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February 28, 2007

iron jawed angels

when i went home last weekend, i bought iron jawed angels because i really watched to see all of the movie, so on friday night, my friend and i watched it in its entirety. i think the movie is very powerful and portrays the events with accuracy and i liked it very much but i was pissed about the romantic entanglement that occurs between alice paul and the most likely fictional character ben weissman. we talked about this issue in class and i thought it was silly then that the movie had to be affected by hollywood and the writers felt that they had to make it more likable and sellable to the people that aren't watching it with just a simple interest in the historical value. but after actually watching and witnessing the "relationship," i was just mad.

it was unnecessary in the first place but when the movie ended and i realized that they hadn't even really concluded the love story, i was doubly mad. it was pretty pointless. a lot of times i felt myself thinking "don't distract her! she's doing important things! more important than you!" and the scene where both of them are making tea is also rather irrelevant to the plot (but not to the romance plot of course). but perhaps the strangest scene or the most surprising to me was that in which hilary swank is masturbating in the bathtub mixed with the two of them dancing. i have contradicting thoughts about this scene. first, this exemplifies our society's obsession with sex and erotic acts involving women in a movie that should be void of that and it objectifies her. but on the other hand, this scene fights against the idea that she needed a man for pleasure, that women can't and shouldn't masturbate, and presented the contrasting idea that a woman can be in charge of her own sexuality.

Location Exercise

I was looking back on the location exercise we did in class regarding naming and positioning and I was inspired to write the first poem I have written in over two years! I consider this poem my realization of what it means to be able to "pass."

First off, a few basics from the exercise:

My name is Eve. Eve is a Hebrew name. My name means life and original sin. My name was chosen by my parents because my mother saw Eve as a powerful historical female figure. My father is Jewish and, at one time, was an Israeli citizen. He wanted me to have a Hebrew name.

Naming is very important in the Jewish religion. A Jewish person cannot name their child after someone, (a friend or relative) who is still living.

People can place me in the following categories by looking at me: white, female, young, middle-class, able-bodied, and tattooed.
People can rarely tell that I am Jewish, and in this way I am allowed to pass.

Here follows my poem:

No one knows I am Jewish,
(They cannot see it on my face.)
My father always told me not to advertise.
He sits in restaurants with his back to the wall
and his eye on the door.
He wants to spot the gunman when he walks in.
My father tells me not to wear red,
not to make a scene,
and not to draw attention to myself.
He hates the art I wear on my body.
My father is afraid,
and I am afraid because
I fear his experiences have given him reason to be so.
I have privilege and I feel safe
Because nobody knows.

February 27, 2007

Line Breaks with Marc Bamuthi Joseph

While I was in Madison over the weekend, I went to a poetry slam that was hosted by Marc Bamuthi Joseph. The Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives (OMAI) and UW Arts Institute in conjunction with the Wisconsin Union Directorate Theater Committee sponsored the Youth Speaks Wisconsin Teen Poetry Slam Finals. The finals consisted of teens ages 13-19; most were in high school with the exception of one 7th grader and one UW-Madison freshman. Of the 13 contestants, 4 were women. There were two rounds where the 13 were narrowed to the best 7. The two scores were averaged and then the top three were sent to Youth Speaks. This Hip-Hop Theater Presentation was absolutely fabulous! I loved the young poet’s work and their attitude. Many dug deep to personal lengths and pain and some spoke on politics. I had one favorite by the girl who took first place, I believe it was called honey sweet handsome. There was one poem that I took issue to based on my own opinions and beliefs, but I understand where he was coming from and what his point was supposed to be. DJ was in the second round when he performed “And You’re Supposed To Be A Man?? The reason I did not like this poem was because in it, he was preaching to women to hold on the themselves (a.k.a. their virginity) because the men who want to have sex aren’t looking for wives and they will just toss women aside – and you’re supposed to be a man? Moving past that, the second round was very amazing. The kids brought out the secret weapons and really reached out. One teen named Cory did a poem between his two personalities, a kind of devil/angel take on hip-hop. One boy stood up and did a take on America where he stated that third world countries are America’s broken condom. And that is just a taste of some of the hits thrown at America or society at large.

After the slam, Marc got up and performed for all of us. He addressed issues like What is real hip-hop? He states that it is NOT the misogynistic “club? music that is heard everywhere. He was forced to come out of the club and look to not-so-mainstream forms of hip-hop. He started doing “poetry with motion? after teaching a sophomore-level Black Literature class where he would use poetry to teach the kids about the reading. His poetry overall was very moving and difficult to catch, but what you did receive was very influential.

Of snakes and trees
Like adam and eve
From leaves to roots
fascination with family is a taste for strange fruit
So strange looks like a darker version of you
Our story is a sojourn on the back of a snake
crossed the seas in pursuit of the music
Settled in the space where drum and bass
And blood and sweat kneel down to pray
Eden is evening by the fire with flute
family tree
Transplanted in America
Bears us
Strange fruit
This “strange fruit? idea was present throughout the entire performance. I must say, that my favorite part was when he was talking about his friend Molly and his adventure in Senegal. Apparently, Molly was the first African American he had ever met and she was a white skinny girl. He decided to go to Senegal and have somewhat of an adventure when he was stripped of cash and called Molly to save him from being stricken to the streets. She took him with her to the “middle of NOwhere? to discuss female genital mutilation with village leaders and try to convince them to reconsider their traditions and cultures to make way for more modern ideas. When they visited one village, there were hundreds of people outside of the building Molly and the leader were in when Molly came out to tell him to distract the people so she could talk to the leader. Somehow, through a form of tap dancing and making a fool of himself, Molly got the deal with the leader. Overall, quite a strange day for Marc. He now has a very different view of ‘word’ because in front of these people, he could not speak to them in a language that they would understand. This was a very big deal for him since he IS a poet.

I admired his movement and integration of his argument for “old school? hip-hop rather than the misogynist “club? music. The poetry slam and Marc’s performance were very moving and gave me a different perspective on other’s lives. These young people had a lot to say about the differences between mainstream society and ‘where I come from.’ The series is called Line Breaks and I saw the series kick-off on Saturday, 2/24 at 7pm at the UW Union Theater.

Line Breaks Presents:
2/26 – Jeff Chang, author of Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation and Rennie Harris, editor of Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop

3/3 8pm – OMAI/DANE DANCES DanceFest (a benefit for first wave scholarships) featuring “In Black N’ White? and Sambadá.

3/5 7pm – Alix Olson, queer spoken word artist.

3/? 7pm – Kamilah Forbes, Executive producer of Russell Simmons’ HBO Def Poetry Jam

3/19 7pm – Danny Hoch, director of ‘Pot Melting’ and ‘Some People’ and writer of “Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop.?

3/26 7pm – Dennis Kim, one of the founders of ‘I Was Born With Two Tongues’ and co-founder of ‘Typical Cats’ and has released two albums and Mayda Del Valle, who is AWESOME.

4/9 7pm – Lauren Whitehead, a senior at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor who is “considered one of the premier young spoken word artists in the nation.?

4/16 7pm – Rafael Casal, the youngest poet to appear on Russell Simmons’ Presents Def Poetry on HBO and Dahlak Brathwaite, a member of the Berkeley Slam Team.

4/26 8pm – Grammy-nominated Omar Sosa and his Afreeconos Quartet as a benefit for first wave scholarships with an Isthmus Jazz Series Event.

Youth Speaks Wisconsin is “the first University-based spoken word and urban arts center in the country, initiated in 2005.
The Line Breaks Series is held at the Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium at 816 State Street in Madison. You can find more information here.

February 23, 2007

Black Face(s) in Film


For my artistic event, I attended the Black Face(s) in Film exhibit which is located in the University of Minnesota’s Elmer L. Andersen Library. This exhibit is showing from now up until February 28 so there is still time to go see it.

In going to this exhibit, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. I walked into the library from the entrance that is right off of the Washington Ave. Bridge, and the first thing I saw was the exhibit. Below is a picture of the entrance that I walked in.


The door is covered with ads for different movies from the past. Once I was in the exhibit, there were five different cardboard film reels hanging from the ceiling that listed five different “stations? if you will. The stations were: directors, books made into films, other scripts of interest, Pulitzer Prize winners made into films, and biographies of film stars. Each of these stations had a glass case that was filled with different examples of the station topic.

First was the station was directors. This station had a lot of press kits. One was a press kit from 1992 on the film Malcolm X. This press kit contained lots of images and text from the film. Another film that had a lot of stuff was The Learning Tree, by Gordon Parks. This film was made from her novel which was her first novel. It is about a young boy growing up and getting older during the 1920s in Kansas. Along with the screenplay which was dated 1968, the press book was also there which was dated 1996, and this book had a bunch of suggested ads for the film. A picture of this press book is below:


The second station was books made into films. This station had a lot of documents from the making of these films. One example is the novel Daughters of the Dust, by Julie Dash. This is a novel about the Peazants, a large family. Next to this novel was another book called Daughters of the Dust, by Julie Dash with Toni Cade Bambara and bell hooks. This is a book about the 16-year struggle that went into making the original novel into a film.

Third was the other scripts of interest station which was a collection of more books and screenplays.

The forth station was the Pulitzer Prize winners made into film station. This was really interesting to me because it had a lot of films that I had heard of before. It was also worthy of noting that all of these came from a later date. One of the examples was the film/novel Beloved. This is written by Toni Morrison and published in 1987. The premise of Beloved is after the Civil-War in Ohio. The story is about a woman named Sethe who is a slave and has lost both a husband and child. She risks everything to try to escape. Another example is The Color Purple, by Alice Walker published in 1982. This novel also won the American Book Award, in addition to the Pulitzer Prize. This book is about two sisters who remain loyal to each other.

The last and fifth station is the biographies of film stars station. One of the books from this station is Nobody: The Story of Bert Williams, by Ann Charters. This was published in 1970 and it about a comic, but how he was also having to fight against racism.

At each of these stations, there were many more examples than what I have listed. The exhibit is really cool because the actual books that the movies came from are right there for the viewer to see. I really liked seeing the diversity of books that have come from African-American writers. It was also cool because they had some of the actual old film-making things like the one shown below:


All-in-all this exhibit was one that I am glad that I made the hike over the Washington Ave. Bridge for. It was good for me to see this, because before going to it I honestly couldn’t think of any book by an African-American writer that was made into a film except for Their Eyes Were Watching God. This is a great exhibit and the cool thing is that it’s free, so everyone can go!

March 1st Talk on Immigration

The Global Sexualities Research Collaborative is pleased to announce that
Professor Eithne Luibheid, author of Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border, will be presenting a lecture next Thursday, March 1st at 3:30 p.m. in Room 402 in Walter Library.


Luibheid is a member of the Department of Women's Studies at the University of Arizona, as well as the director for the Committee on LGBT Studies. Her talk, is entitled "Genealogy, Intimacy, and the Shifting Boundaries Between Legal and Illegal Immigration."

According to Professor Luibheid, "Although government policies and media representations posit a clear distinction between legal and illegal immigration, contemporary scholarship suggests that each are socially produced, and that the line between them 'can be crossed in both directions'(Ngai, 2004). Focusing on same-sex couples who are seeking inclusion within the spousal reunification provisions of immigration law, this talk raises critical questions for queer scholars/activists about the ways that sexuality figures in producing, contesting, and refiguring the distinction between legal and illegal immigration."

