(Katherine McClain Fleming ’19 wrote this as a final paper for HIS 384 Gender and Sexuality in Modern America.)

“you talk of the men you will leave

for each other;

when you kiss

your breasts touch

like lips and tender hands.”

–Melanie Perish[1]

(in Sinister Wisdom, Issue 6, Spring 1978)

In Second Wave feminism, the questions emerged: Can a feminist have a relationship with a man that is not oppressive and tainted by patriarchy? If feminism is the theory, is lesbianism the practice? How would lesbian relationships be different from straight relationships? Should choices in the bedroom be considered within the domain of feminist politics?

Feminists sought to work out these theoretical questions in writing and in practice. In light of feminist critiques of the institution of marriage, some married feminists tried to negotiate relationships with men that were not oppressive. In her famous article, “The Politics of Housework,” Pat Mainardi detailed her attempt to institute a policy of equal sharing of household duties with her husband. She analyzed his resistant responses and provided advice for other feminists who aimed to “implement [their] politics” at home.[2] Influenced by Mainardi, Alix Kates Shulman created a “Marriage Agreement” with her husband. Its two principles were: work that brings in more money is not more valuable and spouses have equal rights to their own “time, work, values, choice” (a code for sexual freedom).[3] While Shulman’s own marriage ended in divorce, her published “Marriage Agreement” had a wide reception and was influential in attempts by other women to craft egalitarian marriages. Neither Mainardi nor Shulman reached a definitive conclusion on whether it is possible for women, in general, to implement feminist politics in their relationships with men. The marriage experiments of both women floundered, but neither then prescribed a creed that it is impossible for a woman to have a non-oppressive relationship with a man.

Some radical feminists went much farther: they formed separatist collectives and prescribed political lesbianism. “The Furies” were a group of twelve lesbian women who decided to form a “disciplined, revolutionary cadre” and move together to southeast Washington, D.C.[4] They pooled incomes, studied revolutions, and created a monthly newspaper to reach lesbians and “would-be lesbians.”[5] In the first issue of their newspaper, they put forth the creed: “Lesbianism is not a matter of sexual preference, but rather one of political choice which every woman must make if she is to become woman-identified and thereby end male supremacy.”[6] They further argued that to view lesbianism as “exclusively a sexual act was to strengthen the dominant view of women as only sexual beings” and that to be a lesbian was to be “in revolt” against male domination in all its forms.[7] They believed that, while in an ideal world everyone would be bisexual, in a patriarchal world every woman had an obligation to be a lesbian.[8] For these women, sexuality was inextricably bound up with the politics of fighting oppression by men. While the Furies vehemently opposed the enforcement of heterosexuality, they essentially proposed a program of compulsory lesbianism. Their answer to the question of whether a feminist could have a relationship with a man was an emphatic no.

While feminist praxis and political prescriptions are important to study, it is equally valuable and revealing to look at feminists’ process of thinking through and figuring out things in writing. This paper will examine the radical lesbian feminist periodical Sinister Wisdom alongside the more mainstream feminist periodical Chrysalis in the period from 1976 to 1980 to shed light on how their contributors explored these questions through poetry. Poetry is not the ideal medium through which to give explicit political prescriptions for what feminists should do, and it did not serve this purpose in either periodical. But it is a productive medium for working through conflicted emotions and complicated questions. Studying poetry about relationships with men alongside poetry about relationships with women–through the theoretical frames of Adrienne Rich’s essay “Compulsory Heterosexuality” and Gayle Rubin’s essay “Thinking Sex”– provides no definitive answers, but can offer important insights. In both periodicals, poets often depicted one woman’s experience with one man as what men, collectively, do to women. Poets also generalized from their portrayal of individual women’s encounters with other women to a broader sense of what relationships between women can offer.

