"Angels and Anti-Pornography Feminists:
Late 1970s New York, rife with fear of crime and low trust in government to keep people safe, was a fertile ground for civilian public safety activism, which channeled people’s anger at the city’s situation into action to change it. The Guardian Angels and Women Against Pornography (WAP) were two of the best-known examples of this trend. Though rarely taken up together, this article places them in dialogue with one another in order to examine how racial, gender, sexual, and economic anxieties influenced the perception and possibilities of anti-violence community organizations at this time. I argue that while the predominately young, male, and nonwhite Angels were seen as belligerent, WAP’s adherence to the state’s social norms of acceptable female activism and sexual reformism facilitated their broader acceptance. The same social hierarchies that colored perceptions of the two organizations also shaped the available sources of partnerships, legitimacy, and funding, incentivizing both groups to undermine the most radically inclusive aspects of their missions in order to secure the resources they needed to continue operating most effectively.