In the beginning we had set out to do our studying in order to take better action. It was a means for the organizers themselves to make an analysis of the situation, and also a means to be used by the people they were organizing and who were in turn organizing more people. Consciousness-Raising: A Radical Weapon "The following represents a compilation and expansion of text, notes and comments from a talk Kathie Sarachild gave on consciousness-raising to the First National Conference of Stewardesses for Women's Rights in New York City, March 12, 1973. Now the oppositionsto consciousness-raising frequently comes under the guise of support or partial support. There is also more to do about clarifying our goals and defining the obstacles — making connections between the oppression of women and other systems of oppression and exploitation. [5] També fou coeditora del periòdic Woman's World al 1971, i l'editora de l'antologia Feminist Revolution (publicada el 1975). Everything we have to know, have to prove, we can get from the realities of our own lives. The view of consciousness-raising as an end in itself — which happens when consciousness-raising is made into a methodology, a psychology — is as severe and destructive a distortion of the original idea and power of the weapon as is seeing consciousness-raising as a stage. It is striking how many people in the right circumstanes can suddenly become experts by these standards! We’ve all done it. Whole areas of women’s lives were declared off limits to discussion. Consciousness raising (also called awareness raising) is a form of activism, popularized by United States feminists in the late 1960s. 1993. To get consciousness-raising started we, as organizers, gave it priority in our actions and outreach political work. The importance of listening to a woman’s feelings was collectively to analyze the situaion of women, not to analyze her. From our consciousness-raising meetings was coming the writing which was formulating basic theory for the women’s liberation movement. Action comes when our experience is finally verified and clarified. Daring to speak about our own feelings and experiences would be very powerful. If women fear they have to take action on what they are talking about, especially action alone, as individuals, they won’t talk about anything they’re not ready to take action on, or they won’t be honest. In order to have a radical approach, to get to the root, it seemed logical that we had to study the situation of women, not just take random action. Consciousness-Raising: A Radical Weapon Kathie Sarachild - PDF Link. The opposition often took the form of misinterpretations and misrepresentations of what we were doing that no amount of explanation on our part seemed able to set straight. In Masculine/Feminine (Rozak & Rozak); The Other Half (Epstein and J. Goode), 1971; Firestone; Morgan; Tanner. For instance, on the subject of women’s intelligence. "Over My Shoulder #21: Kathie Sarachild, “The Power of History,” in Feminist Revolution (1975)" (excerpt), Rad Geek People's Daily, April 30, 2006. Alice Echols, Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967—1975, University of Minnesota Press 1990; Karen Kampwirth, Feminism and the Legacy of Revolution: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Chiapas, Ohio UP 2004; Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Feminist Consciousness: From the Middle Ages to Eighteen-Seventy, Oxford University Press 1994 This kind of study would be part of what was necessary to achieve the liberation of women on a mass scale. We responded by saying, “Yes, bitch, sisters, bitch,” and by calling coffee klatches a historic form of women’s resistance to oppression. Redstockings, also known as Redstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement, is a radical feminist group that was founded in January 1969 in New York City. And when we attempted to describe the realities of our lives in certain ways, however logical — for instance, when we said that men oppressed women, or that all men were among the beneficiaries in the oppression of women — some people really got upset. Whole areas of women’s lives were declared off limits to discussion. “Raising consciousness?”  I wondered what she meant by that. In order to have a radical approach, to get to the root, it seemed logical that we had to study the situation of women, not just take random action. “You can’t say that men are the oppressors of women! Consciousness-raising seemed to be what was needed. The term consciousness-raising has become widely used in contradictory contexts. In Notes from the First Year, 1968, N.Y.: Tanner. The idea was to take our own feelings and experience more seriously than any theories which did not satisfactorily clarify them, and to devise new theories which did reflect the actual experience and feelings and necessities of women. And so I outlined a paper talking about this — about how very political these so-called bitch sessions could be, suggesting what important information for our fight we still had to get from studying the experiences and feelings of women, describing some of the obstacles, and proposing that women everywhere begin. Feminist groups and individual women who at first didn’t think they needed it are all doing it. or CR) is a form of political activism, pioneered by United States feminists in the late 1960s. In fact, I thought of myself as having done lots of thinking about it for quite a while, and lots of reading too. They are the basic radical political principles of going to the original sources, both historic and personal, going to the people — women themselves, and going to experience for theory and strategy. In Notes from the First Year. “Raising consciousness?” I wondered what she meant by that. From the beginning of consciousness-raising — as you can see in the first program outlined in 1968 — there has been no one method of raising consciousness. Our study groups were radicalizing our own consciousness and it suddenly became apparent that women could be doing on a mass scale what we were doing in our own group, that the next logical radical action would be to get the word out