Tuesday, 9 March 2010

I am woman, hear me roar

I have just watched a fascinating documentary on BBC iPlayer that completely changed my view of second-wave feminism. When you realise the utter sexism that most men (and many women) espoused in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it's hardly surprising that many women thought that men were a write-off.

And in fact, many of the ideas which I had thought were third-wave feminism were actually formulated by the second wave - ideas like the social construction of gender, for instance.  Also, second-wave feminists invented consciousness-raising groups, and demanded equal pay for equal work, and abortions, and contraception, and the right to walk down the street at night without being in danger of getting raped or knifed.

And the women interviewed in the documentary admitted that political lesbianism was a bad idea, because it wasn't fair to real lesbians.

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