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Ti-Grace Atkinson in ‘The Second Feminist Wave’

A Radical Feminist Voice of 1968


Martha Weinman Lear's article "The Second Feminist Wave" appeared in The New York Times Magazine on March 10, 1968. Martha Weinman Lear extensively quoted Ti-Grace Atkinson in "The Second Feminist Wave" as a representative voice of emerging radical feminism.

The article was a long piece that attempted to explain 1960s feminism to a national audience in the United States. The quotations from Ti-Grace Atkinson in "The Second Feminist Wave" included feminist theory and fundamental questioning of patriarchal society.

After discussing Betty Friedan and the endeavors of the National Organization for Women, Martha Weinman Lear turned to the more "militant" feminists in groups such as Radical Women. Ti-Grace Atkinson in "The Second Feminist Wave" offered a critique of women's so-called "role" in marriage that relegates women to a supporting role in society.

Comparison to Slavery

In one quotation, Ti-Grace Atkinson said that the institution of marriage had the same effect as the institution of slavery: separating people who are in the same category, preventing them from identifying together as a subjugated or oppressed class.

"To say that a woman is really 'happy' with her home and kids is as irrelevant as saying that the blacks were 'happy' being taken care of by Ol' Massa. She is defined by her maintenance role. He is defined by his productive role. We're saying that all human beings should have a productive role in society."
- Ti-Grace Atkinson in "The Second Feminist Wave," March 10, 1968

Of course, radical feminists such as Ti-Grace Atkinson are often best remembered for mere snippets of their statements, with misquotes like "marriage is slavery." This anti-feminism ignores the layers of feminist theory Ti-Grace Atkinson offered in her analysis of women's roles.


The article also explained that feminism had changed Ti-Grace Atkinson's life after her early marriage and divorce. She spent time in the Pennsylvania and New York art worlds, encountered The Second Sex and eventually struck up a correspondence with its author Simone de Beauvoir.

Briefly president of the New York chapter of NOW, Ti-Grace Atkinson worked for abortion rights, asserting women's civil right to reproductive freedom. Martha Weinman Lear's article reported Ti-Grace Atkinson's readiness to move on from the abortion issue to the need for fundamental change in the institution of marriage. In particular, she spoke about communal child raising and abolishing the concept of the nuclear family.

In "The Second Feminist Wave," Ti-Grace Atkinson was a strong voice who offered both a daring critique of society and a philosophical desire for more intellectual courage in the feminist movement. She called for women and society to tackle the weighty issues of feminist revolution.

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