First issue of off our backs, published in February 1970.
The mission of off our backs is:
to provide news and information about women’s lives and feminist activism;
to educate the public about the status of women around the world;
to serve as a forum for feminist ideas and theory;
to be an information resource on feminist, women’s, and lesbian culture;
and to seek social justice and equality for women worldwide.
Statement from the First Issue of off our backs
Volume 1, Issue 1, February 1970
Nowadays there is again a movement of women gaining strength and momentum as we become united in the knowledge of our common oppression and our commitment to struggle for liberation. Fifty years after we have won the right to vote we still do not have equal wages for equal work. We remain enslaved in myths of female inferiority, our lives limited to the home and children, often in poverty and isolation. We are considered only temporary workers and channeled into secondary and low-paying jobs. We do not have control over our own bodies, our own reproduction. Through the sexual “revolution” we have been cast in the role of sexual object, pleasure machines to be victimized by unsafe and unresearched birth control.
off our backs is a paper for all women who are fighting for the liberation of their lives and we hope it will grow and expand to meet the needs of women from all backgrounds and classes. In order to succeed we need you to use this paper to relate what you are doing and what you are thinking, for we are convinced that a woman speaking from the agony of her own struggle has a voice that can touch the experience of all women.
The name off our backs was chosen because it reflects our understanding of the dual nature of the women’s movement. Women need to be free of men’s domination to find their real identities, redefine their lives, and fight for the creation of a society in which they can lead decent lives as human beings. At the same time, women must become aware that there would be no oppressor without the oppressed, that we carry the responsibility for withdrawing the consent to be oppressed. We must strive to get off our backs, and with the help of our sisters to oppose and destroy that system which fortifies the supremacy of men while exploiting the mass for the profit of the few. Our position is not anti-men but pro-women. We seek through the liberation of women, the liberation of all peoples.
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