Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook

By Jennifer Scanlon | Go to book overview

PAT CALIFIA
(1954-)

Lisa Sigel

When Pat Califia came out as a lesbian in Salt Lake City in 1971, her involvement in the feminist movement began. She worked for woman's rights in Utah by founding a woman's center, editing a feminist newsletter, and fighting for state ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Upon moving to San Francisco in 1973, she began speaking on lesbian issues. By 1979, she worked at The Advocate, a national gay magazine, as an editor, columnist, and sex adviser. She has developed sadomasochistic community organizations and written and spoken on sexual politics, censorship, AIDS, gender relations, and sexual diversity. She currently lives in San Francisco, writes to support herself, and is working on an M.A. in counseling psychology at the University of San Francisco.

Pat Califia is a feminist advocate for lesbian sexuality, freedom of expression, safe sex, sexual diversity, and sexual pleasure. She writes pornography (generally, lesbian sadomasochistic pornography), gay sex columns, and politically oriented essays about sexuality. Califia focuses on sexuality because she believes that it is a major source of pain and discrimination in this society, even though it offers an arena for "adventure, risk, competition, self-display, pleasurable stimulation, and novelty" ( Califia, Public Sex 1994, 151). The problems, discriminations, and abuses that attend expressions of sexuality, she argues, are matched by the capacity for sexuality to bring positive changes to people's lives.

Her most politically oriented work, Public Sex, takes up a number of unpopular causes and provides critical insight into why these ought to matter to feminists and nonfeminists alike. These causes include the problems of feminist censorship, the North American Man/Boy Love Association, safer sex in the world of AIDS, and the inclusion of leather, rubber, sado-masochism, and fetishism in the sexual vocabulary of women. Califia believes that American society must end the assignment of privilege based on adherence to moral codes and begin to deal honestly with pleasure ( Califia, Public Sex 1994, 11). By emphasizing the right to

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Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bella Abzug (1920-1998) 1
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939-) 8
  • Gloria AnzaldÚa (1942-) 14
  • Frances Beale (1940-) 22
  • Rita Mae Brown (1944-) 28
  • Charlotte Bunch (1944-) 36
  • Pat Califia (1954-) 44
  • Judy Chicago (1939-) 51
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-) 55
  • Esther Ngan-Ling Chow (1943-) 60
  • Pearl Cleage (1948-) 66
  • Kate Clinton (1945- ) 73
  • Mary Daly (1928- ) 79
  • Angela Davis (1944-) 86
  • Shulamith Firestone (1945-) 98
  • Jo Freeman (1945-) 104
  • Betty Friedan (1921-) 111
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) 118
  • Bell Hooks (1952- ) 125
  • Dolores Huerta (1930-) 133
  • June Jordan (1936-) 138
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (1936-) 145
  • Florynce Kennedy (1916-) 150
  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 156
  • Catharine Mackinnon (1946-) 163
  • Olga Madar (1915-1996) 174
  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-) 181
  • Del Martin (1921-) 188
  • Kate Millett (1934- ) 194
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 201
  • Robin Morgan (1941-) 206
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985) 213
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1937-) 218
  • Alice Paul (1885-1977) 223
  • Anna Quindlen (1952-) 231
  • Adrienne Rich (1929-) 238
  • Faith Ringgold (1930-) 245
  • Rosemary Ruether (1936-) 251
  • Joanna Russ (1937-) 257
  • Patricia Schroeder (1940-) 264
  • Eleanor Smeal (1939-) 271
  • Barbara Smith (1946-) 279
  • Gloria Steinem (1934-) 283
  • Margo St. James (1937-) 290
  • Alice Walker (1944- ) 297
  • Rebecca Walker (1969-) 305
  • Michele Wallace (1952-) 311
  • Sarah Weddington (1945-) 317
  • Ellen Willis (1941-) 327
  • Selected Bibliography 335
  • Index 341
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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