Stonewall Uprising Documentary Analysis

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Social movements often consist of assimilationists and radicals. Do these groups within a movement enhance the progress made or do they take away from each other? The queer movement of the mid-to-late twentieth century has both of these factions. The wide net cast by the queer label includes a diversity of identities and ideas. All members of the queer community have lived and continue to live under oppression. This has come from government policies, law enforcement, and the privileged majority. The strategy to combat queer oppression can be divided between assimilationists who sought to progress within the current system and radicals who were willing to break laws or change the system. The Stonewall uprising and manifestos written thereafter…show more content…
It should be noted that as positive as this is to gain perspective on the event, many people were left out of this documentary. It is primarily told through the white male demographic, which leaves out a lot of people who played major roles in the movement and that night. One of the protestors was John O’Brien, who said, “In the civil rights movement, we ran from the police. In the peace movement, we ran from the police. That night, the police ran from us…” at the 03:30 (PBS). This shows what made this night so different. It was not the oppression. It was the approach used by the queer victims to fight back that changed. O’Brien states that they had run from the police previously. He goes on to say that the police ran from them that night, meaning that they were the aggressors. This shows the difference in philosophy on how to come closer to equality. The group that won out before that famed night opted to protest peacefully, within the law. On the other hand, the patrons on June 28, 1969 saw broken laws and violence as necessary in the pursuit of freedom. They felt that the more radical approach was necessary, being that little progress had been made. This incident demonstrates the two philosophies, one being assimilatory and the other being…show more content…
It is written from the female perspective, and the group self-identifies as radical. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this manifesto envisions a more aggressive route for change. They describe society, “For in this sexist society, for a woman to be independent means she can’t be a woman – she must be a dyke. That in itself should tell us where women are at. It says as clearly as can be said: women and person are contradictory terms.” (Radicalesbians 2). They felt that women were not even being recognized as people. Therefore, an entire restructuring or rethinking of society is necessary. The Radicalesbians proclaim this, “…we must create a new sense of self.” (Radicalesbians 3). They see this as a movement for women that can only be attained from a revolution by women. This is why “The Woman Identified Woman” does not make any mention of reaching out to men or potential allies in the revolution. This strongly differs from “The Gay Manifesto” in its approach to
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