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Hi My name is Erin. I am a 27 year old female college student. I am taking a Criminal Justice class called "Women, Crime and Punishment". My teacher is emphasing feminism. He has given me a project to compare "Consciousness Raising", "Politics", and the "State and Sexuality". He said that I could find the definitions to those 3 subjects as they apply to the feminist movement on the internet. I haven't. I found a description of consciousness raising but nothing on the other two. Is there any way you could help me out? I would really appreciate it. Thank you in advance for any help you could give me. —Erin

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. That is a very general project topic--good luck.

I will answer as best I can, but wanted to say that to the best of my knowledge there is no one definition of these words/experiences.

As you have probably discovered--Consciouness Raising developed mostly in the form of Consiousness Raising (or CR) groups. In these groups, which were popular in the early 1970s and late 1960s, but have always existed and continue to exist in a different form, mostly women would exchange ideas and experiences. Mostly what would result from these meetings is a sense of community--and "I'm not crazy, the system is crazy." It was also a way of discovering commonality among women and out of these CR groups grew a more vocal political movement.

As for "Politics"--which, of course, means many things--I would guess that what your professor is getting at is the feminist credo of sorts---"the personal is the political." This also works in reverse--the "political is the personal." Not until this link is made will people be movitated to work against gender and racial caste systems.

As for the "State and Sexuality"---I think you need him to clarify, because Sexuality is really about being sexual--regardless of with whom. However, I have often heard people misrepresent sexuality for "gender." But assuming that it is the former, I would assume that he is getting at whether or not the State (i.e. politics) has the right to regulate one's sexuality. This means the choices we make about our sexuality as much as it means how sexuality is represented--i.e. is it stereotyped; victimized, etc....And what effect do these representations have on society as a whole? Does the state have a responsibility to regulate some of the misrepresentations that happen around sexuality?

I hope this helps--and I hope you can follow me. Good luck with your paper.


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