The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth, Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2014, pp. 295-319
Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press
In 1971, a group of radical students at University High School in West Los Angeles began publishing the Red Tide newspaper. Using the Tide and oral histories of alumni, this article analyzes the relationship between feminism and youth culture in the early 1970s. It argues that the Tide’s authors successfully tied together strains of women’s liberation, 1960s movement cultures, and the counterculture; through their activities they integrated this synthesis with the youth culture of their community. As explored in this article, a feminist youth culture charted alternatives to the norms of adult authorities, and provided students with peer-driven discussion of sex, sexual orientation, and gender roles.
“DARE TO FREE YOUR SELF”: THE RED TIDE, FEMINISM, AND HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVISM IN THE EARLY 1970s
Longhaired, bearded, and dressed in a khaki army surplus jacket, Michael Letwin faced the flood of students heading to the snack lines. It was the spring of 1974, and Letwin was a junior [correction: senior] at University High School (“Uni High” or “Uni”), a public school located in the affluent Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. Letwin was asking his fellow students to sign a petition. A new student, a bookish tenth grader named Susanna Bright, stopped to investigate. Letwin told her that the high school’s administration planned to cancel two student-organized talks on lesbianism and birth control and that by signing his petition, she would express her right to attend these talks.
A group of young activists had organized these talks as a part of a second annual Women’s Week, a feminist alternative to the school’s sanctioned Girls Week. Rather than participate in Girls Week’s fashion show and mother/daughter football game, Women’s Week organizers had scheduled a series of talks, including panels on reproductive health and homosexuality. Letwin argued that students had the right to discuss these issues, and Bright reacted viscerally. To Bright, the administration’s censorship was an attack on gays, lesbians, feminists, and student sexual freedom: “This was so shocking and personal, it made a impression on me.”1 Bright signed the petition and Letwin invited her to a meeting of the Women’s Week planning committee; soon thereafter Bright became a member of the Red Tide, an autonomous, student-created organization that promoted an array of radical politics including a discursive feminist youth culture. In the early 1970s, Red Tide feminists developed and sustained a public dialogue on sex, homosexuality, and gender roles geared to the concerns of their high school–aged peers.
Prior to her meeting with Letwin, Bright considered herself a feminist but had never been asked to act upon those sentiments. In the 1970s, the Red Tide
and its underground newspaper, which was also called the Red Tide (“the Tide”), facilitated the growth of feminism and its critique of mainstream ideas about gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation. Open discussions of sexual violence, homosexuality, and sex-positive outlooks empowered young people to develop their own sexual identities and challenge what they saw as anachronistic and often dangerous cultural attitudes. For example, many people believed that men could not control their sexual impulses, and therefore female victims were often suspected of having “invited” sexual violence. And in instructional films such as “Boys Beware,” homosexuality was depicted as either a disease and/ or a condition of psychological immaturity that could be passed from adults to adolescents.2 Red Tide authors challenged these views and relegated them to the status of myth. As a consequence of the activities of the Red Tide, many Uni High students were exposed to the radical idea that biological sex at birth did not necessarily predict gender or sexual orientation.
For Red Tide members and many of their peers, students were at odds with administrators, experts, and parents who attempted to mold gender and sexual identities. Within this context, the initiation of sexual activity was an empowering means to claim autonomy and authority. Nonetheless, young people who rejected prohibitions against premarital sex ran the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy—outcomes that could have severe consequences for the opportunities of a young person. Because of the dangers of sex and the lack of thorough sex education courses, young people were drawn to feminism and its open discussions of relationships, sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, and birth control. Unabashedly controversial, a sex-positive radical feminism gave young people the opportunity to investigate subjects that had been taboo for earlier cohorts of students.
Youthful challenges to contemporary social norms are well known to readers familiar with the culture and the politics of the sixties, a period of grassroots political activity that began with the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins and extended into the early 1970s, the height of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations.3
The first issue of the Red Tide featured quotes from counterculture figure Abbie Hoffman, a marijuana-celebrating Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers cartoon, and advertisements for revolutionary record and bookstores. The title Red Tide teased with both the specter of Cold War communism and the popular name of an algal bloom that periodically endangers the sanctity of Southern California’s beaches. Through their articles, cartoons, and editorials, the Tide’s authors critiqued mainstream youth culture, Uni High, and the satirically misspelled “Amerika.” Synthesizing material, language, and symbols from the countercultural underground papers of the period, the student authors customized their
product for their peers at Uni.4 Authors introduced readers to local feminist, antiwar, and antiracist struggles and suggested ways that Uni students could participate in those struggles. Uni student Monica Scheerer liked the Tide “because it was very progressive and I thought that it lit the fire under people to think outside the box and think differently than our conservative Democratic parents.” When an edition of the Tide came out, Scheerer remembers sitting on the lawn, talking through the issues with her friends, and making plans to attend demonstrations advertised in the paper.5
This article seeks to contextualize feminist organizing at Uni within the history of student activism in the 1970s. In Young Activists, historian Gael Graham argues that the civil rights movement and massive student mobilizations against the Vietnam War combined with the zeitgeist of the counterculture to spark radical high school politics in the late 1960s.6 The evidence from the history of the Tide suggests that even though sixties movement cultures (antiracist and antiwar) and the counterculture were critical elements of 1970s high school politics, a feminist-oriented youth culture played a central role in creating a broad basis of student support for youth activism. Radical feminism as practiced on Uni’s campus shifted the center of student politics to the left. As seen in the civil rights struggle against racism, the effort to identify and ameliorate sexism at school enabled high school activists to recruit fellow students for local activities. Once engaged, these students became part of a network that transmitted feminist ideas and practices. Thus the fusion of radical feminist critique and student activism engendered a progressive campus culture in which once unspeakable or impolite subjects, such as premarital sex and homosexuality, became the locus of empowered and politicized identities.7
Feminist content was central to the Tide’s popularity at Uni. In the early 1970s, feminism dovetailed with the concerns of teenagers, both young men and young women, and as seen in Michael Letwin’s recruitment of Susie Bright, the participation of young men made the Red Tide different from many adult feminist groups. Moreover, the feminist alliances forged between young men and women challenge a pervading feminist historiography that largely omits the activities of young men. Furthermore, adult feminist organizations split from the New Left, as explored in the earlier works of Sara Evans and Alice Echols. Yet in the case of Uni High, the leftist and feminist movements were fused and served to motivate allies around a broader set of progressive issues. Feminism’s emergence at Uni reinvigorated sixties movement cultures, rather than marking their end. The history of the Red Tide presents a unique case through which to explore how feminism shaped the outlook of high school students and how they in turn played a role in its transformation.8
This research largely confirms Gael Graham’s findings in Young Activists. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, high school students participated in the transformation of American society, and their activities had substantial and long-term consequences. And as Nancy MacLean has argued, out of the array of political movements of the sixties, gender politics “enlisted the largest number of participants.” Red Tide members were agents of enlistment, and Uni High and West Los Angeles served as the recruitment site.9
When Bright joined the Red Tide in 1973, the Tide’s staff was composed of a core of dedicated youth activists. Letwin was close to red-haired motorcycle bad boy Richard Lazar and the group photographer Joel Levine. Gail Mautner, Becky Hall, Kim Anno, Mara Levine, Bonnie Bogan, and Karen Pomer were all dedicated to increasing socialist feminist awareness through writing, art, and activism. Many in the group were children of professors and staff at the University of California–Los Angeles, and an equal number came from progressive Jewish families. The group also included young black activists Karen Hampton, Michael Williams, and the Robinsons: Debbie, Larry, and Robbie. Although not a student, Chris Mark—a young activist from the United Kingdom and a protégé of socialist Tony Cliff—also participated in the group’s activities.
