"What's In A Name?: Analysis of "Feminist" Nancy F. Cott, William L. Oneill's 1969 "Everyone was brave"

Essay by tghoshehUniversity, Bachelor'sF, March 2006

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In the Article "What's In A Name", the meaning and significance of the word feminist is discussed. Writers of activists of feminism are analyzed and quoted to explore a conclusion to the depth, meaning, and truth of the word "feminism". This article goes beyond the simple term to conclude through analysis that there in fact is no single definition for feminism, when the term is analyzed so fervently.

In the article by Nancy F. Cott, William L. Oneill's 1969 Everyone was brave: The rise and fall of feminism in America is analyzed to the tip, and compared with all other sources of discussion. Oneill is the first to coin the term "feminism", and meanwhile split the meaning when he also coined "hard-core feminism". His overview of feminism created a stir in the 1970's among college students who claimed to know all able to tell all about the subject. The article then continues to debate split meanings and new parties of feminism: "young woman, older woman", "public feminist, social feminist".

The article even discusses possible categories in which feminism can be placed for example, "domestic politics", or "sexual politics". The swarm of terms and technicalities sends the reader to a conclusion that he (or she) cannot and should not understand: that there is not one simple meaning to feminism; rather that the solution is to find a word that defines and encompasses all the different categories of feminism. This is suggestive to even those who act as and consider themselves as feminist. The men and women who fought for women's suffrage, the then-considered provocative woman visitors and owners of speak-easies of the roaring twenties', and the young activists of the 1950's and 1960's who demanded young women be let out of poodle skirts and quiet manners, all fought for a different...