Refreshments will be provided and a brief reception will be held following the presentation.

February 21, 2007

Location Exercise

Doing this exercise made me think of a paper that I wrote last semester for an English Composition class. The topic for my paper was Welfare Rights and how the stereotypical thinking that surrounds people on government assistance is detrimental for those people and for society in general. One of the questions in the exercise asked, "When did you first become aware of your race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, etc.?" While this probably wasn't the first time I became aware of such things, it stands out in my mind as being significant. For my paper, I got into contact with the Welfare Rights Committee here in Minneapolis. Even on the drive there, I could tell that this wasn't the type of neighborhood I was used to. The committee was located in an old school that had been turned into a community center. The office was one room with a big long table in the center with papers strewn across it. Listening to the women talk about the unfair treatment of welfare recipients, I could see how my class status probably appeared to them. These women were putting down rich people, and while I certainly am not rich, I'm from a middle class family where money isn't a day to day concern. Before doing this paper, I at least partially believed the stereotypes about welfare recipients. Now I know that most people on welfare are only on it for a short amount of time and are for the most part using it as a second chance, a way of getting back on their feet. As we're learning about white privilege and oppression based on socioeconomic status, I remember that interview, and I can better understand where these authors are coming from.

2/22 Talk - Ethnic Advocates and Immigration Law

Carolyn Wong
Political Science Department, Carleton College

3-4:30 PM (Scott Hall Commons) -- Talk: Ethnic Advocates and the Making of Immigration Law.

In every decade since passage of the Hart Cellar Act of 1965, Congress has faced conflicting pressures: to restrict legal immigration and to provide employers with unregulated access to migrant labor. In congressional debates immigrant rights groups advocated a surprisingly moderate course of action: expansionism was tempered by a politics of inclusion. Rights advocates supported generous family unification policies, for example, but they opposed proposals that would admit large numbers of guest workers without providing a clear path to citizenship. Latino and Asian American rights advocates led pro-immigrant coalitions of interest groups. The ethnic advocates were successful in casting rights demands in universalistic terms, while leveraging their standing as representatives of growing minority populations.

Carolyn Wong is on the political science faculty at Carleton College. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1997, after earning a Masters Degree in Technology Policy at M.I.T. Prof. Wong's research and teaching focus primarily on the politics of race, ethnicity and immigration in the United States. Her book Lobbying for Inclusion: Rights Politics and the Making of Immigration Policy (2006) was published by Stanford University Press. She is currently comparing the paths to political integration of Hmong and Vietnamese refugee communities in the U.S., France, and Australia.

Another website to read - Racialicious

I'm waiting for the You Tubers to put the Tyra race experiment clips up. When they do, I'll post them.

For now, check out what this antiracist activist has to say about Tyra HERE.

Racialicious (formerly known as Mixed Media Watch) is a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture. Check out our daily updates on the latest celebrity gaffes, our no-holds-barred critique of questionable media representations, and of course, the inevitable Keanu Reeves newsflashes.

+ + +

What do you think about the Tyra show? Is it just entertainment? Is it a tool to bring raced, classed, and gendered issues to the mainstream? If professors like Michael Eric Dyson are her "experts" (and not some unknown non-Phd-holding "Dr."), is it like a healthy taste of GWSS on TV or just a watered down version of pop culture poltics? Post in your blog or on our course blog for some xtra credit y'all.

February 20, 2007

Random Events - THIS WEEK!

Multiple events - I'm not sure if these will work for event posts, but they were sent to me in an e-mail and they look REALLY cool!

Thursday, 4 pm, 125 Nolte: Bruce Cuthbert (psychology), speaks on "Startling Facts about
Feelings: The New Science of Emotion." (Note: this is a freshman-sophomore honors
experiential event.)

Thursday, 7 pm, Bell Museum, Auditorium, $5 students: Deepest Desires. Does the difference in
the way men and women approach sex have an evolutionary basis? See what happens when a male and a
female actor are sent to a London university campus with hidden cameras to ask a simple
question, "Will you sleep with me?"

Next Friday, Feb. 23, 3:30 pm: Paula Findlen (Stanford University), speaks on "Reviving the
Cimento: Gender, Patronage, and Knowledge in Early Eighteenth-Century Italy," 131 Tate
Laboratory of Physics.

Women of Color in Broadcasting


Tonight on PBS - on Hip-hop, Sexism and Misogyny


HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes takes an in-depth look at representations of manhood, sexism and homophobia in hip-hop culture. This groundbreaking documentary is a "loving critique" of certain disturbing developments in rap music culture from the point of view of a fan who challenges the art form's representations of masculinity. Leading hip-hop figures, including Mos Def, Busta Rhymes, Talib Kweli, Chuck D., Russell Simmons are interviewed—and pressed—to answer some difficult questions about the violent and sexually explicit content of many hip-hop songs and videos. HIP-HOP: Beyond Beats and Rhymes premieres on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens on February 20, 2007.


Sabrina Schmidt Gordon has been committed to educational, cultural and social advocacy programming for over a decade. Her editing debut garnered an Emmy for WGBH's Greater Boston Arts series. Gordon is also the Producer and Director of 180 Days, a documentary about the NYC Teaching Fellows Program, and Roughstars, a profile of the band at the forefront of the "rock and bounce" music scene in New York City.

STANLEY NELSON (Executive Producer)
Stanley Nelson, a 2002 MacArthur "genius" Fellow, is Executive Producer of Firelight Media, a not-for-profit documentary production company. His 2003 film, The Murder of Emmett Till, was broadcast nationally on PBS's American Experience. Nelson went on to win the Primetime Emmy for Best Directing for nonfiction and the highest honor in broadcast journalism, the George Foster Peabody award, among many others. His most recent film is Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple.

BYRON HURT (Producer/Director)
Byron Hurt is the producer of the award-winning documentary and underground classic, I Am A Man: Black Masculinity in America and Moving Memories: The Black Senior Video Yearbook. Hurt is a former Northeastern University football star and long-time gender violence prevention educator. For over five years, he was the associate director and founding member of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, the leading college-based rape and domestic violence prevention initiative for professional athletics. Over the past decade, Hurt has lectured at more than 100 college campuses and trained thousands on issues related to gender, race, sex, violence, music and visual media.

Contact Us:
African American, Urban, and Hip Hop Media Inquiries Are
Directed To April Silver of AKILA WORKSONGS Public Relations
pr@akilaworksongs.com • 718.756.8501

For Community Screenings, Please Contact:
Dennis Palmieri, National Community Relations Manager
Independent Television Service (ITVS)

Jessica Tully, National Campaign Coordinator
Independent Television Service (ITVS)


Al Franken is running!

I was sent this earlier this week!

Check it out!!!

February 19, 2007

The 12th Annual International Women's Day Celebration

Free and open to the public!

The 12th Annual International Women's Day Celebration

Crossing Borders, Connecting Cultures

Panels and workshops, performances, film, and display and information tables from over 60 co-sponsoring organizations

March 3, 2007
8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Coffman Memorial Union
University of Minnesota
For a complete schedule visit http://www.mnadvocates.org/

Keynote Speaker: María José Alcalá, United Nations Population Fund

Film screenings, photo exhibits, performances by Voices Merging and Global
Site Performance, information tables from over 65 co-sponsoring
organizations, and workshops on women's human rights including:

* Counseling and Culture: A Way to Empowerment

* An International and National Perspective on the Rights of LBT Women and

* Immigrant Women in Detention: A Minnesota and National Perspective (CLE)

* Human Trafficking at Home and Abroad

* Losing Home, Finding Home/Women and Immigration: Causes, Concerns and
Community Activism

* The Many Cultures of Minnesota Homelessness

* Global Needs, Global Change: New Developments on Violence against Women

* Enhancing the Bonds between Police and New Americans

* Voices of Change: Girls Respond to Media Images

* Reproductive Rights as Human Rights

* Empowering Women around the World through Fair Trade

Support for this event provided by the Women's Foundation of Minnesota and
the following groups at the University of Minnesota:

Office for University Women; Institute for Global Studies, through a Title VI
grant in International Studies from the U.S. Department of Education; Center
on Women and Public Policy, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs; Human
Rights Center; Department of Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies;
Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change; The Arleen C.
Carlson Chair in Political Science; Students Against Human Trafficking; The
University Pro-Choice Coalition; The United Nations Student Association; The
Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education; Event Partnership Grant provided by
the Student Activities Office; The University of Minnesota Academic,
Community, and Campus Life Initiatives in Partnership with Coca-Cola;
Administrative Grant for Student Initiatives; Diversity
Education Fund of the Minnesota Student Association; Graduate and
Professional Student Association

For complete schedule and more information, visit www.mnadvocates.org

"Transgender Kids" Tuesday on Tyra

Tuesday, February 20th
Channel 9 at noon
Oxygen Channel at 11pm

"Transgender Kids"


Tyra shares the incredible stories of young kids who were born one gender, but in their hearts and minds identify with the other. She examines the toll it takes on their parents and their self-esteem as they try to fit in a world of cruel people that don’t understand them. Tyra speaks with one mother and her 13-year-old daughter, who is actually living as a boy, and celebrated the monumental change with a “Transition Party.? He also confronts his father, who flew in from Italy, about his unwillingness to accept that his daughter has transitioned into a boy. Then, Tyra speaks with a 16-year-old girl who longs for the day she can fully transform into a male and her mother who is struggling with her life-changing decision. Plus, a young man who made the transition from female to male shares the emotional story of how a letter he wrote to his father changed their relationship forever. Tyra also speaks with two transgender teens about the difficulties they face in their daily life.

Watch a promo video at http://tyrashow.warnerbros.com/

February 18, 2007

Thought for the Day

Buy this poster (and other amazing socially conscious works) at Northland Poster Collective, another amazing Twin Cities resource.

February 16, 2007

Immigrant Student Day at the Capitol 2/27

The time is here, the 3rd Annual Immigrant Student Day at the Capitol is set for Tuesday, February 27th! Please mark your calendars and come help build a student movement for access to higher education!

This year we are expecting over 800 immigrant students, their allies and advocates to participate in this day of action at the state Capitol. But your help is needed to make this day a success! Committed volunteers and solidarity are two key ingredients to make this day happen, if you can volunteer that day please call or email our office to get plugged in and help make the day have a better impact on our legislators.

If you are a non-profit or student group, teacher or education advocate or other and are planning to come to the day at the capitol with a group of youth please RSVP to freedomnetwork@gmail.com or call Juan at 651-287-0660. Your RSVP will help organize the day better and create more impact.

*What:* 3rd Annual Immigrant Student Day at the Capitol Students will learn about the Mn Dream Act, have a training session on how to talk with legislators and host a rally.
Students will have the opportunity to participate in democracy, practice their public speaking skills, and learn from other students making social change!

*Where:* Start at the Central Presbyterian Church (500 Cedar Street, St. Paul) then march to the Capitol

*When:* Tuesday, February 27, 8:30 am – 2:00 pm

*Who: *All immigrant students, allies and advocates for education for all!

*Flyers: *Visit our webpage at www.mnfr.org to download a copy of the Immigrant Student Day at the Capitol flyer (Spanish or English) and the Mn Dream Act brochure (Spanish or English).*

*RSVP:* Are you or your group thinking about participating? Please RSVP at freedomnetwork@gmail.com, or call Juan at 651-287-0660 (1-877-265-8817) Your RSVP will help organize the day better and create more impact.

