Re: radical feminism/cultural feminism

Fright Wig (
Mon, 22 Apr 1996 23:56:16 -0400

Ti-Grace Atkinson claims that she invented the phrase "radical feminism"
in response to Valerie Solanas's attack on Andy Warhol (in a press
release after Solanas's arrest in 1968). It is interesting to me because
Solanas herself certainly epitomized what Alice Echols and others call
cultural feminism--the belief in the superiority of women/women's values.

But I agree with Ted Morgan somewhat, that these kinds of labels are less
illuminating than we might desire them to be. Echols--who originates this
categorization--has her own agenda to promote in rewriting the history
(herstory!) of the early WOmen's Liberation Movement as a downward
trajectory from radical to cultural feminism. (Read her "The New Feminism
of Yin and Yang"--something like that--for a clearer view of her

Roe V. Wade doesn't strike me as any kind of cultural marker between
feminisms as the original post queries. Feminists of all persuasions had
worked long and hard for an end to abortion laws, at least publicly since
the middle 1960s (where my research sort of "starts"). It strikes me
that the "gay straight split" may be a more interesting avenue to
traverse, to understand the shifts and stances of many feminisms. Making
sexuality a topic of political inquiry (and maybe that's the connection
with Roe V. Wade?) had perhaps too great a burden for women who felt they
had to justify their continued association with men. And, with no
statistical evidence to support this statement I'll make it anyway, it is
extremely telling that when I used to work as a clinic escort the
majority of escorts were lesbians whom Echols et al. may have defined as
"cultural" feminists.

Leah D. Hackleman aka Frightwig O wild wimmin never die... + they just dye their hair