The terms "Liberated Women" and "Women's Liberation" are not necessarily synonymous. In fact, much like the chicken and the egg, one may wonder which came first. While the term "Liberated Women" was probably not a widely used phrase until the height of the women's liberation movement, I maintain that liberated women emerged first. Moreover, it was the liberated women who inspired and initiated the women's liberation movement.
In "The Politics of Housework" Pat Mainardi writes, "Liberated women - very different from women's liberation! The first signals all kids of goodies, to warm the hearts (not to mention other parts) of the most radical men. The other signals - housework" (Bloom 492). As this quote describes, a main theme in the discussion of liberated women is sexual liberation. This theme is explored though the characters of Esther Greenwood in Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Brenda Patimkin in Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus. Several readings from "Takin' It to the Streets" discuss the politics of the women's liberation movement in terms of housework and class conflict.
Liberated women of the 1960's exercised freedoms that shocked and dismayed their mothers. They wanted the freedom to choose a career over domesticity, the freedom not to be sexually pure, and the freedom to express themselves as individuals. Liberated women wanted to have the choice to wear pants instead of skirts and avoid spending hours on hair and make-up. They did not want the primary purpose of their outward appearance to be simply to attract men. The expression of individual style and personality was key in becoming independent, freethinking women unbounded by the restrictions o...
... middle of paper ...
...are still issues our society is struggling with today.
To conclude, liberated women and the women's liberation movement are two separate, but related, concepts. The concerns of liberated women are more individualized than those of the women's lib movement. Liberated women are more concerned with their own personal identities and independence, whether it's their sexual freedom or freedom from their bras. The women's liberation movement, however, is more about women's collective interests and the actions that can be taken to remove the sexual oppression that denigrates all women.
Bloom, Alexander and Wini Breines. "Takin' it to the Streets" A Sixties Reader. New York: Oxford UP, 1995.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. New York: Bantam Books, 1971.
Roth, Philip. Goodbye, Columbus. New York: Vintage International, 1993.
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