The Women’s Liberation Movement during the 1960s, 70s and 80s certainly had an impact on society. Regardless of what beliefs you carry, it is not a new concept to affirm that modern society is shaped by radical movements of the past, especially thunderous movements such as Women’s Liberation.
There were many components of the Women’s Liberation movement – one of which was the idea of sexual liberation. I do recognize that not every feminist is what is called “sex-positive,” but I can say that most sex-positive proponents associate themselves with feminism.
These feminists believe that the way women can eliminate patriarchy is by embracing sexual freedom, pornography, and trying to claim derogatory words like “slut” – simply put, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. The movement started around the 1980s with Betty Dodson, Carol Queen, and Susie Bright and has continued to seep into media, pop culture, and our modern society.
In fact, the prominent feminist Naomi Wolf says this about Sex and the City:
Samantha first says frankly that she likes to have sex without emotion, to “f— like a man”, it was bitingly fresh for women to speak these aphorisms out loud, in public, and in fabulous heels.
But the impact this ideology has had is even more apparent on college campuses. It is now practically “mainstream” for girls to embrace the hook-up culture and those who do not, suffer a certain type of social isolation. Girls Gone Wild visits campuses, strip-show fundraisers are put on in the student center, and the overall sex-culture of college is more prevalent than it has ever been with female students gathering around the TV in their dorms to watch “Jersey Shore” and “Gossip Girl,” then imitate that behavior.
Not only does media and pop culture influence these girls – the pro-sex feminists who created it do, too. These women range from Naomi Wolf to Candida Royalle to Jenna Jameson in the porn industry. All of them identify as feminists and continually preach that women can objectify themselves and be empowered by doing so.
More often than not though, girls who hook-up develop emotional problems that can ruin relationships and marriage. Laura Sessions Stepp addresses this in her book Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both.
So what impact have Women’s Liberation and Sex-positive feminism had on society? The hook-up culture, Girls Gone Wild, and relationships that do not end well. Is this what the Women’s Liberation wanted to see? No one can be sure, but I am sure of the effect it had on girls in my generation – and it is not a positive one.