The Personal is Political

In 1969 Carol Hanisch, a feminist activist, published the paper The Personal is Political. Throughout the text she talks about the… uh, political-ness(for lack of a better word??) of the feminism that was happening at the time. She discusses that most of it was going on between small groups of women, and that these meetings were being labeled as “therapy” and “personal” sessions. She calls out the misdemeanor of claiming these meetings as such because those words carry the assumption that there is something wrong with the people attending these meetings, that they must be helped and fixed. Any alternatives to the current way of life, where women are oppressed, is seen as a bad alternative when it really isn’t. She argues that feminism, and all activism for oppressed minorities, is not a sickness that should be fixed personally. She calls women, and all minorities really, to stop blaming themselves for the problems that they are facing, and instead blame the people who create the problems- to stop making it personal and to make it political.

I think this idea really ties into the idea of the female man, especially when it comes to the character of Jeannine. She especially sees the things that are happening around her. I think she sees the injustices and the wrong doing’s against women in general, but she tends to blame it all on herself. When she gets upset because she’s afraid that she’ll never truly have what she wants because of the expectations that she is set to, she blames herself for being ungrateful. The texts relate because Jeannine seems to be the personification of oppression as a personal issue instead of a political one. Any alternative that Jeannine sees to her current life seems to be, as Hanisch says, a ‘bad alternative’. Joanna seems to notice all these injustices also, but she seems less affected by them and more content to accept her role in her life. Janet, though, seems to be the only one that fervently identifies the problem as not personal, but of the societal structure that they live in.

Link to paper:


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