“GIRLS SAY YES to boys who say no.”

Today as I shopped at the Eastern Market in DC I came across this poster of Joan Baez and her two sisters. I had never seen this image before, but after doing a little research I found that it was used as a way to raise money for Vietnam draft resistance in 1968. The slogan “Girls Say Yes to Boys Who Say No”, was developed to assure men who resisted the draft that there would be rewards. Looking at this propaganda 40 years later it does appear that this was a  sexist approach to convince men that draft resistance was the way to go. It is almost surprising that Baez who is well-known for her social activist work, is offering her and her sisters bodies for the sake of the war.

This type of using femininity as a way to protest the war is very similar to the tactics of the Women Strike for Peace activist group in the early 1960s. WSP was a group of white middle-class women who went on strike to ban nuclear -testing and end the Vietnam war. This group of women used their housewife vulnerability to successfully sway the decision of President Kennedy and the acceptance of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963.

The similarity between these women is that many of the leaders of the WSP , who played on their role of concerned homemakers, and the tactics used by Joan Baez and her sisters is that these women were intelligent and much more than the vulnerable, sexual women they portrayed themselves as. Although these anti-war strategies may seem as sexist ways to appeal to men, both proved to be very successful.

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