It would be misleading to argue that these students acted alone and without the help of sympathetic adults. Adult allies, including parents, teachers, and local activists, contributed material, emotional, and legal resources. For example, Susie Bright’s father, linguistics professor William Bright, had gone to UC Berkeley for graduate school after World War II and had friends and colleagues from the nascent gay community in San Francisco. Although he was not an activist himself, he encouraged his daughter to do what she thought was right regardless of social taboos.10 Michael Letwin’s father, Leon, was both a law professor and the Red Tide’s pro bono attorney. In addition, Aleta [correction: Alita] and Leon Letwin allowed their children to use the garage for Red Tide meetings. The Letwins, both participants in radical politics as young people, believed that their children should be free to develop their own political identities and supported the activities of the Red Tide, even though at times they disagreed with the Red Tide’s tactics or style.
A handful of teachers also aided the Red Tide by supporting a climate at Uni that challenged young people to be critical thinkers and socially engaged. Mark Harris remembered that over his blackboard, history teacher Don Chronister had the motto, “Think for yourself, your teacher could be wrong.”11 Uni teacher Montserrat Fontes, the faculty advisor for the school’s sanctioned newspaper, The Warrior, remembered that many teachers appreciated how Red Tide members inspired vigorous classroom discussions by challenging both teachers and
students to be accountable for their views.12 Fontes had close relationships with a few members of the Red Tide; David Caditz and Kim Anno house-sat for Fontes, and Susie Bright helped her with landscaping.
In addition to teachers, counselor Caldwell Williams ran the Innovative Program School (IPS) within Uni. During the late 1960s, a handful of teachers, parents, and administrators collaborated to develop progressive educational programs at Uni. The students of the school’s Innovative Program School (IPS) were encouraged to develop their own curriculum, classes, and grading rubrics.13
The IPS was based on the principles of group counseling, and Williams’s model of listening to students in groups meshed with feminist consciousness-raising practices.14 Students, teachers, counselors, and parents involved in the IPS served as a core constituency that saw education as greater than classroom instruction.
In Young Activists, Graham breaks adults into two categories: Hawks (traditionalists) and Doves (progressives). According to Graham, these were united in trying to shape young people into “responsible” citizens. Within the Red Tide’s base of community support, a handful of parents and teachers were neither Hawks nor Doves. Rather than attempting to mold young people’s political practices and social outlook, these adults generally minimized the role of adult as authority and instead encouraged young people to order their own autonomous political and cultural identities.
At Uni, adult authorities and students were on a first-name basis, and relationships across generations were generally less formal than at other schools. This new milieu was not only supported by the alternative educational programs, like the IPS, but also by the liberalization of administrative disciplinary mechanisms. By the mid-1960s, Los Angeles’s administrators and teachers were prohibited from disciplining students using corporal punishment. Lacking corporal punishment, administrators attempted to encourage student socialization through student social clubs and athletic teams that were given privileged access to school resources.15 Divided along gender lines, sanctioned school organizations policed gender and sexual norms through the promotion of homosocial activities and heteronormative dances. A bifurcated administrative structure also designated a separate authority figure for each gender: a dean of men and a dean of women. However, by the early 1970s, only a few Uni students associated through social club memberships; most instead sought to hang out in coed groups that were not directly affiliated with the school. School was still a critical place for socialization and identity formation, but by the 1970s, sanctioned school social activities no longer organized most students’ social lives. Administrators were left with one tool to discipline students: expulsion, or, in the lingo of the period, the “social adjustment transfer.”
Students recognized that sexuality and gender roles were undergoing a period of rapid transformation in the early 1970s. High school women were beginning to play sports in greater numbers. Monica Studer was on the school’s first women’s softball team that won the city championship. Leslie Thomas remembers her time on the tennis team: “We were getting more attention, we had fans, and it was getting to be seen as legitimate.” To many, the idea of marrying a high school classmate seemed anachronistic, and dating for potential marital partners was something their parents did. Monica Studer observed, “None of my girl friends were concerned about getting married. We talked about what we were going to do and where we would go to school.” Furthermore, many students saw nudity and sexual activity as natural and not lewd or libidinous (streaking was a common expression of this mindset). And slowly, nonheterosexual students began “coming out,” a practice that would have been dangerous in the mid-1960s. Feminist consciousness-raising groups supported gay youths to come out and foster social networks within their community. Reminiscing about this period, Red Tide member Robin Pedolsky [correction: Podolsky] wrote, “It was a time in which the category of unspeakable collapsed to almost nothing and very little went without saying. A glittering variety of possible lives opened in many people’s imaginations, but especially in those of the young.”16
The setting of West Los Angeles, or the Westside, an area that includes communities from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills and extends south from the Santa Monica Mountains to Culver City, plays a crucial role in the history of the Red Tide. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Westside was a quiet and politically conservative residential section of Los Angeles, but after World War II, upwardly mobile and liberal-minded families purchased homes in the region. Not far from University High, the Fairfax District became a new center for the region’s Jewish community, and this move brought with it both progressive and radical political organizations. Just to the south, middle-class African American families established new residential communities in Baldwin Hills.17 These postwar demographic shifts altered the political landscape of the Westside and created avenues for the development of progressive political communities and alliances at Uni High.
