Liberation Theologies in the United States: An Introduction

By Stacey M. Floyd-Thomas; Anthony B. Pinn | Go to book overview

10

Feminist Theology

MARY MCCLINTOCK FULKERSON


Historical Backdrop

It was not until 1913 that “feminism” became a frequently used term in the United States. Originating in a French activist group in the 1880s, the label “feminist” migrated to the Americas through Britain. Until then, the activism of North American women had been identified as the “woman movement.” Frequently associated with 19th-century organizing for women’s suffrage, the “woman movement” included a host of other forms of activism, such as the public challenges of the 1848 Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments, which demanded access to all vocations for women and equity in politics and religion.1 With the term “feminist” in the 1920s, a new set of convictions emerged. Those called “feminists” continued to combine convictions about equal treatment with men with commitments to the special gifts of women. However, once these were linked with pushes for women’s sexual pleasure and freedom, the term “feminist” became a marker of a more radical agenda and named a much narrower population in the early decades of the 20th century.2

The 1960s saw an explosion of concern for women’s public agency, antidiscrimination in hiring laws, the wider rights of equal access, protection from sexual exploitation, and the problematic legacies of “separate spheres,”3 and the “feminist” label gained a larger referent group and public audience. Along with the legacy of the 19th-century woman movement, 20th-century influences ranged from the varieties of feminist activism in the 1920s, repercussions of white women’s access to the paid work force in World War II, and the so-called sexual freedom of the 1960s, to the civil rights and antiwar movements of those decades. The convergence of these energies helped spawn what has come to be called the “second wave” feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Betty Freidan’s famous Feminine Mystique of 1963 is considered a founding text of the movement. In that same year, the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt signaled

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Liberation Theologies in the United States: An Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: Black Theology 15
  • 2: Womanist Theology 37
  • 3: Latina Theology 61
  • 4: Hispanic/Latino(A) Theology 86
  • 5: Asian American Theology 115
  • 6: Asian American Feminist Theology 131
  • 7: Native Feminist Theology 149
  • 8: American Indian Theology 168
  • 9: Gay and Lesbian Theologies 181
  • 10: Feminist Theology 209
  • Contributors 227
  • Index 231
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