The Personal Is Political

What does "The Personal is Political" Mean to Each of Us?

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Connecting on a personal level is an important part of sharing ideas. On this page we share with you our ideas on what "The personal is political." means to each of us.

The Personal Is Political: What it means to me
By Scott Peach
To talk about how the personal is political, I need to talk about consciousness-raising. I first learned about consciousness-raising in an essay written by Kathie Sarachild. Sarachild defines consciousness-raising as “Studying the whole gamut of women's lives, starting with the full reality of one's own.” The driving idea behind consciousness-raising is that when women get together and share their own experiences among each other, they can begin to see patterns of oppression that afflict women as a group, and not just women as an individual.


            The reason I can’t talk about this topic without mentioning consciousness-raising, is because consciousness-raising is the avenue by which be discover that some things are  not just random, isolated incidents. If a woman is getting paid less than a male co-worker with the same job/seniority/qualifications, it could seem like the boss had a grudge against her specifically. If that woman talks to female co-workers, and they discover that the same is true for the rest of them, then they have a pattern of discrimination.


            There is something powerful about realizing that something is not just “an issue”, but that it is an issue that affects you; it is “your issue.” As Sarachild said “We felt that all women would have to see the fight of women as their own, not as something just to help ‘other women,’ that they would have to see this truth about their own lives before they would fight in a radical way for anyone.”


            So consciousness-raising is central to the philosophy of “The Personal Is Political.” It is more than just turning a political issue into a personal issue; it is about discovering how a personal issue already affecting you is also already a political issue. I do not mean that every issue that a woman deals with in her everyday life is a political issue, but any woman who goes through the topics we will discuss is probably going to see how many of these feminist issues are also personal issues that are dealt with every day are.

By Amanda Stevens
When thinking about what "The Personal is Political" means to me, I cannot help but think about all the different roles I play and how they come together and make my complete self. Each of these roles, whether it be as a woman, a mother, a wife, a member of society, or as a student are all affected by the personal being the political.
The roles I am expected to play in my family life, the appearance I am suppose to hold, access to birth control to plan my family on my terms, to the medias expectations put upon a mother to be Supermom are all examples of what is personal becoming political.
Our everyday lives are engulfed with roles and rules, legislation and debate on what should be personal decisions and personal choices. To me, the mantra, "The personal is political." means taking back the power to decide on my own what is best for my life, how many children I want, fight unfair wages, and do what I think is best for myself, not what political instutitions such as the government, marriage, and religion, decide what is best for me.
To me, "The Personal is the political." can best be explained by Margaret Mead. She once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." To me, this quote represents feminism and all of its principals and its importance.


No Longer Silent

By Sarah Christensen


To me “The Personal is Political” means that no longer do women have to suffer in silence.  There are avenues where we can express ourselves and discuss issues often thought of to be taboo.  We can bring into the open those subjects such as birth control, rape and abortion and not fear repercussions for speaking about them.  Politicians can voice their views on these issues as part of their campaign speeches, and people can write or call their elected representatives and voice their opinions on upcoming votes on issues important to us.  The personal is political also means that women can seek help for situations and issues without the fear of being ostracized.  There are still stigma’s attached to victims of domestic violence and rape, but we are making strides towards those being gone as well.  As long as women care about themselves and are working towards a better tomorrow, the personal is political will mean that lives are improving and people are seeking help.