By the end of the 1960s, high school students in West Los Angeles had begun to demonstrate against school regulations regarding dating, public displays of affection, clothing, hair, and makeup choices. For example, in response to kissing suspensions, students at Palisades High School posted fliers all over the school that poked fun at administrators’ attempts to control intimacy between peers. In 1969, Hamilton High School students voted to liberalize the dress code, and a local television journalist, Ralph Story, visited the school to interview students
about new styles on campus. In the program, students in oversized hats and handmade boots spoke of their desire to express their own tastes in fashion; to these students, fashion was the external representation of selfhood.18
When radical second-wave feminism emerged in the late sixties most of the members of the Red Tide were either in elementary or junior high school.19 But the seeds of their future activism were already being sown. The forerunner to the Red Tide was a group of about a dozen students at Emerson Junior High School in Westwood, a neighborhood in the northern central portion of West Los Angeles. These students identified with sixties movement cultures, had meetings, read the socialist magazine Ramparts, explored Black Panther ideology, and convened with older activists. As a group they participated in local progressive political activities including antiwar demonstrations. In April 1970, the Emerson students organized a sit-down demonstration at school in support of the United Teachers of Los Angeles’s strike. As a response to the United States’ bombing of Cambodia and the subsequent Kent State and Jackson State killings, future Red Tide members participated in student strikes against the Vietnam War at UCLA. In the summer of 1971, after graduating from Emerson, the group decided to start an alternative school newspaper at Uni High in order to organize their fellow high school students.20
According to Michael Letwin, the most visible change between the period of Emerson Junior High School activism and the Red Tide at Uni was that women’s consciousness-raising groups had oriented their discussions towards the examination of sex, sexuality, and gender. As a group charting unfamiliar territory struggled over the meaning of shared leadership between the sexes, feminism spurred internal debate and drove heightened political critiques. As a youth organization, the group realized that solidarity was built through socializing and camaraderie, and although strong personalities existed in the group, a shared leadership structure developed as they transitioned into high school. Thus, when they entered high school and became the Red Tide, the Emerson group incorporated feminism into their political orientation.
Located about two and a half miles from UCLA, University High School’s three thousand students were privileged with a quasi–liberal arts education that was geared to prepare graduates for elite colleges and universities. Vice Principal Homer Gansz remembered the frustration of nearby UCLA professors: Uni students who attended UCLA were better prepared than most incoming undergraduates, and their accelerated pace made class preparation more difficult for instructors.21
With incoming classes of over a thousand students, the student population at Uni was diverse, but in many aspects, they were united by a common youth
culture. For example, most students in the early 1970s did not participate in school-sanctioned social events outside of athletics. Many students saw high school dances, central events in the school’s social calendar a decade earlier, as passé. Furthermore, the Sylmar earthquake of February 1971 severely damaged the gymnasium and auditorium and forced student socialization out of the center of the school to the periphery. The area behind the music building, called “the pit” by some, served as the meeting place for the smokers, drug users, and radical students. Monica Sheerer recalled, “It was hugely important for the students, and it was like clockwork. A daily ritual. Every day during lunch or nutrition the boys’ Vice-Principal would come strolling through, and you could hear cries throughout the crowd of, ‘put-em-out, put-em-out.’”22 In the early 1970s, administrators were unable to police “the pit,” and it served as a place where students developed their own cultures and networks.
On November 1, 1971, the first copy of the Tide was distributed during lunch. A typed description in the upper-left corner of the front page announced,
“It came—flooding the schools, crushing everything that stood in its way, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction, havoc, rebellion. It razed classrooms; flinging textbooks to the winds, screaming out of turn, leaving foul stains on the desks, ripping the flags from their very poles. It caught scores of students, sweeping them onward on its headlong course, trapping them in the whirlpool of its frenzy.”
Located directly underneath the masthead of the first issue, a woodcut picturing a school headmaster attempting to escape a gang of cherubic switch-welding pupils set the tone for the newspaper: Young people should not accept the disciplinary mechanisms deployed by administrators, parents, and the police, but instead, through collective action, they should demand to participate broadly within the development of their education, community, and culture. Resembling a cross between the early Los Angeles Free Press and socialist magazines of the late 1960s, the first eight-page edition followed a chaotic layout that freely mixed text, hand written titles, and cartoons.23
From the start, the paper featured the emergent youth feminism of the Red Tide. In the first couple of editions, authors went by subversively humorous pseudonyms: Kris Pissed-Off-Erson, a reference to actor Kris Kristofferson, questioned the masculine gaze and expressions of machismo, while Heidi Ho criticized how the market encouraged young women to become obsessed with male rock stars.24 On page four, the Wicked Witch of Westwood’s feminist call to arms began, “This article is directed to all sisters. And you know who you are. All women are sisters in oppression.”25 The Witch argued that
the self-sanctioning and self-oppressing practices of women were a product of misogynistic market forces that “harassed sisters to shell out millions of dollars for beauty products.” She explained that feminine beauty standards were hollow and urged young women to discard “fashionable clothes” for attire that they “could run around in.” In critiquing the acquisition of gender roles that alienated men and women from each other and crippled relationships among women, the Witch continued,
Sisters, fuck that shit. You are a human being. You are not a help-meet, you are not a walking hole, you are not a mysterious bitch-goddess, you are not unfinished, you are a thinking feeling unique human being with your own set of abilities and potentials just like everybody else.
The Witch’s prose voiced the sentiments of a young feminist coming of age during the women’s liberation movement. The influence of contemporary feminist authors is unmistakable in the article, and there are echoes of Joreen’s “The Bitch Manifesto,” Gloria Steinem’s “‘Women’s Liberation’ Aims to Free Men Too,” and vanauken’s “Freedom for Movement Girls—Now.”26 In freeing themselves from sex-role constraints, through consistent and deliberate acts in their day-to-day interpersonal relationships with their peers, the Witch argued that young women and men could participate in making a freer and more equitable world.
In a final article of that first issue, Sarah Bullitt, like the Wicked Witch, talked about how girls learned to distrust each other in the competition to attract men. She concluded, “Only by learning to trust other women, voicing our opinions when something sounds wrong to us, by not being passive and perpetuating sexism, by fighting everyday, will we free ourselves.”27
On the first day of distribution, after the staff sold seven hundred copies (out of a run of one thousand), Homer Gansz confiscated a stack of the papers and reprimanded a number of students for distributing them. On the same day, Los Angeles Police Department undercover narcotics officers busted a handful of students on campus, including members of the Red Tide, on drug-related charges. From the perspective of students, the co-occurrence of these attacks signaled a coordinated assault on the autonomy of the student body and, in particular, a rejection of the ideal that students were free to use the campus to develop relationships and peer networks unregulated by school authorities.
