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As part of the WBAI Winter Fund Drive and to kick off Women’s History Month, Joy of Resistance 70) that we have yet come across: Jennifer Lee’s marvelous new film “Feminist Stories from Women’s Liberation.” Just out, and having already garnered two awards–the “Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival: Best of Festival Documentary” and “Official Selection of the Cincinnati Film Festival”, this film has not yet been shown in theaters and, at present, is only available to the general public through WBAI.
In her introduction to the film, Lee shares with us that she was motivated to go on the quest that became the film, because she couldn’t figure out why the word “feminist,” when it came up among members of her generation, was whispered as if it were scary and somehow shameful. This led her to question why she didn’t know more stories from the feminist movement so that she could pass them on to those of later generations for whom this history was a blank. She decided to fly around the country and interview as many of the movement’s originators as she could find (“they are all around us”) and reclaim feminist history for her generation, by listening to “their stories”.
Lee interviewed, among others, Betty Friedan (Friedan’s last video interview before she passed), Aileen Hernandez, the first head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; Kathie Sarachild, a founder of Redstockings and a worker in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Frances Beal, founder of the SNCC Black Women’s Liberation Committee; and author of Triple Jeopardy; Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton–and many others.
Punctuated by an astonishing amount of period footage and an energetic sound-track, as well as wit and humor, the film begins with a glimpse of what life was like for women in the U.S. before the feminist movement (starting with women having been ousted from well paying factory/munitions jobs after WWll); the “happy housewife” propaganda of the 1950’s and Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking book: The Feminine Mystique; John F. Kennedy’s 1963 President’s Council on the Status of Women; the influence of SNCC and the Civil Rights Movement; the fight to get women included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964–and how it led to the founding of theNational Organization for Women (NOW); the Miss America Beauty Pageant Protest; the Ladies’ Home Journal sit-in and the Women’s Strike for Equality that included placing a banner saying WOMEN OF THE WORLD UNITE! on the Statue of Liberty. Many of the feminist goals raised in the film are still being fought for today, some 50 years later–such as full access to reproductive rights and universal childcare–and the film provides a useful underpinning for understanding our movements today.
A DVD of Feminist Stories from Women’s Liberation will be sent as a thank you gift to those who contribute $50. to WBAI.
WBAI IS A 54 YEAR OLD ALTERNATIVE, NON-COMMERCIAL RADIO STATION, PART OF THE PACIFICA NETWORK. We are in the midst of a critical fund drive and need your support to continue to bring you programs that are not dependent on–and therefore limited by–the dictates of corporate funding. SO PLEASE GIVE GENEROUSLY by going to give2wbai.org or calling (212) 209-2950.
If you call and contribute (any amount is welcome) during our fund drive show on March 5, your contribution will also count as a vote for the continuation and expansion of Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI. Thank you!