Pure Milk, Not Poison: Women Strike for Peace and the Test Ban Treaty of 1963


Swerdlow, Amy. 2019. “Pure Milk, Not Poison: Women Strike for Peace and the Test Ban Treaty of 1963.” In Rocking The Ship Of State: Toward A Feminist Peace Politics, edited by Adrienne Harris and Ynestra King, 115–30. New York: Routledge.

Author: Amy Swerdlow


This chapter will examine the motherist rhetoric and tactics of Women Strike for Peace (WSP), a grass-roots, middle-class women's peace movement of the 1960s, in the context of the contemporary debate among scholars and activists regarding the relationship of female culture to radical politics and to the empowerment of women. This debate, in its most polarized form, pits the concept of female difference against the feminist goal of sexual equality. For feminist peace activists, a crucial question today is whether separatist peace groups, which make their appeal to women on the basis of their special connection to life preservation and moral guardianship, do not in the end undermine women's political power and even the cause of peace by reinforcing a gender system that encourages male violence in the family and the state.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Women, Political Participation, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Year: 2019

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