Personal Politics: Radical Feminism, Difference, and Anti-Nuclear Activism


Harvey, Kyle. 2014. “Personal Politics: Radical Feminism, Difference, and Anti-Nuclear Activism.” In American Anti-Nuclear Activism, 1975–1990, 68–92. London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Author: Kyle Harvey


In the late 1970s, as the anti-nuclear movement began its large-scale revival, an array of women’s protest collectives and activist organizations formed, aiming to offer feminist perspectives on the nuclear threat and define an appropriate activist response. These new groups built upon, extended, and challenged the legacy of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), formed in 1915, Women Strike for Peace, formed in 1961, and a host of other women’s organizations and feminist groups involved tangentially in peace activism, women’s liberation, and related activity. In the 1980s, some female activists situated their peace protests within political and legislative institutions, drawing a great deal from the successes of the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Others, more radical in their approach, used ideas about militarism, ecology, and personal expression to oppose nuclear arms as merely one of a myriad of crises threatening women the world over. Mirroring the meeting of women’s liberation and radical feminism in the late 1960s, these very different strands of feminist thought—and their expression within the anti-nuclear movement—reflect how much second-wave feminism changed during the 1970s. They also demonstrate the significance of the rise of cultural feminism in the 1970s and the subsequent marginalization of radical feminists from the wider women’s peace movement.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Peace and Security, Peacebuilding, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2014

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