists established new agencies to help women take control of their own bodies and they made rape crisis centres, houses for abused women, women only medical clinics, and birth control and abortion clinics -These movements catered mostly to experiences of white middle class women so minority groups formed their own organizations if they could afford to do so -Betty Friedan didn’t believe lesbian issues were not part of women’s issues and it would only distract from their cause but others like fought to have it included and they coined the phrase that “the personal is political” meaning their home life had political ramifications -Feminists were often dismissed by the media, men, and the public and they were trivialized and cast as man haters, ball busters, bitter, ugly, and as committing to feminism because they couldn’t get a man -Gloria Steinam was young, hip, and beautiful and she brought a new face to the movement that countered the stereotypes that were used to discredit them -This stereotypical approach really helped the feminist cause because it showed why changes were needed because patriarchal culture was always bringing them down Gay Rights: -The Stonewall riots were in reaction to a raid by police on Stonewall which was a seedy New York bar and in 1969 at 1:00 in the morning the raid began (this is important because it is seen as the start of gay rights in North America) and the bar was mafia owned and made for gay men -It had no running water in the back, no fire escapes, and no liquor licence and there was two dance floors which made it
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