I Separatism as Strategy Female Institution Building and American Feminism, 1870 -1930
At the time I wrote this essay, I had begun to question liberal feminism in light of the separatist “women’s culture” of the 1970s. In the work of Emily Newell Blair, the feminist politician who in the late 1920s reconsidered the strategy of integrating women into mainstream political parties, I found historical precedents for applying the concept of women’s culture to feminist politics. I continue to value female separatism but always with the caveats that we should distinguish carefully between women’s and feminist institutions, remain aware of the costs of racial exclusiveness, and avoid romanticizing the past. My own revision of the argument about women’s separatism, along with references to later studies, appears in chapter 2.