Uni students responded to the act of censorship by demanding the free circulation of the paper. Largely, these demands were directed at Vice Principal Homer Gansz. Gansz saw himself as the school’s gatekeeper. It was his job to monitor student attendance and limit access to the school by outsiders, and as gatekeeper, his ultimate power lay with his ability to suspend or expel students. However, to many Uni students, Gansz’s activities severely curbed students’ freedom of association. From a structural vantage point, the conflict between students and Gansz was exacerbated by the Los Angeles Unified School District’s basic design—large schools geographically dispersed across the county. The district’s large campuses eliminated the costs of additional school buildings and maintenance but also ensured that administrators spent very little time in the classrooms and in the halls making personal contact with students. To students, Gansz was the “man,” the face of bureaucratic authority.
Gansz’s censorship of the Tide legitimated the paper as a voice against the establishment written in the interest of students. Student readers quickly came to the paper ’s defense and demanded the access to the paper as a matter of right. The Tide addressed students’ interest in topics inside and outside of school and made high school a place of consequence. Its articles gave students something to talk about. According to Michael Letwin, student desire for and identification with the paper was immediate and intense: “To this day people who were not really that involved organizationally, who went to Uni are, nonetheless, very proud of it. And they see it as something they were a part of.”28
Following the first censorship skirmish, the Red Tide rallied allies to elect Mark Harris, a student who had been suspended for distributing the Tide, as the school’s student body president. Feminist concerns drove Harris into the race:
Girls were getting pregnant, and if “you show, you go.” We felt this was wrong, and at least there should be better sex education than the stupid plumbing lecture we got in middle school. So we needed student run, or student defined sex ed. curriculum for better prevention, as well as the Pill, condoms, etc. passed out through the health office.29
Harris’s campaign for student body president was loosely modeled on the Black Panthers’ Ten-Point Plan.30 Harris called for an end to Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC); for the need for draft counseling; for freedom of the press; and for a high school curriculum that included Black, Latino, Native- American, Women’s, and Men’s studies courses. Also included in his platform was the promotion of student-run sex education classes and free contraceptive distribution at the health office. Relying on a strictly word-of-mouth campaign, Harris won the election and became the second African American elected to the position and the first self-identified radical student body president at Uni High.
On page three of the second issue, an unidentified Tide author described having an abortion. With a mix of handwriting and typed text, her article detailed her operation, the women she met during her procedure, and the sense of loneliness she experienced afterwards. She described her loneliness as a condition of not knowing whom she could turn to for support and not as a symptom of the procedure. In her article, the author promoted the establishment of a women’s center on campus where students could find information about birth control and abortion. She concluded her testimony, “I would like to fight for all women being able to control our bodies. The social pressure and trauma that goes into this ten to fifteen minute operation is both ridiculous and sad.”31
Directly following this personal reflection, another article directed students to attend the High School Women’s Conference on March 11, 1972, at the Westwood United Methodist Church. The article began by identifying and dispelling stereotypes of feminists as man-haters and bra-burners and advertised the conference’s workshops on birth control, sexism in rock culture, bodily knowledge, straight and gay relationships, and the economic and social struggles of third-world women. In the Red Tide’s first move to coordinate an event outside of Uni High, the Women’s Conference welcomed students from Palisades, Hamilton, Venice, Fairfax, and Crenshaw high schools. On the last page of the issue, all of the letters to the editor responded to the feminist material in the first issue. A letter addressed to the Witch stated that after reading the Tide, the reader found the ability to express her sexual attraction to multiple men, as well as to women for the first time.32
In March 1972, the administration suspended staff members Michael Letwin and Robin Prentiss for distributing the second issue of the Tide. Concurrently, on March 4, the California State Legislature’s amendments to the California Educational Code came into effect; these changes brought an end to provisions allowing administrations to ban newspapers they deemed “partisan” and/or “propaganda.” The Supreme Court’s Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), upholding the free-speech rights of public school students, had set the precedent for the
federal court judgment in Rowe v. Campbell Union High School District (1970) that required California’s legislature to broaden students’ First Amendment rights.33
The new California Education Code 10611 read,
Students of the public schools have the right to exercise free expression including, but not limited to, the use of bulletin boards, the distribution of printed materials or petitions, and the wearing of buttons, badges, and other insignia, except that expression which is obscene, libelous, or slanderous according to current legal standards.34
The Tide’s authors educated Uni ’s student body on California’s adoption of section 10611. Once informed, students viewed the administration’s practices as a denial of student rights and insisted that administrators comply with the new statute. On March 13, the Los Angeles Times covered the struggle between students and the administration, and a day later between five hundred and seven hundred Tide supporters occupied the administration’s offices demanding unobstructed circulation of the Tide. In response, the American Civil Liberties Union requested that the Los Angeles School Board clarify its policies in regards to Section 10611; subsequently, the tandem of student organizing and external political pressure arrested administrators’ attempts to ban the distribution of the Tide.35
With this momentum, the Tide’s staff began to standardize the publishing process, and within a month of the occupation, the third issue was ready for distribution. However, the Tide’s success also encouraged backlash; in June, two groups, the Citizens Legal Defense Alliance and the Friends of Education, lobbied the Board of Education to prohibit the distribution of the Tide. CLDA president Edward Albertson complained that the paper was “liberally sprinkled with the sort of four letter words that polite people don’t use in public.” Conservative demands fell on deaf ears, and administrators were limited to reviewing content and offering editorial advice prior to circulation.36
In the third issue, April 1972, the paper featured an article series simply titled “Birth Control.” The first installment began by describing the historical connections between birth control advocacy and eugenics. The author argued that women needed to be educated on the full spectrum of reproductive choices in order to resist manipulation by doctors and population planners. The article then presented an evaluation of different birth control methods and instructions on how to use a condom and vaginal aerosol. All in all, the “Birth Control” series ran a total of five articles, concluding with an examination of the benefits and side effects of oral contraceptives.37
In the spring of 1972, Tide staffers helped organize citywide antiwar demonstrations that sought the cessation of President Richard Nixon’s bombing campaign in Vietnam. As a result of this organizing experience, the Tide staff began to think of its potential audience as larger than Uni High. Most of the articles in the fourth issue focused on ending the war in Vietnam. However, it also included articles on freedom of speech at Hamilton High School, striking London students, and a summer reading list. Within this array of concerns, feminism remained a central issue. The series “Birth Control” continued with an explanation of a gynecological exam that included a labeled diagram of the vulva, and the edition included articles on self-defense techniques for female hitchhikers and the advantages of karate instruction for women. The author of the karate article concluded, “I can’t think of anything more relevant to my everyday life than being able to defend myself in an attack situation.”38
In the second year of publication, school year 1972–1973, Tide authors continued to develop the paper ’s feminist analysis. On December 27, 1972, California Governor Ronald Reagan vetoed a bill for a third time that would have established young people’s right to receive birth control without parental consent. He claimed that his veto protected the sanctity of the family. Reacting to growing “family-first” politics in California, the authors at the Tide explored the economic and gendered reasons as to why people marry:
And is marriage really the way to end loneliness? Can two people satisfy each other ’s needs, sexual, emotional, and intellectually for their whole lives? This question is especially important to married women who spend much more time at home than their husbands. People grow and change, and chances are that you will not have the same standards and values in ten years that you have now.