Si se puede!
Sylvia, Juan, David, Alondra, Mariano

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Alondra Kiawitl Espejel
Communications Organizer
651.287.0660 x4

Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network
2500 University Avenue, Suite C8
St. Paul, MN 55114

See our history and visit our website at:

Get connected to our current work:

See our video footage at:

See our photography documentation at:

February 15, 2007

AIDS Action Day 3/6/07

This is a great event to attend (perfect for your activist event write-up)! And an another example of a great local organization - Minnesota Aids Project


AIDS Action Day is on Tuesday, March 6, at the State Capitol. Join HIV advocates from around the state to support honest HIV prevention and to stop HIV. Where will you be on March 6? We need you at the Capitol!

AIDS Action Day Schedule of Events:
10 am Registration—Great Hall at the Capitol—Refreshments served
10:30 am Lobby training—Great Hall at the Capitol
11 am Constituent Meetings—State Capitol & State Office Building
12 pm AIDS Action Day Program—Capitol Rotunda
12:30 pm Lobby training—Great Hall at the Capitol
1 to 3 pm Constituent Meetings—State Capitol & State Office Building
Attend the 12 pm AIDS Action Day Program!

Join other advocates in the Capitol Rotunda to hear speakers from the community and legislature raise awareness and visibility about HIV. Take an early lunch from work and be part of the action.

February 13, 2007

White Privilege Conference in Colorado Springs, CO


April 18 - 21, 2007

The annual White Privilege Conference (WPC) serves as a yearly opportunity to examine and explore difficult issues related to white privilege, white supremacy and oppression. WPC provides a forum for critical discussions about diversity, multicultural education and leadership, social justice, race/racism, sexual orientation, gender relations, religion and other systems of privilege/oppression. WPC is recognized as a challenging, empowering and educational experience. The workshops, keynotes and institutes not only inform participants, but engage and challenge them, while providing practical tips and strategies for combating inequality.

The conference participants and presenters include corporate and non-profit community members, students, educators, activists, musicians and artists. This conference is not about beating up on white folks. This conference is about critically examining the society in which we live and working to dismantle systems of power, prejudice, privilege and oppression.

Link on White Privilege

I've added a new link to the sidebar - WhitePrivilege.com


Check it out!

February 12, 2007


FeministCampus.org is the worlds largest pro-choice student network. There are three sections that you can navigate through, each one of them helping you with a different part of being a women and having your own choices. The first one is the campus network, where you can be part of the Feminist Campus email network and receive the bi-monthly e-zine and campus related alerts! The network can be used by anyone from student, faculty, or alumni to find activist students and faculty or browse through the ezines. Next there is the speak up and act out column, where anyone can come and find the demonstrations and articles that is listed. For example, Global Women's and Human Rights Project wants you to Join their campaign to connect the need to build a national constituency to increase international family planning and other human rights issues by educating your campus on the economic links between current U.S. international family planning policies and sweatshops, poverty, and violence against women globally. They have a link where you can sign the online petition to be a part of this. The last section is In The Know, this is a column to give you the latest feminist news and to view a calender where you can find or post an upcoming event. There are also job and internship, issues, how-to, issues, journalism, and spirtituality links which you can navigate through. This is a very resourceful internet site that can help anyone find the latest news, events, and demonstrations.

Here is an example of one organization that the website above gets its information. ASWA is the american society for women accountants. The mission of ASWA is to enable women in all accounting and related fields to achieve their full personal, professional and economic potential and to contribute to the future development of their profession. Members include partners in national, regional and local CPA firms, financial officers, controllers, academicians, financial analysts and data processing consultants, recent college graduates and women returning to the work force. You can connect to their website by clicking, http://www.aswa.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1.

Women's Art Registry of Minnesota

The Women's Art Registry of Minnesota, or WARM, is an organization that has programs that connect women artists in Minnesota and makes them able to assist and help each other with their artwork. There are numerous programs in the organization. It has a mentor program that pairs up emerging and professional women artists for two years. The emerging artist choose their mentors.

The Fresh Art program provides further ability for women artists to network and encourage each other in their artwork. Their Exhibitions and Collaborations include artwork from artists in the organization, and the Collaborations involve working with other regional artists. The Art Partners program pairs up two artists again, but instead pairs up two artists at relatively the same level. WARM Coffees is a social program that meets monthly at different galleries and museums to see what other artists are doing currently.


Rainbow Families

Rainbow Families

"Rainbow Families works to build a safe, just, and affirming world for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents and their children."

This organization was founded in 1997, and although the base of this organization is in Minneapolis, it serves as a voice to people in the LGBT, etc. groups all over the Midwest. In fact, they help provide support for over 2,000 families right here in Minnesota.

I really enjoyed finding this site because it seems that there are so many opportunities for every "type" of person--whether an "unconventional" parent or a child. In particular, this quote struck me as a completely unbiased approach to a community:

"Our families are created in many different ways. Our children come from marriages, partnerships, and single parenting; some come to us through adoption, foster care, and guardianship, and others by birth. Our children are of all ages. We live in cities, rural communities, and suburbs. Our community reflects the differences in our society – sexual/gender orientations, racial, ethnic, economic, educational, political, and religious. Who we serve is always expanding to include the diversity of our community."

Rainbow Families hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including an annual Families' Conference and holiday events, such as Halloween dances, Gay Pride marches, etc. They also offer parenting classes and a children's choir.

They prove to educate the community on a variety of topics in the lesbian and gay families in the area-- a positive outlet of information about these families.

The best part of this orginzation, in my opinion, is the vast volunteer opportunities. You can be a speaker, advocate, or help with specific events. You also have the option to plan and educate others in the community.

Although, this isn't specifically just for women and children in the community, I felt that this organization has some great concepts that incorporate women and children on its long list of objectives.

February 11, 2007

'Chrysalis promotes healthy lives for women and girls.'

Chrysalis, a center for women, is located in Minneapolis. Formerly part of the Minneapolis YWCA, the center became an independent organization in the 1970’s because of its success and vision that is still carried on today. The center “promotes healthy lives for women and girls?.

The center’s philosophies include valuing all women and girls, affecting families and society, and strength to make and sustain life changes for all woman and girls. The center’s provides programs in the following areas: chemical health, child care, community and divorce education, legal assistance, mental health, parenting, resources & referrals, and support groups. There is also a tax clinic available to assist low-income men and women to file for tax returns at no charge. Chrysalis serves over 16,000 women, girls, and families. Chrysalis employs a handful of people, but the majority of the staff is made up of volunteers (at more than 350). The center’s clients include minorities, members of the GLBT community, disabled persons, and women and families with ranging incomes (many with low-incomes).
I see this center as a great place for women to receive support and practical services to assist what ever needs they may have. Chrysalis provides an array of programs, so women with all different needs can go to one place. This center, as others like it, is relevant to our course because it is recognizing women’s specific and important needs and providing a comfortable, available place for any women or girl to go and receive support.

Dyke March and the Avengers

Dyke March is an annual event that is a critique and response to Pride Fest. It calls attention to the capitalist nature, and invisibility of queer women and other marginalized GLBT groups. It also is all inclusive and very empowering to all queer people who are involved.

The Twin Cities Avengers is the group that organizes the march each year. They are committed to queer women's survival, and visibility as well as raising consciousness about queer women’s issues as well as fostering community. Their mission “is to raise awareness within our group and society about many issues including: gender oppression, heterocentrism, women's choice, capitalism, safer sex, struggles against war, racism, violence, and the environment as they relate to queer women locally and globally.? .
The Lesbian Avengers was founded in 1992 Sarah Schulman to raise lesbian visibility and to turn ideals into "concrete confrontation.?
Founding members of the Lesbian Avengers feared that lesbians and lesbian issues were becoming invisible in the gay movement that tends to focus upon gay men and their struggles with HIV, mainstreaming, and marriage rights.


Juliana Pegues

juliana pegues.jpg

Juliana Pegues/Pei Lu Fung was born in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 7, 1969 (Leo, year of the Rooster). A writer/poet/spoken word artist/activist/feminist/queer/person of color/Asian American/actor/artist/performer— incorporates the views from all groups she identifies with into her writing. In her writing, she addresses issues of politics, feminism, sexuality, race, and identity whether in an academic paper published online, an essay, a poem, or a spoken word piece. However, it is the way that she approaches these issues through her writing that shows her versatility and proves she doesn't fit into only one genre.

An early piece published by Pegues is "White Rice: Searching for Identity." This autobiographical piece moves from her early days at college to a more current setting. It crosses genres as the moods of the piece change in a combination of essay/memoir, prose, and poetry. Focusing on Pegues' struggle to find an identity as a mixed-race queer Chinese woman, this piece brings in issues of family, identity, sexuality, and race. She addresses these issues and honestly attempts to understand how they affect her individuality.

In "Strategies from the Field: Organizing the Asian American Feminist Movement," Pegues also writes in mixed genres. The piece is an essay; however, she uses some storytelling/flashbacks to illustrate her struggles in leftist political groups as an Asian American queer feminist. She addresses the stereotypes of Asian American women and the exoticism she and other politically active women have encountered. She also discusses the struggle in identifying between issue based, identity based, and issue based identity political groups (an "issue based" group would be a feminist group, an "identity based" group would be an Asian American group, and an "issue based identity group" would be an Asian American feminist group.) The problem is how to fit in their political agendas without being marginalized or seen as the "model minority."

Her one-person performance piece "Fifteen" was performed in Minneapolis at Intermedia Arts Center in February 2002. "Fifteen" addresses the issue of women in prison from a political and feminist perspective. The piece begins with a "truth" about Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and the kinds of legal ramifications she would have encountered as a contemporary woman of color in American society. Different female characters are embodied throughout the piece as prisoners serving time for a variety of reasons. Their voices are heard addressing issues of imprisonment, sexuality, politics, violence, and family

I had the honor of inviting Juliana Pegues to speak and perform some of her work at Hamline University during the Asian Heritage Month in spring of 2006. She has a very commanding yet calm presence through both her work and her performance(s). I believe she has both the experience and the passion to speak out about the issues that she confronts on a daily basis and represents so many different voices.

Although I don’t have her schedule of events and performances, feel free to check out more information online:

Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network

MIFN is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, multi-ethnic, statewide, grassroots organization with ties to national groups that participate in federal immigration reform.

Main Focuses: Legalization and path to citizenship, Family reunification, Working rights, Civil liberties, Equal access to education, and Promotion of citizenship and civic participation.

Activities: Youth leadership development through college internships; Rural Minnesota immigrant engagement by mobilizing the organization and connecting leaders and participation; Communications by working with the media in response to anti-immigration, discriminatory rhetoric focused on legality of people; Special projects such as the Minnesota Freedom Ride which mobilized the cause statewide ending in a huge rally at the Government Plaza in downtown Minneapolis in 2004, the Minnesota Family Project which mobilized a photo exhibit bringing the life stories of Minnesota immigrant families to their communities in 2005, and the Student Video Oral Project connecting issues of earlier immigrants to those today in 2006; Lastly, they support the Dram Act of Minnesota which is trying to change state law so that undocumented immigrant high school graduates may attend college, and they work toward federal immigration change by supporting AFFIRM (Alliance of Fair Federal Immigration Reform).

