After Black Power, Women’s Liberation By Gloria Steinem (April 1969)

1960s: Days of Rage


“Once upon a time—say, ten or even five years ago—a Liberated Woman was somebody who had sex before marriage and a job afterward. Once upon the same time, a Liberated Zone was any foreign place lucky enough to have an American army in it. Both ideas seem antiquated now, and for pretty much the same reason: Liberation isn’t exposure to the American values of Mom-and-apple-pie anymore (not even if Mom is allowed to work in an office and vote once in a while); it’s the escape from them. For instance: Barnard girls move quietly, unlasciviously into the men’s dorms at Columbia; a student sleep-in to protest the absence of ‘rational communities’—co-ed dorms like those already springing up at other universities. Wives and mothers march around the Hudson Street alimony jail with posters announcing they don’t want alimony. A coven of 13 members of WITCH (The Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from…

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