Free Space: A Perspective On the Small Group in Women’s Liberation Study Guide


  1. Allen posits that small groups within women’s liberation create an obstacle to their goals by not being honest with themselves. What do you think that means? Does that hold any truth for you?
  2. “Differences in men and women are not acknowledged because it would attest to the fact that equality is a myth.” How have you seen this problem play out in your own life or in the media?


  1. “We came to learn the hard way that one of the key characteristics of an oppressed people is self hatred…” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?
  2. Allen describes a disagreement of how to go about women’s liberation (should the group start with the personal, or the political) and the conclusion (that both approaches are necessary). Many Radical Feminists argue that “the personal is political.” What are some different ways that women and women’s groups can use these ideas to develop a concrete strategy?

Free Space

  1.  What does “acting responsibly towards the group mean to you?
  2.  What would help you to establish trust towards group members?
  3.  How do you feel challenged (or hope to be challenged) within the context of the group?

Small Group Processes

  1.  The processes listed are Opening Up, Sharing, Analyzing, and Abstracting. How do you think these processes could be utilized by our group? What do you think we shouldn’t use?
  2. How can we continue to refine our group and personal goals?

Women’s Movement

  1.  How can our group contribute to changing society? Allen lists multiple ideas, did any in particular stand out to you, or did you think of any on your own?
  2. Allen also suggests communication and cooperation with other women’s groups. What are the pros and cons of that strategy? Is that something that we should explore or not?

Study Plan

  1. Discuss the 5 enemies: capitalism, men, ourselves, the state, and racism.
  2. Discuss the 4 elements of women’s condition: production, sexuality, socialization, reproduction, and interrelations.
  3. I will try to flesh out these last 2 questions a little bit more, but any suggestions are very appreciated!

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