Find many more details about the organization at:

They stated that they are looking for college students to volunteer and intern!!

WFMN and YWCA team up for us!!

Women's Foundation of Minnesota and YWCA have teamed up to celebrate issues regarding women and our communities.
Karen Diver.jpg

March 21, 2007
8:30-9:30 a.m.
Karen Diver, the first woman tribal chair of the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa, will be speaking on the topic of "Expanding the Political Representation of Women."


Midtown YWCA Minneapolis
2121 East Lake Street

The Women's Foundation of Minnesota has been a strong leader in fighting for womens rights in Minnesota their mission is to "grow a state of equality for women and girls statewide — and with it, stronger communities and a stronger Minnesota.
Growing equality for women and girls takes vision, resources and hard work, as well as strong partnerships with grantees, supporters and volunteers. We know that investing in women and girls makes a difference for all people and makes Minnesota a better place to live."

For more information on Women's Foundations of MN or YWCA

Universalist Women

The Association of Universalist Women runs out of the First Universalist Church of Minneapolis. They embrace the statement of the Universalist church:
"We join together at First Universalist Church in a welcoming spiritual community that affirms our liberal religious heritage. Our ministry is to bring the Universalist message of love and hope to one another, to our children and to the work of social justice."

Their own statement is:
"AUW provides opportunities for social connections, spiritual growth, and collaboration with women interested in taking action and applying the principles of the Unitarian Universalist religion in ways that impact and make a difference in our world and the quality and scope of women’s lives."

Much of their discussion and events revolve around the topic of reproductive rights, and support the pro-choice issue. They combine religious (humanistic belief based religion) and topical issues. They provide a place where women can find support and information without being judged. On their website they have listed all their upcoming events and their board members (all of which are women). They highlight important women in the history of the AUW by providing some of their articles.

I chose this not only because they discuss important women's rights issues, but I was raised as a Unitarian Universalist. When I was younger I didn't have the appreciation for the values and freedom they offer, that I have grown to have. I think that it is a very good church and that more people should be exposed to all that it stands for.

More detailed information about their events can be found on their website at

NOW and Violence Against Women

The Twin Cities chapter of the National Organization for Women is sponsoring the following event.

Women of Color Allies in Action Summit

MN Human Rights Advocates presents
Domestic Violence and Immigrant Women

Saturday, March 24, 2007

12:00 to 4:00 pm
*location unknown*
The mission of this organization is to take action to bring women into the mainstream of American society NOW, exercising all privileges and responsibilities in equal partnership with men.
This summit is a powerful gathering of some of the countries most influential women of color leaders. Its history has proven to be an uplifting experience with an excellent turnout every year of women looking to tackle the most controversial issues facing them today.

Feminist Event in St.Paul

Hornet Leg
Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 9:00PM - Thu Mar 15, 2007 at 9:00PM

Turf Club

1601 University Ave W
St Paul, MN 55104
Map it | Get directions

Cross Street:
Snelling Ave.
Do more
Share this event with friends, comment, and see who's going on Upcoming.

Event Information:
The Nicky Click is a queer electro feminist dance band from new hampshire.

Rock & Pop, Other Music
Phone Numbers:
Box Office : 651-647-0486

Nicky Click is a one woman band who performs her own songs and make her own beats. The live show is an explosion of dancing rolling on the floor steam sweat sexy moves hot beats and lyrics which touch on everything from rollerskating to queer politics. For more information on the artist, visit http://www.sonicbids.com/epk/epk.asp?epk_id=61519 or http://www.nickyclick.com.

League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters is an expansive nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to achieving democracy through the power of voting. It was created in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt to help women with their new responsibility, and to encourage them to participate in the shaping of public policy.

Since it's creation, The League of Women Voters has grown to include 900 locations in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Hong Kong. It works on all levels of politics from local to global, and can be found locally at 81 S, 9th Street in downtown minneapolis.

Today, the League is actively working for issues ranging from the clean air act to the campaign finance reform. its official website (www.lwv.org) and the local site (www.lwvmpls.org) both offer clear and extensive information about their organization, stances, and events they support and put together.

Memberships for students cost $20 for a year enrollment, but the fee is flexible and many of the events are open to the public. The League is also no longer restricted solely to American women, and includes men as well as non-U.S. citizens.

Melpomene Institute

The Melpomene Institute was founded in 1982 and is dedicated to helping women and girls achieve adequate nutrition, physical activity, rest and personal safety by removing barriers at the policy level and by introducing practices at the community level. Women these days are so much more active than in the past and they want a way to express themselves physically and with a healthy attitude. There are many magazine for men Melpomene is a journal directed towards women. From 1982 to 2002 the journal published articles related to several different topics including; Body Image & Physical Activity of Adolescent Girls with Scoliosis, Role of Physical Activity in the Recovery from and Breast Cancer, Physical Activity and Weight in the Menopausal Years and Effect of Exercise Variables on Osteoporosis Study Participants. The journal has information that pertains to women of all ages. It includes journals to even keep your babies at a healthy stage of life as well. I felt that this was an important journal because it isnt just related to age group of women. I felt that this can be a very informative journal for every woman.

vday and the vagina monologues


the 2007 vagina monologues are here for vday.


wednesday, february 14 @ augsburg college, sateren auditorium, 7:00 pm
thursday, february 15 @ university of minnesota-twin cities (st. paul campus), st. paul student center theater, 7:00 pm
friday, february 16 @ macalester college, weyerhaeuser chapel, 7:00 pm
saturday, february 17 @ macalester college, weyerhaeuser chapel, 7:00 pm


the vagina monologues are part of the vday organization, which was founded after eve ensler felt the repercussions of the first productions of the play in 1998.

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop worldwide violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual slavery.

our area's performances are a small yet significant portion of the enormous number of productions that take place around this time across the country and internationally.

The V-Day College Campaign invites members of college and university communities around the world to present benefit productions of "The Vagina Monologues? on their campuses on or around V-Day (February 14th) to raise money and awareness to stop violence against women and girls. The proceeds from these events are donated directly by the schools to local organizations in their communities that are working to stop this violence. One of the goals of the College Campaign is to empower young people -- the leaders, shapers and messengers of the future.


February 10, 2007

Margaret Cho


Margaret Cho is a pro-feminist comedian widely known for pushing the boundaries of accepted taste. She usually utters comments about sex, midgets and her parents all in one sentence. Her career has spanned from television, movies and stand up (something she is best known for).


Cho is making way to the U of M campus for a stand up show on February 17th . The link above goes to Ticketmaster where tickets can be purchased for the event.

Women With Vision 2007

The "Women With Vision" film series at the Walker Art Center runs from March 2 through 17. This year marks the 10th anniversary for the film festival, which celebrates works from women all over the world. This year's festival features works by women hailing anywhere from Eastern Europe to Croatia, Austria to Iran. The festival presents a forum for women who may not have strong voices where they come from, to spread ideas. The festival also features work from American women and young girls, including the TV Girls group mentioned by Rachel in her original example web post.

WILPF Minnesota Chapter

WILPF, (The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom), was founded in 1915 and is the world's largest organization for women's peace. The Minnesota Chapter is located in Minneapolis which is why I put this on here. The axact location and number are located on the link in this write-up.

WILPF is an organization targeted at helping seek equality for women, equality for different races, and putting an end to violence. They primarily want to acquire equality for people of all races and genders and create peace and freedom throughout the world. The Minnesota Chapter works within the state to assure that this gets done. I really liked this organization because it focuses on everything as apposed to only getting women equal rights. They care more about society as a whole and aim to fix all aspects of feminism. Much of what we have been reading has said that feminism is more about the fight that goes on between women of different races and social classes and they dream of a world that doesn't have those problems. They're exact vision of what they want to accomplish is, "WILPF envisions a transformed world at peace, where there is racial, social, and economic justice for all people everywhere". That is essentially what all femists want and is why I chose WILPF for this assignment. As stated before more information can be found on the link above.

February 9, 2007

A fresh start for women and children


I volunteered at an awesome shelter for women and children throughout high school and I absolutely loved it. I met so many wonderful kids and their mothers. It was a great experience and the kids really touched my hearts with their loving spirit. I would highly recommend volunteering at this shelter if you can at all.

Mission Statement Home Free Programs for Battered Women and Their Children mission is to provide battered women and their children with safety, support and information so that they have an opportunity to explore alternatives to living with a violent partner.

Home Free programs include a shelter for Battered women and their children, community programs which serve women living in cities in the Northwest Hennepin County area. Providing support, safety, advocacy, legal advocacy, information and referral to women and children from violent homes.

Home Free Shelter
3405 E Medicine Lake Blvd
Plymouth, Minnesota 55441
United States of America
Tel: (612) 559-9008

The Changing Face of Power - at our very own Hubert H. Humphrey Center!


A new exhibit at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute documents the lives of over thirty-three women who have undergone many trials and tribulations serving in the U.S Senate. Photographer Malina Mara focused on the power of women in her photographs and audio interviews but really tried to capture images of women holding their own and the disadvantages they face in their jobs.


Sally Kenney, director of the Center of Women and Public Policy at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute, explains that there really should be no reason that Minnesota has never elected a woman to the Senate.

"Minnesota has been a real center of organized feminism," says Kenney. "For example we had the first ever battered women's shelter in the country, we have the Minnesota Women's Consortium, and we have the Minnesota Women's Campaign Fund, which is a pact to try to elect women to public office. So there's been alot of women's movement activity in Minnesota, yet it hasn't always translated into electoral success for women candidates and that's something that many people are trying to fix."

Kenney is pairing the exhibit with discussion talks, and is teaching a course this year with former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton on women and politics! The exhibit is aimed at getting people to think about why so few women have involvement in the U.S Senate or any political organizations. The makers of the exhibit are trying to educate people about the talents and skills and contributions that women can make to the world; that women are half the population and we are doing a disservice to ignore that fact.

The Changing Face of Power exhibit will only be running through February 20 so check it out soon!

P.S There's some other cool stuff going on at the U...

Minnesota NOW

Minnesota NOW
NOW stands for National Organization for Women. This is a national organization, but there is a specific Minnesota Chapter. The mission of the organization is to bring women into the mainstream of American society NOW, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof, in truly equal partnership with men.

The main issues in Minnesota NOW at this time that the organization is fighting for are:
1. ratification of an unamended Equal Rights Amendment
2. repeal of all laws restricting safe, legal abortion
3. protection of lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender civil rights
4. eliminating racism
5. freedom from violence
6. opposition to punitive welfare reform
As with many of our readings, and more specifically bell hooks, many of the issues touched upon within feminism are still being fought for today by organizations such as MN NOW.

One thing that makes MN NOW unique is that they focus on many women’s issues, rather than specific ones. This allows them to shift focus when need is recognized in a different area.

How does MN NOW accomplish their goals?

They get their word out by:
Testifying at public hearings
Sending out mailings and brochures related to women’s issues
Lobbying politicians
Proposing and monitoring legislation
Providing speakers
Producing educational materials
Advocating for politicians and leaders that will support their causes
Serving as a source of information for various groups

Minnesota NOW was created in 1971, and today has over 2,400 members. The organization is supported financially primarily by internal sources and membership dues.

There are various volunteer opportunities within MN NOW. They include everything from committee involvement for their newsletter to fundraising to legislation and more. For more information on volunteer opportunities, the website is linked at the top of the page.

