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Ten Important Feminist Beliefs

What Were the Ideas of the 1960s/1970s Women's Movement?


During the 1960s and 1970s, feminists catapulted the idea of women’s liberation into the media and the public consciousness. As with any groundswell, the message of second-wave feminism spread widely and was sometimes diluted or distorted. Feminist beliefs also differed from city to city, group to group and even woman to woman. There were, however, some core beliefs. Here are ten key feminist beliefs that tended to be held by most women in the movement, in most groups and in most cities during the 1960s and 1970s.

1. The Personal Is Political

This popular slogan encapsulated the important idea that what happened to individual women also mattered in a larger sense.

2. The Pro-Woman Line

It was not an oppressed woman’s fault that she behaved like an oppressed woman. 

3. Sisterhood is Powerful

Many women found an important solidarity in the feminist movement.

4. Comparable Worth

Many feminists supported the Equal Pay Act, and activists also realized that women had never had equal pay opportunities in the historically separate and unequal workplace.

5. Abortion Rights on Demand

Many feminists attended protests, wrote articles and lobbied politicians in the fight for women’s reproductive rights.

6. Radical Feminism

To be radical – radical as in going to the root -  meant advocating fundamental changes to patriarchal society.

7. Socialist Feminism

Some feminists wanted to integrate the fight against oppression of women with the fight against other types of oppression. There are both similarities and differences to be found in a comparison of socialist feminism with other types of feminism.

8. Ecofeminism

Ideas of environmental justice and feminist justice had some overlap.

9. Conceptual Art

The feminist art movement criticized the art world’s lack of attention to women artists, and many feminist artists reimagined how women’s experiences related to their art.

10. Housework as a Political Issue

In essays such as Pat Mainardi's "The Politics of Housework," feminists critiqued the expectation that women should fulfill a “happy housewife” destiny. Feminist commentary about women’s roles in marriage, home and family explored ideas that had previously been seen in books such as The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing and The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.

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