As new members, we would like
to point out a need for a welcoming of new members. We have sat
by and observed at two meetings
now, and have met no one. There
is a cliquish and cool atmosphere,
one not conducive to making sisters
We both have enough confidence
in ourselves not to let this deter
us from the meetings. However, not
all new members feel this way.
Some are looking for sisterhood,
enthusiasm, and support for their
ideas. When one does not feel comfortable and accepted, one cannot
express herself as freely.
It appears that some changes
could be made in this area. We
do want to improve active membership. Don't we?
Two Concerned Sisters,
Peggy Chi 1 dress
I, as well as several other members I have talked to, resent the
article entitled "Is Revolution
N6W?" published in the April Broad-
■ side. I resent the title, the tone,
and the implications of the article.
The article is critical of NOW's
emphasis on equality with men and
on women's integration into the
current society. This I consider
to be one of NOW's most important
attitudes, especially since this
emphasis goes further than the article implies. We want more than
jast integration and equality. NOW
feels that no person should be stereotyped in any way because of her
or his sex, any more than because
of her or his race, color, national origin, or sexual preference.
NOW wants every individual human,
whether female or male, to have
the opportunity to develop that
person's full potential. Why
should women want an "autonomous
culture and politics"? The finest culture and society is that
one which welcomes diversity and
encourages the development of
the individual talents of all
the members of that society. Besides, what about our brothers who
are also stereotyped? Many men
are not allowed to develop freely. Do we turn our backs on almost half of the human race?
The article criticizes NOW for
working within the current political and legal system and
especially criticizes Wilma Scott
Heide for having the gall to point
.out that NOW needs money to accomplish its goals. Well, what are
we supposed to do? Take up guns
and kill off the entire political
and economic leadership of the
United States? (And, I suppose,
steal or borrow the guns -- we certainly shouldn't pay for them.)
The article concedes that NOW "may"
be able to accomplish more than the
so-called "radical feminist" groups.
NOW already has accomplished more.
NOW, by working within the current
system, is helping to change that
system. NOW is helping to create
a whole new society, and is using
the tactics which will accomplish
real and lasting change. However,
to carry out court actions, to lobby, to publicize our causes in the
mass media, to form women's centers,
and even to gather and to print
information which people want and
need, we must have money, as well
as time and energy. As KNOW, INC.,
points out, "Freedom isn't.free!"
But the article's real criticism is that NOW will nU concentrate on the economic system.
NOW will not say that all the
problems of our society are derived form the United States'
capitalist system. And the
author (s?) is right. We won't. .
Because sexism is NOT a resultof
a specific type of economic system.
Discrimination on the basis of
sex is found in all industrialized and in most non-industrialized societies. Socialist, Communist, and Fascist states discriminate against women too. Political and economic leadership
positions in aJN_ the industrialized countries are dominated o-
verwhelmingly by men. Sexism
is a cultural disease. All women
in the United States are discriminated against; rich women, poor
women, working class women, middle-class women, upper-class women, black women, white women,
brown women, red women, yellow
women. The direct results of that
discrimination vary from individual to individual, but the fight
against sexism is NOT a "class
struggle." To think that way
is to think in a narrow, rigid
manner which allows one to^-
see and understand only a portion of the world.
NOW is fomenting a revolution,
in the Random House dictionary
sense cf "a radical and pervasive change in society and
the social structure." NOW is
doing this through methods that
work. "And NOW is flexible e-
nough to develop new tactics
and approaches when the old
ones don't work. That is how
one WINS a revolution;
Betty A. Barnes
PS: I object to the original
article being published in the
Broadside. For outsiders who apparently neither understand nor
share NOW's goals to be given a
large space in our newsletter to
criticize us seems in very poor
taste. Maybe next time the Broadside can publish an article by the
"Right-to-Lifers" against abortion?
Betty A. Barnes
EDITOR'S NOTE: The original article was first printed in off our
backs, April, 1973. The Broadside -
welcomes articles presenting all
points of view so that we may know
what the other side thinks.
I am not a member of NOW but
have been receiving the Broadside
as a follow-up to one of your meetings. I found the last issue particularly interesting, specifically the article by Ms. Moore, an
extraordinarily lucid and well-
reasoned treatment of this culture's
peculiar attitudes toward lesbianism (and, I might add, homosexuality in general.) How much grief
and confusion we might save our?
selves if we could accept loving
behavior simply as the way people
behave when they love each other.