Stepping out of Line: Becoming and Being Feminist

Stepping out of Line: Becoming and Being Feminist

Stepping out of Line: Becoming and Being Feminist

Stepping out of Line: Becoming and Being Feminist

Synopsis

Cheryl Hercus offers a compelling new argument for why some women embrace feminism and why others do not. In doing so, she moves beyond the stereotypes of what feminism means while providing a new understanding of feminist social movements of resistance and collective action.

Excerpt

In their analysis of social movements, new social movements theorists have drawn attention to the vast macro-level social, political, and cultural changes that have taken place during the twentieth century as western na-tions have been transformed from modern, industrial societies to late-modern, postindustrial societies. There is not space nor necessity here to provide a full description of these changes. However, the implications these changes have, not only for our understanding of subjectivity, but also for the subjective possibilities that late-modern society makes available to individuals, dictate the need to examine these changes briefly, particularly as they intersect with the history of feminist women's movements. in other words, if we are to understand how feminist women's movements matter to the individuals who become involved in them, we must have some understanding of where these movements have come from, how they spread, and how they fit within the broader social, geographical, and historical fabric.

Women today have inherited the legacy of earlier waves of feminist activism that have contributed to the culture and politics of modern Western societies. Past gains in legislative reform, changed collective consciousness, and continuing organizations all form part of the social environment in which Australian, British, and American women today discover feminism and become feminist. However, in this chapter my focus is primarily on Australian feminist movements and their achievements as the contextual background for the case study material presented in the rest of the book. My goal is to situate the study group as representative of 1990s feminism as

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