Along with the suffrage campaign, women's liberation activism is one of the most renowned aspects of women's political history. The women's liberation movement (WLM) has often been linked with the 'big city'. This is the first book-length account of the women's liberation movement in Scotland, which charts the origins and development of this important social movement of the post-1945 period. In doing so, it reveals the inventiveness and fearlessness of feminist activism, while also pointing towards the importance of considering the movement from the local and grassroots perspectives. This book has two central arguments. First, it presses for a more representative historiography in which material from other places outside of the large women's liberation centres are included. Second, it highlights that case studies not only enrich our knowledge about women's liberation but they also challenge the way the British movement has been portrayed by both participants and historians. The book commences with contextualising the subject and summarising recent research into the movement in the United Kingdom. It looks at the roots of the movement by offering portrayals of the women who went on to form women's liberation groups in Scotland. The book then analyses the phenomenon of 'consciousness-raising' (CR) and the part it had to play in the WLM's development. The focus then moves to exploring where, when and why women's liberation groups emerged. The campaigns taken up by the WLM were to defend abortion rights and campaign against violence against women.
This book explores the gendered dynamics of apartheid-era South Africa's militarisation. It analyses the defiance of compulsory military service by individual white men, and the anti-apartheid activism of white men and women in the End Conscription Campaign (ECC), the most significant white anti-apartheid movement of South Africa. Militarized, white masculinity was a dominant model of masculinity that white men were encouraged to perform and white women were encouraged to admire. One of the most consistent features of pre-1994 South African society was progressive militarisation, in terms of both military preparedness and activity and the social conditions necessary for war making. The book then analyses the 1984 Citizenship Act as evidence that conscription was a transformative political act for the men who undertook it. The wider peace movement is also analysed as a transgressive sub-cultural space where radical political subjectivities could be formulated. The ECC's use of art, music and satire is assessed as a means to critique the militarisation of South African society. The role of women in the ECC, the feminist activism and the ways in which constructs of white femininity were addressed are also analysed. The book also explores the interconnections between militarisation, sexuality, race, homophobia and political authoritarianism. Finally, it conceptualises the state as premising its response to objectors on a need to assert and reinforce the gendered binaries of militarisation.
and Caribbean countries, early African Diaspora feministactivism … coming up to and even touching the Black Power period when she was already … on her last legs, still desiring to be buried like Du Bois in Africa. 62
No doubt there is much more still to be written about this remarkable woman.
Women’s liberation in the local context
his chapter offers a brief history of local women’s liberation
workshops in order to establish for the first time the variety of
different campaigns and locations of feministactivism within
Scotland. By analysing the practice of CR and looking at the debates and
discussions of local groups, the way the WLM developed and operated can
be better understood.1 Workshops were focused on practical actions and
were larger than CR groups, acting as a local forum to which individual
CR groups were aligned. During the 1970s a
This introduction describes the major arguments and methodologies employed in
the book, including the application of new imperial history models,
networked conceptions of empire, and transnational history to the study of
the Australasian and international women’s movements. It traces the
trajectories of national suffrage historiography in Australia and New
Zealand and details the existence of deep connections between suffragists
across Britain’s Australasian colonies as well as these activists’ efforts
to build meaningful connections with like-minded women across the world. It
concludes by outlining the book’s primary sources and introducing its
primary case studies: New South Wales, New Zealand, and South Australia. By
paying careful attention to women from these emblematic colonies, it at once
restores the suffragists to the overlapping worlds of Australasian and
international feminist activism that they did so much to build and
identifies the limits of transnational thought and action at the
This chapter explores Germaine Dulac’s feminist activism and her contributions to cinema, especially as they relate to aesthetics and economics in France during the early years of the twentieth century. The following are examined in light of her development as a filmmaker: her family background; her marriage in 1905 to Albert Dulac, with whom she founded, along with Irène Hillel-Erlanger (her first screenwriter), a small production company, D.H. Films; her work in serial melodramas; and her early career as a journalist at La Française, the organ of the French suffragist movement, and La Fronde, a radical feminist newspaper founded by Marguerite Durand. Also examined through archival material – public speeches and commentaries, and interviews and press releases – is Germaine Dulac’s role in promoting cinema through Ciné-Clubs and the Cinémathèque française. The chapter addresses in detail Dulac’s belief that cinema could offer women the means to earn a living.
This chapter starts with the ideas of the black American feminist Kimberlé
Crenshaw, who introduced the concept of intersectionality in 1989 to expose
the invisibility of black women in both feminist and anti-racist theory and
politics. The chapter explores the earlier history of the idea, before
tracing its movement into mainstream feminist thought and assessing debates
around its use and meaning today. It argues against open-ended
individualistic approaches that ignore structural forms of power and reduce
intersectionality to a bland form of ‘identity politics’. The chapter also
argues that, although there are a number of socially significant differences
and identities, intersectional analysis should generally focus on the ‘big
three’ of gender, race and class, and that women who are multiply oppressed
should be at the heart of feminist theory and practice. The chapter
concludes with some examples of intersectional approaches in Europe and the
UK, focusing on the implications for anti-discrimination legislation and
some forms of feminist activism.
This chapter begins by identifying affinities between socialist and feminist
goals and ways of thinking, before outlining the historical development of
socialist feminist ideas. It argues that even limited calls for reform
should be welcomed as steps in the right direction, and that feminists
should build on both grassroots activism and the increased presence of
feminist women in positions of power in order to develop effective feminist
policies. The next section discusses what these policies might involve,
focusing on issues around work, care, welfare and the relationships between
them; it also argues that, although the Nordic countries are far from
perfect, we can learn from their experience. The chapter concludes that
different forms of feminist activism can have complementary and cumulative
effects, but that if we want to achieve radical change we should start not
with elite women but with those who are multiply deprived.
This chapter examines the history and literature of mainstream Western
feminist activism against sexual violence. Both first and second waves of
feminism, as well as the contemporary mainstream movement, have been
dominated by class-privileged white women who also tend to be cisgender and
non-disabled. The privileged whiteness of the mainstream movement has
produced a one-dimensional focus on gender and patriarchy: the systems of
racial capitalism and colonialism, which also shape violence against women,
have been ignored. White feminism has also had two major outgrowths:
carceral feminism and colonial feminism, which are inextricably linked.
However, Black feminists and other feminists of colour have developed
alternative literatures and politics based on resisting intersecting
systems, which provide rich frameworks for analysis and action.
This chapter introduces a key site at which mainstream feminist activism
tends to take place: the ‘outrage economy’ of the media and social media.
This outrage economy is the result of changing media markets, which have
produced a number of trends: sensationalism, hyperbole and vilification of
opponents. While ‘outrage media’ has traditionally been identified on the
right, it is now crossing political boundaries. Privileged white feminists,
who have ready access to media platforms, have ‘invested’ their sexual
violence stories in the outrage economy to generate political support. Media
outrage in the form of ‘naming and shaming’ often leads to ‘bad men’ being
airbrushed out of institutions without any change to structures and power
relations. Politics that manipulates outrage can also lead to privileged
feminists ‘pricing’ more marginalised women out of the outrage economy,
especially when it comes to sex work and transgender equality.