Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Marjorie Spruill


Sex and the State: Sexual Politics in South Carolina is an investigation of the interactions of feminists and the state from 1966 through 1985. Nationally, women cooperated with officials of state agencies to push their agenda of self-sovereignty. Using South Carolina as a case study highlights the inherent power struggles inherent in these maneuverings. Inspired by the Second Wave of the women’s movement, activists across South Carolina, in both small towns and urban settings, worked with the state and manipulated state reactions to suit their needs. The work focuses on four key aspects of the women’s movement including: the abortion rights movement, the anti-sterilization movement, the anti-rape movement, and the anti-wife battering movement. Through these similar, but different, crusades the actions of women who battled the system in pearls and southern accents are highlighted. Women across the country were in conversation with the state, calling for their basic rights of citizenship: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.


© 2017, Jennifer Holman Gunter

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