Liberated Women vs. Women's Liberation

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Liberated Women vs. Women's Liberation

The idealized American housewife of the 60's radiated happiness, "freed by science and labor-saving appliances from the drudgery, the dangers of childbirth and the illnesses of her grandmother...healthy, beautiful, educated, concerned only about her husband, her children, her home," wrote Betty Friedan in "The Problem That Has No Name" (463). Women were portrayed as being "freed," yet it was from this mold that liberated women attempted to free themselves. Many of these same women took part in the women's liberation movement that erupted in the 60's, fueled by their involvement in the civil rights movement. Liberated women were more than just members of the women's liberation movement, however. Different characteristics distinguished the two concepts from one another.

Liberated women sought and exercised freedoms that focused more on their individual desires, differing from the group mentality that characterized the women's liberation movement. Attitudes of women towards clothing, sex, and family changed. Some women protested the traditional ideas of beauty, favoring pants and a more natural look devoid of make-up and hair curlers. In 1968, a group of women demonstrated at the site of the Miss America Pageant, railing against the image of the "perfect woman" propagated by this contest. They urged other women to join them in tossing their "bras, girdles, curlers, false eyelashes, wigs...[and] any such woman-garbage" into a Freedom Trash Can (Takin' It To The Streets, 482). Miniskirts became popular as well, tied in part to the idea of sexual liberation.

The advent of the diaphragm and birth control pill spurred the increased sexual freedom ...

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...sonal freedoms. Many liberated women took part in the liberation movement. Concern for women as a group characterized the movement, as well as the incorporation of political issues. The actions and beliefs of both still resonate today.

Works Cited

Bloom, Alexander, and Wini Breines, eds. "Takin' it to the Streets": A Sixties Reader. New York: Oxford UP, 1995.

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: W.H. Norton & Company, Inc., 1963. Rpt. in Bloom, 461-467.

Mainardi, Pat. "The Politics of Housework." Rpt. in Bloom, 491-495.

Morgan, Robin, ed. "No More Miss America." 1970. Rpt. in Bloom, 481-484.

"Redstockings Manifesto." 1969. Rpt. in Bloom, 485-487.

Steinem, Gloria. "What It Would Be Like If Women Win." 1970. Bloom, 475-481.

Susan, Barbara. "About My Consciousness Raising." Rpt. in Bloom, 488-491.
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