FEMINIST HISTORY SPECIAL: a re-airing of our classic feminist conversation between Stephanie Coontz, author of “A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960’s” and Joy of Resistance Executive Producer Fran Luck .
The discussion will center on how Betty Friedan‘s watershed book The Feminine Mystique (1963) changed the conceptual landscape for American women–and will focus on the social conditions that prevailed for women in the 1940’s ’50’s & early 60’s), when “Help Wanted: Female” ads, “Head and Master” laws (which gave men legal control of marriage) and a Freudianism that diagnosed ambition in women as a neurosis –combined to proscribe women’s lives.
We’ll examine how the feminist history of the 1920’s was erased and images of earlier feminists were distorted so that women of the 1950’s were denied their feminist history–just as the backlash against the feminists of the 1960’s going on today is denying today’s generation if young women their real history.
We’ll look at how women were pushed out of the good jobs they held in the 1940’s (which they were able to get because men were fighting World War ll), sold a bill of goods that the only path to “true womanhood” was through becoming stay-at-home wives and mothers–and how these images of American womanhood were then used as part of the “Cold War.”
We’ll look at how feminist periods run in “cycles”, with each feminist upsurge, followed by a period in which a “crisis in masculinity,” is declared–supposedly caused by “women going too far”--followed by attempts to take away gains of women achieved during the previous feminist period.
The show will be accompanied by period music from the 1950’s, including “Sincerely,” sung by The MacGuire Sisters; “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?” sung by Patti Paige; “Mr. Sandman,” sung by The Chordettes and the “I Love Lucy” themesong, sung by Desi Arnaz.
*Joy of Resistance: Multicultural Feminist Radio @ WBAI airs every Thursday except the third Thursday) at 9-10 PM. We cover the “ongoing worldwide struggle of women for full liberation, equality and human rights.” You can tweet us at twitter.com/joyofresistance and follow/read our blog at joyofresistance.wordpress.com and also communicate with us through the “comments” section on our blog. Programs stream live at wbai.org where they are archived there for 90 days.
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