The Sexual Revolution Within the Second Wave Feminist Movement


  • Fallon G Fosbery Thompson Rivers University


feminism, sexual revolution, second wave feminism, abortion, the pill, birth control, sexual violence


In North America, between 1947 and 1991, the sexual revolution revealed itself as a period of discovery, experience, and exploration to differing degrees. Despite the new found freedom for women that arose amidst the revolution, the distress of sexual violence and oppression persisted and became a prominent concern for feminist liberation groups, who, within the revolution, fought against the sexual oppression and violence which had been present in their lives, but were otherwise silenced prior to the movement. This paper provides evidence of the multiple different media outlets women used to spread their message of equality, with great emphasis placed on how liberators utilized these outlets to achieve sexual freedom by protesting two of the greatest forms of reproductive oppression: the abortion law and banning of the birth control pill. This paper also comments on the correlation between the sexual revolution and sexual violence, documenting how the rise of the sexual revolution promoted a surge in the discussion of sexual violence, as well as a rise in preventative measures. While this argument certainly takes precedence, there is also a discussion regarding the attempts to delegitimize this positive relationship by placing the blame of sexual violence on the rise of the sexual revolution. To debunk this myth, the argument is put forth that the sexual revolution provided a platform for victims of sexual violence.