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In E.R. the national educational radio network presents special of the week on this program a discussion of women's liberation recorded in October 1970 at the Cooper Union in New York City. To begin here is Jackie Kobe oh so of NOW the National Organization for Women. Again we do things like. For instance on August 26 that was world wide consciousness raising. We decided to strike. For equality. We did this in coalition with all the other groups even squared the square groups considering that why the IPCA the women voters and groups like this because we found that we could get together on many similar issues. We did besides the tremendous march which you all may have participated in or watched and there were about 30000 people. A lot of men too marching down without you.
We did a lot of consciousness raising during the day. The first thing we did was distribute the NOW York Times. It was put out by a group of women and it was done from a male female chauvinist point of view. First of all we have a map about male chauvinism around the world. Instead of communism around the world we have male chauvinism around the world which shows the areas where its heaviest. And I hate to tell. That there that almost is heavy in most areas. And around the United States we have a little female sign which says around a section of the DMZ that there's a little change going on. We did an article on a man getting married showing how ridiculous women he treated Mr. and strong and sharp. The former James Leslie Buckingham. And we tell you his background and and hers and of course she's a very prominent person.
And then we haven't had an article on the coupling for men's pants man in a tizzy over coupling. We have the couple that we have Help Wanted where a female can expect to get this into this account executive 30000 to start ad agency six bright creative woman for exact spot all benefit profit sharing expense account foreign travel. Now for a male we have. Where is this help wanted male. Brought you. Your best friend just got married and your heart sick. Always the bride groom but never the groom. Don't despair. Come to Cutie employment agency and we'll get you a secretarial job to a beautiful intelligent woman. The next best thing to being a husband. Where do you think we got that. This is an ad turned around that's addressed to men. This is fantastic consciousness raising consciousness raising is
one thing. Because what we really want to get at I mean is the women. We don't have to try very hard. I'll tell you that we speak in the suburbs all the time to packed houses and the women are really turned on I suppose in New York City it's an old story by now but we feel that any woman who doesn't realize her position in a man's world today there must be I mean really she has to get in her consciousness raised to find out where she sat and also that the only way to change the situation in a world where more and more women have. To work. We don't work because we want to we have to work. That the only way to change the situation is to join and fight the male power system. Now most of us don't believe that men are really against us. We try to tell ourselves. After we watch the iori Amendment the equal rights amendment fail after 47
years it's hard to believe that men are not against us. But I speaking for myself personally have this theory that men should I just don't like this policy system they have gone after all this. Male God in that heaven everything is male. I mean you know when you get married you lose your name you become Mrs John Smith. You. Have to live through a man because men make the money. So somehow or other you always end up being dependent on men. Now this is a tremendous responsibility for men. But at the same time it gives them a hell of a lot of power. And that power makes them feel like little gods. As a matter of fact man created God in His image. That's my personal feeling anyway seeing that men have this tremendous advantage over us. It's. Very hard to ask them nicely like a
lady. And remember if you're a lady Nothing will ever happen will surely keep you on your plate but ever. So many have to forget about being willing to sometimes. And we've had to demand our rights. And I feel and most of us feel that the only way we will ever be recognized as equal human beings is to fight for it. To unite as women and fight for it. And only until there is really complete equality in the world can we really solve the problems of violence and war are. That. It is. Damn shame that the best brains in the world are going to waste because our woman because she gives birth has to get married or take care of her family for the rest of. Them must be some way to arrange it so that women who want to go out in the world have the brains in the tower or who just plain want to can do
both if they want to can just work if they want to and if they decide to stay home and take care of the children in the home they get paid for it. Not just with roses on Mother's Day but with pensions with insurance benefits. And perhaps there should be Maryjane insurance if there is going to be a marriage and it looks like for a long time and will have a marriage so that when the marriage dissolves. There won't be this degrading thing of having to accept alimony. But there will be marriage insurance for the women and for the men. I could only think that. Signing for what we're fighting for ever. Everything else comes second. It's no use to spend your time fighting for the peace movement if that's where you rat off our ex-college are for. Can anything because the crux of the whole thing is women's liberation.
