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HANDOUT 3: Freedom

Written by the Arlington Street Church Woman's Caucus and published in the "Honor Thy Womanself" program by the Unitarian Universalist Woman's Federation, 1973. Used with permission of the Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation.

As a movement that touches my life, deeply, humanly, profoundly, the women's movement has to do with FREEDOM—freedom to become, to grow, to create, freedom to come to the following realizations:

1. I'm not a BODY, but a PERSON. I don't have to use my body to sell me, to anyone for any reason.

2. I have a right to be judged not as a sexual object, but as me, a person. I can get angry at catcalls, at dehumanizing advertising that uses women's bodies to sell its products.

3. At the same time that my body is freed as a sex object, I become free to appreciate it and to discover ways to experience a fuller sexuality in which I am an equal partner. I am freed from being a vehicle for a man's sexual enjoyment, and in so being, help to lead both myself and my partner toward a fuller sexuality.

4. I am free to become—whatever I want (given the confines of institutional sexism and a capitalistic society). I can pursue a career. My life does not depend in any way on finding a man to support me. I am independent, self-confident, and alive. I have a good and creative mind, and I can use it. I do not have to hide it to enable me to catch a man.

5. I don't have to play games with men, because I don't have to "catch" a man. I don't have to be anything but who I am and let the chips fall where they may.

6. This frees me to have a healthy and sharing relationship with men and women. I am not competing with women to "catch a man". I am not clinging dependently to a man for my life, my support or my interests; I can participate freely in a loving relationship. I am free from what my culture calls feminine—to be myself.

7. I can use and enjoy my body as a man can. I don't have to trap it in uncomfortable and fashionable clothes that advertising tells me I need to lure a man into my net. I can dress comfortably and functionally. I can run and laugh and yell and be alive. I am free to explore all of my emotions—anger, too.

8. I am free from what society says are my duties and ROLES. I am not a housekeeper, cook, and, eventually, mother—unless I chose freely to do those things. I expect my mate to share equally in those tasks. I am not confined to dull, unimaginative, service-oriented jobs. I am free to create, to lead, to express myself, to pursue a vocation that is a challenge to all of myself—to GROW and not become stagnant in society's roles.

9. Finally, I am free to help other women and men see the sorts of ROLES they are often trapped in—to help all of us become more able to relate to each other as human beings and to throw off the stifling roles of masculine/feminine.

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Last updated on Saturday, December 10, 2011.

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