The personal is political , also called the private is political , political slogan expressing a common belief among feminists that the personal experiences of women are rooted in their political situation and gender inequality. Hanisch was not the first to suggest that personal experiences are the result of social structures or inequality. In American sociologist C. Wright Mills published The Sociological Imagination , in which he argued that individual experiences are inextricably connected with the greater social and historical context. If an individual is unemployed, then that unemployment may be related to larger patterns of unemployment in that society. This focus on contextual factors is important in the social sciences.
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The exact origin of the phrase is unknown and sometimes debated. Many second-wave feminists used the phrase "the personal is political" or its underlying meaning in their writing, speeches, consciousness-raising, and other activities.
The meaning has sometimes been interpreted to mean that political and personal issues affect each other. It has also meant that the experience of women is the grounding of feminism, both personal and political.
Feminist and writer Carol Hanisch's essay titled "The Personal is Political" appeared in the anthology Notes From the Second Year: Women's Liberation in , and is often credited with creating the phrase. However, in her introduction to the republication of the essay, Hanisch wrote that she did not come up with the title. Some feminist scholars have noted that by the time the anthology was published in , "the personal is political" had already become a widely used part of the women's movement and was not a quote attributable to any one person.
Carol Hanisch's essay explains the idea behind the phrase "the personal is political. According to Hanisch, calling the groups "therapy" was a misnomer, as the groups were not intended to solve any women's personal problems. Instead, consciousness-raising was a form of political action to elicit discussion about such topics as women's relationships, their roles in marriage, and their feelings about childbearing.
Her essay "The Personal Is Political" said that coming to a personal realization of how "grim" the situation was for women was as important as doing political "action" such as protests. Hanisch noted that "political" refers to any power relationships, not just those of government or elected officials. In Hanisch wrote about how the essay's original form came out of her experience of working in male-dominated civil rights, anti-Vietnam War and left old and new political groups.
Lip service was given to women's equality, but beyond narrow economic equality, other women's issues were often dismissed. Hanisch was particularly concerned about the persistence of the idea that women's situation was women's own fault, and perhaps "all in their heads.
Among the influential works cited as bases for "the personal is political" idea are sociologist C. Wright Mills' book The Sociological Imagination , which discusses the intersection of public issues and personal problems, and feminist Claudia Jones ' essay "An End to the Neglect of the Problems of Negro Women!
Another feminist sometimes said to have coined the phrase is Robin Morgan , who founded several feminist organizations and edited the anthology Sisterhood is Powerful , also published in Gloria Steinem has said that it is impossible to know who first said "the personal is political" and that saying you coined the phrase "the personal is political" would be like saying you coined the phrase " World War II.
Some have critiqued the focus on "the personal is political" because, they say, it has meant a focus more exclusively on personal issues such as family division of labor, and has ignored systemic sexism and political problems and solutions. Share Flipboard Email. Linda Napikoski. Linda Napikoski, J.
The Personal Is Political
The personal is political , also termed The private is political , is a political argument used as a rallying slogan of student movement and second-wave feminism from the late s. It underscored the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures. In the context of the feminist movement of the s and s, it was a challenge to the nuclear family and family values. The phrase was popularized by the publication of a essay by feminist Carol Hanisch under the title "The Personal is Political" in ,  but she disavows authorship of the phrase, as she says that "As far as I know, that was done by Notes from the Second Year editors Shulie Firestone and Anne Koedt after Kathie Sarachild brought it to their attention as a possible paper to be printed in that early collection". Carol Hanisch, a member of New York Radical Women and a prominent figure in the Women's Liberation Movement , drafted an article defending the political importance of consciousness-raising groups in February in Gainesville, Florida.
“The Personal is Political”
January The paper actually began as a memo that I wrote in February of while in Gainesville, Florida. This was not an unusual reaction to radical feminist ideas in early WLM groups had been springing up all over the country—and the world. It had a good record of racial, economic and political justice work since New Deal days, and I joined its staff in as its New York office manager.
The personal is political