The article concluded, “Women and men together can share in all jobs, desirable or not, without being forced to scramble for what they can get.”39
Although the Tide’s audience grew beyond the campus in the paper ’s second year, Uni campaigns remained central to the publication. In early 1973, as a response to concerns first expressed by the Wicked Witch of Westwood, students at Uni opened their own student-operated health center. Located in a Uni classroom, trained student counselors gave general health and birth control information to their peers. The administration took steps to “regulate” the center, and the Tide was quick to critique those efforts:
For instance, one of the center ’s fliers had a picture of a stork, which the girls’ vice principal deemed “too suggestive.” The Center is forbidden to advertise that it has information on “birth control”; rather, they must term it “personal population control.”40
The Red Tide’s Bonnie Bogan also took classroom textbooks to task. In multiple articles throughout the year, she criticized textbooks as part of the ideological apparatus that promoted sexism. For example, the textbook for Driver ’s Education, Sportsmanlike Driving, assigned every driving task to men, except to mention that “Driving is more and more a part of the housewife’s job of keeping a home and raising a family.” Tide authors also pointed to the severe lack of representation of women in high school history texts.41
In the spring of 1973, the Red Tide helped organize the first Women’s Week, a series of events that identified and rejected sexism as taught at school. Organizers chose speakers who explored a shared sisterhood and critiqued the “sex role” assigned to American women.
Fashion shows, bake sales, macramé demonstrations and spinster hops are some of the activities usually planned for “Girls Week” around the city at various high schools. This year was different at Uni high. A group of women got together and decided to make the week more relevant, so they planned a women’s week from March 5–9. Monday they invited the all-woman rock band “Lizzy Tisch” to play on the field.42
Women’s Week at Uni was a feminist appropriation of Girls Week, the city of Los Angeles’s yearly program that sought to socialize young women into
middle-class gender roles. Initially established in 1946 by the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Los Angeles, Girls Week organizers sought to promote careers for young women. However, in the 1950s, as Girls Week spread through the school system, it was co-opted by administrators and deployed to encourage standards of teenage femininity and the proper female gender role. The Tide’s feminist authors mocked the anachronism and paternalism of Girls Week. For them, their week was “more relevant” because it rejected prescribed gender roles and addressed young women’s immediate concerns dealing with relationships and sexuality.43
By the end of the 1973 school year, the Los Angeles Board of Education responded to the demands of students and parents and amended the district’s student handbook to indicate that no student would be denied access to resources or instruction on the basis of sex. An article in the Tide critiqued the board’s amendment because, unlike Title IX, it failed to define an implementation schedule or an enforcement mechanism. Without enforcement, the author argued that the ingrained sexism of school administrators and teachers would structure a culture that denied young women and men opportunities deemed inappropriate for their sex. The author criticized this type of education as one “designed to make us accept the ‘fact’ that women are supposed to do one thing in society, and men another, a concept which had made slaves of both men and women to society’s sex roles, not to mention the fact that it restricts certain types of plain knowledge to one or another sex, and mainly to women.”44
The paper ’s feminist analysis continued to develop in the Tide’s third year of publication, school year 1973–1974, and through investigations of sex roles its authors confronted many of the most critical gender-based inequalities. In “Rape: The Reality,” the Tide challenged the commonly held belief that female victims of rape were often at fault or partially responsible and that women in public crossed “natural” sex boundaries and thereby risked and/or encouraged rape. After providing some introductory statistics, the author presented and then deconstructed myths about rape, such as the myth that men “needed” sex more than women. Each myth concluded with an analysis of rape as experienced by women: “Rape is an act of aggression in which the victim is denied her self-determination.” The author ’s point-by-point argument outlined to fellow students how rape was a violent act that could not be legislated away. For the author, sexual violence could only be eliminated through the transformation of sex roles and sexuality through consciousness-raising projects.45
In the first months of 1974, members of the Tide staff planned a second Women’s Week that included multiple sessions on women’s health and sexuality and presentations on the plight of Vietnamese women in wartime and the
struggles of Native American women in the American Indian Movement. As arrangements for the week progressed, the school administration vetoed organizers’ plans to include any presentations on reproduction, sexuality, or sexual violence. This veto prevented students’ use of school property. In response to the prohibition, a Red Tide author characterized the administration’s position as absurd. The administration would not allow a representative of the Rape Crisis Center to mention the word “rape.” They vetoed a reproduction and contraceptive talk by a nurse, Claudia King, from UCLA’s Gynecology and Conception clinic as “potentially controversial.” And they rejected gay rights activist Jeanne Cordova as a speaker because they feared her talk would be of a “sexual nature.”46
Although the administration succeeded in stalling some of the Women’s Week presentations in 1974, the organizers fought back by gathering petitions and organizing parental support. In meetings with the administration, it was clear that the school authorities considered neither King nor Cordova a real danger to the school. The administration was simply obstructionist. The administration claimed that Cordova did not exist because she had typed her name rather than signed the speaker ’s application. They denied the application until she made a personal appearance in the vice principal’s office. After a series of meetings that included students and their parents, the administration dropped their suppression attempts.
The history of the second Women’s Week at Uni and the struggle to include speakers who could address pressing concerns about sexuality and reproduction demonstrates how the Tide articulated and advanced feminist causes. The Red Tide challenged administrative policies that censored open dialogue on critical feminist issues, and in their efforts to educate and motivate their peers at Uni and other area high schools, Tide authors identified and labeled structures of high school education that reproduced “sex roles” for male and female students. Furthermore, unlike many of the movement organizations of the sixties, young women in the Red Tide organized their own events, served as leaders, and developed autonomous feminist networks through their associations with the group. According to Kim Anno, a Tide staffer, “We had women’s week, we had ongoing consciousness-raising groups for women. Some of us became lesbians and were both in the Red Tide and had our own autonomous groups. The Red Tide gave us leadership experience.” Participating in the Red Tide helped young women to learn how to organize and lead their fellow students. As student leaders they did not rely on the school to be an agent that granted them authority. Rather, their authority came from their ability to speak to students in the language of youth culture about subjects largely taboo in the mass media.47
Nonetheless, allied parents and progressive adults gave greater legitimacy to the Tide’s activities. Progressive cross-generation efforts strengthened student rights at Uni, and because of the legal precedents they established, this reach extended throughout the nation. With the support of the elder Letwin, two members of the Tide’s staff initiated lawsuits in response to censorship practices at the high school.48 In both lawsuits, the plaintiff from the Tide sued the Los Angeles Board of Education in order to establish district-wide policies on students’ right of expression and freedom of the press. In both cases, young women acted as the plaintiffs, first Cynthia Hummel and later Susie Bright. Bright’s case began with the censorship of the thirteenth issue of the Tide at Uni because of an article regarding the banning of hats for men at Locke High School. A subheading in the article claimed “Principal Lies,” and this prompted Homer Gansz to ban the paper as he saw the heading as libelous speech unprotected by Section 10611. In 1976, the California Supreme Court in Bright v. Los Angeles Unified School District disagreed with Gansz’s action and found that “the use of terms of art such as ‘libelous’ and ‘obscene’ are not sufficiently precise and understood by high school students and administrators untutored in the law to be acceptable criteria in the context of prior restraint.” The court ruled in the Tide’s favor, allowing the sale of newspapers on campus and striking down school administrators’ claims of a right of prior censorship over unofficial student publications.49 As a component of the changing nature of the high school in the 1970s towards an administrative disciplinary model, the court’s findings
invalidated the practice of prior censorship, but the court also emphasized that administrators retained their power to discipline students who attempted to distribute prohibited material.
