THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
January 13, 1945–August 28, 2012
“Contrary to what most historians would have us believe, women’s rights were never won … As for sex itself, I would argue that any changes were as a result of male interests and not female. Any benefits for women were accidental.” In Notes from the First Year, New York: The New York Radical Women, 1968
Theorist, Author, Artist. Active in the civil rights and anti-war movements. Over Labor Day Weekend in 1967, attended the National Conference for a New Politics held in Chicago. Along with other feminists, she noticed that the question of women’s secondary status in society had been left completely off the agenda. Together with Jo Freeman, she drafted a resolution attempting to call attention to these issues. They were ignored and laughed off the floor. This treatment led them to establish the Westside Group, the first independent women’s caucus organized around women’s issues since the suffrage era. The group later became the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union. Co-founded three of the most iconic feminist organizations in New York City, setting the agenda for radical feminism across the United States: New York Radical Women, the first women’s liberation group in New York, Redstockings, and New York Radical Feminists. Served as editor of Notes from the First Year (1968), Notes from the Second Year (1970), and, with Anne Koedt, Notes from the Third Year (1971), each presenting writings by significant thinkers and activists within the broader feminist community. In March 1969, she organized the nation’s first abortion speak-out at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, at which about a dozen women spoke publicly for the first time about their experiences with abortion. Published her landmark manifesto, “The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution” in 1970.
Photo 1. Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution, 1970. Photo 2. With Gloria Steinem, in 2000.
More About Shulie:
- Shulamith Firestone Conference, 2013, Redstockings
- “Death of a Revolutionary: Shulamith Firestone helped to create a new society. But she couldn’t live in it.” By Susan Faludi, The New Yorker, April 15, 2013
- Obituary in The Guardian, September 6, 2012
- “In Memory of Shulamirh Firestone,” by Jo Freeman, September 26, 2012
- The Jewish Women’s Archive
- Shulie: Shulamith Firestone, 1967 a film by Jerome Blumenthal, Sheppard Ferguson, James Leahy and Alan Rettig
- Wikipedia page
- Cited in Barbara Love’s book, Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975, page 149