Relationships with Men

The poetry in Sinister Wisdom about relationships with men depicted abuse, rape, incest, and oppression. The poems were often personally healing, but many also showed deep awareness of the systemic nature of patriarchal violence. Within them, as a woman processes or fears rape or abuse by one singular man, she also sees it as what men do. In Sinister Wisdom Issue 1, in her poem entitled for Jeanne d’Arc, burning, Susan Leigh Star wrote: “At every rape/at every stake/incessantly whispered into/incessantly scraped across/each of our body’s sacred openings/moment by moment for all the days of our lives.”[9] She made Joan of Arc a symbol of all female victims of patriarchal violence and emphasized that all women live in awareness and fear: “there was never/a time when/we did not know/the stakes/are high/our silence whole.”[10] Male violence affects not only this one woman, but also every woman. Each woman is hurt by “every rape/at every stake” at “each of our body’s sacred openings.” The collective “our body” connotes a united “body” of women who all suffer from the violation of each woman’s individual body. In Sinister Wisdom Issue 6, mh north contributed a poem about two sisters: “blood on the same day/neither spoke of/the spoil of tongue/the man rape of our world…i am almost sexless for what i have learned/of the womb/the double/edge of death.”[11] The “man rape of our world” represents a physical rape, but also the more general intrusion of maleness into the female world of these sisters.

Sinister Wisdom Issue 15 was a special feature on “The Patriarchy: Violence and Pornography,” filled with poems about rape, abusive husbands, and sexual abuse of daughters by fathers, in which one man’s violence was emblematic of all men’s violence. A poem by Anita Skeen described the rape of the narrator, but through a framework of the rape of women across history: “This man has crouched/below windows for centuries,/and more times than not,/has entered through them,/unasked, uninvited into the lives/of women….He brings only blood and death.”[12] Another by Pamela McAllister spoke of boys, collectively: “They wait for me around every corner.”[13] Ran Hall contributed a particularly graphic and raging poem about a woman who tells her husband she no longer wants to have a sexual relationship with him, only to see him then rape their daughter. Hall wrote: “when his cock couldn’t shaft the mother/he pledged his undying friendship/and fucked a child/(he always liked tender meat).”[14] In her experience with this one man, the woman finds all men implicated: “he is a man/man is a cock/and a cock will fuck/he is man is a cock/and a cock hates/he is a man and man hates me/and anything that is part of me–woman/free from his cock hates free woman/free woman child.”[15] It is not just him–it is “every man, any woman/any age any size, any woman/just a place to stick it.”[16]

Chrysalis had less poetry explicitly about sexual violence, but men still existed mostly as negative forces in poems–strange, intrusive, and threatening. In Issue 1, Adrienne Rich, herself a lesbian, wrote: “beneath the strange male bodies/we sank in terror or in resignation/and how we taught them tenderness–/the holding-back, the play,/the floating of a finger/the secrets of the nipple.”[17] Women have to teach “strange male bodies” how to love gently and tenderly, the way a woman would. In Issue 6, a poem described a woman’s abusive husband and unwanted pregnancy. The narrator recalled: “your drunken husband letting you have it   you/deserve it   he said what are you thinking?”[18] She continued: “I am afraid i might be pregnant again my womb/swelling and i’m not sure how unless the diaphragm/didn’t wasn’t effective and a man designed it although/i didn’t think of that at the time when i was wanting/some one and who was it i was wanting at that time.”[19] She does not want her “drunken husband” but wants “some one”; she does not want another baby, but fears another abortion. She is trapped, metaphorically in an unhappy marriage and physically in her pregnant body. Another poem described “el hermano latino/gyrating hips and butt/and bringing balls/in skin-tight levis/circumsized [sic] penis/hanging neatly/y el hermano latino/in grotesque ego-orgasm…to el ritmo/el sexismo.”[20] The man is threatening and “grotesque,” a repulsive embodiment of hyper-masculinity.

