By Diana Moreno
Gainesville Women’s Liberation, a local chapter of National Women’s Liberation, is a feminist group for women who want to organize against male supremacy, bring new fire to the fight for equality and win more freedom for women. Our efforts are independently funded by the dues of women, not corporations or their foundations.
We come from an ongoing collaboration between organizers from Redstockings of the Women’s Liberation Movement (a radical feminist think tank and an original group of the 1960s Women’s Liberation Movement in New York City) and Gainesville Women’s Liberation, the first women’s liberation group in the South. We believe that change comes from the collective actions of everyday people — not just politicians, the courts or the media.
At a time when UF had curfews and dress codes (no pants or shorts) for women and abortion was illegal in the U.S., Gainesville Women’s Liberation founders protested the Miss America Pageant and started an abortion referral service from a Reid Hall dormitory. One of our co-founders, Judith Brown, was expelled from UF and lost her Ford Fellowship when she was convicted of contempt for defying an injunction against mass picketing to integrate a racially segregated movie theatre.
We made history then, and we are ready to continue making history now. The threats to women’s rights and freedoms in this country continue, and the need for a stronger feminist movement is urgent. From the slew of anti-abortion bills attempting to restrict our reproductive rights, to the sexist comments about “legitimate” rape showcasing the level of ignorance some men have about women’s lives, sometimes we have to check our calendars to make sure we’re in the year 2012. It is time to reclaim our spot in history and rebuild the movement that won basic rights for women in the first place.
At the national level, we are part of the Morning-After Pill (MAP) Conspiracy, an organization leading the fight against restrictions on the Morning-After Pill. Our activism led to the 2006 FDA decision that allowed MAP to be sold without a prescription, and some of our members are current plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the FDA charging the agency with discrimination against women and failure to follow medical science. A victory could mean no more age restriction and an end to behind-the-counter status, so this safe form of birth control can finally be where it belongs — next to the condoms and sold at pharmacies and gas stations nation-wide.
In Gainesville, we are starting a feminist zine that will reflect the experiences and issues facing local women. We already have plenty of content for the zine from our long-standing history and past women’s liberation articles, but the newer, more current content will come from our new members and from conclusions gathered at our consciousness-raising (CR) meetings. CRs are used to draw conclusions about the political roots of women’s problems by sharing, discussing, and analyzing our own experiences. We are holding our next CR on the topic of beauty standards on UF’s campus (Pugh Hall, 210) on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. Join us for good conversation and to find out how you can get involved in NWL.
Visit womensliberation.org to read more about our politics, philosophy, past and future events, and newsletters.