Boston’s Forgotten Role in the Women’s Movement

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Boston’s Forgotten Role in the Women’s Movement

March is Women’s History Month and Mary Dore’s documentary “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” helps us celebrate, remember, and cheer  one of our most vilified sheroes of the last century—The Women’s Movement. 

Zooming in on the years 1966 to 1971, Dore excavated the archival images of the birth of the Movement. Dore captures the spirit, soul and fire of these fiercely courageous, brilliant and badass feminists who were fighting for the very same issues we fight for today—our right to control our bodies, and our struggle for freedom and equality. We stand on the shoulders of these mighty warriors.

F.B. I. Director J. Edgar Hoover’s notorious COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) operations spied not only on M.L.K, but also on organizations and individuals associated with the Movement. Dore highlights the risk these women took, too.

And who said feminists aren’t any fun?

Dore documents the hilarity, excitement, and outright boldness (along with the scandalous moments) of the Movement. If you thought for one moment these women lacked chutzpah, Dore quickly disabuses you of the notion.


Boston was an intellectual base with activist circles of feminism in its heyday. Today it is mostly a forgotten history, which is one of the reason for Dore’s documentary. 

“Perhaps because I had experienced the movement in Boston, I felt that too many of the written narratives centered on New York City, the media capital. So the realization emerged that this should be a grassroots view of the movement, not focusing on the most famous, or the “firsts.” And that it was about collective organizing, not about heroic individuals. “

In 1969 the first feminist conference was held at Emmanuel College spawning Bread and Roses, the first socialist women’s organization in the country. In 1971 in Cambridge, Female Liberation began publishing “The Second Wave Magazine: A Magazine for the New Feminism.” 


The most important book published during the Second Wave Women’s Movement, in the opinion, and also in the last century was “Our Bodies, Ourselves” (originally called the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective). 


Now a global project with its motto “Information Inspires Action,” the book helped launch the Women’s Health Movement and inspire, empower and equip women worldwide with information on health, sexuality and reproduction to claim the rights of their bodies.  Translated in at least 29 languages, “The New York Times” called the tome a “feminist classic” and “Time" Magazine heralded it as “one of the 100 most important works of non-fiction.” 


“We came