The Impact Of The Feminist Movement In The 1960's

Submitted By Hunter-Kennedy
Words: 1338
Pages: 6

The culture of America changed during the 1960’s. The new culture was of equal rights, revolution, rebellion, and a minority’s right to choose. The Feminist movement is not the most popular movement of its time compared to the civil rights movement, but it was gaining strength every day. Women were being introduced into the workplace. They were getting jobs but were also being harassed by the men. This made them independent in more ways than one. The Feminist movement had effects on many aspects of society during the 1960’s. These include television, literature, and music. In the beginning of “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Connie is the typical 60’s girl. She has defiant, rebellious side that captures the Feminist movement perfectly. Near the end of the story, Connie does something entirely unexpected according to society. She gives in to Arnold Friend’s commands. This would not have happened during the Feminist movement of the 1960’s. It is hard to put a definition on Feminism because “each person who claims to be a Feminist has their own definition of the word, what it means to them, and how it impacts their life” (Chepurny). One fact about all Feminists is that they “want both men and women to be treated equally on all fronts, in all aspects of society and in all parts of the world” (Chepurny). Merriam-Webster defines it as “the theory of the political, economic, and the social equality of the sexes” (Sink). This is a very basic definition but also very detailed. It portrays women’s want to be treated equal in all aspects of life.
Feminism has a very long history dating back to the early 1900’s. “The history of feminism is, in fact, political history, or it is (to put it another way) a more expansive history of politics that incorporates women and analyzes gender politics” (Offen). It has had three very distinguishable movements otherwise called waves.
”First wave feminism grew from women activists involvement in nineteenth century movements such as the anti-slavery movement. After passage of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawed discrimination in voting on the basis of race, woman’s movement activists coalesced around campaigns to secure woman suffrage. By 1923, three years after passage of the universal suffrage 19th Amendment, some suffragists National Womens Party leader Alice Paul, for instance began pushing for an Equal Rights Amendment to outlaw all forms of discrimination based on sex, an ultimately unsuccessful campaign that lasted until 1983” (Feminism and the Women's Movement).
These three waves have created the equality between men and women that exists today. Each wave built momentum until Feminists started the Feminist movement which set the ball rolling. It changed the lives of women forever.
Feminism had major effects on different aspects of a women’s daily life. It affected birth rates, their home life, the workplace, and caused friction between genders. Birth rates were affected because “more than 80 percent of wives of childbearing age were using contraception after the federal government in 1960 approved a birth control pill” (Walsh). This allowed women to have more freedom in society. It “freed many women from unwanted pregnancy and gave them many more choices” (Walsh). Before the Feminist Movement of the 60’s women did not do much more than chores around the house. They “had been relegated to a single career path (homemaking) and that had to change” (Mother Superior). Women “despite their economic contributions and employment freedom, were still expected to shoulder the lion's share of work in the home” (Mother Superior). This meant that women were expected to be a wife, professional, mother, and home-maker. The women had a more difficult time after they gained their freedom because “women had gained new jobs, but had been forced to continue doing the old as well” (Mother Superior). The workplace was significantly changed after the Feminist Movement