February 8, 2007

MAD dads

MADDADShttp://www.mplsmaddads.org/index.htm is an organization with its own Minneapolis chapter. The acronym "MADDADS" stands for Men Against Destruction Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder. The group was started with a group of dads who were sick over the thought of a generation of children without positive role models that was continually succumbing to gang violence and drugs. Teenagers living in inner-city neighborhoods need to know that they don't have to stand for the life that they've been given; they don't need to participate in gangs and violence because they can choose to not give in to the oppressing lifestyle around them. Just because this is a group of guys out fighting to change the ways of the world for the better by being positive role models for children, I thought this source pertained to our class.

Womanist Power Authority (WPA)- A Radio Journal

Sundays, 9-10:30 p.m., KFAI 90.6 FM (Mpls)

“A Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender. A Womanist desires healing and wholeness for entire communities, male and female. A Womanist is not heterosexist but loves men and women sexually and non-sexually. She loves food, the moon and roundness. She loves the spirit. A Womanist is connected to creation and her own body, loving the folk and herself, regardless.?
-Alice Walker

The WPA began as an expansion of Mev Miller’s Lesbian Power Authority (LPA) in 2003. The LPA was a new method of communication for feminists when it first began. However, Matthea Smith (becoming the solo host of LPA after Mev moved), decided that the LPA was too confining. She wanted the power authority to be more encompassing, and open to a broader range of women. Thus is the WPA!
Upcoming Shows:
March 8, 2006 –International Women’s Day
24 hours of Women’s Voices

This is pretty cool ‘cause these women are all different in experience and field. For instance: Clara NiiSka hung out at Red Lake and made maple sugar for a time- which is pretty flippin’ cool. Contrast that with Felicitas Maria Sokec who founded FALCON, a national women artists’ group, she also conducts art residencies, is a visionary, literary and performance artist and does a boat load of other cool stuff. This diverse community allows for an unforeseeable amount of wonderfully ridiculous commentary and persepective within the woman community.

Free to be...You and Me

In class, Tuesday, Free to be...You and Me was brought up and I thought I would post a few YouTube video links to some of the songs. WARNING!!! These songs may be stuck in your head for sometime after watching!! Just be glad I didn't post "William wants a doll."

Sisters and Brothers
Parents Are People
It's Alright to Cry
When We Grow Up

When We Grow Up has the lovely young Michael Jackson!

February 7, 2007

Society of Women Engineers Week....Events in Minnesota!

ws swe.jpg

Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Presents…..Engineering Week 2007!

This is a national organization that was founded in 1950. It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “Stimulate women to achieve full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, demonstrate the value of diversity.? www.swe.org This organization is one that I have heard about but never really become too familiar with.

The reason that I decided to post about them is because, just in case no one knows, National Engineers Week (Eweek) is coming up! It is February 18-24, so just in a couple of weeks. The SWE is a national organization, but this special week coming up, they have events spread out all through the country, many of which are in Minnesota.

Below is a list of events that the Minnesota section of SWE will be providing during the coming Eweek. This list came from the following web-site.


• The World of Engineering - Girl Scouts Patch Day Saturday, February 11th at Guidant Corporation in Arden Hills, MN from 8 AM to 1 PM
• What Makes a Bicycle? E-week Kick-off Event Saturday February 18th at Southdale Center in Edina, MN from 10 AM to 4 PM
• E-Week Fuel Cell Car Experiment Tuesday, February 21st at Fridley High School in Fridley, MN from 7:30 AM to Noon
• Connecting Educators to Engineers Event Wednesday, February 22nd at Lakeville, MN from 12:30 PM to 3 PM and Osceola, WI from 8 AM to Noon
• Sparks, Slime, and Speed – Experiments Day at the Science Museum of Minnesota Thursday February 23rd in St. Paul, MN from 3 PM to 7 PM
• CHEMFEST!! ITAS 2nd Annual Day at ‘The Works’, Saturday February 25th at The Works in Minneapolis, MN from 10 AM to 4 PM

All of these events are held near the Twin Cities area and are geared towards young girls interested in math, science and engineering. They are all part of this engineering week that is sponsored by the SWE. Though this is a national organization, there are many things that they do that reaches out to individual cities, this Eweek being an example of one.

Another example of SWE activity in the Twin Cities is the scholarships that they offer. They award thousands and thousands of scholarships every year. They get all of their scholarship money from donations from companies such as Dell Inc., General Motors Foundation, and IBM Corporation just to name a few.

The bottom line is this is a great organization. Despite them being a national organization they sponsor events, such as the upcoming Eweek, which are local to Minneapolis and are geared toward getting girls equal opportunities in the engineering field.

Twin Cities Men's Center

Although this site does not scream "Feminist!", it does, however, offer many different support groups for men and women. "The mission of the Men's Center Support Groups is to create a safe place, in times of personal and social challenge, for any men and women to receive and to give support to one another. Attendees share feelings and experiences which facilitate SELF-ACCEPTANCE and PERSONAL GROWTH." All support groups but one are held at 3249 Hennepin Ave. So, Suite 55 in Minneapolis.

Some of the groups offered are:
General Men's Issues/Relationship Issues
Gay Issues
Addiction Busters!
Men in Transition
Male Survivor's of Sexual Abuse
Bisexual Men
Choosing Healthy Sexual Boundaries
Men Helping Men with Anger
The Twin Cities Men's Center allows people to join at any time. These groups can be very helpful much like domestic abuse victim's support groups are through women's centers like The Aurora Center. The Twin Cities Men's Center is a non-profit organization that has been in Minneapolis since 1973 and published the "Men's Survival Resource Book" in 1979. You will find a comparible womens resource book in Our Bodies, Ourselves. This site also has health information specific for women. February 21st, there is a presentation at the Men's Center called "Navigating Our Sexual Lives" that looks pretty interesting. I believe it is free if anyone is interested.

Fundraiser for Women's Prison Book Project

Annual Pancake Breakfast

Saturday, February 10 8am-noon
at Walker Community Church 3104 16th Ave S in Minneapolis

All you can eat buttermilk and vegan pancakes, grits, fruit salad, coffee, tea and juice.

Adults $6, Kids $3

Of the more than two million people confined in U.S. prisons and jails, over 150,000 are women. Eighty percent of these women are there for non–violent crimes, such as shoplifting, prostitution, drug related convictions, and fraud. Of the women convicted of violent crimes, the vast majority were convicted for defending themselves or their children from abuse. More than 1/2 of all women in prison are women of color, and two–thirds of women in prison have at least one child under eighteen. Most of these mothers had primary custody of their children before going to prison.

More info about the Women's Prison Book Project (another feminist TC org!) click HERE

Prison issues are at the core of justice issues, especially for women and children. WPBP provides a link to thousands of women on the inside with people on the outside. We also offer a rare opportunity for a woman in prison to make a choice--what she reads. WPBP does not limit or censor what we send, like many other organizations that send books to people in prison.

Political Theater Festival 2/14 - 3/4

The Teatro del Pueblo Political Theater Festival brings fresh new perspectives to the social-political implications of Latin American immigration to the United States though 6 new one-act plays from around the country.

$15 Adults; $13 Students/Seniors/Fringe Button;
$10 Groups of 10+/ Intermedia Arts Members

For reservations call 612-871-4444;
For information visit http://www.teatrodelpueblo.org


Writers of Color Reading Series
Thursday, February 8, 2007
7:00 PM at Patrick's Cabaret
3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis

Hosted by Sherry Quan Lee.
All Carol Connolly Readings are free and open to the public.
This Carol Connolly Reading is sponsored in part by Patrick's Cabaret.


JULIE BATES has been on the twin cities' spoken word scene since 2000. Ms. Bates was the 2006 co-coach of the MN Youth Slam Team, and worked as a resident artist for the documentary project The Sheltering Home Chronicles with spoken word artists e.g. Bailey, Shá Cage, Truthmaze and photographer Wing Young Huie. She currently works as Literary Programs Manager for SASE Literary Programs at Intermedia Arts.

JESSICA LOPEZ LYMAN started writing poetry at a very young age as a way to find release. Her poetry and spoken word consist of themes regarding being a biracial, Chicana woman who struggles with love, politics and everything in between. She currently is attending The College of St. Catherine where she is double majoring in Secondary Education Communication Arts and Literature and English.

St. Catherine Forum on Women in Leadership

St. Catherine Forum on Women in Leadership – Speaker Kerry Kennedy, J.D.
February 6, 2007, 11:30am – 1pm, Marriott Hotel, Mpls City Center

Kerry Kennedy, J.D., Human Rights Activist and founder of the RFK Center for Human Rights: “Speak Truth to Power.?

For further information: http://minerva.stkate.edu/offices/academic/ce.nsf/pages/kerrykennedy/.

Women Authors at The Loft

Tuesday, February 13, 5:30 p.m.
Suite 200, Open Book, 1011 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55415

The Un-Named Series: Hmong and Lao Writers, Pt. 2 featuring Hmong writers and community activists May Lee Yang and Shoua Lee. This series of readings will give audience members a great vantage point on a “golden age? of Hmong and Lao writers. For more information, visit http://www.loft.org or call 612-215-2575.

The Vagina Monologues 2007

The Vagina Monologues, BUY TICKETS for one of the following shows:

Wednesday, February 14 @ Augsburg College, Sateren Auditorium, 7:00 pm

Thursday, February 15 @ University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (St. Paul Campus), St. Paul Student Center Theater, 7:00 pm

Friday, February 16 @ Macalester College, Weyerhaeuser Chapel, 7:00 pm

Saturday, February 17 @ Macalester College, Weyerhaeuser Chapel, 7:00 pm

Proceeds from "The Vagina Monologues" benefit local women's shelter's and advocacy organizations.

Any questions, please call MPIRG at 612.627.4035 or email Jessie Lehrke at lehr0041@umn.edu.

Women and Politics Book Group

Wednesday | February 7 | 5PM
Book discussion on Candidate: The Truth Behind the Presidential Campaign

The Women and Politics Reading Group kicks off its spring series with a discussion on Emily O'Reilly's Candidate: The Truth Behind the Presidential Campaign (Attic Press 1991) at 5 p.m. Wednesday, February 7, in Freeman Commons (205 Humphrey Center). In Candidate, O'Reilly recounts the 1990 Irish presidential campaign that resulted in Mary Robinson's victory as the first female president of Ireland. All are invited to attend the discussion sponsored by the Center on Women and Public Policy.

Please contact Piyali Nath Dalal at dala0009@umn.edu with any questions.

Maroon and Gold Go RED – February Events

Heart disease is the #1 killer of women. Various U of M departments: Powell Center, Office for University Women, Women’s Heart Clinic, and American Heart Association are collaborating to bring the Go Red for Women’s Heart Health campaign to the University Campuses.

Kick-off Event – February 2, 8 AM, U of M Fieldhouse

National Wear Red Day for Women - Wear red clothing; help create the world’s largest heart – we need at least 1000 people; learn about the #1 killer of women – heart disease; receive a free breakfast and other goodies.

“How to Mend a Broken Heart? - February 2, 12:10-1:15 PM– Moos Tower 2-650

Dr. Anne Taylor will be presenting on “Women and Heart Disease: It’s not just for men anymore!? Dr. Taylor will address risk factors, prevention strategies and guidelines, and other developments in cardiovascular research.