A crucial poem in Chrysalis Issue 6 by Adrienne Rich created a dialogue between a man and a woman about how much the man will undertake to combat patriarchy. “I try to understand/he said/what will you undertake/i said/will you punish me for history/he said/what will you undertake/i said.”[21] This can operate as a manifestation in poetry of Rich’s theoretical essay, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” in which she argued:

Profound skepticism, caution, and righteous paranoia about men may indeed be a part of any healthy woman’s response to the misogyny of male-dominated culture, to the forms assumed by “normal” male sexuality, and to the failure even of “sensitive” or “political” men to perceive or find them troubling.[22]

The woman in the poem asks a man, perhaps even a “sensitive” or “political” man, what he will “undertake.” She cannot trust him or be with him unless she knows that he will take on the project of dismantling “the misogyny of male-dominated culture” and the “troubling” forms of “male sexuality.” In the poem, the “he” is singular, but the poem can be read as posing a challenge to all men. Neither Rich’s poem nor her essay provided a clear resolution of whether a feminist could be in a relationship with a man. Her poem rather posed an unanswered question: “What will you undertake?” Rich’s essay also posed an unanswered question: What will happen when a woman has choice in her sexuality, rather than compulsory heterosexuality in the “absence of choice”?[23] If a woman, once the “power men everywhere wield over women” is undone, chooses to be with a man, only then is it a genuine and free choice.[24] Perhaps then she can be with a man and not have to feel “paranoia” and fear.

Two exceptions to the general rule of poetry about violent men were one poem in Sinister Wisdom about an abusive female lover and one poem quoted in a book review in Chrysalis about a male lover. In Issue 15 of Sinister Wisdom, a poet named Chrystos wrote: “‘WHAT DID HE HIT YOU WITH?’ THE DOCTOR SAID/Shame. Silence./Not he./She./I didn’t correct him.”[25] When a woman was abused, male violence was assumed, but this poem demonstrated that lesbian relationships were neither utopian nor free from violence. In the face of the rhetoric in poetry about how lesbian relationships were different and provided empowering sisterhood and friendship (which will be discussed below), Chrystos revealed this uncomfortable truth. In Issue 10 of Chrysalis, a poem featured in the Book Review section described a positive, even ecstatic relationship with a male lover. The author, June Jordan, wrote: “believe it love/believe/my lover/lying down he/lifts me up and high/and i am/high on him/believe it love.”[26] As the poet from Sinister Wisdom showed that a woman can be an abuser too, the poet from Chrysalis demonstrated that a man can be a lover too. To Chrystos, women were not always empowering, nurturing, tender sisters and lovers. To June Jordan, men were not always abusers, rapists, molesters, or drunken husbands who just didn’t get it.

Despite these exceptions, if men featured in these poems almost exclusively as rapists, drunken husbands, sexually abusive fathers, and intruders, what does this indicate about whether these women believed a feminist could have a relationship with a man? If it was not the singular man, but all men, could there be a man who wasn’t complicit in patriarchal violence against women? Could a woman enter into a relationship with a man whom she knew was complicit in her oppression?

Sinister Wisdom had more poetry about male sexual violence than did Chrysalis. It is notable that the lesbian feminist periodical focused more on male violence than did the more mainstream feminist periodical. Though Sinister Wisdom was a journal specifically for radical lesbian culture, it did not exclusively describe lesbian relationships and experiences. The poetry could speak to all women, because all women were, and are, potential victims of male violence and oppression. This connects to Gayle Rubin’s observation in her iconic essay “Thinking Sex” that “lesbian feminist ideology has mostly analyzed the oppression of lesbians in terms of the oppression of women,” though lesbians are “also oppressed as queers and perverts.”[27] Rubin called for an analysis of sexual oppression separate from an analysis of gender oppression, but the poets in Sinister Wisdom did not follow this prescription. They focused on how, as women, they were hurt by men, rather than on how, as lesbians, they were policed and persecuted by the state and by society.

By emphasizing the oppression they faced in common with straight women, these lesbian poets emphatically defined themselves as part of the women’s movement. Sinister Wisdom might have represented an offshoot of feminism specifically for lesbian women, but it was still a feminist endeavor. For these women, to focus exclusively on oppression based on sexuality and ignore oppression based on gender would be to neglect the intersection of lesbianism and feminism and effectively shut them out of the feminist movement.

