Learning Feminism

April 21, 2009

Optimism is depressing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joce Claire @ 9:56 pm
Tags: ,

I checked out a book from my school library, “Radical Feminism: A Documentary Reader.” It’s a collection of various works from the American radfem movement from 1968 to 1975. And I have to say, it’s pretty depressing.

People were so optimistic back in the ’60s! They really seemed to think that a revolution was at hand, that we were thisclose to the death of patriarchy, capitalism, and white supremacy. Modern feminists like to say how far we’ve come, but man, it’s like feminism’s done just enough to inspire women’s apathy.

Shulamith Firestone’s “The Dialectic of Sex” is in this book. It’s an important radfem writing I’ve heard referenced quite a bit on the blogosphere. And this passive stopped me in my tracks:

“For feminist revolution we shall need an analysis of the dynamics of sex war as comprehensive as the Marx-Engels analysis of class antagonism was for economic revolution.”

Um. What economic revolution? Capitalism is as strong today as it was in the ’50s. Parts of Europe are doing well implementing some socialist programs, but the gap between the world’s rich and the world’s poor just keeps increasing.

So what are we supposed to do? There was no revolution in the ’60s, and there’s not going to be a revolution today, with funfeminism keeping women complacent. 

Individuals can only do so much. Radical feminists need to bond together if we want to start a new movement. Maybe we can use the internet for mass consciousness-raising. 

I’ll post more as I get more out of my readings. In the meantime, whoever reads this should check out this article from Amy’s Feminist Reprise archives. It was written in 1973, but could have been written last week. An excellent analysis of where we are in the “sexual revolution.”



  1. “There was no revolution in the ’60s, and there’s not going to be a revolution today, with funfeminism keeping women complacent.”

    I know right? I would lol if it weren’t so damn depressing. Everyone is so disturbingly optimistic…Whenever I see someone who is optimistic I know they just aren’t looking in the right direction. That is not say one should be happy, or attempt to be happy, but optimism is stupidity at this point…

    I read a book a long time ago, very hazy now, about radical feminist groups in the sixties. They were very very radical, like the redstockings, which Firestone founded with Ellen Willis…

    Comment by atheistwoman — April 21, 2009 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

  2. By the by, you did receive my email didn’t you?

    Comment by atheistwoman — April 21, 2009 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

    • I did get your email! Thanks a lot. I went to the library not long after you sent it and just sort of wandered around the women’s studies sections. It was a little frustrating, they didn’t have a lot of your suggestions or other books I’d wanted. I picked up a bunch of anthologies so I can see which writers click with me, and I’ll do some online shopping at some point. I also checked out “Gyn/Ecology,” but I’m going to wait a bit for that one, as you recommended. 😉

      Comment by joceclaire — April 21, 2009 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  3. Oooh, and lets not forget W.I.T.C.H

    Comment by atheistwoman — April 21, 2009 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

    • Hehe. My book has various manifestos in it, including The Redstockings Manifesto. It also has the SCUM Manifesto, which I’ve read about, but I don’t really understand it … wikipedia says Solanas later claimed it was “satire,” but I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be satirizing.

      Comment by joceclaire — April 21, 2009 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  4. “women’s studies sections”
    Hint, staying in the women’s studies sections will get you burned these days. I have found that if a store or library even has a “women’s studies” section it will feature Valenti and Marcotte and not much else that isn’t active idiocy. All the Mary Daly I have scrounged has not been in these sections, and many of the authors I listed are African and Asian, so no doubt will be lumped in with their male counterparts, under “post-colonialism studies” or “environmental studies.”

    Comment by atheistwoman — April 21, 2009 @ 11:00 pm | Reply

  5. “Radical feminists need to bond together if we want to start a new movement. Maybe we can use the internet for mass consciousness-raising.”

    Yes, please.

    I’ve been reading the almost forty year old second-wave stuff too. It rocks my world. And it IS depressing that we haven’t had the revolution yet. Because it feels like no progress was made. But they did NOT have the internet.

    For example:

    Thank you so much for providing a link to that wonderful article in Amy’s library. It’s soooo womderful that she’s made these incredible feminist philosophies available online!! I’m so grateful to her for that. So I think The Plan should be that we all keep sharing, talking about, and developing these life-changing ideas—starting here and progressively building them into daily practice.

    Thank you for putting your energy into this blog! I’m loving it. 🙂

    Comment by undercoverpunk — April 24, 2009 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  6. If anyone has any requests for the library — either for specific works (especially if they’re short) or specific topics — please let me know. I have a whole bunch of old books and journals here. I’m also happy to snail mail photocopies if I don’t have time to scan and fix something up for the web.

    Maybe I ought to get pdf making software. Might be quicker than the OCR scanner.

    You can also usually get the out-of-print feminist stuff for cheap on Alibris. Google has archived some old feminist things in their book index project thing too.

    Thanks again for caring. Y’all have made, like, my month. You don’t know.

    Comment by Amy's Brain Today — June 5, 2009 @ 11:45 pm | Reply

    • Well maybe you would have known sooner how much people appreciate your work if you allowed comments! 😛

      Do you have any more Dana Densmore articles? I loved loved loved that one you posted and have found a couple more online, but there’s nothing at my local libraries and all the stuff of hers available to buy online is pretty pricey.

      And again, thank you for doing what you do!

      Comment by joceclaire — June 6, 2009 @ 12:02 am | Reply

  7. Well maybe you would have known sooner how much people appreciate your work if you allowed comments!

    Good point. o^_^o

    Comment by Amy's Brain Today — June 6, 2009 @ 10:35 am | Reply

  8. […] it’s really true, comments are enabled here now, thanks to the astute Joce Claire. You can read more about the decision and da rulz […]

    Pingback by feminist reprise :: the blog — June 17, 2009 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

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