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New Feminist Movement, The

New Feminist Movement, The

Maren Lockwood Carden
Copyright Date: 1974
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 252
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610441063
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  • Book Info
    New Feminist Movement, The
    Book Description:

    The feminist movement has become an established force on the American political and social scene. Both the small consciousness-raising group and the large, formal organization command the attention of our legislative bodies, media, and general public. Maren Lockwood Carden's new book is the first to look beyond feminist ideas and rhetoric to give a detailed study of the movement-its structure, membership, and history of the organizations that form a major part of present-day feminism. Fair, objective, and comprehensive, her study is based on participant observation and in-depth interviews with rank and file members and local and national leaders in seven representative cities during 1969-1971.

    In Dr. Carden's analysis, the movement has two divisions. First, the hundreds of small, informal "Women's Liberation" consciousness-raising and action groups. Second, the large, formally structured "Women's Rights" organizations like the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Women's Equity Action League. For both types of organizations, Dr. Carden covers members' reasons for participation; organizational structure; strategies and actions; and the relationship between ideology and structure, including the attempts by many groups to work as "participatory democracies." She also discusses the development of the movement from the mid-sixties to the present, and evaluates the long-term prospects for achieving the objectives of the various new feminist groups.

    Anyone interested in organizations, personality and society, and social change will welcome this detailed description and history of a complex and rapidly changing social movement. Highly readable and free of technical jargon,The New Feminist Movementtells us what's been happening to women in the last decade, what they want now, and where they may be headed in the future.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-106-3
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xvi)
    JESSIE BERNARD

    Several years ago I wrote that “there is not likely soon, or ever, to be a definitive study of the Women’s Liberation Movement. The members would not cooperate with such a study; Movement Women do not want to be defined by outsiders.”¹ I was wrong. Maren Lockwood Carden has made just such a study; she interviewed women representing a wide spectrum of feminist groups, including Women’s Liberation groups, and met only three refusals. It was not always easy; but she succeeded.² And she has left us all in her debt.

    The New Feminist Movementclarifies the kaleidescopic nature of the...

  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
    Maren Lockwood Carden
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    In the late 1960s a new feminist movement burst upon the American public. Even those who were in tune with the newly emerging series of protest movements—civil rights, peace, the New Left, antipoverty—found the revival of feminism a startling event. Men and women with traditional views gasped. These must be sick, unbalanced women, or at best, just bored housewives. Everyone knew that American women were better off than women anywhere else in the world or at any time in history; they were spoiled and pampered. What did they have to fuss about? What were they after? What did...

  6. PART ONE. THE NEW FEMINISM

    • CHAPTER ONE IDEAS AND ISSUES
      (pp. 9-16)

      Much of what the general public hears about the new feminism concerns the groups’ many and varied efforts to introduce social change. Movement advocates have supported repeal or reform of abortion laws; they have opposed legal restrictions on the distribution of birth control devices; many have objected to the impersonality, male dominance, and sexism of modern medicine whether this is practiced by the obstetrician, psychiatrist, or internist. Child care is a crucial issue: members advocate, and often establish, many kinds of child-care facilities.

      All forms of economic, job, and educational discrimination have been attacked by legal, legislative, and less direct...

  7. PART TWO. THE NEW FEMINIST

    • CHAPTER TWO SOCIAL AND PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEW FEMINIST
      (pp. 19-30)

      As outsiders and participants repeatedly state, the majority of Women’s Liberation and Women’s Rights groups’ members are middle- and upper middle-class whites. Although relatively more of the less-prosperous and less-well-educated women have joined during the 1970s, they probably still compose fewer than 10 percent of the total membership.

      Almost 90 percent of the Women’s Rights groups’ members interviewed had at least a B.A. degree; a third held Ph.D.’s, M.D.’s, or law degrees. This sample probably is biased in favor of the more highly educated women; nonetheless, members of Women’s Rights groups in general are likely to be preparing for, trying...

    • CHAPTER THREE BECOMING A NEW FEMINIST
      (pp. 31-46)

      Many women experience the role-related conflicts described in Chapter Two without becoming involved in the new feminist movement. The decision to join is one step in the process whereby people reconceptualize their thoughts in terms of the new feminist ideology: they reject the socially accepted view of the appropriate role for a woman and construct a new interpretation of much broader scope. Some people join the movement after they have reconceptualized their view of women’s place in society; others do not change their perceptions until they participate; and still more find that, although they had changed their views before joining,...

    • CHAPTER FOUR THE RADICAL FEMINIST
      (pp. 47-56)

      Because of their unorthodox views, the new feminists have often been called “radical.” Radicalism is an elusive concept. Behavior and ideas that the outsider calls radical, the movement member may call ordinary or even conservative. Neither people outside the movement nor movement members agree among themselves about what aspects of the new feminism are radical. Furthermore, they change their minds over time: something that is considered radical at one date may, in a few months or a few years, be generally accepted. In the following discussion I avoid the question of whether certain behavior or beliefs are appropriately called “radical”...

