Posts tagged Ellen Willis
“Escape from New York,” Ellen Willis in No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays (via birthdaygrl)
buy No More Nice Girls here
SFJ: Willis had an interesting story about why and how she shifted. She was writing for other magazines about other stuff and she wrote about a rape case for Rolling Stone.
SM: “The Trial of Arlene Hunt,” which is in Beginning to See the Light. A knockout of an essay.
SFJ: It’s pretty intense. When it came out, [New Yorker] editor William Shawn saw her in the hallway and said, “That was a fantastic piece. Of course, we could never run anything like that, but it was great.” She said she went back to her office and thought about it for an hour and then packed up her things and left. She said she realized then that that’s what she had wanted to do.
SM: He was the one who originally asked her if she would mind writing as E. Willis, right, so that she wasn’t Ellen in print? She said, no, I would mind. I want to be Ellen Willis in print.
Is The Personal Blog Post Political?
Ellen Willis and her cohort struggled for their rights; our generation inherited them. The liberties that women devoted their lives to winning and protecting are now largely taken for granted – Roe v. Wade was decided more than a decade before I was born, no-fault divorces are a fact of life, and it’s unlikely that I’ll lose the right to vote. In the essay “Looking for Mr. Good Dad,” Willis describes the difficulty of communicating with a generation that’s “too young … to remember what women’s lives were like before the libertarian ferment of the 60s.” I can’t imagine how it feels to fight for one’s beliefs and see them normalized in the same lifetime.
But while the vocabulary of Willis’ feminism has trickled into mainstream (read: internet) writing and thinking, the structural changes that she calls for are dissociated from individual responsibility and action.