Relationships with Women

Adrienne Rich lamented that lesbian life was too often “represented as a mere refuge from male abuses, rather than as an electric and empowering charge between women.”[28] From reading Issue 15 of Sinister Wisdom, she might have feared that its poet contributors had fallen into this trap of presenting lesbianism as “refuge from male abuses” rather than “an electric and empowering charge.” But side by side with poetry about male violence in both Sinister Wisdom and Chrysalis was poetry about building “electric and empowering” relationships with women, whether sexual or otherwise.

In Sinister Wisdom, for example, Susan Robbins wrote: “‘Lesbian,’/my body whispers./My life has been a long answer/to a question/no one asked.”[29] The “question/no one asked” can be tied to Rich’s concept of “compulsory heterosexuality.” Straightness was assumed, even enforced, and no one even asked the question of whether a woman would rather be with a woman than with a man. In another poem by mh north, a sister spoke: “My sister is still/A constant changeling i am just discerning/Telling me something about sisters/I am trying to grasp/Her identical shape taking other shapes,/Fooling the susceptible eye.”[30] When sisters escape out from under the “man rape of [their] world,”[31] they can begin a process of “discerning” and “trying to grasp” what women are and building a close relationship with each other. As Cynthia Rich wrote in Issue 15, “I had to step out of myself and into a man’s head in order to dream of a woman. It was as if the direct path from woman to woman or from girl to girl were blocked.”[32] When women step out of the “man rape of [their] world” or “a man’s head,” they can find the “direct path from woman to woman or from girl to girl,” unmediated by men.

There was even more exploration of building constructive female relationships in Chrysalis, particularly in the poetry of Adrienne Rich. In Issue 1, she wrote: “The daughters never were/true brides of the father/the daughters were to begin with/brides of the mother/then brides of each other/under a different law.”[33] Of the mother, Rich said: “Her woman’s flesh was made taboo to us.”[34] In Issue 6, Rich again wrote of the mother: “Birth stripped our birthright from us,/Tore us from a woman, from women, from ourselves/So early on.”[35] After this tearing away from a woman’s body, there is “homesickness for a woman, for ourselves,/–that acute joy at the shadow her head and arms/Cast on a wall, her heavy or slender/Thighs on which we lay, flesh against flesh,/Eyes steady on the face of love; smell of her milk.”[36] Discovering oneself as a lesbian was framed as coming home to the mother’s body, the “woman’s flesh” that was made “taboo” to girls after their birth and infancy. Rich also portrayed a relationship between women as a mutual birth: “We did this. Conceived/of each other, conceived each other/in a darkness/which I remember as drenched in/Light.”[37] This framing of lesbian relationships in terms of motherhood and sisterhood was not unique to Rich–other poets in Chrysalis employed it as well. In Issue 10, in “Poem for Nenia,” by Gloria Hull, the narrator said of a woman: “I wish that I could let you/rock me/to sleep.”[38]

Relationships between women were likely framed in terms of motherhood and sisterhood in order to demonstrate how they were different from relationships with men. Mary Daly featured in both periodicals, making the statement: “It is impossible to be female-identified lovers without being friends and sisters.”[39] Adrienne Rich expressed a similar sentiment: “I perceive the lesbian experience as being, like motherhood, a profoundly female experience.”[40] For these lesbian women (though not for all lesbian women), romantic love between women also meant empowerment, nurture, and inspiration. Rich called “woman identification” a “source of energy, a potential springhead of female power.”[41] Feminism and lesbianism were intertwined as women mutually empowered each other and fought patriarchal forces. Again, Gayle Rubin would have expressed dismay at this conflation of a theory of gender with a theory of sexuality.[42]

In the issues of the periodicals examined, Chrysalis had more poetry about building constructive female relationships and establishing a connection to the female body than did Sinister Wisdom. It seems puzzling that a more mainstream feminist publication had more poetry about relationships with women than did a lesbian feminist publication. Perhaps this can be partially explained by the different audiences and intentions of the publications. Since Sinister Wisdom was a journal explicitly for radical lesbian feminists, its contributors and editors might have more easily assumed that its readers already had tight bonds and relationships with other women. Chrysalis, on the other hand, sought to appeal to a broad feminist audience. An important part of feminist consciousness-raising was developing strong bonds with other women in order to discover commonality and find strength in numbers. Not all feminists could identify with lesbianism, but most presumably could identify with feelings towards sisters and/or mothers. This trend can also be partially explained by Adrienne Rich’s prominent role in Chrysalis and limited role in Sinister Wisdom. Much of the poetry about women’s relationships with women in Chrysalis was authored by Rich, a lesbian poet and the articulator of a well-known theory of “compulsory heterosexuality.”

