In the midst of the Malestream




Disputes on Stra­tegy in the New Women’s Movement

A film essay by Helke Sander

92 min., DVD or BETA
colour and b/w

 Follow this link to view stills from the film. 

 In contrast to the student protest move­ment, which has been docu­mented in a flood of analytical films and even TV series, the story of the women’s move­ment has never been examined in detail.

The fact that the women’s move­ment did not speak with one voice has not been docu­mented before. It was, in truth, charac­te­rized by disputes over stra­tegy, for which the ‚children issue’ became the proxy battlefield.

Few remember this since today’s media — if at all — reports only those posi­tions that prevailed.

The film uses a wide range of old docu­men­tary mate­rial, often recorded by filmma­kers,  jour­na­lists or media avant-gardists on early elec­tronic equip­ment, usually at their own expense. It took me almost two years to locate and retrieve this mate­rial, a task that frequently involved refor­ma­ting it from defunct and obscure formats such as „Japan Stan­dard 1.”

In 1968 I was not only a filmmaker but also a poli­ti­cally active citizen and made my contri­bu­tion to the foun­ding of the German women’s move­ment.  As a result I can occa­sio­nally be seen in the footage myself, not only as a chair of debates, but also as a poli­tical actor.

The film touches on the core ques­tions of the new women’s move­ment: the poli­tics of mother­hood, men’s percep­tion of them­selves as fathers, the crucial anti-§218 campaign (for the lega­li­sa­tion of abor­tion), women’s silent „child-bearing strike”, and the poli­tical struggle between the women’s move­ment and the two Chris­tian Churches.

A discus­sion on these issues in Berlin in the fall of 2004 was used as a frame­work for the film. The parti­ci­pants were:


Halina Bend­kowski, femi­nist rese­ar­cher on men,

Gisela Erler, Fami­li­en­ser­vice GmbH (family service),

Peggi Liebisch, Vorstand Verband allein­er­zie­hender Mütter und Väter (Member of the Board of the Asso­cia­tion of Single Mothers and Fathers),

Dr. Johanna Mieren­dorff, Children’s rights expert

Signe Theill, Artist, Curator

Bettina Scho­eller , Director, Author

Dr. Anne­gret Stop­czyk , Philosopher

Helke Sander, Author, Director


A Helke Sander film produc­tion, © 2005

Sponsor: Sans­souci Busi­ness Academy

With support of Hanne­lore Mabry – Bayri­sches Archiv der Frauenbewegung

For press and distri­bu­tion infor­ma­tion on In the midst of the Male­stream, please contact:

Jutta Platte, tel. +49 (0) 30 61 62 47 69, mobile: +49 (0) 177 763 93 62,