A Critical Examination of Lesbian Separatism in the United States from the 1970s-Present
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Through an exploration of the history of lesbian separatism, it is clear that the movement was formed by refusing to be ignored. Lesbian separatism is based upon three main tenets, including the position that sexism is the root of all oppression, heterosexuality is the basis of sexism, and the appropriation of power is an integral goal of separatist thought. The challenges faced by lesbian separatism in implementing these tenets will be explored through two case studies. First, a lesbian separatist collective that existed in the 1970s will be analyzed. Secondly, the Michigan Women's Music Festival, which was initiated in the 1970s and still exists today will be examined. The research included in this analysis was gathered from existing documents, including books, scholarly journals, feminist publications, and newspapers. The shortcomings of such an analysis are apparent in terms of relying upon published information. Furthermore, some of the authors cited are academics who have not been directly involved in the lesbian separatist movement. The evidence cited in this analysis is compelling as it is based upon many of the primary actors involved within the lesbian separatist movement in the 1970s until today. By utilizing specific case studies pertaining to the implementation of lesbian separatism, this analysis is able to not only examine lesbian separatism as an ideology but also to explore its real-world manifestations. Since its inception in the 1970s, other social movements have consistently attempted to subsume lesbian separatist politics, including the gay rights movement and women's movement of the 1970s as well as the modem queer movement. Despite this, lesbian separatism is still in existence. Ultimately, lesbian separatism is a viable political movement that is not only integral to the feminist movement as a whole but is necessary to providing an analysis of an alternative to male-dominated society.