FEMINISM IN THE 1980S

HALEY RICE

  • Difference Feminism 

    • Holds the idea that there are differences between men and women, but that no value judgement can be placed upon them and both genders have equal moral status

    • Arose in efforts to revalue qualities traditionally devalued as "feminine"—such as subjectivity, caring, feeling, or empathy.

    • Tends to romanticizes traditional femininity and masculinity and to reinforce traditional stereotypes

  • Equity Feminism 

    • a form of liberal feminism that advocates the state's equal treatment of women and men without challenging inequalities perpetuated by employers, educational and religious institutions, and other elements of society

 

TECHNOLOGY - Women In STEM

Radia Perlman 

  • B.S. and M.S. in mathematics and a Ph.D in computer science from MIT

  • 1985: she invented the Spanning Tree Algorithm and the Spinning Tree Protocol (STP)

  • Spanning Tree Algorithm transformed ethernet from a single wire CSMA into a protocol that could handle large clouds 

  • Spinning Tree Protocol (STP) is fundamental for the operation of network bridges. Perlman is known as the “Mother of the internet” because of this invention.

Elizabeth Feinler

  • Received an undergraduate degree from West Liberty State College. While working towards her Ph.D, she discovered her passion for working with data compilations and quit pursuing her doctorate. 

  • From 1972-1989, she directed the network information systems centre at the Stanford research institute. This institute supervised internet addresses, so in order to get an online domain, people would have to go to Feinler. 

  • By the late 1980s, the community had moved to the domain name system which helped lay the foundation for the modern internet.

  • Elizabeth is well known for being one of the famous women in technology for helping the Stanford research institute transition to the domain name system and introducing the domain name protocol, she’s the one to thank for the dot coms, dot nets and dot govs used daily.

Sally Ride

  • Attended Stanford University where she double majored in Physics and English. She graduated with bachelor degrees in both in 1973. She continued to pursue physics at Stanford, earning a masters degree in 1975 and her Ph.D in 1978

  • In 1978, Ride beat out 1,000 applicants for a spot at NASA’s astronaut program. After going through the grueling training program, she was awarded her time in space 

  • June 18, Ride became the first ever woman in space on the Challenger. While in space, she acted as a mission specialist. Ride helped deploy satellites and many other things.

  • After her time with NASA, she became a physics professor at UC San Diego and the director of the California Space Institute.

  • In 2001, Ride started her own business called Sally Ride Science in order to motivate young girls and women to pursue STEM fields. 

 

POP CULTURE - Major Feminist Moments

Feminist War on Porn

  • Organizations like Women Against Porn (WAP) hoped to put legal restrictions on porn. This ideology was pushed through the voices of Andrea Dworkin and Catherin MacKinnon who spoke out against the misogynistic and exploitative content in pornography that they said promoted sexism and rape.

  • Other feminists saw these anti-porn efforts as censorship and fought back, arguing that a moralistic, puritanical approach to sex written into the law wasn't the answer, either.

9 To 5

  • An unlikely trio of secretaries played by Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin join forces to give their pig of a boss Dabney Coleman a taste of his own sexist medicine

  • Although justice is rarely served in real life the way it is in the film, 9 To 5 remains a feminist victory for telling the stories of the women who rarely get heard, let alone make headlines.

ERA Fails

  • The Equal Rights Amendment was a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would ensure equal rights under the law regardless of sex. From the mid-1970's until 1982, feminists lobbied the states to ratify this amendment, but to no avail.

  • women, like Gloria Steinem, led the charge for the ERA, it was also a woman, Phyllis Schlafly, who were against it. Schlafly brought fear amongst conservatives by saying that equal rights would mean women could be drafted, couldn't be supported by their husbands, and would all decide to have abortions.

Cindy Lauper song about Female Masturbation

  • Lauper’s song “She Bop” hit Billboard charts. This song details female masturbation and there has never been a song before or after that reached this level of recognition 

  • In the video, you can see Lauper is seen flipping through a magazine will getting aroused alone in her car

  • The chorus is a sex positive rallying cry, as she points out that you, me, and everybody else does "it." In fact, "She Bop" made such a mark on feminist culture that it is now also the name of a prominent feminist sex shop in Portland.

