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Women's Liberation and Sixties Radicalism - Essay Example

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This essay presents the analysis of the paper "Nothing Distant About It: Women's liberation and Sixties Radicalism" written by Alice Echols which revolves around the liberation of women in the 1960s and the reasons behind it. It begins with the boycott on the Miss America Pageant…
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Womens Liberation and Sixties Radicalism
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"Nothing Distant About it: Women's liberation and Sixties Radicalism" -Alice Echols Introduction Nothing Distant about It: Women's liberation and Sixties Radicalism is written by Alice Echols and is available in the book “The Sixties” by David Faber.
The essay revolves around the liberation of women in the 1960s and the reasons behind it. It begins with the boycott on the Miss America Pageant and the different ways used by the female demonstrators to interrupt the on-goings of the show. It then speaks of the adversity that met these women as they continue to show their aggravated sentiment. Not only are they taunted and jeered at by men but their popularity is also compared to the “anti-war” movement.
The latter bit of the essay goes on to talk of the cultivating factors behind the movement. This included the women’s taste of social and economic freedom. The new labor force shifted the need from labor to services, which could be easily accommodated by the new college-educated females. Also, the financial needs of the house had increased with the introduction of technology and one earner could no longer fulfill the needs of the entire family.
Echols then gives the main reason behind the success of the feminist movement: the presence of other oppositional movements (Black and Leftist protests). Along with this was the women’s ability to incorporate Marxist and other ideologies to better understand their own oppression.
A brief tussle with NOW (National Organization for Women) over the introduction of personal life into the public sphere separated the feminists from the liberationists of NOW.
Capitalism was also a concept used to reveal the discrepancies between the male and female labor.
There was also the call to change institutions that were unable to meet the demands of the radicals. This included newspapers and coffee houses as only new could replace the error of the old.
The essay then continues with a history of how women finally reached their desired status in society. This included the acceptance of abortion in 1973 and the problems they faced in their quest to reconstruct old institutions. However, in the end the united front of women from all races and classes allowed them to form the identity that helped conquer many biases against them
The work by Alice Echols is written in a strong and objective tone that allows the reader to form a firm idea of what is being said. From the very beginning of the essay, the writer wins over her audience by mentioning incidents from feminist movements history that are sure to attract and interest the reader. For instance, the event at the Miss America Pageant and the detail with which it is presented is enough to leave any reader captivated to know more. In the essay she states” They had wanted to burn the contents of the Freedom Trash Can but were prevented from doing so by a city ordinance that prohibited bonfires on the boardwalk” (Echol). This not only assists in adding a touch of humor to the essay but is also compelling as it shows how the feminists did not break any sort of law to prove a point.
As the essay progresses the reader is told of the reasons that motivated these women to take action. It helps the reader understand the movement better and is precise in stating what exactly forced the women to stand against their male counterparts.
The most interesting part of the essay is the comparison of the feminist movement to that of the black and leftist movements and how these affected the protestors opinion “And many women’s liberationists (even radical feminists who rejected Marxist theorizing about women’s conditions) often tried to use Marxist ideology to understand women’s oppression.” Thus, with enough examples, Echols was able to prove how all the movements assisted each other in making their cases stronger.
The end of the essay is a conclusion to the successes and failures of the movement. It is a short analysis by the writer herself to better understand the reasons behind the achievements of the movement.
The essay is convincing in all its forms and is pertinent in helping the reader understand the history and consequences of the women’s liberation movement.
Echols, A, Nothing Distant About it: Women's liberation and Sixties Radicalism, The Sixties, 1994, 149-168 Read More
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