Second- Wave Feminism Essay
History 2112 Second-Wave Feminism Towards the end of the twentieth century, feminist women in America faced an underlying conflict to find their purpose and true meaning in life. “Is this all? ” was often a question whose answer was sought after by numerous women reaching deeper into their minds and souls to find what was missing from their life. The ideal second-wave feminist was defined as a women who puts all of her time into cleaning her home, loving her husband, and caring for her children, but such a belief caused these women to not only lose their identity within her family but society as well.
The emotions that feminist women were feeling at this time was the internal conflict that caused for social steps to be taken in hopes of bringing purpose and meaning back into their lives. Evidence from second-wave feminist literature suggests the formation and goals of helping cure the identity crisis these women faced at this time. The magazine, Ms.
, was created to give women an insight of their own social, political, and economical views.
Created by women, about women, and for women, the magazine was a social step intended to reduce the emotions feminist women were experiencing about their place within their families and society. “After all, Ms. and the social change that gave birth to it is for all women, regardless of the family incomes or jobs or men we happen to be dependent on. ” Not only bringing forth issues that concerned women at this time, articles such as “Populist Mechanics: Demystifying Your Car” gave women the basics on cars and its parts, a task usually labeled as a “man’s job. “He turned on me. ‘You know, I’ll never understand you women. A man would know what’s involved. Labor parts, the works. He would just say ‘Fix it! ’ But a woman hollers. ” Similar articles such as these helped women alleviate the dependency they had on their husbands for even the simplest tasks. Ms. allowed women to expand their thoughts on the scrutiny of the role women played in life. It showed society that women were so much more than a cleaner, care-giver, and lover. “Scientists noted that America’s greatest source of unused brainpower was women. ” Ms.
Magazine became a great relief to all feminists by giving them a sense of self-determination and hope for the women’s movement. Feminist women rarely spoke to each other about their feelings of subjection and loneliness. These emotions led them to feeling ashamed of themselves due to the idealistic image of feminists that society felt was so appropriate. “She was so ashamed to admit her dissatisfaction that she never knew how many other women shared it. ” A huge social advancement and rather large step towards understanding feminist women at this time was the formation of rap groups. They are the heart and soul of the Women’s Movement. ” Rap groups were organized and structured meetings that allowed women to openly engage in one another’s thoughts, feelings, and concerns without the input of men or the rest of society. “The rap groups have become mechanisms for social change in and of themselves. ” These social groups let women know they were not alone and gave them hope to believe in women’s liberation. Rap groups helped to unify feminist women all over America and brought them together in a structured interaction. Talking to other women, we came to realize our oppression by understanding the nature of our upbringing and of our lives as, women. ” Discussion of past feelings and experiences led to plans of new reforms and steps to achieving full social equality. The social advancements brought forth by second-wave feminists shaped the pathway that gave feminists the independence they dreamt of for so long. Ms. Magazine and rap groups allowed women to overtly express themselves in a way they thought no one could understand or diagnose, not even doctors.
The feelings feminists shared did not make them, but it was these articles that truly defined what womanhood meant throughout the 1960s and 70s in America. Second-wave feminism has continued to evolve throughout history improving the righteousness of all men and women.
. “A Personal Report,” Ms. , Jul 1972, 4. [ 2 ]. Elizabeth Hemmerdinger, “Populist Mechanics: Demystifying Your Car,” Ms. , Jul. 1972, 36. [ 3 ]. Betty Friedan, “The Problem that Has No Name,” excerpt from The Feminist Mystique (1963), reprinted in Alexander Bloom and Wini Breines, eds. “Takin’ it to the Streets”: A Sixties Reader, 2nd Ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 388-393. [ 4 ]. Betty Friedan, “The Problem that Has No Name,” 388-393. [ 5 ]. “Woman’s Body, Woman’s Mind: A Guide to Consciousness-Raising,” Ms. , Jul. 1972, 18. [ 6 ]. Jo Freeman, “The Woman’s Liberation Movement: Its Origins, Structures And Ideas,” (Pittsburgh: KNOW, Inc. , 1971), 2. [ 7 ]. Chapter, Hyde P. , “Social Feminist: A Strategy for the Woman’s Movement,” (Chicago Women’ Liberation Union, 1972), 11.