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From Head Shops to Whole FoodsThe Rise and Fall of Activist Entrepreneurs$
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Joshua Clark Davis

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780231171588

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231171588.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

The “Feminist Economic Revolution”

The “Feminist Economic Revolution”

Businesses in the Women’s Movement

(p.129) 4 The “Feminist Economic Revolution”
From Head Shops to Whole Foods

Joshua Clark Davis

Columbia University Press

Chapter four investigates a wide range of businesses that feminists created in the 1970s, including credit unions, printing presses, bookstores, and mail-order catalogs. Arguing that male-controlled, American corporate capitalism was one of society’s most powerful perpetuators of sexism and patriarchy, feminist entrepreneurs believed their products and services offered women economic independence from men and publicized the cause of women’s liberation in the wider public. Feminist businesses were particularly interested in creating democratic workplaces with collectives and other participatory organizational models and they sought to operate storefronts as autonomous “free spaces” for their movement, as well as for women more generally. The decline of second-wave feminism would however prove very challenging to feminist businesses in the 1980s, as did the difficulties of operative collectives in the long term.

Keywords:   feminism, feminist businesses, collectives, women’s movement, lesbians, debates

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