  8. PART THREE. THE NEW FEMINIST GROUPS:: WOMEN’S LIBERATION

    • CHAPTER FIVE THE EMERGENCE AND GROWTH OF WOMEN’S LIBERATION
      (pp. 59-70)

      Women’s Liberation and Women’s Rights group members sometimes disagree over which of these two segments of the new feminist movement was founded first. In fact, the National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966 and the first generally recognized Women’s Liberation groups were founded in 1967. In each case, several years of preliminary discussion and exploration preceded the actual formation of the groups.

      Although the principal impetus for Women’s Liberation came from within the New Left, its ideas were voiced first by women within the civil rights movement. As early as 1964, Ruby Doris Robinson, one of the Student...

    • CHAPTER SIX WOMEN’S LIBERATION: ACTIONS
      (pp. 71-84)

      By the early 1970s Women’s Liberation consciousness-raising groups were to be found in large cities and small towns throughout the United States. Many of these groups had been formed at the initiative of movement members but, increasingly, women who had had no contact with the informal network of women composing the Liberation movement were forming consciousness-raising groups for example, from among occupants of a particular apartment building, or among mothers whose children attended the same play school. The consciousness-raising group idea had spread also into the National Organization for Women where many chapters found enthusiasts among their recruits.

      Although many...

    • CHAPTER SEVEN WOMEN’S LIBERATION: ORGANIZATION
      (pp. 85-100)

      The network of varied, informal, and loosely structured Women’s Liberation groups is no exception to the generalization that protest movements generate considerable intergroup and intragroup conflict. In the case of Women’s Liberation two conditions (frequently found in other movements) encourage this conflict: members disagree over how to translate their ideology in terms of specific goals and they experience considerable frustration in trying to implement idealistic principles for organizational operation.

      The varied interpretations of the movement ideology are themselves being changed constantly as participants experience progressive consciousness raising. Justification for this ongoing development of theory is found in the idea that...

  9. PART FOUR. THE NEW FEMINIST GROUPS:: WOMEN’S RIGHTS

    • CHAPTER EIGHT NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: EMERGENCE AND GROWTH
      (pp. 103-118)

      The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the oldest and (with the exception of the Women’s Political Caucus) also the largest of the Women’s Rights Groups. With its varied membership, its wide network of chapters, and its broad range of activities, NOW represents the spectrum of characteristics found, in different proportions, within the other groups, and reveals developmental trends which are less easily identifiable in the shorter-lived groups. Because NOW is in such respects the most important and the most representative of the Women’s Rights organizations, it will be the subject of the following two chapters.

      The National Organization for...

    • CHAPTER NINE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: INTERNAL ORGANIZATION
      (pp. 119-132)

      Many features of NOW’s organization would be characteristic of any newly established voluntary organization. Other features are distinctly feminist and are the result of members’ determination to run NOW according to certain idealistic principles characteristic of the feminist movement in general, rather than according to the impersonal fashion of the male establishment.

      NOW’s national organizational network grew so rapidly that its founders, lacking staff, money, and basic secretarial help, were unable to keep up. Since the earliest days, it has been exceedingly difficult to keep communication channels operating smoothly.

      The communication problem involved both communication between NOW and potential recruits...

    • CHAPTER TEN THE RANGE OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS GROUPS
      (pp. 133-148)

      My objective in this chapter is to cover quickly the range of feminist organizations in the United States at the present time; to describe their internal organization by comparison with my previous analysis of NOW; and to describe communication and cooperation among feminist groups and between feminist groups and outside organizations. The traditional women’s organizations, like the YWCA, the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, and the League of Women Voters, are well known and, despite their recent return to feminist issues, will not be discussed further here. The first half of this chapter covers women’s interest groups, the Women’s Equity...

  10. PART FIVE. FEMINISM AND AMERICAN SOCIETY

    • CHAPTER ELEVEN THE ORIGINS, SPREAD, AND FUTURE OF THE NEW FEMINIST MOVEMENT
      (pp. 151-172)

      The most satisfactory explanation of feminism’s recent revival lies in an analysis of the long-term development of male and female roles within the context of the developing American society.¹ Since any such effort to set the present movement into the context of decades, even centuries, of social change requires a volume in itself, I shall here identify only the movement’s proximate causes and relate them to the equivalent causes of the analogous nineteenth-century movement.²

      It has frequently been observed that both the nineteenth- and the twentieth-century feminist movements appeared at times of unusual enthusiasm for social reform. In addition, since...

  11. APPENDIX I: METHODOLOGY
    (pp. 173-180)
  12. APPENDIX II: LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS
    (pp. 181-182)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 183-200)
  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 201-218)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 219-234)