ERIC Number: ED428186
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999
Feminist Life Stories: Twelve Journeys Come together at a Women's Center.
A study explored through personal narratives of 12 self-proclaimed feminists the kind of feminist leadership that emerged in 1993 when a women's center emerged in a small conservative midwest college town. These 12 volunteers who were mandated to make the collective vision a reality included 11 Euro-American and 1 Mexican-American women, well-educated and from the middle class. The life histories focused on historical and biographical circumstances in which the women who started the center began to identify themselves as feminists. Through storytelling, they invented pictures of their identities revealing life patterns of resistance, desires for social and personal transformation, strong senses of place, and feelings of spiritual location. Their narratives of self-transformation often invoked the dominant cultural ideologies of their time and then proceeded to transcend them in various ways as they tried to arrive at a clear picture of their "feminist education." Their stories contained instances in which they were powerful or powerless depending on the contextual situations imposed upon them. The diverse personal and evolving perspectives revealed that although the 12 believed they were feminists, their individual journeys were unique personal transformation. They proclaimed liberal notions, but their status of privilege sheltered them from really knowing oppression and gave them only glimpses of the realities of poor women and women of darker colors. (Contains 14 references) (YLB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revised version of a paper originally entitled, "Learning Feminism: Life Histories from a Midwest Women's Center" which was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (Phoenix, AZ, November 20, 1998).