The Red Tide organization was not alone in this period of youth legal activism. In numerous cases, students and their allies objected to strict constructions of gender roles and argued that young people need greater access to sex education, contraceptives, and abortions. As described by Gael Graham, in the early 1970s, the federal courts heard over a hundred individual cases challenging school district policies on young men’s hair length.50 In 1976, the United States Supreme Court struck down a state statute that required young women to have parental consent before undergoing an abortion, and in 1977, it rejected a state statute that prohibited distribution of contraceptives to persons less than sixteen years of age.51 These court challenges should be viewed as symptomatic of a period in which young people (and their adult allies) sought to establish greater societal liberties for themselves and their peers.
At Uni High, the Red Tide and fellow students were connected in the intimate social life of the school in which dating and sexual relationships were intensely policed and politicized. It was through associations within their school’s peer network, Innovative Program School, and the “pit” (the space behind the band room) that the early Tide successfully articulated a catalytic feminist agenda for young people. The Tide’s history shows how a small group of students through an alternative newspaper invigorated the political and educational climate of their school (and beyond). For Uni student Monica Scheerer:
It [the Red Tide] was a springboard into politics for people of my age, and we were savvy enough to realize how radical it was, but they really encouraged us to say what we had to say and do what we had to do. There wasn’t anything like it anywhere. I don’t know if I’d be the same person today without that awakening. And raising my own child, I absolutely let him think what he wants to think politically, because I didn’t allow anyone to tell me what to think.52
As an organization, the Red Tide operated similarly to other high school student groups: their activities were structured by the academic calendar, they recruited new members from incoming first-year students, and they utilized the space of the school for political activities. Although politically radical, the Red Tide shared similarities with high school social clubs from the 1950s and 1960s, as it sought to make the high school culturally more relevant for young people. Working on the Tide forged intimate bonds between members, relationships that sustained the adolescent struggle for identities autonomous from those
modeled in mass culture. Group consciousness clustered around broad feminist concerns therefore played an important function among students within the Red Tide. The Red Tide’s success gave these participants access to larger political venues, and as core members graduated or left University High School, its walls no longer defined the terrain of contestation.
In its third year of publication, the Tide’s staff also included authors from other Westside schools, and this increasing participation positioned the Tide as a voice for greater number of young progressives in Los Angeles. Furthermore, on February 22, 1973, the Red Tide organized a talk by antiwar activist Jane Fonda at Uni, and local conservatives tried to pressure the school to cancel the talk. The Red Tide and their allies succeeded in arguing for their free speech rights as students, and the media coverage of Fonda’s talk signaled to students and their parents that Uni High was a site for political debates that transcended normal high school politics.53
By 1973, the Red Tide was seen by many as Los Angeles’s premier progressive youth organization. Because of the range of its political activities, the Red Tide served as one of the lynchpins that brought together Los Angeles’s movement organizations. The Red Tide had relationships with the Midnite Special collective, the Indochina Peace Campaign, the Student Union for Peace and Justice, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the International Socialists, the Socialist Collective, and the National Lawyers Guild. 54
In December of 1974, the Red Tide merged with the Contra Costa Socialist Coalition (Concord, CA), and shortly afterwards the “enlarged” Red Tide became the youth wing of the International Socialists (IS). In the early 1970s, the IS moved from New York to Detroit in search of industrial workers and radical unionism. In the fall of 1975, members of the Red Tide moved to Highland Park, Michigan, where they continued to publish the paper and through their efforts labored to organize workers and students in Detroit. In what would have been her senior year of high school at Uni, Susie Bright moved to Detroit; the Red Tide rather than the high school had become the center of her education as a young adult.
In its first four years of publication, 1971–1975, the Tide’s authors argued that feminism was a primary means to a better future. The proximity of youth cultural practices and feminist concerns in the late 1960s and early 1970s created the possibility of concurrence. Feminism and its investigations into sexuality made the Tide all the more attractive to a broader audience, thereby threatening the school’s powers in loco parentis. Feminist consciousness-raising techniques practiced by student groups encouraged young people to critique adult gender roles and sexuality as presented in the classroom and in mass media. These
groups were not limited to young women, as young men also participated in consciousness-raising groups in which they discussed topics including the objectification of women and homophobia. The diffusion of feminist practices into the daily interchange between students generated a critical mass of young people who believed it was their right to discuss sexuality, sexism, and sex roles.
At Uni, the Red Tide educated their peers and built alliances around a broad set of progressive political ideas including feminism. Encouraging young people to reject identities promoted by adult authorities and the mass media, the Red Tide also nurtured a space in which new identities could be articulated. Many Red Tide members and their peers viewed this period as a transformative moment in which an array of inherited social categories disappeared. Once suspect as communists, criminals, or deviants, by the mid-1970s, the black radical and/or outspoken lesbian became public identities, at least at Uni High. Upon leaving the group, many of its members would continue to explore the complex relationship between identity and politics.
