‘1968’ and the formation of the feminist subject

Issue: 
2011
Author(s): 

The political upheavals of 1968 exposed the ambivalence of both the traditional and the new left towards the question of women’s liberation. To make use of the new spaces opened up by this new era of left activism, women activists needed to create a new notion of a self-conscious ‘feminist subject’.  Through the agency of the newly energised women’s movement, women on the left sought to develop and generalise a newly autonomous feminist consciousness, which could reinvent the notion of what constituted the political sphere and help to redefine the idea of a modern movement for liberation. This article explores the contested process through which the new feminist subject was formed and assesses the impact that a new gender-based critique of power relations had of the practices and assumptions of the left.

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TCC3 1968 and after