Putting Poetry in Context: Feminist Struggles Then and Now

The poetry in Sinister Wisdom and Chrysalis contributed to the discourse of Second Wave feminists who strove to figure out whether relationships with men were inherently oppressive and patriarchal and whether relationships with women were a better choice–or even an obligation. Essentially it came down to whether a woman’s private sexuality was also necessarily a political position. Women like Pat Mainardi and Alix Kates Shulman attempted to put their feminist principles into action within their marriages, with mixed results. The Furies fiercely decreed that, in a patriarchal system, lesbianism was an obligation. Adrienne Rich wrote that there was “a nascent feminist political content in the act of choosing a woman lover or life partner in the face of institutionalized heterosexuality” (emphasis hers), but to be truly political and revolutionary, that “act” would have to develop into full-blown “lesbian feminism.”[43]

Gayle Rubin gave the opposite response to that of the Furies. She wrote in “Thinking Sex” that it is “just as objectionable to insist that everyone should be lesbian, non-monogamous, or kinky, as to believe that everyone should be heterosexual, married, or vanilla.”[44] But she did acknowledge that “the latter set of opinions are backed by considerably more coercive power than the former.”[45] She recognized “coercive” heterosexuality and the role male dominance played in it, but she still sought to theorize sexual oppression separately from gender oppression.

The poets in Sinister Wisdom and Chrysalis gave no definitive theoretical answers, but did hint at positions. The manner in which many of them, particularly in Sinister Wisdom, depicted violence by men against women as systemic and universal implicated all men. Could a woman have a relationship with a man if she knew he was implicated in patriarchy? The depiction of relationships with women as sources of intense energy, power, and love, particularly in Chrysalis, implied that lesbian partnerships would be better for women than heterosexual ones. As Adrienne Rich put it, they would serve as a “potential springhead of female power”[46]–a mutual conception or birth “drenched in/Light.”[47] Feminism and sexuality were thus linked in a manner Rubin would critique.

From the time when these poems were written to the present day, feminists have worked to create a regulatory regime for the forms of patriarchal violence portrayed in the poems, with mixed results. The efforts to criminalize marital rape can serve as a case study in how difficult it is to break down antiquated, sexist regimes and build new ones informed by feminist understandings. As Jill Elaine Hasday points out, while the feminist campaign to do away with the exemption of husbands from prosecution for raping their wives began in the 19th century, it did not gain traction again until the push by Second Wave feminists in the late 20th century.[48] Success has still been only “partial and uneven:”[49] while all states have formally abolished the exemption, most states keep some version of it by treating marital rape with special standards–for example, “only [recognizing] marital rape if it involves physical force and/or serious physical harm.”[50] In addition, enforcement of statutes can be spotty rather than systematic.[51]

This story of victories mixed with shortcomings and ongoing challenges is a common one. Legal scholar Elizabeth Schneider traces the history of domestic violence and legal reform– how far feminists have come and how far we still have to go. She points out numerous gains since domestic violence first “surfaced in U.S. law,” due to feminist efforts, in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[52] Schneider cites “pathbreaking case law, innovative legislation, and legal scholarship” as well as law school classes specifically on domestic violence and the American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence.[53] In 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act to support “legal, educational, and service programs to assist battered women.”[54] Now the woman in the poem who described her “drunken husband letting [her] have it” and telling her “you/deserve it”[55] could likely have her husband’s abuse recognized as a violation of the law.

