Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Women's Studies

Major Professor

Sara Crawley, Ph.D.

Keywords

Weatherman, Gender, Hegemony, Revolutionary Violence, Feminism

Abstract

In this thesis I examine women's participation in the violent revolutionary organization, Weatherman/Weather Underground. My attempt is to uncover Weatherman's view of women's liberation, their differences to the women's liberation movement and examine the practices implemented. I discuss Weatherman, more generally, in the context and circumstances of their emergence from the Students for a Democratic Society in the late sixties. Influenced by popular revolutionary thinkers Weatherman declared itself and its members revolutionaries dedicated to bringing about a socialist revolution in the United States through strategies of guerilla warfare. Weatherman's insistence on revolutionary violence situated masculinity and machismo within the center of their politics and practice. Weatherman promised its female members liberation through violence and machismo in the fight for a socialist revolution.

I explore Weatherman's political position on women's liberation and the result of their politics evident in autonomous women's actions and sexual practices. In addition, I contend that Weatherman's politics more generally, and women's participation in Weatherman was shaped by the cultural hegemony of masculinity, termed by Connell as hegemonic masculinity. Exploration of women's participation in political violence is important to the acknowledgment of women as agents of aggression and the gender fluidity they represent. Weatherwomen's acceptance and adoption of masculinity provides an example of gender fluidity in contexts outside of common homosexual, transgendered, or queer representations. Furthermore, varying perceptions of women's liberation during the late sixties and early seventies has yet to be explored outside of the narrow scope of the autonomous feminist movement.

Women who participated in the Weatherman/Weather Underground, their politics of women's liberation and methods in which to accomplish liberation have been ignored by historians of feminism and the New Left. This thesis uncovers the politics of women's liberation in the Weatherman/ Weather Underground, through which I examine the meaning of women's liberation, methods of liberation, and the empowered and limited position of women within the Weatherman/Weather Underground.

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