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Radical Housewife Activism: Subverting The Toxic Public/Private Binary, Emma Foehringer Merchant May 2014

Radical Housewife Activism: Subverting The Toxic Public/Private Binary, Emma Foehringer Merchant

Pomona Senior Theses

Since the 1960s, the modern environmental movement, though generally liberal in nature, has historically excluded a variety of serious and influential groups. This thesis concentrates on the movement of working-class housewives who emerged into popular American consciousness in the seventies and eighties with their increasingly radical campaigns against toxic contamination in their respective communities. These women represent a group who exhibited the convergence of cultural influences where domesticity and environmentalism met in the middle of American society, and the increasing focus on public health in the environmental movement framed the fight undertaken by women who identified as “housewives.” These women ...