We feel very very strongly that we had when I liberated men and children will be liberated do we really feel. I cannot tell you everything in 15 minutes but we feel that wars and violence are caused by the masculine Mystique which said. That men have to be. Strong and aggressive and violent and they have to have more and more possessions of which women you know are very valuable parts of those possessions. So that's why I've given up everything else really everything else and I'm going to devote the rest of my life to waking up women and men who feel this way that the problems of the whole world is the domination of the female sex by the male. Thank you very much. That was Jackie. So of NOW the National Organization for Women. The next speaker is Mary or a van of the New York radical feminists.
I think one of the reasons one of the main reasons climate is for this generation of women. And. Even more specifically for the next generation of women. I no longer want to see girl children's minds bound. Much as Chinese children's feet were bound centuries ago. I. I think this really happens it's not an exaggeration. If you look at any one year old any two year old curiosity they look at the world they look at a leaf they look at the sunshine they look at the mill. Maybe they hear about the astronauts when they're a little older and they want to go to the mode. Maybe they want to be biochemists doctors. Explore let their minds go. But very soon they begin to get the message that their girls. And the opportunities become limited not that some. Women don't go through in this society and make it despite psychological pressure. Despite. Actual discrimination and discrimination in schools.
Despite all kinds of discouragement at every level not that some don't get through and make it but the vast majority of women are forced to choose at this point in some subtle way between law and career. Do you want to be a career woman or do you want to be a wife. Well no man on earth has to choose whether he wants personal fulfillment. And no woman on earth should have to choose that either. As for myself I want both. I walk up both a rich personal life. And I want. I want a misstep that is not. And that's that's one of the main reasons that I'm in the movement. I agree with almost everything that Jackie said at New York radical feminist is only in some ways a slightly different in that it was founded primarily for consciousness raising consciousness raising happens in New York radical feminism now in many other
groups. With. Small groups of women anywhere from eight to 15 women who get together once a week and discuss things like. Their first awareness. When did they realize they were a woman. When did they realize that they were a girl instead of a boy. And what did that mean to them. You know there was a survey done recently on 10 year olds. Little boys were asked if they wanted to be little boys or little girls and 99 percent said that they wanted to be little boys girls. They wanted to be little girls little boys. And only 44 percent said that they wanted to be little girls. It was that and that is despite. Despite the thing that you are always pro yourself. That's why every woman is really a feminist because how can you not be pro yourself. If you're on what level you must be on one level you must be black.
So if you are a woman you want to be yourself. And despite that. Despite that at 10 years old little girls. Things that are discussed are. The double standards the double standard that so many of us grew up with the double bind. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Women's sexuality either over rated or under rated never just a natural choice that she herself makes. Other things that are discussed. Work. Work that's a very crucial thing. Who gets paid as. As Jackie pointed out women aren't. The things they do at home are not labor. And we live in a money economy. And in a money economy something that isn't paid isn't respected. And how could such an important job is raising children. Not be a respected thing. That's what that's that's one of the things that sometimes comes across through the media in women's liberation that we are
somehow against. Raising children. Actually that's not true. That's that's a kind of a distortion that seems to get across there's almost no job that's. As important. As bringing up the next generation. It's so important. That parents ought to be involved in. Both parents but the community ought to be involved in it. All right. Other things that are discussed in consciousness raising our appearance. Why women are judged very often much on appearance this charming young lady that we are about to meet. I've never heard of a man who's. More charming. Are charming and. Today I read the York Times they were they were discussing the problem up in Canada. And they interviewed. A person. And they said. This. Girl.