But, as Schneider illustrates, the battle continues. Laws have generally focused on physical violence by men against women, but domestic violence can also encompass “verbal abuse, threats, stalking, sexual abuse, coercion, and economic control,” and can occur in same-sex relationships.[56] The narrator in the poem by Chrystos who suffers abuse from a female lover might still have a hard time getting the violence done to her by a woman accepted under the legal definition of domestic violence.[57] The dominant view is still captured by the simplistic question: “Why don’t they leave?”[58] This is a question Chrystos answered in 1978 when she wrote: “You’ve hit me with that irresistible/deadly weapon:/hatred dressed in the shoes & socks/of the words/I love you.”[59]

One important stride is that there has been a significant shift from a discourse almost exclusively within feminist spaces like Sinister Wisdom and Chrysalis to a national discourse on patriarchy and sexual violence. In the wake of the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings in 1991, discussion around and awareness of workplace sexual harassment exploded onto the national stage as more and more women shared their stories.[60] Feminists had already been working to eliminate sex discrimination and sexual harassment in workplaces through the legal framework of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but now their efforts were catapulted into the national consciousness.

Even this discursive shift is not purely a victory. In recent years, documentaries such as The Hunting Ground and front-page articles in newspapers (e.g., “Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn’t: How One College Handled a Sexual Assault Complaint” in The New York Times[61]) have worked to raise widespread awareness of issues of sexual assault on college campuses. The White House launched the “It’s On Us” initiative, a campaign for cultural awareness that asks women and men to pledge “a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault,” which includes a “promise not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution.”[62] There is broad cultural consciousness of the ongoing legal activism surrounding sexual violence on campuses. In April of 2011, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights sent a “Dear Colleague letter” to colleges informing them that sexual assault and sexual harassment are forms of sex discrimination, and therefore included within Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.[63] The Department of Education also released a list of the 55 institutions (including Princeton University) under investigation for violations of Title IX.[64] But the intense media attention to and public scrutiny of this advocacy has been a mixed blessing. Many people respond by blaming victims and by doubting the severity of the issue. Others fear colleges are now “overcorrecting” and not respecting the rights of those accused of sexual assault.[65] Within the more private women’s worlds of Sinister Wisdom or Chrysalis, survivors would not have been subjected to public inspection, skepticism, and woman-blaming.

Patriarchal violence persists even in the face of these feminist campaigns for legal gains and greater cultural awareness and sensitivity. For many a feminist who enters into a relationship with a man, the question posed by Adrienne Rich remains: What will you undertake? Feminists understand that all men, even the progressive ones who seem to really get it, are complicit in patriarchy because they benefit from continuing structures of male privilege. Rich’s question becomes a challenge to men to recognize this uncomfortable truth and to work for change. As long as the sexual violence against women and girls depicted so vividly in the poems exists, women will continue to feel every rape “incessantly whispered into/incessantly scraped across/each of our body’s sacred openings/moment by moment for all the days of our lives.”[66] Only when the system that perpetuates, enables, and excuses violence and abuse by men against women is fully dismantled can a woman or a girl feel entirely safe and secure when she interacts with a man or a boy.


Works Cited

Ali, Russlynn. United States Department of Education. Civil Rights Office. Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Violence. Washington, DC: GPO, April 4. 2011.

Berson, Ginny Z. “The Furies: Goddesses of Vengeance.” In Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 2, edited by Ken Wachsberger, 269-288. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2012.

Bogdanich, Walt. “Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn’t: How One College Handled a Sexual Assault Complaint.” New York Times, July 12, 2014. http://nytimes.com/.

Chrystos. “‘What Did He Hit You With?’ The Doctor Said.” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 41.   Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

“Cycles/Women/Children.” Chrysalis, 1978, 74-75. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Daly, Mary. “Sparking: The Fire of Female Friendship.” Chrysalis, 1978, 27-35. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Hall, Ran. “Five After Incest.” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 33-35. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Hasday, Jill Elaine. “Contest and Consent: A Legal History of Marital Rape.” California Law Review, Oct. 2000, 1373-1505. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3481263.

Hull, Gloria. “Poem for Nenia.” Chrysalis, 1980, 106. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Jordan, June. “Roman Poem Number 14.” Chrysalis, 1980, 120. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Mainardi, Pat. “The Politics of Housework,” Redstockings (1970): 3, Chicago Women’s  Liberation Union Historical Archive.

