Throwback Thursday: On Women’s Liberty

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Even today, women’s rights is a political issue that we hear about on a constant basis. This article from March 7, 1969, shows that there were some strong conflicting opinions. After the article will be a small summary of the strides the U.S. has taken with women’s rights since this article was published.

On Women’s Liberty

by Jon Stiller

[Transcribed by Saagar Ahluwalia]

201511031017.jpgWomen’s International Liberation day came and went from the MCC campus, alas, the nation, without the scarcest recognition from women or their men. It does not seem shocking however, that relatively few people know that March 4th is the official day of women’s revolution. It is thus fitting that we discuss this movement this week.

The problem with the women’s liberation movement, unlike the black liberation movement, is that the sexual idea of dominance-submission, comes into direct conflict with the radical women’s liberation idea. Which is that “male chauvinism is as great an enemy of women as is imperialism and capitalism.” However, most women are hip to the flaw within this movement, as one of the girls I interviewed before writing this article put it, “As soon as a woman becomes too radical in this regard, and women’s liberation, she ceases to be a woman.”

Just what then do women think of “women’s liberation”(Of the MCC girls that I interviewed a majority answered, “huh?” the more articulate replied–

“Although this nation rejects some ethnic groups & Jews and Blacks, I am sure that they would prefer one of them, a black man or a Jewish man, to a woman as president…I also think that the sexual double standard should be eliminated–that is that when a man goes out and has sexual activity before marriage it’s considered part of his education. If a woman does this people think of her as a slut.”

“I don’t think that women are enslaved.”

“Women don’t get paid as well as men for the same job…mentality isn’t based upon sex.”

These girls have a point which has been recognized by forty-eight United States senators, who are now backing an amendment to the constitution which would make discrimination because of sex illegal–groovy–Most liberal and radical men back this amendment, but the threat to this amendment and to the radical movement in particular is a group of feminists who have somehow tied in “feminine suppression” with the suppression of the black man and imperialism around the world. In fact, the feminist movement has become a separate but almost equal part of SDS activity, and this does not even account for the other feminist action groups within the country.

The result has been a polarization of the radical camp, the feminist dominated Progressive Labor Party (PL) on one side, and the majority of the radicals on the other. The fears arising from polarization were best expressed by the Rucson delegate to the Bouldor SDS convention when he said, “I get the idea that when a PL chick is throwing stones in a demonstration, she could just as easily be throwing stones at me. Her position is one of defeat the male chauvinists rather than defeat imperialism, racism or capitalism.” The results of such polarization are best of exemplified by the high divorce rate in Cuba, the most revolutionary of all nations, where the women want to go out and be revolutionary, and their husbands want them to stay home and take care of the baby.

Whether women are inferior to men is irrelevant. Biology has dictated the male-female position in the sexual-social relationship. The male state of mind is known as male chauvinism is condemnable only because it extended its’ boundaries into the legal-economic area where it has no business being.

It’s easy enough to see that women can be revolutionary and still be women, however, whether a man is a radical or a conservative, if his sexual social position is threatened, the entire idea’s of women’s equality will go down the drain.

The movement for women’s rights should not be ignored, for women should be allowed to compete in the professional world as professionals, and by their merits as human beings alone. The world of today is moving much too quickly for us to ignore quality and qualification because of sex. When this situation of equality comes about women will have to learn that the social graces which apply to them now, will have no place in the working world of the future. They should expect nothing more or less than equality in that world.

We must all separate the social world with its pretty traits from the world of profession, which has no place for bikering (sic) or chauvinism. The movement and all other action groups would do well, to be first to accomplish this end, not in the name of efficiency, but because equality is the essential idea of a true democracy.

 

****End of article. 

A year later, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that women must be paid “substantially equal,” though not necessarily “identical” to their male counterparts in Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co., with the Equal Pay Act. (While the name of the company says Wheaton, the company is actually based in New Jersey.)

After that, in 1972, Title IX came into fruition. According to justice.gov, Title IX is a “federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.” Basically, federal money could not be used to discriminate against women, including any educational institution that accepted federal financial assistance. Later, in 2005, the Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education made sure that no one could be punished for complaining about sex-based discrimination, according to infoplease.com.

In 1973, the Supreme Court made it legal for women to have abortions, as a result of Roe v. Wade.

In 1994, the Violence Against Women Act made the punishments for sex offenders harsher, and “funds services for victims of rape and domestic violence, and provides for special training of police officers,” according to infoplease.com.

These were just a few of many strides that woman have made since this article was written. If you’d like to see a more comprehensive list, you can visit infoplease.com.