Said. Now what have you heard of a 32 year old boy the only 32 year old boy you ever heard of in this country is a black boy and you know what that's about. OK. Why do you need consciousness raising or. Why. Was consciousness raising thought of it as a liberation. Well because we all want to survive. And we. Just and as there are no alternatives in life we can't see alternatives. We make the best of our situation. We play the game. We become. Perhaps I was taught when I was younger Well none of it was going to fly. I would do the Frenchwoman Did you know maximize the advantages minimize the disadvantages and many women many women become very good at this. And very often they're the very women who are reluctant about women's liberation because they have made a career of this kind of guerrilla warfare. It's
funny that you know even the words even those are for it. What do you do with roles the sex roles as you play a role. That's right that's what it is it's playing. It's not treating each other as people as human beings it's a play playing the masculine role or play the feminine role. Biology has brought it to this a lot. Well it's an interesting thing we really don't know what the differences are between men and women except for the obvious sexual differences. Betty Friedan I don't know if it was that it was woman's got Heidi. I have now said that there are only two jobs that a man isn't qualified for that would be wet nurse and baby incubator. And there's only one job the woman isn't qualified for the doctor. Other than that.
There's a continuum of talents. There's a continuum. Of physical energy. There's a there's a continuum of human hood. That we all possess. Not not the stereotyped little box in roles that we many of us grew up with. Little boys I think suffered too in this system. They're told not to cry. They're told not to play with dolls after awhile. They're told the tenderness is somehow weakness. Carry this on to the person or persons scale and then carry it out into the national scale. And as yappy said you can see how destructive the masculine mystique can become. So women women need their consciousness raised. All of us need our consciousness raised because. We've lived through this. Right from right from age want to perhaps right from the time I put that pink blanket on us as opposed to the blue blanket. We started to drift away from being human beings and into being males and
females. And because we want to be happy we try to make excuses for all the little things we see around us all the inequities all the injustices. And we try to put blinders on them and we try to say well maybe that's right. And then. Then after awhile you can no longer do that. Once there all are alternatives viable alternatives and that that's why women have not. That's why women's liberation is a fairly new thing and in the history of the world is because the buyable alternatives were cut off. Well the viable alternatives are starting. They started a hundred years ago with some very very courageous women who were called Cooks and radicals in their day and it took them a hundred years to get. 100 years to get the vote. So we've got a long way to go. We've come a short way and we've got a long way to go.
That was Mary aura than of the New York radical feminist. To conclude this discussion of women's liberation. Here is Pauline Hahn of the professional women's caucus the professional women's caucus concerns itself with professional women of all sorts. As a professional writer as a professional actress and director. I am a professional woman of the professional women's caucus. Actually though. My interest is in art. And. In the market. As a woman. This presents great difficulty because women are treated with great prejudice in art as well as in other fields. For instance I have spent 27 years in the Syrian during which time I have met. Not a single woman director. And the only woman producers that I ever met. Were. Women who were producing soap operas
according to the tastes of men who were directing them. Now. There is a tremendous amount of prejudice. In the art world and its very seldom understood or seen in the annuals at museums you will find perhaps 5 percent perhaps 1 percent women artists. And the response will be when you ask people who are curators. There just aren't any we don't know where they are where they are today. Women don't have any artistic talent. In the theatre. It's very common to speak to women in the theater and hear them reply. Oh well of course we understand that there is. A certain amount of prejudice you don't see women directors who don't see women producers or our cameraman or something but men can't. Take worlds away from women. Which is exactly what you hear most in the rest of the world. Men can't take girls away from women. Women can't
take roles away from men. But what are these roles. The women as you will see in soap opera or. Other television or film are wife mother Secretary some kind of sex role object somehow leading to a man. She is either her or she is the Virgin Mary she is some kind. Of. Symbol for him or she is some kind of servant for him or some kind of secretary for him something to surround the world the human be the human being naturally is man. Man naturally means Malay nobody will misunderstand that except people who are trying to argue that people really understand the difference between man and man. They really don't. It's it's perfectly understood that man means. The generic. And the sexual and
woman means the sideline only the sexual. Now as a woman artist. I found myself alienated. So did other women artists. We are. Kept separately. We are taught that we are really inferior. We are treated prejudicially when we enter whether it's art schools or theater schools. We are supposed to be named feds. And sex role objects of one sort or another. We're too cute to be doing this and we're too cute to be doing that. But we're certainly not too cute to be prostitutes of every sort. And the purdah which is our. Various veils and various controls and various. Make up is simply to brand us in just this way. Now. In May of this year. I started a group called feminist
women. In the arts. Since May we have grown. To gigantic proportions. We have. Members all over the United States. We have. Well over 200 members. And we've been doing a great deal of different types of work. We have a grant now $55000 Grant. Pending with the New York State Council on the arts for a women's into arts center. We have a theater which I direct called the feminist interop theatre. We have a museum show now. In progress. To be presented this year. We have some of our members which I'm part of the editorial board a literary journal called Afro. And a number of other art. Functions. We also have consciousness raising. We have workshops of various sorts. Now. I would like to read you. The introduction. To feminists in the
arts if I may because this may indicate exactly why we exist and why we couldn't find a place anywhere else. I quote. The woman arsonist in general. And the feminist artist in particular is isolated. Without role models to direct her. Faced with cultural and mythological invisibility instilled with guilt fear. And fear of the heretical step of self-assertion and divorced from and ignored by her fellow artists she may spend her whole life travelling a lonely maze in search of her artistic fruition. We believe this degree of isolation to be not only unnecessary for artistic growth but stunting and unproductive. There have been great women artists who despite transcendant. Who despite transcendental efforts. I have not been recognized and the totality of their struggle has therefore been doomed to endless duplication.
