Bodies, minds, spirits and the Womens Liberation Movement
Barbara Jones talks about the fear of 'scary feminist women'
Feminist attempts to reclaim, explore and control their bodies took many forms. For some the movement provided their first opportunity to talk about their bodies and about being a woman. This included discovering sexual and physical pleasures, which you can hear more about in Sex, Love and Friendship. On the other hand, women were readier to acknowledge the problem of sexual and domestic violence, which you can learn about in Activism. Others campaigned to protect the right to abortion and for access to contraception.
Feminists challenged the idea that youthfulness and sexual attractiveness to men should define either a woman’s social and economic value or her erotic potential. It was not that feminists did not want to be attractive or did not appreciate beauty in others, but they did not want to slavishly follow the beauty industry. Images of women propagated by the advertising industry and the media were the targets of feminist propaganda and hostility. The Women’s Liberation Movement resisted ideas of beauty, manufactured in the marketplace, instead embracing beautiful women of all ages, sizes and types, and focusing on physical, mental and spiritual self-possession and confidence.
Rowena Arshad describes contraception and poor women's bodies
Women’s new sense of control over their bodies involved other changes, as part of a fresh physical relationship with the world. This could be expressed in sport – listen to Sue Lopez talking about her joy at playing professional-level football, for example. It could also mean new experiences of childbirth, as pleasurable rather than painful, as Sheila Kitzinger powerfully argues.
Sheila Kitzinger discusses pregnancy and childbirth
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