Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Liza Cowan collection, c. 1970s


Liza Cowan collection, c. 1970s


Lesbian Separatism


The 1970’s saw the rise of Feminist Separatism, a movement which advocated for women to center other women in all aspects of their lives, and sometimes, live separately from men as a way to liberate themselves from the patriarchy. The movement gained popularity with lesbian feminists as it aligned with their beliefs that women should focus their efforts and beliefs towards their fellow women instead of men. They often advocated that the logical result of feminism was lesbianism. This is why the movement is also known as Lesbian Separatism.

Liza Cowan is a prominent member of the Lesbian Separatism movement. Over the years, she has amassed a collection of various radio shows that talk about the Feminist Separatism movement, from both lesbian and heterosexual perspectives. This collection features key activists such as Rita Mae Brown, Mary Daly, and Margaret Sloan-Hunter.

In addition to radio shows, Cowan hosted and produced many podcasts as well as founded and edited several lesbian magazines including Dyke, A Quarterly. She met her longtime partner, musician Alix Dobkin, after Dobkin experienced frustrations with her role as a housewife and began engaging with counterculture media. Dobkin wrote to Cowan after listening to an interview Cowan had conducted with feminist Germaine Greer and Cowan invited Dobkin on the program to perform. The two women fell in love and entered an extended partnership. Together they unintentionally revived the historic slogan, “The Future is Female”, after an old picture Cowan took of Dobkin sporting a shirt with the slogan gained traction on social media.

Sources: The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/28/arts/music/alix-dobkin-dead.html


Liza Cowan




Recordings in this collection are not to be used for publication without the express written consent of Liza Cowan. Contact the Lesbian Herstory Archive for Liza Cowan’s contact information.


27 .wav files


27 1/4 Inch Audio Tapes






United States


Donated from Liza Cowan to the Lesbian Herstory Archives on June 21, 1997.

Collection Items

  • LC006.jpeg

    Discussion of domestic relations, and how a woman agrees to certain terms when she gets married. Women do not know what they are agreeing to. They know what it is, but they do not want the details. There is a discussion of how women are programmed to inherently undermine their own thoughts, and to label them as “feelings” as opposed to facts. Further discussion on how gender issues are defined.
  • SenecaFalls.wav

    The Seneca Falls radiodrama is a brief overview of what led to the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, 1848. The convention, now called the Seneca Falls Convention, was held in order to converse about the liberties that women do and do not have, be they civil, social, political, or religious. The recording introduces listeners to Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, two prominent members of the women’s rights movement at the time. A reading of the Declaration of Sentiments, which outlines the civil, social, political, and religious rights of women, as well as various quotes, are included in this recording.
  • LC011.jpeg

    This untitled interview features a guest who discusses her time in prison, the songs she wrote about another incarcerated woman, songs she wrote for political prisoners including Lolita Lebron and Susan Saxe, and conditions of the women’s prison which she was subjected to. She talks about how the state justified the horrible conditions at the prison, and the lack of access to any kind of rehabilitation programs, despite rehabilitation being the supposed purpose of prison.
  • LC005.JPG

    Women perform poems and songs, including “Ode to a Gym Teacher” by Meg Parker.
  • TiGraceAtkinson3.wav

    In part 3 of the recording of Ti-Grace Atkinson, she continues her discussion on the elements of logic. In Part 3, she further discusses different social movements and their analysis of their own oppression.
  • LC010.JPG

    In Part 2 of the recording of Ti-Grace Atkinson, she further discusses elements of logic. She connects these elements of logic to oppression and the Women’s Movement. She starts to connect the abstract elements of logic to social issues and includes a discussion of the class system based on the writings of Karl Marx.
  • IMG_3586.jpg

    In this interview, Marcia Danab, the host, talks to two members of Olivia Records: Ginny Berson, and Meg Christian. Berson and Christian talk about how they created their record label, as well as the challenges that they faced as a company made by women for women. They both talk about the struggles that they have faced in the music industry as women in regard to gaining ownership, being paid, being taken seriously as artists, and making music that is specific to the female experience and understanding. Olivia Records was founded in 1973 and played an important role within the gay rights and counterculture movements of the time. Notable artists they represented were Tret Fure, Kay Gardner, Leslie Ann Jones, BeBe K'Roche, Pat Parker, and Cris Williamson. Due to declining sales, Olivia Records became Olivia Cruises and Resorts, a lesbian vacation company, in 1990.
  • Halloween_10.74.wav

    In this program there is a discussion on the earliest myths on the creation of the universe, and goddess creation myths. There is a discussion of ancient matriarchal culture, and its survival as wicca/witchcraft. It pays homage to women who were hanged under accusations of witchcraft. The goddess is synonymous with gynocracy, and women participate in the divine.
  • LC007.jpeg

    Lee Brown is a black woman and an ex-offender, but says “none of the three overlap with eachother”. Brown's conversation with Colivia Carter is an dicourse touching on themes of intersectionality before the framework had its name. Brown reads poetry she calls “streetology” about her experiences with prostitution, incarceration, and black families.
  • LC038.jpeg

    A New You: The Laura Grey Way, hosted by John Cox and Laura Grey, is a weekly radio show that talks about beauty, skincare, and health. In this two-part recoding, the hosts are interviewing Betty Morales, the president of the Cancer Control Society. These episodes specifically focus on the idea of cancer as a nutritional deficiency condition, with Morales promoting the use of Laetrile, also know amygdalin, as a way to 'control' cancer in patients. However, the FDA has never given approval for laetrile to be used in the United States.
  • LC048.jpeg

    This recording consists of a collection of songs associated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an international union founded in 1905 in Chicago, IL. IWW members, commonly referred to as Wobblies, were prominent participants in the radical labor movement in the early 20th Century in the US. They also had ties to the socialist and anarchist movements of the time. While this recording does not include any information on the singers, writers, or dates recorded, most of these songs are written by Joe Hill and likely are sung by Joe Glazer and Bill Friedland. Joe Hill was a famous labor activist and folk singer in the early 1900s, and Joe Glazer and Bill Friedland kept Joe Hill’s music alive throughout the 20th century. Songs 1-13 are likely sung by Joe Glazer and Bill Friedland, song 14 by Holly Near, and song 15 by Charlie Poole. Songs 1-13 were likely recording in the 1950s.
  • LC003.JPG

    Part 1 of the recording of Ti-Grace Atkinson, a writer and philosopher who was part of the Women’s Movement in the 1970s, discusses elements of logic and different academic theories around logical thinking. She connects these elements of logic to oppression and the Women’s Movement. Part 1 mainly covers abstract theories of logical thinking.
  • LC004.jpeg

    Marcia Danub and Linda Daniels speak with Eleanor Cooper, spokeswoman for Lesbian Feminist Liberation, and Jean O'Leary, Legislative Coordinator, Board for the (then) National Gay Taskforce. LGBTQ+ and women’s rights activists were looking to repeal laws criminalizing homosexuality. Sodomy bills in the 1970s were explicitly written to target gay people, causing fear in the LGBTQ+ in their professional and personal lives. Intro 554 was one of many forms of the NYC Gay Rights Bill, which was passed in 1986, banning discrimination because of sexual orientation. Cooper and O'Leary provide information about the way these laws affect the lives of lesbians and how to participate in the repeal of sodomy laws and support the passing of Intro 554.

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