Ellen Willis

“In the 1960’s we were all subjected to a double message: that first of all sex was okay now, but if we were pregnant it was our problem. Abortion of course was totally illegal and very hard to get. The HORROR—the fear of pregnancy—loomed over anything one did.”

Ellen Willis  joined the early feminist group New York Radical Women in 1968, and with Shulamith Firestone co-founded Redstockings in 1969. Willis published numerous articles and essays on feminist issues including the institution of marriage and the family, abortion politics, and sexuality. In the late 1960s and 1970s, she was the first pop music critic for The New Yorker, and later wrote for, among others, the Village Voice, The Nation, Rolling Stone, Slate, Salon, and Dissent, where she was also on the editorial board. She was the author of several books of collected essays. Beginning in the late 1970’s, she was part of the pro-abortion action group No More Nice Girls.  At the time of her death in 2006, she was a professor in the Journalism Department of New York University. She had one daughter, Nona Willis Aronowitz.