McAllister, Pamela. “Killers.” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 20. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

north, mh. “Sisters.” Sinister Wisdom, Spring 1978, 71. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

north, mh. “The Double Pink Sphinxes.” Sinister Wisdom, Spring 1978, 70. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Perish, Melanie. “Openings: For Carolyn and Marianne.” Sinister Wisdom, Spring 1978, 69. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Rich, Adrienne. “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence.” In Feminism and Sexuality: A Reader, edited by Stevi Jackson and Sue Scott, 130-141. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

Rich, Adrienne. “From an Old House in America.” Chrysalis, 1978, 109. Reveal Digital:   Independent Voices.

Rich, Adrienne. “Origin and History of Consciousness.” Chrysalis, 1978, 111. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Rich, Adrienne. “Sibling Mysteries.” Chrysalis, 1977, 117-119. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Rich, Adrienne. “Transcendental Etude.” Chrysalis, 1978, 23-25. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Rich, Cynthia. “Reflections on Eroticism.” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 59-63. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Rubin, Gayle. “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality.” In Culture, Society, and Sexuality: A Reader, edited by Richard Parker and Peter Aggleton, 143-178. Abingdon: Routledge, 2007.

Schneider, Elizabeth M. “Domestic Violence Law Reform in the Twenty-First Century: Looking    Back and Looking Forward.” Family Law Quarterly 42, no. 3 (Fall 2008): 353-364. Brooklynworks.brooklaw.edu/faculty/328/.

Sex & Justice. Directed by Julian Schlossberg. New York: First Run Features, 2008. DVD.

Shulman, Alix Kates. “A Marriage Disagreement, or Marriage by Other Means.” In The Feminist Memoir Project, edited by Rachel Blau Duplessis and Ann Snitow, 284-303. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2007.

Skeen, Anita. “In Wichita, Kansas, In Lincoln, Nebraska.” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 19-20. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Somanader, Tanya. “President Obama Launches the “It’s On Us” Campaign to End Sexual Assault on Campus.” The White House Blog. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog.

Star, Susan Leigh. “for Jeanne d’Arc, burning.” Sinister Wisdom, July 1976, 13-15. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Steinhauer, Jennifer and David S. Joachim. “55 Colleges Named in Federal Inquiry into Handling of Sexual Assault Cases.” New York Times, May 1, 2014. http://nytimes.com.

“The Pledge.” It’s On Us. http://www.itsonus.org/.

Vigil, Evangelina. “ay que ritmo.” Chrysalis, 1978, 101. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

Yoffe, Emily. “The College Rape Overcorrection.” Slate, December 7, 2014.              http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/12/college_rape_campus_sexual_assault_is_a_serious_problem_but_the_efforts.html.

This paper represents my own work in accordance with University regulations.

/s/ Katherine McClain Fleming

[1] Melanie Perish, “Openings: For Carolyn and Marianne,” Sinister Wisdom, Spring 1978, 69, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[2] Pat Mainardi, “The Politics of Housework,” Redstockings (1970): 3, Chicago Women’s Liberation Union Historical Archive.

[3] Alix Kates Shulman, “A Marriage Disagreement, or Marriage by Other Means,” in The Feminist Memoir Project, ed. Rachel Blau Duplessis and Ann Snitow (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2007), 291-292.

[4] Ginny Z. Berson, “The Furies: Goddesses of Vengeance,” in Insider Histories of the Vietnam Era Underground Press, Part 2, ed. Ken Wachsberger (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press), 271.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid., 272.

[7] Ibid., 274.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Susan Leigh Star, “for Jeanne d’Arc, burning,” Sinister Wisdom, July 1976, 13, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[10] Ibid., 14.

