The Redstockings is a radical feminist group established in New York in February, 1969. It is a grassroots think-tank approaching women's liberation. The name came from bluestocking, part of the first feminist movement, and red represents revolution. Most members of Redstockings are volunteers, so it is operated through common women's effort. The main purpose of Redstockings are to raise awareness about women's rights such as abortion, working conditions and the need to understand and share all women’s struggles for freedom. Currenlty, Redstockings is working for raising awareness against sexual stereotypes and gender roles. They mainly distribute their message through free media, such as pamphlets, catalogs and e-mails.
- In 1969, Redstockings was established by Ellen Willis and Shulamith Firestone as a split of New York Radical Women (NYRW). NYRW divided into several small groups because of dissention of political and feminist thoughts, and members chose and followed leaders that had the corresponding ideas and philosophy. Redstockings was founded to expand awareness about women’s rights and to end the social structure of male domination.
- In 1969, medical professions and several organizations started to speak up for a reform of abortion law. Then, State of New York listened to them, and one meeting was held. Of course Redstockings tried to speak about a law of abortion. However, representatives chosen by the state were 13 men and 1 nun.
- One month later of the meeting, Sarachild presented Redstockings’ opinion that demanded not reforming the law but revoking the law in Washington DC. At that time, many women could not express their opinions because of few opportunities to represent their voices and uncertainty over the outcome. That is why it was important for Redstockings to lead women and help share their stories at the hearing. The content of the speech consisted of women experiences with illegal abortions. Although it failed to repeal the law, this Sarachild’s hearing affected the public, and this reform of the law was considered as success of women’s movement.
- In 1970, Redstockings published the Redstockings Manifesto. Their manifesto influenced and inspired many other radical feminist manifestoes.
- In 1989, it was 20th anniversary from the speak out in 1969, Redstockings established the catalog named “Achieves for Action” that showed their achievement, motto, and action.
- In 2015, because of technological innovation, they started to spread their original catalogs on line for free.
- The general argument is that women cannot achieve the potential because of being oppressed by men, and this social structure deprives rights of their lives. Also, women are considered inferior to men and they are considered to exist for boosting men’s lives. Thus, men always get profits in terms of economic, psychological, and sexual. However, this image “men are superior” is not because women are idiot but because of the oppression from men. To conclude this situation, Redstockings raises awareness in public and gives an opportunity every woman to express their opinions and to improve their rights. In addition, Manifesto says that women should not change themselves but men should change their attitude to develop women’s privilege.
Movement and Effect toward Abortion
Red stockings influenced the structure and system of abortion, childcare, equality and income inequality. One of the major ways to approach the society that it used was to pressure politicians. They supported political candidates so that they made it easier to reform the laws that were unfair for women. However, their focused aim was to achieve an abortion law, and its movement fruited the great outcome. After 1969, when Redstockings held a hearing, many feminist organizations were inspired, and they became in favor of abortion law. Not only feminist organization, but also the state of NY, Hawaii, and Alaska stopped to support conservatives and approached to abortion law. Moreover, in 1973, Georgia and Texas proclaimed an abortion law. Thus, its movement was a trigger to lead abortion which is the right to protect women’s life.
Redstockings Organizational Structure
Red stockings emphasized the importance of not having leadership in the group. In Redstockings, everyone had a different thought. Some people thought men were enemies and others thought capitalist or political structure were enemies. Therefore, it was difficult that leaders having own thought integrated women having different thoughts, and having a particular leader could mangle sisterhood in group. The same thing can be said for the skill. Every one had different skills. Therefore, even if one had particular skill, she should share the skill by teaching others. In Redstockings, it was considered that every woman was equal, and each person had different experiences and opinions so all women should be leaders. Therefore, there should not be hierarchy, and all decisions should be made by everyone.
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