Until feminism could get a good hold on society, female writers had a very difficult time getting any of their writing published or even looked at. Even a female who wrote to herself without intension to publish, was looked down upon by the society made up of male writers. It became necessary for a female writer to change her own ways of writing to be like a male's writing just for her to begin to be called equal with male writers. Adrienne Rich and her writing, When We Dead Awaken, argues that writing as a male does is no longer considered to be equal in literature anymore. She discusses and explains how women have been cheated out of their right to express themselves in such ways as reading and writing while keeping their identity as women writing for women, not women writing as men. Although there have been several feminist breaks throughout history, Rich still strongly believes there to be such unequal differences that she no longer wants women to be just equal; she wants women to become completely dominant in societal and literary roles over men. .
Throughout When We Dead Awaken, Rich brings up several of many historical periods where women began to equal out male and female roles in society and in literature. Each period was a breakthrough and yet another win for the feminist movement. During the 50's and 60's, rapid revelations and revolutions were made. There were "the sit-ins and marches in the South, the Bay of Pigs, and the early antiwar movement" (Rich 635). The duration of the time and tension of the atmosphere among all of these events, accumulating over time, easily leads to the mass feminist movement. It is during this revolutionary movement that the female worker and writer begin to be accepted into society and the literary realm. On page 634, Rich writes:.
Well, you are tougher than I thought. / Now when the wash with ice hangs taut / this morning of St. Valentine, / I see you strip the squeaking line, / your body weighed against the load, / and all my groans can do no good.