Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Women's Studies

Major Professor

Marilyn Myerson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ruth Banes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sara Crawley, Ph.D.


Revolution, Weather underground, Valerie Solanas, Robin Morgan, Jane Alpert, Gilda Zwerman, Ti-Grace Atkinson, Bernadine Dohrn


In this thesis I use the radical, pro-violent organization the Weathermen as a framework to examine women and feminisms complex relationships with violence. My thesis attempts to show the many belief systems that second wave feminists possessed concerning the role(s) of women and violence in revolutionary organizations. Hence, by using the Weathermen as a framework, I discuss various feminist essentialist and pacifist critiques of violence. I also include an analysis of feminists who, similar to the Weathermen, embraced political violence. For example, radical feminists Robin Morgan and Jane Alpert criticized the Weathermen's violent tactics while other feminists such as Ti-Grace Atkinson and Valerie Solanas advocated that women "pick up the gun" in order to destroy patriarchal society. In addition, I analyze the stereotypes of the violent female, which have often been supported by feminists and non-feminists alike. Thus, the stereotyped "nature" of the violent female does not allow for the complexities that accompany the many reasons why women commit politically motivated crimes.

Understanding the role women played in the Weathermen is an important task because women's roles and representation in radical, New Left organizations have often been ignored, overlooked and reproduced by revisionist analyses. Though revolutionary groups from the sixties and seventies were important and progressive in many ways, my thesis will examine the phenomenon of silencing women's voices in these organizations and how this silencing inspired women to find voice in their own movements. Furthermore, I am also interested in radical second wave feminists belief systems and histories concerning violence, particularly since they have rarely been delved into by historians or feminist researchers.

In conclusion, by using the Weathermen as a framework for my thesis, I examine sexism in the New Left, radical feminisms’ multiplicity of beliefs about violence, and critique the stereotypes about women and political violence.