Coming from a middle-class African American family, Karen Hampton found that the activities of the Red Tide synthesized her diverse political interests. In the summer of 1973, Hampton attended some Black Nationalist meetings, and she “found them not really my style because I was interested in synthesizing my world not separating it.” Afterwards, she became involved in the Red Tide and “attended meetings every Saturday, Marxist study groups every Thursday, and regular farm worker picket lines at Safeway and demonstrations all the time. I especially remember our fieldtrip to Delano to march with Cesar Chavez. I was involved in organizing ‘Women’s Week’ as an alternative to ‘Girl ’s Week.’” Today Hampton is an educator and artist at Howard University, whose artwork explores the historical lives of African American women and children.55
As related in the autobiographical Queen of the Oddballs, former Red Tide member Hillary Carlip developed a career that played with identity. In her twenties, Carlip would reinvent herself as the tough punk chick Angel and later become superfan Mindy Greenfield. For Carlip, identity was mutable, and her 1980s playfulness teased the discourses of sixties authenticity. In 1995, Carlip published Girl Power, a book that shared the dreams and stories of young women from across different backgrounds and perspectives; for some young women reading Girl Power would inspire involvement in zine publishing, Riot Grrrl, and feminism.56
After moving to Detroit with the Red Tide, Susie Bright would become one of the most outspoken advocates for a socialist and sex-positive feminism. During the late 1970s, Bright became a founding member of Teamsters for a
Democratic Union. From 1984 to 1991, she was a cofounder and then editor in chief of the first women’s sex magazine, On Our Backs, which would pioneer the publication of erotica for a lesbian audience. Through numerous outlets including a radio show, In Bed with Susie Bright, Bright continues to advocate for a socialist and sex-positive feminism.57
In 1975, Michael Letwin also moved to Detroit with the Red Tide to organize students and workers. From 1977 to 1979, he was a cofounder of the International Socialist Organization. Since 1985, he has been a public defender in New York City. As a former president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, Letwin has organized groups such as New York City Labor Against the War and Labor for Palestine. Not unlike his efforts to orient young people in Los Angeles to understand feminism and the counterculture as united struggles, his activities as an antiwar labor leader have also been driven by a synthetic and coalitional vision of politics.
The history of the Red Tide shows how a group of young people in the 1970s boldly confronted the social categories taught at school, at home, and in the mass media and in doing so, opened American society to a more fluid and broader scope of identity. As seen in the short biographical sketches of Hampton, Carlip, Bright, and Letwin, the activities of former Red Tide members are central to the ongoing development of American culture and politics. Historians Bruce Schulman and Edward D. Berkowitz have argued that behind the less-heated political climate of the 1970s, American social relations were radically redefined.58 Evidence from the Tide supports and complicates this view. High school feminists in the Red Tide played a critical role in the redefinition of social relations through their challenges to the binary model in which one’s sex secured their identity. The categorical deconstruction of sex as the primary identity-generating social category and its rearticulation into sex, sex roles (gender), and sexuality provided young Americans with a multivalent framework in which to develop their own identities. And by the early twenty- first century, the merger of this new fluid framework with the freedom of expression championed by the Red Tide became a central trope of American youth culture. Today, although many young people are not allowed to participate in the development of their own curriculum as they did at Uni in the early 1970s, they are allowed to bring a same-sex partner to the prom.59
High school feminism was a powerful catalyst for these changes, and as students moved towards feminist viewpoints, albeit often unknowingly, these concerns shifted the everyday social and political life of youth cultures. Through an investigation of the process of socialization within the framework of schooling, histories of youth that tie the local to larger structural shifts allow historians
to present a fuller picture of how American values and society changed in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This investigation of high school activists shows that feminism, like civil rights, was itself a catalyst for other types of progressive politics. Not an endpoint of the movement cultures of the sixties, a feminist youth culture in the mid-1970s connected sixties cultures with the social movements of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Student-led groups like the Red Tide were at the vanguard of a cohort of youth that rewrote the passage from adolescence to adulthood with new outlooks on sex, sexuality, and gender roles. Both young men and women joined in this struggle and often found support from nurturing adult progressives. Through a close reading of the Tide and interviews with Red Tide members and their school peers, this article explores how in the case of Uni High, the school became the grounds for new expressions of sex-positivism, sexual orientation, and gender roles.60 The Red Tide dared their peers to free themselves, and in a manner unheard of in the prior generation, argued that feminism was central to modern progressive politics, the free adolescent, and healthy adulthood.
NO T E S
1. Susannah Bright, interview by author, January 28, 2011.
2. Gael Graham, “Flaunting the Freak Flag: Karr v. Schmidt and the Great Hair Debate in American High Schools, 1965–1975,” Journal of American History 91, no. 2 (2004): 522–43; Daniel Hurewitz, “Goody-Goodies, Sissies, and Long–Hairs: The Dangerous Figures in 1930s Los Angeles Political Culture,” Journal of Urban History 33, no. 1 (2006): 26–50.
3. Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam, 1993); Terry H. Anderson, The Movement and the Sixties: Protest in America from Greensboro to Wounded Knee (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996); Arthur Marwick, The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c. 1958–c. 1974 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998); Sharon Monteith, American Culture in the 1960s (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008).
4. Matthew Ides, “Cruising for Community: Youth Culture and Politics in Los Angeles, 1910–1970” (PhD diss., University of Michigan, 2009).
5. Monica Scheerer, interview by author, August 6, 2010.
6. Gael Graham, Young Activists: American High School Students in the Age of Protest (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2006). In Young Activists, Gael Graham examines how young people in the late 1960s challenged gender roles, from demanding to take classes that were seen as inappropriate for their sex to thwarting regulations on clothing and hair length, but does not extensively cover the range of high school feminist activity into the early 1970s.
7. Susie Bright, Big Sex Little Death (Berkeley: Seal Press, 2011). In Big Sex, Bright discusses overhearing high school athletes and cheerleaders using the terms “sluts” and “faggots” as insults to put down groups of students at Uni High. Soon after, she became a member of the Red Tide and would challenge other students’ uses and perceptions of these two categories.
8. Alice Echols, Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967–1975 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989); Sara Evans, Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left (New York: Vintage, 1979). For a more recent feminist historiography, Ruth Rosen, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America (New York: Penguin Books, 2000); Estelle Freedman, No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women (New York: Ballatine Books, 2003); Nancy Hewitt, No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of U.S. Feminism (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2010).
9. Nancy MacLean, “Gender is Powerful: The Long Reach of Feminism,” OAH Magazine of History 20, no. 5 (2006): 19–23.
10. Bright, interview; Bright, Big Sex.
11. Alita and Leon Letwin, interview by author, August 14, 2012; Mark Harris, correspondence with author, August 14, 2012. In 1971, UCLA graduate student Steve Brier began leading a Marxist study group for the Red Tide.
12. Montserrat Fontes, interview by author, August 14, 2010.
13. Designed by Caldwell Williams, the Innovative Program School (IPS) was premised on the theories of group counseling and was planned to serve as the basis for a mostly black high school in South Los Angeles. Williams had the support of then Senator Alan Cranston, but his plan failed to get approval. Later, Caldwell found that parents at Uni High were looking for an alternative to the standard public high school. With parental support, he resurrected his “Cranston Plan,” and it was approved as a program within Uni High.