Women Authors at the U of M Bookstore

February 13 at 7:00 PM: Emily Rapp, Poster Child: A Memoir

This event will take place in the Coffman Memorial Union Theater.For further information, contact Kari Erpenbach at 612-625-6564 or kari@umn.edu.

Editorial Reviews
From Publishers Weekly
Rapp, a writing professor at Antioch University, has crafted a meditative, nuanced account of her life, which began with a grim prognosis after she was born in 1974 with a shortened leg. At first, her handicap is filtered through the prismatic fantasy of girlhood. "I felt singled out and special," she reflects, spinning stories of dragon attacks to enthralled schoolmates in Nebraska and Wyoming. In a childhood marked by surgeries and prosthetic fittings, she becomes a bubbly poster child for the local March of Dimes. As the daughter of a pastor and fiercely optimistic parents, Rapp prays earnestly for a normal leg even as she feverishly overcompensates for the artificial limb through witty verve and rambunctious horseplay. But in adolescence, she struggles with her image in the eyes of others. Her leg "may have been couture," she jokes, "but it certainly wasn't fashionable." Rapp's unrelenting push toward normalcy even takes her to Korea as a Fulbright scholar, where she must fend for herself even with a few hydraulic malfunctions. But she's too sharp and self-aware to either laugh her travails away or admit total defeat. Though she demonstrates daunting reserves of pluck, she isn't afraid to hold the sugarcoating and confront the irresolvable dilemmas. Her piercing metaphors and sudden, unexpected jabs of humor enhance the candid appeal of this "underdog" tale. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

“Everything about Emily is uniquely wonderful: Her memory; her story; her voice; her human insights; her endless strength, honesty and grace; her pitch-perfect prose. My only criticism with this book is that it ended.?
—Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

Feisty Femmes: OUW Blog for Women Students – Call for Writers

The Office for University Women is starting a blog for women students – a place for real talk by, about and between women. We’re looking for women students (undergraduate and graduate) who are interested in issues important to women and in contributing to the blog as writers. The blog will include poems, essays, commentary, etc. All interested women should send an email to women@umn.edu. Join the conversation!

Thurs, 2/8 Free Film Screening

“Black Is…Black Ain’t? – Film & Discussion
Thursday, February 8, 6:30 p.m., Walter Library 402

Marlon Riggs, one of today's most explosively influential independent filmmakers, died of complications due to AIDS. His final film, BLACK IS...BLACK AIN'T, may also be his most powerful. BLACK IS...BLACK AIN'T is an up-front examination of racism, sexism, and homophobia within the black community itself. Bringing together personal stories, interviews, music, history, and performance, BLACK IS...BLACK AIN'T asks African Americans: What is black, black enough, or too black? Produced and directed by Riggs, BLACK IS...BLACK AIN'T was completed posthumously by his co-producer Nicole Atkinson and co-director/editor Christiane Badgley.

Thought-provoking commentary about Black identity by filmmaker Marlon Riggs. “White Americans have always stereotyped African Americans. But the rigid definitions of ‘Blackness’ that African Americans impose on each other, Riggs claims, have also been devastating. Is there an essential Black identity? Is there a litmus test defining the real Black man and true Black woman?? Refreshments served.

Post-film discussion facilitated by Keith Mayes, Asst. Professor in the Dept. of African American and African Studies.

FREE but space limited. RSVP at women@umn.edu or at 612-625-9837.


The Tucker Center is an interdisciplinary research center for women and girls in sports and is located right here at the University of Minnesota. To founder Dr. Dorothy Tucker, it was noticeable that most sports-related research was focused on men, and so in 1993, the Tucker Center was established and still continues to conduct research on the way women and girls are affected by sports and physical activity. The Tucker Center has three main goals: to conduct and to promote basic and applied research, to support and improve the education, training, and mentorship of graduate students, and to engage in public service by announcing research findings and educational materials to the community. The current research projects being conducted include:

*Media Representation
*Youth sport, physical activity, and recreation and their special impact on girls
*Sport consumer psychology
*Title IX and gender equality
*Factors influencing bone health in women
*MN youth sport research consortium

The Tucker Center will be holding a Edie Mueller Distinguished Lecture, Sex vs. Athletic Competence: Competing Narratives in Marketing and Promoting Women’s Sports, on Tuesday April 17th from 7-9PM at Cowles Auditorium in the Hubert H. Humphrey Center on West Bank, but unfortunately our class has a prior commitment!

Thru 2/18 Eva Hesse at the Walker

Eva Hesse Drawings at the Walker Arts Center

An early and key figure of post-Minimalism in the United States and one of the most influential artists of the postwar era, Eva Hesse (1936 –1970) created paintings, sculptures, and drawings that are striking in their poetic beauty and singularity. Filtering the influences of Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Conceptualism, and Minimalism through her own distinctive sensibility, Hesse broke disciplinary boundaries by collapsing neatly distinguished categories of figuration and abstraction. Her work has come to be affiliated primarily with “process art,? a term originated in the 1960s that implies a focus on the physical properties of materials and the manner of applying them. This exhibition features some of the artist’s finest works on paper alongside a critical selection of sculptures that reflect her investigations into translating the line into three-dimensional space.

Eva Hesse Drawing highlights the crucial role drawing played in her artistic practice, which in turn gave way to an array of highly innovative techniques and styles that today still defy classification. As she commented in 1970: “I had a great deal of difficulty with painting but never with drawing. . . . The translation or transference to a large scale and in painting was always tedious. . . . So I started working in relief and with line—using the cords and ropes that are now so commonly used.? Hesse’s custom of introducing sculptural materials into drawing and painting continues to influence the multidisciplinary work so prevalent in contemporary art practice.

Hesse was born in Hamburg in 1936. Three years later, her family fled Nazi-occupied Germany and moved to New York. She earned her BFA in 1959 from Yale University, where she studied painting and drawing with Josef Albers and Rico Lebrun. In 1961 in New York, she participated in her first exhibition, Drawings: Three Young Americans, and formed friendships with peers in the art world such as Carl Andre, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Mel Bochner, Robert Smithson, Ruth Vollmer, and Robert Ryman. During her brief career, she produced a copious number of works on paper while experimenting with a seemingly inexhaustible range of media. The installation opens with collages, ink washes, and gouaches from 1960 to 1964 that range from biomorphic and geometric abstraction to a mix of organic and inorganic forms.

In June 1964, Hesse traveled to Germany for the first time since her childhood and for the next year, far removed from the New York art scene, she worked in isolation in an old textile factory near Essen, where she freely experimented with alternative ways of creating art. She produced a series of drawings in which she delineated contours of interconnected tubes and planes with a controlled and expressive line that was both gestural and mechanical. This new engagement with line in two and three dimensions signaled a period of growing confidence and independence for the artist.

Her creative leap complicated her relationship to Minimalism, however, and after she returned to New York in September 1965, her work challenged the prevailing artistic style of geometric regularity and rigidity. She explored ideas such as transience, chance, and difference in her “grid? as well as in her “circle? drawings, which she made with a compass and graded in shades of white, black, and gray. In sculptures such as Ingeminate, Hesse repeated the circular motion using cord, materializing the line to evoke the body but also to explore the physical qualities of the medium.

The exhibition also includes the artist’s “test pieces? (1967–1969): three-dimensional sketches in which she experimented with media such as latex, rubber, plaster, cheesecloth, aluminum screening, and unfired clay. These works, exhibited alongside numerous sketches and working notes, offer a unique behind-the-scenes look into the beginnings of some of her most well-known sculptures. The show closes with a series of “window? drawings, begun in 1968, which borrow a technique important in her latex and polyester-resin sculptures: the repeated application of subtle layers of translucent color. The semitransparent washes emphasize the subject’s ephemerality and reveal Hesse’s faith in chaotic process: “Its order could be called chaos. Chaos can be structured as non-chaos.?

Eva Hesse Drawing is organized by The Drawing Center, New York, and The Menil Collection, Houston. The exhibition is co-curated by Catherine de Zegher, former Executive Director of The Drawing Center, and Elisabeth Sussman, curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Eva Hesse Drawing is made possible by the Robert Lehman Foundation.

The Drawing Center acknowledges the National Endowment for the Arts and Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr. for their major support of this exhibition. The Menil Collection’s presentation was generously supported by The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston and Marilyn Oshman, with additional support from the City of Houston.

2/17 thru 5/13 Kara Walker

Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love
at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Kara Walker is among the most complex and prolific American artists of her generation. Over the past decade, she has gained national and international recognition for her room-size tableaux depicting historical narratives haunted by sexuality, violence, and subjugation but made using the genteel 18th-century art of cut-paper silhouettes. Set in the American South before the Civil War, Walker’s compositions play off stereotypes to portray, often grotesquely, life on the plantation, where masters and mistresses and slave men, women, and children enact a subverted version of the past in an attempt to reconfigure their status and representation.

Over the years the artist has used drawing, painting, colored-light projections, writing, shadow puppetry, and, most recently, film animation to narrate her tales of romance, sadism, oppression, and liberation. Walker’s scenarios thwart conventional readings of a cohesive national history and expose the collective, and ongoing, psychological injury caused by the tragic legacy of slavery. Her work leads viewers through an aesthetic experience that evokes a critical understanding of the past and proposes an examination of contemporary racial and gender stereotypes.

Walker’s visual epics systematically and critically walk a line—the “color line,? to quote W.E.B. Du Bois—that moves us from the antebellum South to an analysis of the sustaining economic, social, and individual power structures still in place today. Deploying an acidic sense of humor, she examines the dialectic of pleasure and danger, guilt and fulfillment, desire and fear, race and class. She has said, “the black subject in the present tense is the container for specific pathologies from the past and it is continuously growing and feeding off those maladies.?

Organized deliberately as a narrative, the exhibition articulates the parallel shifts in Walker’s visual language and subject matter: from a critical analysis of the history of slavery as a microcosm of American history through the structure of romantic literature and Hollywood film to a revised history of Western modernity and its relationship to the notion of “Primitivism.?

The Walker Art Center began collecting Kara Walker’s work in 1996 with the acquisition of six ink drawings from 1994 and the etching/aquatint The Means to an End . . . A Shadow Drama in Five Acts (1995). Also in the collection are Do You Like Crème in Your Coffee and Chocolate in Your Milk? (1997), a suite of 66 drawings in various media; the cut-paper mural Endless Conundrum, An African Anonymous Adventuress (2001); the video animation Testimony: Narrative of a Negress Burdened by Good Intentions (2004); and a portfolio of 15 lithographs entitled Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated) (2005).

In 1997 Kara Walker created a new commissioned work for the Walker’s group exhibition no place (like home)—the monumental 85-foot-long cyclorama Slavery! Slavery! Presenting a GRAND and LIFELIKE Panoramic Journey into Picturesque Southern Slavery or “Life at ‘Ol’ Virginny’s Hole’ (sketches from Plantation Life)? See the Peculiar Institution as never before! All cut from black paper by the able hand of Kara Elizabeth Walker, an Emancipated Negress and leader in her Cause. Her work has also been included in the Walker exhibitions The Cities Collect (2000), American Tableaux (2001), and the currently running Quartet: Barney, Gober, Levine, Walker (April 17, 2005–December 9, 2007).