Guerrilla Girls Form

  • Out of frustration for the lack of representation of women in the art industry, three women join forces to publicly criticize the sexism strewn about in the art world.

  • In an effort of solidarity and to stay anonymous, these feminists took on the names of dead female artists.

  • They would go around the country protesting art openings and installments in gorilla masks. Their efforts to raise awareness about the way women are portrayed in art and the lack of representation has had a major influence on the art world today and artistic activism.

Sheila E. 

  • Female percussionist who served as Prince’s musical director and drummer for almost 10 years 

  • In 1985, she became a pop star with her single “The Glamorous Life”

  • Has played with artists like Herbie Hancock, Diana Ross, and Lionel Richie. As well as younger artists like Kanye West, Beyonce, and Jennifer Lopez

  • In her memoir, E. discussed embracing her own femininity and dressing anyway she liked on stage while simultaneously acting as a mentor to young female percussionists. 

 

HEALTHCARE

The Abortion Control Act

  • In 1982, Pennsylvania passed the Abortion Control Act, which required women to give "informed consent" before abortions could be performed and imposed a 24-hour waiting period upon women seeking abortions, during which time the women would be provided with information regarding abortions.

Copper IUD

  • 1984, FDA approved the copper IUD as a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy for four years, later it was extended to ten years. The WHO have since reported that it is effective for 12 years

The Fight for Reproductive Rights

  • In the early 80s, women of color created organizations to advocate for the reproductive rights and health needs of women.

  • The National Black Women’s Health Project was an inspiration for other groups that started at the national grassroots level. These groups created new definitions of reproductive rights that affirm each woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions. They placed the right to have a child, the right not to, and the right to parent one’s existing children on an equal footing and stressed that legal rights alone are not adequate. 

  • In response to women having access to abortion, anti-abortion activists bombed an abortion clinic and two doctors in 1984 in Pensecola, Florida.

“Medically Necessary”

  • 1989, Supreme Court upheld a Missouri law prohibiting the use of public employees and facilities from providing abortions that are not medically necessary.

 

WORKFORCE

  • Millions of women across the US started professional and managerial jobs in the 80’s

  • Nationally, the number of working women increased by 27% in the 80s

  • Less than half of women with children under the age of six were in the workforce [see figure below]

  • A 1985 Roper survey showed that 10% of women said that a husband should turn down a good job in a city so their wife can continue to work. 

  • Women join male dominated fields, like Dr. Sally Ride (first female astronaut) and Dr. Mae Jemison (first black female shuttle flyer)

  • In 1984, at the Democratic National Convention, Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman nominated as vice president by a major political party.

 
labor force graph.png
 

LEADERSHIP

Ann Richards

  • The 45th Governor of Texas

  • During her time in office she appointed more women and people of color to official positions than any of her predecessors

  • Did work to improve the prison system and vetoed bills that would allow concealed carrying of guns and bills that damaged the environment

  • Helped raise awareness about alcoholism by being public about her own treatment in 1980.

Geraldine Ferraro

  • Queens Congresswoman from 1979 to 1985

  • sat on the prestigious House Budget Committee, was the first woman to chair the Democratic platform committee and became the first woman vice-presidential candidate for a major party when Walter Mondale picked her to be his running mate in 1984

Ellen Malcolm

  • Founded EMILY’s List (American political action committee that aims to help elect Democratic female candidates in favor of abortion rights to office) in 1985

  • EMILY’s List has a hundreds-long list of women—Democratic and pro-choice women— who they’ve helped elect to local and state office as well as to Congress. The organization recruits and trains women to run successful campaigns for political office and supports them along the way.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

  • the first Cuban American and Hispanic woman to be elected to Congress in 1989, and is now the most senior Florida member of the U.S. House of Representatives and the most senior female Republican in the House

  • lobbies for the Cuban government to enact political changes that will benefit its citizens, and was a prominent supporter of ending the U.S. embargo on Cuba. She was also the first Republican in the House to support same-sex marriage, announcing her support in 2012