March 09, 2019
With International Women’s Day fresh in my mind, it got me to thinking about how women got to where we are today. Netflix now has a documentary called “Feminists: What were they thinking?” which takes a look at the 60’s/70’s women’s movement.
The 60’s & 70’s were a pivotal time when so much was changing. It was inspiring to hear the personal stories of many of these women and how the consciousness-raising feminist movement of the 70’s shaped and changed their lives, as well as the lives of women all across the country.
This documentary is framed around a 1977 book of portraits of women, performers, artists, and activists, titled “Emergence” by Cynthia MacAdams.
The photographs in this book and documentary show these women as fearless, free, and empowered.
It seems like a long time ago, but just consider the achievements of the women’s movement of this time, things that maybe we take for granted now.
- 1973 Roe vs. Wade – gives women reproductive choice
- 1974 – Women are finally able to have a credit card in their own name
- 1974 – Sexual harassment becomes actionable legally
- 1978 – Pregnancy Discrimination Act made it illegal for a woman to be fired for being pregnant
Looking back at the photos 40 years later, women in the documentary remembered how they felt.
One says “I didn’t like this shot… it was a hard time. … Now I love that picture, because I look a little beaten up but I kind of like it, because I was beautiful.”
Judy Chicago, artist: “All of us gained from the women’s movement...it’s how are we moving forward, keeping our autonomy but realizing also we’d better find our way to each other, because we need each other, we are all on this planet.”Watching this film was a stirring reminder of the value of sticking together and supporting each other.