Born in 1969 in Stockton, California, Kara Walker received her BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and her MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. Since that time, she has created more than 30 room-size installations and hundreds of drawings and watercolors, and has been the subject of more than 40 solo exhibitions. She is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award (1997) and, most recently, the Deutsche Bank Prize (2004) and the Larry Aldrich Award (2005). She was the United States representative for the 25th International São Paulo Biennial in Brazil (2002). She currently lives in New York, where she is associate professor of visual arts at Columbia University, New York.

To accompany the exhibition, the Walker will publish a 300-page illustrated catalogue containing critical essays by scholars and cultural critics on the myriad social, racial, and gender issues present in Walker’s work by exhibition curator Philippe Vergne; cultural and literary historian Sander L. Gilman; art historian and critic Thomas McEvilley; art historian Robert Storr; and poet and novelist Kevin Young. The publication will feature more than 150 four-color images of the artist’s work, a complete exhibition history and bibliography as well as an illustrated lexicon of the recurring themes and motifs in the artist’s most influential installations by Yasmil Raymond. Kara Walker will contribute a 16-page insert to the catalogue. The catalogue will be distributed by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc., 155 Sixth Avenue, Second Floor, New York, NY 10013, 800.338.2665 (phone), 212.627.9484 (fax), and is available at the Walker Art Center Shop, 612.375.7638 (phone), 612.375.7565 (fax). ISBN 0-935640-86-X

Grace University Lutheran Church

Grace University Lutheran Church, next to Moos Towers, was the second in the nation to become a Reconciling in Christ Church. This means that it welcomes gays and lesbians. In their own words, "We welcome the participation of people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, educational backgrounds, and economic conditions."

Grace has a strong commitment to peace and social justice, and they are a progressive and liberal congregation. When saying the Lord's prayer, they use the phrase "Our Father, Our Mother, who art in heaven..." They emphasize service to those less fortunate and are involved with organizations such as the Center for Victims of Torture. They are also very environmentally conscious. The Hawkinson Scholarship awarded by Grace supports students who are dedicated to peace and justice. This is an excellent church to check out: see their website at www.graceattheu.org. By the way, they are very good to students!



W.A.M.M. stands for "Women Against Military Madness". The group began back in 1981, when 10 women met up at a tea/coffee house in Minneapolis and started discussing "how to most effectively respond to the threat of nuclear war, the huge increases in military spending and the massive slashes in human services budgets." The group now consists of more than 2100 member households and is a local justice and peace organization. The W.A.M.M. website is listed below. You can find the history of the group, the projects they are currently working on, a calendar of local events and daily news articles dealing with feminist issues and war.

W.A.M.M.'s mission statement:

"WAMM is a nonviolent feminist organization that works in solidarity with others to create a system of social equality, self-determination and justice through education and empowerment of women. WAMM's purpose is to dismantle systems of militarism and global oppression."

The group is currently working on opposing the "war on terrorism." The group not only is against the fighting and the actual war, but the group is also concerned about the way our civil liberties have been attacked as well as activists and minorities.

It seems the group uses a lot of "grass roots" techniques for getting their message and ideas out. They do a lot of coalition building through women, schools and the community. The group also "encourages women to act through various committees, empowerment groups and individual activism."


Women and Politics Reading Group


Two women, one being a professor here at the U, Sally Kenney (directorof the Center on Women and Public Policy) and Mary Rosenthal (DFL Education Foundation) started up this book discussion group in 2003.

Right now, they are going to discuss Candidate: The Truth Behind the Presidential Campaign, by: Emily O`Reilly.

The meet ever other month (on a wednesday) in the Freeman Commons in room 205 at the Humphrey Center (301 19th Avenue South).

Some other books that they have read cover topics on republican women and feminism, black women, lesbians, the suffrage movement, and so on. You can be an avid member, or come when the current book is of some interest to you.

If you would like to know more about the co-founders:

Sally Kenney - http://www.hhh.umn.edu/people/skenney/index.html
She has received numerous degrees from Princton University, Magdelon College, Oxford, and University of Iowa. Her interests include feminist movements, politics, judicial selection, and pregnancy discrimination.
Kenney also wrote a book called For Whose Protection? Reproductive Hazards and Exclusionary Policies in the United States and Britain.

I couldn't find any information on Mary Rosenthal, however, if you're interested in hearing her perspective on the question for the month of May 2005, it is posted below:

Philosophy Corner features multiple perspectives on a different question posed each month.

This month: How can work be a creative means for people to connect to others and produce something of significance instead of just a job?

"Capitalist society has arbitrary ways of rewarding work. Baseball players command million dollar salaries while home health aides receive slightly more than the minimum wage. It also has arbitrary ways of developing people's skills and talents. Large amounts of private and public dollars are spent on enhancing the skills of professionals, while workers in unskilled and semi-skilled jobs are left to "just doing a job" and their creativity is undervalued.

"In such a society, unions play an invaluable role. They have come up with creative approaches to turning dead end jobs into the first steps up career ladders. In the 1970s, with visionary foresight, Henry Nichols, the president of the hospital and health care workers Local 1199 in Philadelphia, created the 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund for his union's members. It now serves more than 17,000 people a year and responds to the needs of 59 Philadelphia hospitals, turning transport aides into nurses. In Las Vegas, in 1996, the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union bargained for funds for a Culinary Training Academy. Harold Meyerson, in the American Prospect, writes of a worker who started out busing tables at the Luxor and is now a wine steward-the result of courses taken at the academy and the consequent move up the career ladder.

"Unfortunately, there is little unionization in most industries. And there appear to be no other institutions in society that take low wage workers, their concerns, their abilities, their hopes and their dreams seriously. Declining rates of unionization (the rate fell to 8% in the private sector this year, the lowest in 100 years) means that this avenue, even for represented workers, may soon be lost. If we care about a culture of work for all, about jobs that can become more than just jobs, we must strengthen those institutions that play a vital role in creating opportunities for those who work the dead end jobs of our society."
(Mary Rosenthal, DFL Education Foundation)


February 6, 2007

Bowling for Equality

bowling II.jpg

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest GLBTQQ advocacy group in the nation. On February 11th, they're hosting a bowling tournament at The Park Tavern and Entertainment Center in St. Louis Park. Here's a link to the event:


As college students it sounds a little pricey, but if anyone wants to go as a team, let me know. The people who work for the HRC are wonderful, inspiring, dedicated and tons of fun, so I know it will be a great time. Think about it!



I thought this was intruiging because if this is something you are interested in, you can learn about Healing Arts, Self Defense, Meditation, and Iaido (Sword). On this website you may find class schedules, fees, introductions to the creators, event calendar, online store, and much more. I think that this is a very positive organization to bring feminists together. Through FEMA you can find a safe and supportive atmosphere for young girls and teens who need guidance the most at these ages.

"Working to empower women and girls so they may someday walk in peace"

Outward Spiral Theatre Company

"Outward Spiral Theatre Company is dedicated to producing theatre from a Queer point-of-view. We strive to entertain, educate and act as a catalyst for social change through inclusive, multi-cultural, provocative artistic expression. "

This Twin Cities theater company was founded in 1995 by Timothy Lee and Jim Pounds and they have put out many plays over the years, as well as workshops for the community. Also at the Outward Spiral Theatre Company the group Empowered Expression meets with is composed of youth from the GLBTQQ community who share their stories and experiences through art and performance. This group hopes that with it's help, the voice of the GLBTQQ will be stengthened.

Donations, volunteers and new members are always accepted.

Women's Leadership Revival Tour

"Women all over the world - in villages, governments, organizations - are stepping forward to offer their leadership in service to the issues most affecting their communities. Though their lives vary greatly in material resources, they each are providing a crucial resource, the gift of their leadership.

As women develop economic, social and political influence, profound shifts occur: children's health improves, literacy increases, families stabilize and communities learn self-reliance. Wherever women step forward to lead, significant changes happen and the whole system benefits.

The impact of women's imaginative, caring and generous leadership is visible all over the world. So many women have inspired me that I'm now focusing a significant portion of my work on encouraging more women to step forward. We need to claim our role as leaders, not for power, status or ego, but because the world needs what we can offer.

It's time for us women to gather together in deep reflection and joyous discovery of where we can most meaningfully offer our leadership. Gathering in the company of other women will revive and refresh us for the work that is ahead. Together, we can celebrate what we've already accomplished and learned and discover new ways to contribute."

Margaret Wheatley

Margaret "Meg" Wheatly is touring a handful of cities, celebrating the importance of women worldwide. On May 19th she'll be coming to Minneapolis! Here's the link to Berkana Institute's events page:


and here's her webpage on the Berkana website (she's the president of the institute):


The Smitten Kitten

"The Smitten Kitten is a progressive adult sex toys and equipment retailer specializing in the highest quality, safest and smartest selection of products available. Clients count on The Smitten Kitten to deliver hard-to-find, hand-crafted toys, the most cutting-edge information and resources as well as the tried-and-true favorites. "

It is owned by two women who have been working since 2003 for safe, environmentally responsible and informed sex toy products for everyone. It is GLBTQQ friendly and is also friendly to men, straight couples and of course women. There is more information on their website where you can learn about their Women's Studies backgrounds and their work against Toxic Toys and open and safe sex industry. It's all on their website....


If you are interested in Toxic Toys check out: The Coalition Against Toxic Toys at http://badvibes.org/ because if you are interested or are using sex toys you should make sure you or your partner are safe.

Right now they are having a fundraiser to "help stop violence against women and girls worldwide". Everything is going to be on sale at 20% off on the 10th this month, so it would be a great day to go in and check out the store if you haven't been before or if you were interested in getting something.

They also have an array of resources outside of their sex toy industry on their website. They are located off of Lyndale and Lake Street (3010 Lyndale Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55408) to be exact.

smitten kitten.gif

TV by Girls

TVbyGIRLS is a Minneapolis based nonprofit organization that works with girls ages 10 to 18 to build leadership, compassionate and collaborative working skills, critical thinking and engagement in social justice and the issues of their communities.

The overarching mission of TVbyGIRLS is to create stories and messages that show creative, compassionate, involved and thinking girls and women. We create work and venues for girls to see their potentials beyond the limitations they are exposed to in the mainstream media. We use the tools of media making and analysis to combat the defeating and limiting messages young people receive everyday.

Watch some of their videos HERE!

They have an EXCELLENT list of RESOURCE LINKS on media literacy, girls and feminism

TVbyGIRLS partners with girls through:

* Media workshops
* Visual literacy curriculum
* Individual mentoring
* Development of a weekly national television series

We believe the best way to combat destructive media images is to create work that explores diverse ideas inspired by girls experiences. The adults behind TVbyGIRLS are media professionals whose experience includes over two decades of publishing nationally acclaimed magazines for girls (New Moon), producing Emmy award-winning TV and film programs, and developing innovative youth leadership models.

Since 2004, TVbyGIRLS has worked with 11 amazing girls and young women. These CORE GIRLS have been creating video work expanding the vitality of images about girls and women.Through individualized mentoring relationships we encourage the development of self-expression, critical thinking and building of skills to plan the National Television series. These CORE GIRLS will be the Editorial staff, responsible for making the content decisions for the show.

Over the past year they’ve explored issues around:

* Girl culture
* Adolescent changes
* Stereotypes
* Leadership traits
* Women in political office

Their creations screened at the Minnesota Institute of Arts: Art of Democracy Exhibit, MCP Minnesota Girl Culture Exhibit, the Walker Art Center’s: Girls in the Director’s Chair and in February they were featured in Women’s Business Minnesota magazine.

