WOMEN'S LIBERATION THEORY
Feminism, Gender and Women, Women's Movement, Women's
Liberation Theory, Abstracts, Bibliography, Books on Gender and Women, Syllabus, Journals,
Glass Ceiling Hypothesis,
Women's liberation thesis is the theory that women's involvement in crime will
come to more closely resemble men's as gendered differences between women and men are
diminished by women's greater social participation and equality.
Some evidence that crimes committed by equally placed women are beginning to
resemble men's, but there is not much empirical evidence to support this perspective of
women's liberation theory.
The word 'feminism' today remains entrenched in some people's minds as the 'cause
of most of societies problems'. Chesney-Lind suggests that 'the invention of the liberated
woman' has forced women to bear the brunt of the hostility towards the women's movement.
Freda Adler believed that the arrival of the Second Wave of Feminism during the 1970s
consequently coincided with a 'dramatic' upsurge in women's criminal activity.
Adler's theory has invited much criticism from other feminist writers such as
Brown. She describes it as an 'embarrassment to feminism' and argues instead that feminism
has made female crime more visible through increased reporting, policing and sentencing of
female offenders. Adler's 'sisters in crime' appears to work within the frameworks of
traditional criminology rather than a feminist one.
Her perspective also seems to exclude factors such as race, ethnicity, age and
class. Many feminist writers see these factors as very important. The smallest increases
in arrests coincided with periods of the greatest increase in economic activity with the
most common offence being that of shop lifting. These findings would seem to support a
theory of a relationship between employment and crime (economic perspective) rather than
that offered by the 'women's liberation thesis'. When times are good, the offending woman
appears to stabilise rather than escalate. An absence rather than availability of
employment opportunities (liberation thesis) would seem a more plausible explanation for
increases in female crime.
Websters Dictionary defines feminism as The theory, cult or practice
of those who advocate such legal and social changes as will establish political, economic
and social equality of the sexes.
Gainesville Women's Liberation co-founder Carol Giardina said in 1989, "If you know
that we are a sex that fights for our freedom, then you already understand the Pro -Woman
Line. Now do we fight for it just in a movement, or were you fighting for it before you
even heard of [a movement]? Do you fight for it on the street, in your bedroom, in your
classroom? When you take a deep breath and say the thing in class or to your boyfriend
that you just can't help yourself from saying. You try to shut it up but out it comes.
This isn't really just women, it's all oppressed people who can't stop themselves from
fighting back. We call it the Pro-Woman Line because we discovered it about women and
developed it in the Women's Liberation Movement." - Carol Giardina, "Women's
Studies or Women's Liberation Studies," 1989 Women's History Month speech at the
University of Florida. redstockings.org.
Towards a Female Liberation Movement put it this way: There is something
horribly repugnant in the picture of women performing the same menial chores all day,
having almost interchangeable conversations with their children, engaging in standard
television arguments with their husbands, and then in the late hours of the night, each
agonizing over what is considered to be her personal lot, her personal relationship, her
personal problem . . . And unmarried women cannot in all honesty say their lives are in
much greater measure distinct from each others. We are a class, we are oppressed as
a class, and we each respond within the limits allowed us as members of that oppressed
class. Purposely divided from each other, each of us is ruled by one or more men for the
benefit of all men. There is no personal escape, no personal salvation, no personal
solution. - Toward a Female Liberation Movement by Beverly Jones and Judith Brown,
June 1968. redstockings.org
Redstockings" was a name taken in 1969 by one of the founding women's liberation
groups of the 1960's to represent the union of two traditions: the
"bluestocking" label disparagingly pinned on feminists of earlier centuries--and
"red" for revolution.
Redstockings women would go on to champion and spread knowledge of vital women's
liberation theory, slogans and actions that have become household words such as
consciousness-raising, the personal is political, the pro-woman line, sisterhood is
powerful, the politics of housework, the Miss America Protest, and "speakouts"
that would break the taboos of silence around subjects like abortion..
Redstockings today is a new kind of grassroots, activist "think tank",
established by movement veterans, for defending and advancing the women's liberation
agenda. The Archives for Action is a project Redstockings established in 1989 to make the
formative and radical 1960's experience of the movement more widely available for the
taking stock needed for new understandings and improved strategies.
The Redstockings Women's Liberation Archives Distribution Project is a mostly volunteer,
grassroots effort, which teaches history for activist use.