OTI Online
Winter 2009

Related Articles: New Year Revolutions Women Need
by MaryLou Greenberg

We asked leading thinkers to describe New Revolutions We Need for a feminist and progressive future. Here's one response.


The print editions of On the Issues Magazine (1983-1999) carried many articles, editorials and interviews with vision and hopeful projections about women’s lives, even when they also addressed difficult realities. We’ve highlighted a few below, available for free in our Archives.

A special focus on The Future of Love in Summer in 1995 featured Ronnie Sandroff’s The State-of-the Couple Report, in which she discussed how social values support the "act" of marriage, but social reality, including the market economy, conspires against romance, passion and equal relationships. Sandroff writes: “To preserve the joys of our couple relationships, and preserve ourselves and the world around us, [the writer] bell hooks implies we may need to create radical circles of love, insurrectionary groups -- like those of the early Christians or Buddhist monks -- that both protect individuals and work for fundamental change....Choosing love, hooks notes, we also choose to live in community, and that means that we do not have to change by ourselves. Creating tribes of common interest, neighborhood communities, political cells, circles of love, gives us a reservoir of love to drink from when we find ourselves outside of a couple -- or parched from the innate limits of the twosome.”

In the same issue, a short outline of Relationship Trends We’d Like to See provoked out-of-the-box thinking about “starter relationships,” separating child rearing from marriage, and developing “commune models” for "circles of friendship and support that supplement or replaces the couple.”

In Raising Boys as Allies, Paul Kivel proposed ways to break boys out of the box of “act like a man” cliches and away from male- and white-supremacist values.

Elayne Clift interviewed Dr. Jocelyn Elders, shortly after her appointment as U.S. Surgeon General in 1993 and captured some of her vision, ideas that are still useful and needed today.“Every surgeon general has priorities. My priority is to make sure every child born in America is a wanted child…As long as we do not have choice about our reproductive health, we really don’t have much of a choice about anything.” Elders generated enthusiasm when she spoke truth about reproductive health and sexuality – but it also led to her dismissal by President Bill Clinton in December 1994 after she stated in response to a question posed to her at the UN World AIDS Day that she thought masturbation was “part of human sexuality and perhaps it should be taught.”

Merle Hoffman’s editorial, Happiness and the Feminist Mind, in the Fall 1996 issue questioned the conventional concept of happiness and posed a challenge: “Revolutions are not for fun. Which is not to say that one cannot or should not have some or even a great deal of fun while in them. The idea that the continuing feminist revolution was and is about making individual women happy and fulfilled is a continuing error. If some feminists involved in the movement were personally unhappy but the movement achieved even some of its goals of freeing women from violence, oppression, and the tragedies of half-lived lives, it would be a success… If we ever 'dance at the revolution,' it is because we are listening to a different drummer, the one that sounds the notes of commitment to a cause and the music of the transcendence that comes from working for the highest ideals.”

Also See: OTI Dialogue: Congressman John Lewis and Andrea Dworkin Towards a Revolution in Values by Merle Hoffman, reprinted in this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

Also see: Revolution Lite by Merle Hoffman from this edition of On The Issues Magazine.

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