MAKERS Profile

Alix Kates Shulman

Feminist Writer & Activist

In this video

Feminist writer and activist Alix Kates Shulman describes what her life was like before she dove head first into the women's movement and how her role drastically changed from housewife to preeminent feminist with her own powerful voice.
Alix Kates Shulman is a feminist activist and writer who has penned fourteen books including her bestselling novel, Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, considered one of the first of its kind to emerge from the Women's Liberation Movement. Her controversial 1969 essay "A Marriage Agreement" proposing that men and women split childcare and housework equally has been widely reproduced in magazines, anthologies and even a Harvard textbook on contract law.   Smitten with philosophy, Shulman moved to New York City following college to study at Columbia University Graduate School. After working as an encyclopedia editor for some years, Shulman eventually transitioned into a housewife, until she discovered the burgeoning women's movement. As a feminist activist Shulman became a member of early groups like New York Radical Women, Redstockings, and WITCH.   Shulman has been recognized and awarded for her writing and work by numerous organizations including the DeWitt Wallace/​Readers Digest Fellowship, the American Academy in Rome, the PEN American Center, and the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Bellagio, Italy. In 2000 she received the Woman 2000 Trailblazer Award from the Mayor of Cleveland.

More From Alix Kates

Two Lanes Couldn't Contain Us
Shulman explains why the Women's Strike for Equality march down 5th Avenue was so significant; it was the first mass demonstration of the women's movement on the 50th anniversary of the suffrage amendment.

Miss America
Shulman on how the Miss America pageant was a "blatant example of sexism" but also became a surprising stage to teach those who were watching about women's liberation.

Criminal and Taboo
Shulman on what it was like to even talk about abortion and how her radical feminist group Redstockings held an abortion speak-out to give women, including herself, the opportunity to talk about their experiences.

Not Man-Haters
Shulman explains that second wave feminists did not hate men simply because they wanted their rights...

Emerson's Words
A phrase in one of Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays about choosing between "truth and repose" led to a drastic turning point in Shulman's life.

Ladies' Home Journal Sit-In
Shulman talks about the Ladies' Home Journal sit-in, and what they were able to accomplish by storming the Editor-In-Chief's office.

Sex Before the Women's Movement
Shulman on how the women's movement changed what sex meant for women by opening up a larger discussion and inciting change.

A Dirty Word
Shulman explains why she believes the word "feminism" has become a tainted word, but why it ultimately doesn't matter what it's called since the ideas are the same.