Paula Kamen Biography
upon the CWLU's rich history while starting to research my play,
Jane: Abortion and the Underground, in 1992 (which officially opened
in Chicago in fall 1999). In Northwestern University's Special Collections
Library, I found Jenny Knauss' original documents -- including actual
protests and internal memos about "The Abortion Seven" -- which
I incorporated into the play's text. I was also thrilled to find
an original CWLU Rock Band album in an Oak Park bookstore several
years ago (which someone borrowed and sadly lost), which intrigued
me about its past.
had a chance to study CWLU in detail moderating a panel in March
of 1999 of CWLU alumnae. I learned how this vital and pioneering
group was a model for others across the country. As a person who
specializes in documenting feminism over the generations, I value
the legacy of CWLU to young feminists. In this very individualistic
society often stripped of feminist politics that challenge the status
quo, their pioneering and courageous group teaches us about the
power of the collective, about organizing.
play Jane was about the feminist abortion service (affiliated with
CWLU) that made illegal abortion -- one of the most treacherous,
frightening experiences imaginable -- into a safe, supportive one.
From 1969 to 1973, the women of Jane -- mostly housewives and student
radicals -- performed more than 10,000 abortions on a wide diversity
of Chicago women, operating as "the best kept secret" in the city.
a journalist, my work documents Generation X women's attitudes.
My first book (now out of print but available on this site) is Feminist
Fatale: Voices from the twentysomething generation explore the
future of the women's movement, which documents the strange phenomenon
of young women believing in feminist principles but refusing to
identify politically with the movement.
second book, 7 years in the making (!), Her Way: Young Women
Remake the Sexual Revolution, is due to come out with NYU Press
this fall. It gives the first "big picture" view of a generation's
changing sexual expectations, transformed beyond the surface by
feminism, jobs and education. Feel free to email me about any of
this at PaulaK2289@aol.com
or visit my website at www.paulakamen.com