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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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(p.173) Introduction
The Essential Ellen Willis

Ann Friedman

University of Minnesota Press

This section contains chapters written in the 1980s, during which the author struggled to be the radical voice of reason amid a superstorm of conservatism on the right and hopelessness on the left. She had a child during this timeand forms the kind of nuclear family she could have scarcely pictured a decade earlier. Yet she rewrites the rules within those boundaries, an experience that pushes her to overlay her definition of “family” on to that of the Reaganites and relish the asymmetry. If the 1970s were the hangover after the heady days of revolution, the 1980s were when sobriety really began to set in. Drug experimentation had led to a wasteful national war on narcotics and, on a personal level, very real addictions. The sexual revolution had trailblazed uneasy relationship terrain that didn’t necessarily leave women more fulfilled. Racial equality remained surprisingly elusive, even in most activist spheres. Pregnancy was becoming almost as heavily regulated as abortion, and parenting was virtually neglected by earlier iterations of the feminist movement.

Keywords:   right, left, Ellen Willis, family, narcotics, sexual revolution, women, pregnancy, abortion, parenting

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