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“Under the Skirt of Liberty” by Giannina Braschi

An outstanding piece of writing called Under the Skirt of Liberty is Giannina Braschi’s creation, which criticizes the American establishment for the loss of its previous values and goals. The author’s message is primarily focused on describing major pitfalls of the American system, and it reaches out and converses with feminists of previous waves by bringing up subjects on imperialism, oppression, ethnicity, and corporatism. Therefore, feminism can be considered as disciplined due to its constant opposition to oppression, and it is a movement because each wave of feminism raises new and unaddressed issues.

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Feminism in the Under the Skirt of Liberty

Under the Skirt of Liberty is an interesting poetry format with a wide range of American problems. The author writes from the perspective of the Statue of Liberty as if she was a living woman (Braschi, 2011). The writing contains several symbolisms and contextual meanings. Gianna Braschi is an active member and proponent of post-colonial third-wave feminism, who was primarily concerned by ethnic and racial inequalities in the context of feminism (Meynert, 2015). She also focuses on the colonial aspect of the United States and how it invades other nations similar to imperial states. Radical feminists of the 20th century held more extreme views compared to moderate members of the movement. These individuals sought out a full and thorough change of the system of patriarchy, where male domination will be eliminated. The ideology of feminism developed in line with three different political traditions, and, accordingly, there are various manifestations of the movement, such as liberal feminism, Marxist or socialist feminism, and radical feminism (Mackay, 2015b). At the same time, there are several basic provisions that are shared by all representatives of feminism.

The radical course of feminism that appeared in the early 70s of the XX century was based on several postulates. The point here is that women are the first oppressed group, and the suppression of women is the most widespread and deepest form of oppression and exists in almost every society (Mackay, 2015b). In addition, female repression is a conceptual model for understanding other forms of repression. The emphasis on radical theory has changed significantly compared to liberal feminism. If liberals developed strategies for the equality of women with men within the existing gender system, then extremely radical feminism was in opposition to it from the very beginning. Instead of developing cultural and legal reforms, they move on to criticizing the patriarchal society itself and its institutions, including the legal regulation of relations.

Instead of affirming the similarity of women with men, the thesis of fundamental differences in male and female nature is substantiated. Radicals reject the struggle for equality with men, the price of which is the adoption by women of “male” values and standards of behavior (Mackay, 2015a). They affirm the value of a special feminine world and advocate the development of a separate female culture. However, the most important thing is that the focus of attention is shifting from the analysis of the public sphere to the critique of the private matters such as relations between women and men, the family, and motherhood.

Giannana Braschi converses with radical feminists of the 20th century by shifting their focus from the sole male oppression issues towards a diverse set of problems destroying America. She uses highly sophisticated literary techniques to describe the main problems within the United States, such as corporatism, lack of freedom, and ethnic imperialism. Braschi does not explicitly focus on the key feminist issues, but rather reveals the core elements of the nation. She does not even use the words “women,” “men,” or “patriarchy” because the author wants to explain that these problems are not solely centered at male-female dynamics. Braschi shows that there is an issue of ethnic cleansing through imperialism and colonialism. In addition, corporatism is not the result of patriarchy but rather the capitalist system, which promotes consumerism and money-driven ethics.

Discipline and Movement

The writing is an outstanding example of the dual nature of feminism, which consists of movement and discipline. The latter contains unalterable pillars of the ideology, which promotes equality and eliminates oppression, which can come not only from men but also from other forces. Therefore, feminism is a discipline with a fixed set of rules and values and priorities. However, feminism is also a movement due to its constant opposing nature towards any subject that goes against its values. That is why feminism has several waves, and each of them raises new concerns (“History and theory of feminism,” n.d.). These problems can change over time and can include patriarchy, corporatism, imperialism, and racism.


In conclusion, Under the Skirt of Liberty is a highly engaging and rich piece of poetry, which raises a number of sensitive subjects that are ruining the United States. Braschi is reaching out and conversing with radical feminists by shifting their objectives from increasingly narrow-minded anti-patriarchal ideology to more concerning issues. The latter includes corporatism, racism, imperialism, and lack of liberty. In addition, the piece illustrates how feminism can preserve its original values, and thus making it a discipline, but it also can focus on different problems besides patriarchy

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Braschi, G. (2011). Under the skirt of liberty. Amazon Crossing.

History and theory of feminism. (n.d.). 2020, Web.

Mackay, F. (2015a). Radical feminism. Theory, Culture & Society, 32(7), 332-336.

Mackay, F. (2015b). Radical feminism: Feminist activism in movement. Palgrave Macmillan.

Meynert, M. J. (2015). Conceptualizations of childhood, pedagogy and educational research in the postmodern: A critical interpretation. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

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