Because there has been no forum for the woman artist no continuum no place in which to grow to meet to exist as women and as artists we now exist to create that form and that place. We are committed to communication and interaction among artists and between the arts. We are committed to encouragement nurturing support and acceptance of one another. We are committed to flexibility individuality expansion exploration and experimentation toward the discovery of self in art.. We believe that through this consciously positive attitude we will be able to discover and offer to the world a new woman and a new art. Now this last sentence is something which I'd like to expand upon. And that is. A woman's view of the world and what we have to offer as artists. I really. Feel that. However much we accomplish in terms of political achievements.
Unless we produce an art and a science unless we start to contribute to the human rights unless we start to make our view of the world seen so that the world starts. To see the human species as the human species instead of the male sex. We won't get anywhere. We are starting to write we are producing theatre we are producing art. We feel that we must start to consciously see ourselves as feminists and as women and offer this art to everyone. As a human production not as a peculiar early feminine production but it's a human production which is every bit as valid as any male production. Now for instance. Run play which we produced this year. It. Was called improvisation for five masks. And now there.
Are lots of feminist theatres which have particularly agitprop agitation propaganda material. We aim is to power right in the stomach let you know where the prejudice lies and how it can hurt. This play was meant to speak as a human being and as an artist not necessarily pro-woman anti-med. Not necessarily anything except true honest art. This play had two major characters two masks. We had metal. Masks made by one of our sculptors. The Masks of the two months one was. A more aggressive. More. Sadistic hostile mask. Many people thought it was men. That's all right with me. It happened not to have been man or woman. It happened to have been
hostile and aggressive. The other one was more masochistic. And. Underhanded in its manipulation. Many people thought that was the woman. That's all right too. The result of this show was that people started to see. Aggression. And. Demure. Sadism and masochism in its true light. Now it's quite possible that men. That a man could have written this it is in time. Really possible. Except no money. And. I would. Assume that if men did. Then maybe there would be less prejudice against women and maybe there would be less. Aggressive behavior. I feel that within. The context of speaking as a tranquil human being and as a total artist we have a lot to contribute.
Rather than seeing women as. The wives in the mothers and the cutest dogs in the queue because. We can see women with men as workers. AS. Producers and scientists. As lovers as anything you please. I think that art. And science will do what the politics. Will make possible for us to do. That was Pauline Hahn of the professional women's caucus. Earlier you heard Jackie Cobb Ayos of now of the National Organization for Women and Mary or a van of the New York radical feminist discussing women's liberation. This program was recorded at the Cooper Union in New York City in October 1970. Listen again next week for a
special of the week from the national educational radio network.
Special of the week
Issue 11-71 "Discussion on Women's Liberation"
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Special of the week; Issue 11-71 "Discussion on Women's Liberation",” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Special of the week; Issue 11-71 "Discussion on Women's Liberation".” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Special of the week; Issue 11-71 "Discussion on Women's Liberation". Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from