One of several amazing photos by Mary Ellen Mark from a story about the women’s movement in Life, 1969.
The caption reads, “Members of NOW picket the headquarters of New York mayoralty candidates before recent election for not taking a stand on women’s rights. They urged female volunteers to stop licking stamps and boots.”
The entire piece, “An Oppressed Majority Demands Its Rights,” is on Ms. Mark’s site and it is amazing. Written by Sara Davidson (her bio says she “combines a career in journalism with marriage.”), it covers NOW, the splinter groups WITCH and The Feminists, Redstockings, consciousness raising groups, communes, single parenting, anti-marriage protests and of course the key issue: men.
Jane feels women’s liberation is not anti-male.”Because you believe women are human beings, not objects, doesn’t mean you don’t like men.”
Glad that’s settled! The piece doesn’t address any race or class issues, of course—it merely documents the efforts of these middle class white women. But I want to celebrate the hopefulness and energy of these women even as we work to acknowledge where they went wrong and to stop doing wrong ourselves.