I am going to focus on Radical Women and WITCH.
Radical Women was a group of women that protested the selection of Miss America. This rose awareness of “women’s liberation”. They had a unique style of protesting where they would gather lingerie and beauty products/accessories to form what they called “women’s garbage” and pile it into a Freedom Trash Can. This trash can could be looked at as a symbol of their liberation. Then some of these New York Radical Women gathered to form what was called WITCH(Women’s International terrorist Conspiracy from Hell). They say:
“WITCH lives and laughs in every woman. She is the free part of each of us, beneath the shy smiles, the acquiescence to absurd male domination, the make-up or flesh-suffocating clothes our sick society demands. There is no “joining” WITCH. If you are a woman and dare to look within yourself, you are a WITCH. You make your own rules.”
This reminds me of a reading from For the Record called “The Feminine Mystique” because they both deal with identity. The difference is that the feminine mystique was an identity that was forged over time because it eventually became customary whereas WITCH is essentially an identity you are born with, stating that “if you are a woman, you are a WITCH”. WITCH showed they were serious by involving themselves in women’s rights cases in Washington D.C. and Chicago.
I believe Zinn includes them and are equally as important because the 60’s and 70’s were decades that transitioned from objectification of women to women wanting equal rights as men. They wanted to be seen as more independent and less of just a housewife. These two groups show just that. The Radical Women saw the selection of Miss America as objectification of women. It was a way for America to control how women ought to look and the Radical Women disagreed. WITCH is an important example because it showed the unity of women, recognizing an identity they were all born with while brushing away the idea of the “feminine mystique”. They wanted to better the work environment for women where men didn’t have to be looked at as superior but rather equal.
Associated Milk Producers and the Nixon Campaign
“The Associated Milk Producers began giving money to the Nixon campaign, met in the White House with Nixon and the Secretary of Agriculture, gave more money, and the secretary announced that “new analysis” made it necessary to raise milk price supports.” (Zinn)
The 1970’s is truly about the loss of faith and trust in the government and is about the idea of stagflation. This quote taken from Zinn reflects just that. Stagflation is about higher rates of inflation with less available jobs. When it comes to inflation, not just anything is inflated. From an economics standpoint I can see why the Associated Milk Producers gave money to Nixon and I see why Nixon took it. Milk is a product that leans more toward inelasticity because there aren’t really any substitutes. This means that it isn’t price sensitive for customers. Thus they inflate it. As a result “the price increases added $500 million to the profits of dairy farmers (mostly big corporations) at the expense of consumers” (Zinn). This is a perfect example of why there was a lack of trust in the government. The government knows that their aren’t as many jobs which means that not everyone will have money to spend and buy specific products. Yet they inflate prices on inelastic products like milk. Why? Because they act toward their best interests and not in the interest of the people. To make matters worse, this was never brought up in “impeachment charges and never televised in the Senate hearings- possible collusion? Thus, the people had no trust… and no milk…
A Black Woman, Racisim in the South (1902), author: undisclosed
“It seems to me that the very weakness of the negro should cause at least a few of our great men to come to the rescue. Is it because an espousal of our cause would make any white man unpopular, or do most of our great men think that we are worthless? Are there greater things to do than to “champion the rights of human beings and to mitigate human sufferings?””(82)
A black woman from Alabama wrote about what she experienced during the turn of the century. It starts out as if she is ready to rant about all her complaints. However, she conveys her message in terms of how things were at the time and questions why a ‘champion hasn’t risen to stand up to all the mistreatment blacks faced.
The best thing a white person could’ve said about a black person was that “they admit that they know blacks in no capacity except as servants, yet they say blacks are at their best in that single capacity”(81). Whites think that nothing good comes from being black and because of this they are mistreated. The human sufferings portion of the first quote refers to economic challenges that black individuals faced. The woman who writes this article had a hard time searching for a home to start a family because real estate was segregated between ‘white property’ and ‘colored property’. She struggled to find a healthy neighborhood to live in because all the colored property was so unhealthy, a respectable farmer would not even keep his cattle there. When she finally found a place to stay, it was a health choice in terms of shelter, but the family was made uncomfortable because of the neighborhoods unwelcoming mannerisms. From a social standpoint, “a colored woman is lower in status than the white prostitute. The Southern white woman will declare that no Negro women are virtuous, yet she placed her innocent children in their care…”(82). It is for the above examples that I brought the very first quote to our attention.
Black individuals were given this identity that was forced upon them by more powerful white people. It was embedded in their everyday lifestyle to the point that maybe they started to believe it. I say this in response to the author questioning why a champion hasn’t stepped up to protect them. I feel that there is a possibility that no champion stepped up because if black individuals started to rebel it would only hurt them not help them. Their act of defiance and rebellion would only be congruent to the identity white people forced on them and would show that these white people were right. The woman who wrote this text should in fact be the ‘champion’ she sought after because she was the one who ended up on white property which is a step toward her cause.