Lesbian Herstory Archives AudioVisual Collections

Radio Free Women, 1972-1974


Radio Free Women, 1972-1974


Radio Free Women (RFW) was a feminist radio collective in the early 1970s





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Collection Items

  • LC044.jpeg

    In this episode of Radio Free Women, three members of the National Organization for Women (NOW), discuss the state of abortion after the passage of Roe v. Wade. Mary Bailey (coordinator of the NOW Abortion Coalition), Mary Helen Bloom (member of the national area chapter of NOW), and Mary Garrison (President of the Montgomery NOW chapter) discuss threats to the landmark ruling. They also discuss how women are excluded for the conversation around abortion, as well as where states have the right to regulate and balance issues of state interests with consideration of women's health.
  • OldRFWandRCC.jpg

    Opens with "Reasons" by Minnie Riperton and goes into an advertisement for Sophie's Parlor. A version of the advertisement repeats but is a blooper/is incomplete. Following this, another version of the advertisement plays. Includes sped-up song and an unknown ad, as well as "Check Out Your Mind" by Chaxayn.
  • RadioFreeWomen_AuditionTape.jpg

    Collected Auditions for Radio Free Women: Interview with Robin Morgan, Interview and poetry readings with [???] and Rita May Brown, discussion of D.C. rape hearings with selected poets from Washington D.C. Rape Crisis center, Excerpt from 1972 Radio Free Women Collage show "Waitresses". Excerpt from 1973 Collage show "Advertising"

    Audio fades out and in at several points.
  • RadioFreeWomen_BackAlleyTheatre.jpg

    Elaine Heffernan (director) and Jo Meyer (lighting design) are interviewed about their work with Back Alley Theatre on "The Independent Female, or A Man Has His Pride" and "Eve Has Not Been in Paradise Yet." They discuss the state of theater in relation to feminism, politics, and social consciousness.

    Note: Some parts of this tape suffer from water damage and are difficult to hear.
  • InterviewNOWCoordinators.jpg

    Kathy Bonk and Whitney Adams from the National Organization for Women discuss the upcoming N.O.W. Fair on Radio Free Women. The fair will feature feminist activism, panels, political discussions, and interviews. Bonk and Adams go on to talk about other aspects of feminist political activism such as income inequality and racial discrimination.
  • ClassWomensMovement.wav

    This episode is a Production of Radio Free Women in Washington DC, affiliated with the Feminist Radio Network. The hosts cover issues of class wtihin the Women’s Movement, often from personal experience as lower or working class women. It includes discussions on the differences between the working class, poor working class, and lower class, the overlap between race and class, and the lack of culture within middle class spaces. Furthermore, they cover some common experiences of working and lower class women within the Women’s Movement, from discriminatory treatment from the middle class women in the movement and the lack of solidarity and support from middle class women to those with material needs.
  • RadioFreeWomen_CoalitionOfLaborUnionWomen.jpg

    This is the same discussion as CoalitionofLaborUnionWomen_2, but without the additional music conversation. The CLUW interview also has additional questions (at around minute 21): "How can women get in touch with you?" and "How many women are involved in the DC chapter of CLUW?"
    Note: Audio has static throughout
  • CoalitionOfLaborUnionWomen.jpg

    This interview/discussion opens with "Frontier" by Cris Williamson. Pat Strand and Linda Osbourne are interviewed about the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) conference. They talk about how the women's unions and the coalition got their start. The effects of the conference on local unions is also talked about. The CLUW episode ends at 27 minutes. Note: At 27:20 the audio cuts to the middle of a conversation about women in music and the different challenges that are faced in male-dominated music spaces.
  • DrunkTape_1.jpg

    Radio Free Women episode about "class and culture and how it applies to the women's movement". Opens with "Good Morning Heartache" by Diana Ross. Actual audio is an interview of performing duo. A majority of the audio is consists of casual conversation amongst friends.
    Tags ,
  • LC053.jpeg

    This production from Radio Free Women is an interview with Judith Katz, playwright, and Betsy Toth, director, of the Franny Chicago Play. The play revolves around the suicide of Franny Chicago, a lesbian who lives with her partner and a roommate, who is also a lesbian. Katz and Toth speak about the struggle of accurately portraying lesbian life while not turning it into a spectacle. In addition, they talk about the importance of feminist representation in theater.
  • LC036.jpeg

    The Furies was a group of twelve lesbian separatists in Washington, D.C. who saw heterosexual women as an obstacle in their feminism. Heterosexuality was as cyclical, and women in heterosexual relationships reinforced their oppression by absorbing the name and values of their male partners and moving them forward. The Furies published a newspaper, The Furies, that ran from 1972-1973.
  • LC027.jpeg

    Columnist for the village voice, feminist, Jill Johnson discusses the role of the feminist lesbian within the larger movement of women’s liberation. Johnson discusses the variations in the NYC lesbian experience, and the relationship they have with straight women, and the overarching culture at large. She discusses the contributions that a lesbian feminist can make to empower other women.
  • LeadershipAndClass_1.jpg

