the diversity of women’s experiences and perspectives

Over the whole of the semester you will have noticed the diversity of women’s experiences and perspectives through each historical era we have covered in the course. However, the modern period is often represented as offering the widest range of diversity within women’s activists groups and what is referred to as the “feminist movement.” For example, chapter 11 features sections on “liberal feminism,” women in the Black Power movement, “Latina activism,” women as leaders of the peace movement, and women as political pioneers. It is perhaps not surprising that when U. S. society reached the 1980s and 1990s there was a kind of backlash against women’s movements and the criticisms lumped all the diverse streams of feminism together without thoughtful attention to their many differences. To put this in contemporary context, public figures as diverse as Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, and Miley Cyrus (to name just a few – you can probably think ofmany others)could, believe it or not, all claim to be descended from the feminism of the 1960s and 1970s. How would you define or describe “feminism” today? Is it still a useful term? Is it necessary? Or does it blur or simplify some important differences that we might rather highlight? (Responses should be at least 250 words—although for this topic, you may feel like you need more! That’s OK.)


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