That well-worn feminist slogan "the personal is political" has taken on a new, exclusive meaning in the past several years. The personal, it seems, is all that's political anymore. Feminism--on college campuses, in the media and even in Washington--has become overwhelmingly personal at the expense of political action. While the economic chasm between rich and poor widens, why have many feminist sources repeatedly trumpeted Monica and masturbation, confessionals, Kegel exercises and Courtney Love?

The one big feminist political issue of the '90s was abortion. Feminists have obsessed over Roe v. Wade and championed Clinton and Gore for defending the right to choose. But at the same time, most women in this country have watched their ability to obtain an abortion disappear. As Miranda Kennedy points out in "Access Denied," 85 percent of counties nationwide have no abortion provider. It's still true that women with money can always access abortion, but women with less cannot.

From health care to the workplace, one important question has been lost: What about women who still lack the basic rights middle- and upper-class women now take for granted? In this issue, In These Times looks at a few of the problems facing those left behind in the feminist revolution. As Barbara Ehrenreich wrote last year in these pages, "While middle-class women gained MBAs, working-class women won the right to not be called 'honey'--and not a whole lot more than that."

It's time to move on to a "fourth wave" of feminism. It's goal should be to close the class gap and extend feminism's gains to all women. Old-time "women's lib" feminists and my generation's riot grrrls need to get busy and get radical. Instead of sticking up for politicians, we need to get in their faces and demand greater economic equality and, in turn, greater freedom for all women.

Kristin Kolb-Angelbeck


On December 16, 1990, New York Times Magazine writer Philip J. Hilts described Norplant as "likely to be, with the exception of sterilization, the most effective contraceptive ever introduced."

But 10 years after its approval by the Food and Drug Administration, Norplant is


almost history. Last summer, an article in Planned Parenthood's Family Planning Perspectives, titled "Why Are U.S. Women Not Using Long-Acting Contraceptives?" reported that in 1993 only 1.2 percent of women of childbearing age were using Norplant, a figure that shrank to 0.9 percent by 1995. More than half of the women surveyed said that "using the implant would be bad for them."

In the United Kingdom, where Norplant was not introduced until 1993, it was withdrawn from sale in 1999. As The Lancet observed, "Norplant's image in the newspapers was suddenly transformed from that of a wonderful new contraceptive into a 'controversial implant' that became a nightmare for women who used it. Norplant's media downfall was apparently triggered when women and solicitors started to tell the media about individual experiences of problems with Norplant--some of which involved well-known side effects."

It's true. The side effects were known long before Norplant was officially brought to market, but they were not disclosed to users.


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