"Making Ourselves Real": Jean and Ruth Mountaingrove in the Southern Oregon Lesbian-Feminist Community, 1970 - 1984
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This thesis explores the relationship between 1970s lesbian-feminist theory and praxis through analysis of the cultural production and lived experiences of Jean and Ruth Mountaingrove, two members of a loose-knit community of back-to-the-land lesbian-feminist separatists in southern Oregon. The Mountaingroves published several successful lesbian-feminist publications from the 1970s until the mid-1980s, as well as incorporating lesbian feminism into all aspects of their personal lives, in essence politicizing their whole lives. The interconnection between the Mountaingroves' personal, public, and professional lives illustrates some of the overarching changes lesbian-feminist theory initiated through the politicization of identity and isolation from men, as well as the boundary-making and contradictions that occurred when lesbian feminists attempted to integrate theory into their personal lives. Through the Mountaingroves' story we can see the fruitful unifying nature of lesbian-feminist theory and culture and the many paradoxes inherent in the politics of identity on public and private levels.