    A discussion about the differences and challenges of the women's movement by various women. Personality, class tension, diversity, stereotyping, group identity, ideas of leadership are debated. The tension between lower class women and middleclass women is described in terms of leadership styles. Lower class women have a strong female role models to grow up with, this lacks completely for the middle class women. Action is perceived as a negative male trait by the middle class women, who are not used to take action but rather prefer moderation and security.
  • LC041.jpeg

    This recording is a compilation of quotes, songs, poems, and performances by, about, and for women in show business. Featured in part one are quotes about working in music from Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin; music by Melanie Safka; a poem to Aretha Franklin by Nikki Giovanni; a letter to Janis Joplin; a performance of Mercedez Benz by Janis Joplin. There are unnamed performances throughout the recording.
  • LC041.jpeg

    This recording is a compilation of songs, music, excerpts, quotes, and recordings by, about, and for women in show business. Featured in part two are songs by Judy Garland; music from various Broadway shows and movie musicals; excerpts from Bette Davis' autobiography;quotes from Dorothy Dandrige; a recording of "Mary C. Brown and the Hollywood Sign" by Dory Previn; a reading of the poem "I Have Come to Claim Marilyn Monroe's Body" by Judy Grahn; and a recording of "There's No Business Like Show Business".
  • LC039.jpeg

    Thoughts on athletics as they exist in America, and the pressure to develop oneself physically. In this radio show there is a reclamation of the “physical you.” There is also a discussion of how sports have become controlled by big business interests, they are now a plaything of the rich. This dehumanizes athletes, causing them to strive for only what can make them rich. Women's sports don't get much spectatorship and consequently don't get promotion or funding. The guests discuss how sports have also become a masculinity rite, and how winning is associated with proving one’s virility. On the other end, women athletes are pressured to prove their femininity in a masculine field. The emphasis on winning destroys athletes' bodies and spirits. Coaching forces athletes to be disciplined and to accept commands unquestioningly. The upward social mobility of sports is an illusion, and can only benefit a small portion of women and POC. The athletic system in this country is elitist, and little encouragement is given to amateurs and women. Black and women athletes have been challenging institutional sports in America.
  • LearningToFly_01.jpeg

    This is a Radio Free Women episode about women and alcohol, including topics such as the societal pressures that might cause women to drink excessively. The different topics are also combined with the following songs: "Lilac Wine" by Nina Simone, "Red Wine" at Noon by Joy of Cooking, "Broke Down Girl" by Buffy Saint-Maire, "Shake Sugaree" by Elizabeth Cotten, "Leftover Wine" by Melanie, "Sunday Morning Coming Down" by Lynn Anderson, "Sweet Blindness" by Laura Nyro, and "Bye, Bye Baby" by Big Brother & The Holding Company & Janis Joplin. Nikki Giovanni's "All I Gotta Do" is also included.
  • LC031_details(H).jpg

    Sloan is the President of the National Black Feminist Organization. She discussed NBFO’s mission to provide an organization for black feminists who felt the need to fight both sexism and racism at the same time. She discussed the formation of the organization and the eastern conference on black feminism.
  • SophiesParlor.mp3

    Radio Free Women/ Sophie's Parlor episode about rape in terms of legal representation and shortcomings, poor and prejudiced treatment of rape victims. Audio is poor at times. The discussion focuses on the need to implement legal changes to how rape is understood through hearings and testimonies that are very difficult experience for the rape victims. They point out the sexist, classist, and racial discriminations against victims of sexual assault (such as victims having to pay for their medical expenses after forensic collection). They talked about the availability of the Rape Crisis Center to help women in need.
  • UnusedPortionOfHealthShows.jpg

    Discusses health administrations and hospitals disregarding women's wishes when giving birth, and taking the newborn away leaving the mother to wait for days to see the baby. The show also highlights women being rushed through birth, the instrumental nature of nurses, and complications with doctors. It focuses on connecting medicine with feminist ideology to insure legal change and rights protection.
  • RadioFreeWomen_InterviewWithSingerCrisWilliamson.jpg

    Cris Williamson talks about her music and plays some songs on guitar.

    Note: The tape suffers from water damage which has made parts difficult to hear and which causes some drop-outs.
  • WomensBusinessesMaster_1.jpg

    An episode of Radio Free Women in which four businesswomen discuss their work. Interviewees include (but are not limited to) Susan Sojourner of First Things First, a fe-mail order house for books for women and Sue Sasser, an auto mechanic.
  • WomenInAthletics_1.jpg

    Women are interviewed about their experiences in sports, feminism in spots, and the struggles that women face when playing sports seriously at any level. This includes brief interview with Olympic swimmer Melissa Belote following 1972 Olympic wins, and ends with Althea Gibson introduction.
  • WomenInAthletics_2.jpg

    Audio opens with live coverage of women's tennis, moves on to women's athletics discussion with Billie Jean King. Discrimination against women in tennis and athletics overall is a main focus, centering specifically on pay disparities and lack of social support for participation in sports at all ages.
  • WomensPoliticalEducationCoalition.jpg

    Carol Rogers is interviewed on the broad goals and current policy interests of the Women's Political Education Coalition. Discussed topics include the 1974 Washington D.C. mayoral election, childcare, employment, the minimum wage, Crime, Women's Health, and Title 34.

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