The Vault

A ’70s Newsletter for Feminist Men

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This newsletter was produced by a group of men based in Berkeley, Calif., who were working for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The sheet was sent to interested activists throughout the late 1970s, as the feminist movement worked to secure the support of enough states to win the amendment’s permanent attachment to the Constitution.

The group’s name, “M.A.N. for E.R.A.,” stood for “Men Allied Nationally for the Equal Rights Amendment.” M.A.N.’s pitch to men was summed up in a motto that mixed arguments based on morality, feasibility, and ego: “Stake, Place, Chance, and Strokes.”

Men should care about the E.R.A. because they had a “stake in the creation of a gender just society.” They had a “place” in the fight. There was a “chance” to succeed. And—in a turn of phrase that now sounds unfortunate—“they will receive STROKES” (praise) “for their efforts to make this a sex fair society.”

The group of men featured on the cover represented a wide array of blue- and white-collar jobs. A few occupations identified in the caption: M.D., tennis professional, rodeo cowboy, general contractor, psychologist, casino dealer, and mechanic.

Communications scholar Amanda Goldrick-Jones writes that M.A.N. was far from the only feminist male group to form during the 1970s. Conferences and meetings abounded, and many newsletters like this one addressed topics including everyday sexism, experiences of racism, strategies to combat rape, and gay rights.

The Congressional deadline to secure the E.R.A.’s ratification in 38 states passed in 1982, with only 35 states signed on. At that point, the M.A.N. group disbanded.

Images courtesy the Sophia Smith Collection (Gloria Steinem Papers), at Smith College.