[11] mh north, “The Double Pink Sphinxes,” Sinister Wisdom, Spring 1978, 70, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[12] Anita Skeen, “In Wichita, Kansas, In Lincoln, Nebraska,” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 19, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[13] Pamela McAllister, “Killers,” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 20, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[14] Ran Hall, “Five After Incest,” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 33, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Adrienne Rich, “Sibling Mysteries,” Chrysalis, 1977, 118, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[18] “Cycles/Women/Children.” Chrysalis, 1978, 74. Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Evangelina Vigil, “ay que ritmo,” Chrysalis, 1978, 101, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[21] Adrienne Rich, “From an Old House in America,” Chrysalis, 1978, 109, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[22] Adrienne Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” in Feminism and Sexuality: A Reader, ed. Stevi Jackson and Sue Scott (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), 140.

[23] Ibid., 141.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Chrystos, “‘What Did He Hit You With?’ The Doctor Said,” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 41, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[26] June Jordan, “Roman Poem Number 14,” Chrysalis, 1980, 120, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[27] Gayle Rubin, “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality,” in Culture, Society, and Sexuality: A Reader, ed. Richard Parker and Peter Aggleton (Abingdon: Routledge, 2007), 170.

[28] Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality,” 140.

[29] Susan Robbins, Untitled, Sinister Wisdom, Spring 1978, 40, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[30] mh north, “Sisters,” Sinister Wisdom, Spring 1978, 71, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[31] north, “The Double Pink Sphinxes,” 70.

[32] Cynthia Rich, “Reflections on Eroticism,” Sinister Wisdom, Fall 1980, 60, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[33] Rich, “Sibling Mysteries,” 119.

[34] Ibid., 117.

[35] Adrienne Rich, “Transcendental Etude,” Chrysalis, 1978, 24, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Adrienne Rich, “Origin and History of Consciousness,” Chrysalis, 1978, 111, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[38] Gloria Hull, “Poem for Nenia,” Chrysalis, 1980, 106, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[39] Mary Daly, “Sparking: The Fire of Female Friendship,” Chrysalis, 1978, 27-35, Reveal Digital: Independent Voices.

[40] Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality,” 136.

[41] Ibid., 139.

[42] Rubin, “Thinking Sex,” 170.

[43] Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality,” 140.

[44] Rubin, “Thinking Sex,” 154.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Rich, “Compulsory Heterosexuality,” 139.

[47] Rich, “Origin and History of Consciousness,” 111.

[48] Jill Elaine Hasday, “Contest and Consent: A Legal History of Marital Rape,” California Law Review, Oct. 2000, 1482, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3481263.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Ibid., 1484.

[51] Ibid., 1485.

[52] Elizabeth M. Schneider, “Domestic Violence Law Reform in the Twenty-First Century: Looking Back and Looking Forward,” Family Law Quarterly 42, no. 3 (Fall 2008): 354, Brooklynworks.brooklaw.edu/faculty/328/.

[53] Ibid., 355.

[54] Ibid.

[55] “Cycles/Women/Children,” 74.

[56] Schneider, “Domestic Violence Law Reform in the Twenty-First Century,” 356.

[57] Chrystos, “‘What Did He Hit You With?’ The Doctor Said,” 41.

[58] Schneider, “Domestic Violence Law Reform in the Twenty-First Century,” 356.

[59] Chrystos, “‘What Did He Hit You With?’ The Doctor Said,” 41.

[60] Sex & Justice, directed by Julian Schlossberg (New York: First Run Features, 2008), DVD.

[61] Walt Bogdanich, “Reporting Rape, and Wishing She Hadn’t: How One College Handled a Sexual Assault Complaint,” New York Times, July 12, 2014, http://nytimes.com/.

[62] “The Pledge,” It’s On Us, http://www.itsonus.org/.

[63] Russlynn Ali, United States Department of Education, Civil Rights Office, Dear Colleague Letter: Sexual Violence (Washington, DC: GPO, April 4. 2011).

[64] Jennifer Steinhauer and David S. Joachim, “55 Colleges Named in Federal Inquiry into Handling of Sexual Assault Cases,” New York Times, May 1, 2014, http://nytimes.com.

[65] Emily Yoffe, “The College Rape Overcorrection,” Slate, December 7, 2014,

[66] Star, “for Jeanne d’Arc, burning,” 13.