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Women’s Liberation Movement in Newsweek Covers

These photos are all from Newsweek‘s online collection.  The text is written by Sarah Ball, who introduced the collection with this:

From real-life riveting Rosies to Gloria Steinem’s faded blue sunglasses, NEWSWEEK has splashed mighty icons of women’s history on its cover throughout the magazine’s 77 years. We opened our archives for the best of those images, and passages of the stories behind them. The words speak to different desires and different political movements, but a single theme unites them. As Radcliffe student Faye Levine, quoted in a 1966 NEWSWEEK piece, affectingly issued, “You have opened the door of Shangri-La to us; do not be surprised when we stick our foot in it. The old world of our silent, contented acquiescence is gone forever.”

These images accompanied an article entitled, “Are we There Yet?” which discusses the changes over the past forty years in gender.  Enjoy.


The women’s movement, relegated to the fringe during prior decades, suddenly went mainstream. From the editor’s note: “A new specter is haunting America—the specter of militant feminism. Convinced they have little to lose but their domestic chains, growing numbers of women are challenging the basic assumptions of what they consider a male-dominated society. They demand equal rights in every area from wages through child-rearing to sexual expression."

This cover is also important as it signifies the entry of women into the Newsweek workforce, as 46 women successfully sued Newsweek for gender discrimination in 1970.

The intersection of fashion and politics, relayed with comical gravity by a male writer: “At issue is a deceptively miniscule few inches of fabric that will determine whether women’s skirts will drop to a demure mid-calf, or stay casually provocative above the knee. The Presidents of the U.S. and France have proclaimed their approval of the midi, but most men sense a conspiracy in action. The Beautiful People like the longer look, but many women who are merely lovely are outraged at the thought of buying entirely new wardrobes.”

Gloria Steinem’s words were serious. As she wrote of the Pill at the time, “The real danger of the contraceptive revolution may be the acceleration of women’s role change without any corresponding change of man’s attitude towards her role.” But the description of her appearance didn’t convey the same grave tone. “In hip-hugging raspberry Levis, two-inch wedgies and a tight poor-boy T-shirt, her long, blond-streaked hair falling just so above each breast and her cheerleader-pretty face...Any old swatch of cloth rides like a midsummer night’s dream on what one friend calls her ‘most incredibly perfect body.’ ”

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