To The Root: Feminist Issue

The feminist issue of To the Root, from March 10, 1980, provides evidence of the type of consciousness raising and passionate activism that was taking place on Bowdoin’s campus during the early 1980s (Document CS, 62). The Afro-American Society, the Bowdoin Energy Research Group, the Bowdoin Women’s Association, Struggle and Change, and the Gay-Straight Alliance came together to raise awareness around feminism through this issue of To the Root.

The authors challenge conceptions of feminism and lesbianism, discuss sexism and the women’s movement, explore ways to make change, ask readers to think about male-centered language, and argue for breaking down gender imbalances and inequities. One article, “A Feminist Critique of a Liberal Arts Education” criticizes Bowdoin’s use of male-centered language, its exclusion of her-story in history classes, the scarcity of feminist books and magazines in the college library, and the dearth of women in the permanent and more powerful faculty positions.

This publication includes images as well as text. All of the images, from cartoons to drawings, are of naked woman. One image is a white woman in child’s pose with the caption “I Am a Woman Giving Birth to Myself.” Another features a black woman holding the emblem of the United Nations. These images propagate the idea of reclaiming women’s bodies, self-expression, rights, and history.

To the Root introduces the Women’s Resource Center, which was slated to open the following fall as an “educational tool for the entire community.” The publication shows the determination of Bowdoin’s early feminists to work in coalition with other campus groups to raise awareness around women’s issues.

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