The concept of women’s culture emerged from women’s liberation, was expanded by historians, and became discredited during largely academic debates.
The Politics of Women’s Culture begins with the flourishing cultural activism of feminists in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. in the late 1960s. While the art and poetry, music and graphics of the movement are well known, The Politics of Women’s Culture explores how different groups of activists understood the relationship of culture to women’s liberation. Producing, disseminating, and enjoying women’s culture often bound activists together, but the extent to which culture could be a strategy for the movement also led to divisions. In the late 1970s, the rise of the new right and declining economic support shifted US feminism from a movement of community activists to a profession within academia. Women’s culture increasingly became viewed as dangerous and disparaged as cultural feminism. What had been the lingua franca of a widely dispersed and often divergent movement, was depicted, at best, as embarrassing essentializing, and at worst, as an ideological alliance with the enemies of women’s liberation.