about what we were doing. The following represents a compilation and expansion of text, notes and comments from a talk Kathie Sarachild gave on consciousness-raising to the First National Conference of Stewardesses for Women’s Rights in New York City, March 12, 1973. They are the basic radical political principles of going to the original sources, both historic and personal, going to the people — women themselves, and going to experience for theory and strategy. From it we can also discover what may have been wrong in the original thinking that allowed some organizing to go off the track. When we began analyzing these problems in terms of male chauvinism, we were suddenly the living proof of how backward women are. Shulamith Firestone, who wrote the book The Dialectic of Sex, Anne Koedt, who wrote the essay “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm,” Pat Mainardi, who wrote the essay “The Politics of Housework,” Carol Hanisch, who wrote the essay, “The Personal is Political,” Kate Millett, who wrote Sexual Politics, Cindy Cisler, who led the ground-breaking abortion law repeal fight in New York, Rosalyn Baxandall, Irene Peslikis, Ellen Willis, Robin Morgan and many others participated in these discussions. The Establishment is trying to change consciousness-raising, weaken, dilute, and take away its strength so its won’t cause any more changes.Going to the sources, the historic roots, to the work that set the program in motion, is one of the ways to fight this process. The methods and assumptions behind consciousness-raising essentially grew out of both the scientific and radical political traditions, but when we applied them to women’s situation, a whole lot of otherwise “scientific” and “radical” people — especailly men — just couldn’t see this. There is tremendous energy in consciousness-raising, an enthusiasm generated for getting to the truth of things, finding out what’s really going on. Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò is an assistant professor of philosophy at Georgetown University. Consciousness Raising Groups This WMST-L discussion from February 2010 concerns consciousness-raising groups of the 1960s and '70s, including participants' recollections and ways in which people are using c.r. “Redstockings West Manifesto” (March 20, 1970), Rozak & Rozak. Our idea in the beginning was that consciousness-raising — through both C-R groups and public actions — would waken more and more women to an understanding of what their problems were and that they would begin to take action, both individual and collective. It was to hear what she had to say. Methods are simply to serve this purpose, to be changed if they aren’t working. Consciousness raising (also called awareness raising) is a form of activism, popularized by United States feminists in the late 1960s. We knew radical thinking and radical action would be necessary to do this. The methods and assumptions behind consciousness-raising essentially grew out of both the scientific and radical political traditions, but when we applied them to women’s situation, a whole lot of otherwise “scientific” and “radical” people — especailly men — just couldn’t see this. As one woman, Michal Goldman, put it, “I get tired of those people who are always experimenting, never discovering anything, always examining, but never seeing — always changing, always remaining the same.”. Action must be taken, but often it must be planned — and delayed. We were in effect repeating the 17th century challenge to science to scholasticism: “study nature, not books,” and put all theories to the test of living practice and action. Before we go any further, let’s examine the word “radical.” It is a word that is often used to suggest extremist, but actually it doesn’t mean that. In all of this, the original puspose of consciousness-raising, its connection with revolutionary change for women, is all too often getting lost. It was to produce truer ones. The wellspring of consciousness-raising’s power is the commitment to a radical approach, a radical solution. One of the questions, suggested by Ann Forer, we would bring at all times to our studies would be — who and what has an interest in maintaining the oppression in our lives. The purpose of women’s liberation was to defeat male spremacy and give women equality. Shulamith Firestone, who wrote the book The Dialectic of Sex, Anne Koedt, who wrote the essay “The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm,” Pat Mainardi, who wrote the essay “The Politics of Housework,” Carol Hanisch, who wrote the essay, “The Personal is Political,” Kate Millett, who wrote Sexual Politics, Cindy Cisler, who led the ground-breaking abortion law repeal fight in New York, Rosalyn Baxandall, Irene Peslikis, Ellen Willis, Robin Morgan and many others participated in these discussions. of consciousness generates political agency; Schniedewind, Nancy. We protested and picketed the Miss America Contest, throwing high heels, girdles and other objects of female torture into a freedom trash can. She was also one of the four women who held the women's Liberation banner at the Miss America Protest in 1986. We’ve all done it. And when we attempted to describe the realities of our lives in certain ways, however logical — for instance, when we said that men oppressed women, or that all men were among the beneficiaries in the oppression of women — some people really got upset. "Consciousness-Raising: A Radical Weapon" by Kathie Sarachild (1973), from Feminist Revolution. But no particular change in a woman’s personal behavior, nor any particular action or strategy, are presupposed. Of course, with greater unity and organization more can actually be accomplished and solved. Learning the truth can lead to all kinds of action and this action will lead to further truths. Brilliant! General Roy Schwasinger and the military pioneered it. Our group was growing rapidly. From Feminist Revolution: An Abridged Edition with Additional WritingsRedstockings of the Women's Liberation Movement, Random House, New York: 1978. It was about restoring the stolen property of American farmers. 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