If the dangers posed by the hydrogen bomb in the 1950s and the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s had encouraged change and rethinking of traditional values, as Margot Henriksen’s arguments indicate in chapter 1, then the Vietnam conflict and its aftermath could only further enhance the conditions for change in the American security state’s hierarchies and ideologies. The histories cited in chapter 1 support such a conclusion. As the 1960s ended and the 1970s began, the rise of more radical feminist political groups and the emergence of more radical feminist philosophies among feminist activists and academicians reflected a reconsideration and evolution of the comparatively simpler goals of Old Left feminists in the Betty Friedan mold. The first stage of feminism emphasized the significance and necessity of women obtaining the rights to equal pay in and access to the public realm which, once entered by women in this egalitarian fashion, would guarantee a new mindset for women that would liberate them from the inhibiting and soul-denying roles implied in the cultural trope of the feminine mystique. Women would emerge as self-possessed subjects who would find the psychological and social wholeness denied to them in the private domestic world of the security state whose gendered hierarchies supported the Cold War militarization of America and likewise denied women a place in the public realm.
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Mark E. Wildermuth
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