Ms. Magazine
The F Word
The word "feminist" still raises hackles. Is claiming this word all about age, race, and class?

MS.CELLANEOUS:
-What?
-Just The Facts
-Word: Impossible
-Women to Watch

Zero Balance
Those entering middle age are discovering--sometimes too late--that women get the short end of the stick when it comes to retirement benefits.
YOUR HEALTH:
-Healthnotes
-Women's Bodies are Finally Being Studied
The Abortion Pill
Making mifepristone available in this country took decades of struggle and remains fraught with controversy.
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Portfolio: Romaine Brooks
Lesbian society in Paris at the turn of the 20th century is captured by this groundbreaking portraitist.
Uppity Women: Rosario Robles' Bold Agenda

Books:
-The Serpent Slayer by Katrin Tchana, Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
-Desirada, Maryse Conde
-Glory Goes And Gets Some, Emily Carter
-The Moon Pearl, Ruthanne Lum McCunn
-Kiss My Tiara, Susan Jane Gilman
-Motiba's Tattoos, Mira Kamdar

-First Person: By Any Other Name
-Columns: Daisy Hernandez, Patricia Smith and Gloria Steinem
 
 
 

The generation of feminists that the media called strident, hysterical, and hairy-legged--we were very angry. We had to be. This generation is coming along to an altered landscape, and it was our stridency (although the media was wrong--we had a great time) that altered the landscape. They will have different issues to fight for. And we'll be there for them.

The notion that we were and are a white movement is wrong, but it may come from the fact that The Feminine Mystique was a motivator for the second wave, and it resonated for white suburban women. But by the time we got to the National Women's Conference in 1977, delegates from conservative states were arguing that if we wanted to pass the ERA (we only had three states to go), we couldn't burden the movement with "other issues," like race and class and sexual identity. The conference adopted all 17 of our issues. It was all of us or none of us. Race and class and sexuality were not other issues--they were the issues.

The problems feminism has tackled have everything to do with women of color as well as white women: day care, domestic violence, pay equity. But if they're articulated by a white spokesperson, do women of color see their experience identified? No. There are spokeswomen of color, but the media doesn't focus on them. Especially in the early days, it was a white male media and they were covering feminism and thinking, could this be my wife? In Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I was first involved in feminism, the matrons of the city jails were making half of what the male janitors were making. They were largely African American, but divided by gender. We never said we're only interested in raising white women's paychecks. Whether you call yourself a feminist doesn't matter to me, but I think it's important that women of color who believe in these values identify themselves as feminists so their peers can see that the movement is about all of us.
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photograph by henry leutwyler