Breaking the Waves


Tracking feminism through generations.

From the start, then, participants in the second wave practiced the sort of dismissal and ingratitude of which they’d accuse later generations. Suspicion, rebuke, and hostility were commonplace among women who might otherwise be allies. “Here are the radicals, wanting to be heard,” Lear wrote in the Times article. “Out there are the mothers’ clubbers, waiting to be alienated.” In journals like Notes from the First Year out of New York, and Chicago’s Voice of the Women’s Liberation Movement, Vol. 1, feminists decried the January march as “futile,” “naive,” and too “moderate,” though it’s unclear what, exactly, they would have done instead. Tellingly, when they were put on the spot by disappointed participants who responded to their calls for more concrete action, they “missed an opportunity to do some valuable organizing” (Voice) and “were not really prepared to rechannel this disgust” (Notes).

The complete article

Charlotte Shane — Bookforum

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