14. Caldwell Williams, interview by author, August 13, 2012.
15. In Young Activists, Graham explains that American youth differed from European counterparts because fraternal organizations were frowned upon at the high school level. However, high school–based social clubs were central to the experience and socialization of mid-twentieth–century high schools. The import of these clubs should not be underestimated; age-segregated high school clubs were central to changes in American culture throughout the mid twentieth century and became a conduit of discourses of generational difference/conflict.
16. Leslie Thomas, interview by author, August 5, 2010; Monica Studer, interview by author, August 9, 2010; Robin Pedolsky, correspondence with author, August 16, 2010.
17. Augustus Maimodes, interview by author, July 10, 2005; Raphael J. Sonenshein, “The Los Angeles Jewish Community: An Examination of its History of Activism for Human Rights,” California State University–Fullerton, accessed February 4, 2013, http://www.csus.edu/calst/ government_affairs/reports/ffp34s.pdf.
18. “Is Kissing Illegal?” Eve Goldberg High School Radicalism (EGHSR), Southern California Library for Social Studies Research, Los Angeles, California; “School Fashions,” Ralph Story’s Los Angeles 634, KNXT-TV, 1969, UCLA Film and Television Archive, Los Angeles, California.
19. For the counterculture in Los Angeles, see David McBride, “Death City Radicals: The Counterculture in Los Angeles,” in The New Left Revisited, eds. John Campbell McMillian et al. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003), 125–26.
20. Michael Letwin, interview by author, October 15, 2009. During this period, University High School included the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades.
21. Homer Gansz, interview by author, August 13, 2012.
22. Scheerer, interview.
23. Red Tide, Oct. 1971, 1. The Red Tide and additional photographs are available online at http://theredtide.wordpress.com/ (accessed August 2, 2010).
24. In the earliest issues of the Red Tide, authors’ adoption of pseudonyms both provided students with a degree of anonymity from persecution and allowed them to situate playful critiques of the mass culture of the period. As the paper developed, pseudonyms and bylines were largely dropped.
25. “Woman is the Nigger of the World,” Red Tide, Oct. 1971, 4.
26. “Joreen” was the penname of Jo Freeman, and “vanauken” the penname of Sheldon Vanauken. These documents are available at Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement: An On–line Archival Collection, Special Collections Library, Duke University, accessed August 20, 2012, http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/scriptorium/wlm/.
27. “It’s Just a Phase,” Red Tide, Oct. 1971, 7.
28. Letwin, interview.
29. Mark Cornell Harris, survey returned to author, August 6, 2010.
30. “The Ten Point Plan,” Black Panther Party, accessed September 5, 2010, http://www.black–panther.org/TenPoint.htm.
31. “Abortion is my right,” Red Tide, Mar. 1972, 3.
32. “Women’s High School Conference,” Red Tide, Mar. 1972, 4 and 9; “Letters,” Red Tide, Mar. 1972, 12.
33. Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969). Lopez, 34 Cal. App. 4th at 1310–11 (discussing Rowe v. Campbell Union. High Sch. Dist., No. 51060 [N.D. Cal. 1970] [unpublished]).
34. CAL. EDUC. CODE 9012, 9013 (repealed). CAL. EDUC. CODE 10611 (repealed).
35. “Key Red Tide Dates 1971–1981,” (EGHSR).
36. “Parents, Citizen Groups Mobilize Against Marxist–Oriented Underground Newspaper,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 1972, WS1.
37. “Birth Control,” Red Tide, Apr. 1972, 3 and 12; “Birth Control #5; Oral Contraceptives,” Red Tide, Sep. 1972, 11.
38. Right-wing TV commentator George Putnam attacked the Red Tide for including the picture “Vulva: Outer Genitals,” which was from an early newsprint edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves; “Karate,” Red Tide 4:10.
39. “Marriage At An Early Age,” Red Tide, Jan. 1973, 5.
40. “Student Health Center,” Red Tide, Feb. 1974, 9.
41. “Textbooks: Whose Side Are They On?” Red Tide, Nov. 1973, 4.
42. “Shorts & Briefs; Women’s Week,” Red Tide, Mar. 1973, 2.
43. “Girls Week Opening Set,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 7, 1946, C4.
44. “Sex Discrimination in Schools ‘Banned’,” Red Tide, Feb. 1974, 3.
45. “Rape: The Reality,” Red Tide, Feb. 1974, 5.
46. Gail Mautner and Sue Bright, “Women’s Week at Uni,” Red Tide, Summer 1974, 12.
47. Kim Anno, survey response returned to author, August 5, 2010.
48. In these trials, Leon Letwin, Michael Letwin’s father, and his UCLA Law School colleague Richard Wasserstrom represented the Red Tide.
49. Bright v. Los Angeles Unified Sch. Dist., 18 Cal.3d 450.
50. Graham, “Flaunting the Freak Flag,” 523; David E. Shelton, “The Legal Aspects of Male Students’ Hair Grooming Policies in the Public Schools of the United States” (PhD diss., University of North Carolina–Greensboro, 1980), chap. 3.
51. Planned Parenthood v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52 (1976); Carey v. Population Services International, 431 U.S. 678 (1977); Bellotti v. Baird, 443 U.S. 622 (1979).
52. Schereer, interview.
53. Monica Studer, interview by author, August 9, 2010.
54. Michael Letwin, communication with author, August 16, 2012.
55. Karen Hampton, Howard University, accessed August 14, 2012, http://www.art.howard.edu/faculty-staff/faculty/karen-hampton/.
56. Hillary Carlip, Queen of the Oddballs: And Other True Stories from a Life Unaccording to Plan (New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2006); Hillary Carlip, Girl Power: Young Women Speak Out (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 1995).
57. Bright, Big Sex.
58. Bruce Schulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2002); Edward D. Berkowitz, Something Happened: A Political and Cultural Overview of the Seventies (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007).
59. Amy L. Best, Prom Night: Youth, Schools, and Popular Culture (New York: Routledge, 2000).
60. Oral interviews, surveys, and personal correspondence were conducted by the author with the following: Mehrdad Amanat, Kim Anno, Susannah Bright, Audrey Fox, Suzanne Fremont, Montserrat Fontes, Homer Gansz, Eve Goldberg, Karen Hampton, Michael Harris, J. J. Jodele, Peggy Kensi, Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan, Alita Letwin, Leon Letwin, Michael Letwin, John Levin, Julie McAllister, Robin Podolsky, Monica Scheerer, Monica Struder, Leslie Thomas, Stan Townsend, Peggy Wilkins, Randall Willens, and Caldwell Williams.