Of course participation in social activism by men can be life changing but such

Of course participation in social activism by men can

This preview shows page 3 - 4 out of 4 pages.

sometimes at great personal cost. Of course, participation in social activism by men can be life-changing-- but such participation is a qualitatively different enterprise for women, who trangress not just the rules of politics as usual but the rules of gender as usual. And in many ways, it is women’s movements, women in autonomous organizations, who constitute the greatest threat to order, as they disrupt the political field, and societal expectations of how women should act in that field through men. In mixed-gender settings, social movement participation is different for women precisely because of gender role expectations, specifically the responsibilities that women have in reproducing daily life. Women have tended to be the ones running movement offices, typing reports, making flyers, walking neighborhoods with the flyers, staffing phone trees, taking minutes at late-night strategy sessions. Movement “housewifery”--cleaning up after meetings, cooking for the meetings, attending to whatever 3
Image of page 3
domestic needs the social movement community had--was part of what led women activists in left movements to organize as feminists in the 1960s and 1970s. Even this kind of “domestic” participation in movement settings can be liberating if one believes in the cause, and movements also have clearly given women the opportunity to do other things. They have been leaders, though often their greatest contributions have been as leaders behind the scenes (see McNair Barnett 1993, Payne 1990, and Robnett 1997 on this point regarding women in the Black Civil Rights movement). But in a manner analogous to the way that a working woman comes home to do a “second shift” (Hochschild, with Machung 1989) of domestic duties at home, women activists have been expected to be the ones making the coffee for the sake of the struggle. In short, the economy of social movement activism rests on women’s energies in a way that replicates gendered divisions of labor in the larger society. Moreover, although social movement communities make boundaries between themselves and the rest of society, structural social inequality finds its way into oppositional communities (Roth 1998). Gender inequality does not go away just because women mobilize with men on behalf of interests they have in common, and this endemic inequality becomes all the more problematic when women, in the course of social movement activism with men, discover the interests they might have as women . Inadvertently or on purpose, women often find themselves working toward their own liberation as women as they extend meaningful categories of liberation to cover liberation from gender oppression. But they do not always bring their male comrades with them on the journey, and when women activists make noise about women’s issues, they are most often asked to “backburner” their demands--to put their concerns aside in the name of the greater cause, whether it be the strike, the revolution, ending the war, fighting AIDS, or overturning racial/ethnic discrimination. Issues constructed as common to men and women tend to be
Image of page 4

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 4 pages?

  • Fall '13
  • UNKNOWN
  • English

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern

Stuck? We have tutors online 24/7 who can help you get unstuck.
A+ icon
Ask Expert Tutors You can ask You can ask You can ask (will expire )
Answers in as fast as 15 minutes