Vietnam and the 60s
Feminism in the 60s and Beyond
Most people have a caricature in their heads of what constitutes a feminist. The picture often includes a white, upper middle class college educated woman with hairy armpits, holding a charred bra. The logic that leads to this stereotype is dubious at best, and makes dating while feminist a frustrating experience. This typecast mostly rose from what people call the Second Wave of Feminism, which started in the 1960s amidst the plethora of political and social movements of the time.
Radical feminism has never been one monolithic movement with a common platform like a political party. From the beginning, there were different ideas about how to best smash the patriarchy and create a non-gendered world. From Redstockings, to The Feminists, to liberal feminist groups such as NOW, the movement has so many different schools of thought that it can span from pushing for equality in the workplace and under the law to separatist movements where women live in communes1. The problem with “feminist” is not that so many vastly different people claim it as a label; it is that everyone else assumes that the definition is the same for everyone2. There is also a common misconception that the feminism of the 60’s died in the 80s, and that we now have a new brand of feminism entirely. This new brand is believed to be more frivolous and to “want to turn all girls into sluts” by a sadly large bulk of the American population2. This is the reason that it is essential to highlight how the modern women’s movement is essentially the same movement that started in the 60s, but a generation removed3, and the feminist ideology always had it’s splits over what battles needed to be fought, what constitutes equality, and what are the means to those ends.
When women’s liberation groups started organizing in the 60s, one of the first directives was to organize away from men. However, there was disagreement...