Category 4. Twin Cities Research

What's happening in our community?

For this assignment I want you to "search" Minneapolis, St. Paul and the greater Minnesota area. We are very blessed to have our own feminist newspaper, a feminist bookstore, a feminist marial arts collective, feminist cabarets, feminist politicians (and the longest-serving openly Lesbian State Legislator in the U.S. who also runs a feminist environmental institute), feminist knitters, revolutionary mamas, feminist scholars, artists, activists, organizations events, and resources for the community.

Please seek feminist businesses, organizations that support women and girls, feminist events, feminist scholars, feminist activists, and women artists working in the Twin Cities (or greater Minnesota), whose work seems potentially relevant to course topics. You can look in the resources in front of the phone book, search google (use different combinations of key words), look in the Women's Press resource guide, and ask around.

Post ONE of your findings (not previously posted), under Category 4. Twin Cities. Include web links (when available).

Remember: Please DO NOT POST ANY REPEATS. So post early to avoid stress!

Note your findings in your journals (or reflect on the search process) as a journal entry for this week.

+ + +

You can view my example about TV by Girls under the category 4. Twin Cities Research"

Saturday Feb 24- Diva Riot Dance Party! & Cabaret!

Sat Feb 24- Diva Riot Dance Party!! Top 40, Club Mixes, Hip Hop, Old School, DJ Carla 'Funkbuffet' 9pm

Sat Feb 24- Diva Riot Cabaret- Drag Kings, Comedy, & Music

Read about this event and the performers at www.DivaRiot.com



More details in the Extended Entry below

7pm- 9pm
Uptown Area- 2916 Lyndale Ave, Minneapolis

Tickets to the Diva Riot Cabaret and Dance are available at the Amazon Bookstore on Chicago Avenue. If you have a ticket- go to the front of the line! No waiting!!

Saturday Feb 24- Diva Riot Dance Party!!
DJ Carla 'Funkbuffet' from BOOM!- spinning Top 40, Club Mixes, Hip Hop, and Old School.
She will drop it like its hot!
9pm $5 Cover
Uptown Area- 2916 Lyndale Ave, Minneapolis
Ballentine VFW Dance Hall
21 and over
large dance floor, cash bar
free parking behind the VFW Dance Hall, also lots of free parking at 'the Egg and I' just a little bit north on Lyndale Ave.

Sat Feb 24th- Diva Riot Cabaret
Drag Kings, Comedy, & Music
local musician Kelly Brightwell, Colleen Jameson on tour from Iowa, Ashley
Gold, Esme Rodriguez from the Town House, Silk- Drag King Minnesota, Lynn Lane-
the third funniest person in the twin Cities, and April Citizen Kane.
7pm-9pm, doors open at 6:30pm

Show will start on time
$7 admission for cabaret and dance
Uptown Area, 2916 Lyndale Ave
Ballentine VFW Hall
Free parking behind the VFW Dance Hall
also lots of free parking at 'the Egg and I' just a little bit north on LyndaleAve.

February 5, 2007

The Construction of Women’s Movement History

My knowledge of women’s movements for the creation of political and/or social changes is pretty limited, and I admit it not without some shame, since I am interested in history and women’s issues, and I feel I should have known by now much more than what I currently know. My sources of knowledge are pretty much the same ones mentioned in our last class meeting- the media, educational system, culture, books, movies and experiences (as well as many other sources).
My historical knowledge of women’s movements is also restricted to mostly (or only?) western or European branches of feminisms, but I know that there are many more historical processes that occurred away from the European-scene or the western-oriented study of women’s social movements.

I have learned through my historical education about the French revolution, and on the fact that there were attempts of women to pass a declaration of women’s rights at that time (the early 1790’s). These attempts failed and most of the women were killed of incarcerated when the terrorist regime of Robespierre took over the newly founded revolutionary state. Jumping almost half a century and half a globe away- the anti-slavery abolitionist movement had quite a few women working in its ranks, including former slaves like Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman (from late 1840’s to 1865).
Since the 1880’s or 1890’s, the suffragist movement in Europe and the U.S. yielded women’s right to vote just after long struggle, that was even violent at times. In World War I and II women served as nurses, but also expanded the range of jobs available for them because of the shortage of men (who had a significant share in the number of those killed and injured in WW I and II). Women functioned in the résistance in France (WW II), as well as other countries, held leadership position among the forest (anti-Nazi) guerilla movements, and participated in the resistance to the Holocaust within the concentration and death camps. The important value of all these activities is that they seal once and for all the notion that women cannot fight, stand torture or kill like men. None of these skills is very valuable in civil society, but it was important to let men know women can experience or do (almost) anything they can experience or do in a similar (or even better) way.
From 1949 when Simone De Beauvoir’s The Second Sex was published, the intellectual and socio-political movement that would be called “the second wave? took place in the U.S. and Europe. The movement reached its peak in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s with series of legislative and social victories (including the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade in 1973). In the late 1970’s a backlash against feminism rose and threatened to erase some of the feminists’ movement’s gains. Another struggle that received some attention but not nearly enough is the struggle against pornography, especially the kind that exploits its victims/“actors?.
In the recent years it seems the struggle for physical, economic and mental safety takes a center stage in the struggle of feminisms in the United States to survive and flourish; but in other places in the world a growing number of women take leadership positions in their communities and their countries, and work to make this world a safer and more sustainable place for everyone, but especially women, children and minority groups that still form the most vulnerable parts in many societies. If the French Segolene Royal would be elected to presidency in France, while Angela Markel is Germany 1st woman chancellor and the U.S. elects Hillary Clinton as the first woman president in the United States maybe we are moving in the right direction to a new world that will be more hospitable to all of its inhabitants- and not only the white males who happened to control it (for now).

Women History

Coming into this class I felt I was going to be one of the only people who knew so little about women’s history. I can not remember being in high school and really learning much about women’s history. All our social studies classes were built around American and world history and the only thing we would hear about women’s history would be a brief overview of how women gained the right to vote. I did not even really know about suffragists or what they actually did to gain these rights.

I felt way behind coming into the class, but I wanted to take this class to get away from my usual math and science classes. However, after reading the blog posts every week I feel that I am sitting pretty average in the class. The movie “Iron Jawed Angels? looked like it would have been a great movie from the clips we watched in class. I had never seen or heard of the suffering those women went through on that movie. The movie gave me a new perspective on women’s history and I plan to watch the whole thing some time this week.

cleopatra was more than just sexy

In all of my history classes in middle school and high school the only text about the women’s movement was that of the suffragette movement. The amou8nt of text devoted to this subject was relatively small compared to other subjects such as: wars, expansion, and industrialization. It is as if once women gained the right to vote everything was fixed and there no need to further discuss the subject. It really is about who writes history and what is included and what things are left out.

In Manifesta many important women in antiquity are left out. Although there are many a few come to mind. The queens that rebelled against Rome: Zenobia of Palmyra and Boudica of Britain. Also history remembers Cleopatra VII for her love affairs, looks and suicide rather than her intellectual prowess and her rule which revitalized the Egyptian economy. Livia Drusilla was the influential wife of Augustus which history often ignores. Manifesta also leaves out Queen Elizabeth I of England, who ruled solely, refused to marry and transformed England. History often “softens? these women, or dismisses their power and influence by erotizising them. An example of this softening that comes to mind is the legend of Fa Mulan; the Disney version presents a very watered down Mulan. Not the fierce fighter and leader that Maxine Hong Kingston revisits in her novel The Woman Warrior. In Manifesta many important queer women are left out. Although the Second March on Washington and Lesbian Ethics are included, Daughters of Bilitis, Stonewall, and the lesbian separatism movement are left out. Also important influential writers such as Audre Lorde and Leslie Feinberg are also not included. I think it is important to recognize queer women who have contributed not only to the women’s movement but also the glbt movement, and raised consciousness about the effects of patriarchy and of heterosexism.

Educated Ignorance

After reading this essay, I have to say I find it disturbing and frustrating that most of our sources of information are written, edited and controlled by men. After all the work and fighting that women have done, the physical and verbal abuse the feminist women have had to endure, and they still don’t have a voice that reaches the masses of people the way that men and anti-feminists do. Our family has always subscribed to “TIME? magazine. I always thought it was one of the better sources of information because it seems to be held in such high regard among national news sources. I never would have thought that their stories could be so skewed, or that they would choose to report only certain sides of stories.

When I think back to the history courses I took in high school, I realize now just how one sided it was. We learned about battles, generals, political leaders, but never about the women of the time. Sometimes there would be a section or two saying what the “duties? of women were at the time. It would make such a difference to hear about women who broke the mold of their time, ones who stepped out of the box. We learned nothing about the women’s movement. Apparently that holds true for more than just American schools. As I was responding to this essay and thinking out loud, a friend of my roommate’s from Canada, began interjecting her thoughts about this class. She was saying things like “Oh, so do you just talk about how you hate men?? and she even went so far as to say “So is it like all ugly girls in your class?? These are the stereotypes Women’s Studies and Feminism hold. There is such ignorance surrounding “feminism? and “women’s studies.? Since schools do not educate their students on these subjects, the only information that they have to go on are the misrepresentations, the stereotypes created by anti-feminists and the media.
As the daughter of a journalist, I know that not all news reporters or all men in news are against women’s opinions making the news or being of any importance. My family, including my journalist dad, has always encouraged me to speak up and get involved with political and social issues. I would like to believe that if my dad believes women matter and their issues matter, then there are other journalists out there with the same view. I hope that one day the majority of the people in the newsroom will think that way, maybe then history can begin to be written a little differently.

History as Narrative

What we know of the women's movement is learned from the narratives of our foremothers, (and forefathers). Manifesta's timeline gives an account of women's fight for access to politics and the right to vote along with accounts of feminist role models, such as Rosa Parks. In a historical narrative, that which is not included is as important as that which is. Manifesta's timeline is an accurate detailed account of feminism in America, but it does not consider feminism outside of a western context. The timeline also has few entries listed before 1835. I own a great book that I highly recommend for those interested in early feminists called Uppity Women of Shakespearean Times. This is another historical account of feminism that is not limited to the stories of 19th and 20th century feminists. I will try to remember to bring this book to class.

The American Girls website gives a selective presentation of women's history. On this website, African American women's history is represented only in the form of the slave girl-doll. Asian American women are excluded from the American Girls website completely. Out of all the historical characters dolls on the website, Molly, Emily, Kit, Samantha, Nellie, Kirsten, Felicity, and Elizabeth are white while Addy, Kaya, and Josefina represent the entire African American, Native American, and Latino populations. And where is Ayako, the brave Japanese American girl-doll fighting for equality in a man's world?

despite how easily we can make fun of dolls and movies, they really are beneficial

As I skimmed through the entries for this week's blog I feel that most people are at the same general level...I don't know much about women's history and the women's movement...which I can also say I describe myself in that category. Freshman year here at the U I took a pretty general history class from mid 1800's until the present. We read tons of articles and watched movie clips and viewed pictures from all periods of time but I felt the strongest emphasis was on the women's movement. Throughout the semester we were told to pick a movie off of her list and write a paper on how it had been modernized. Of the movies a friend and I chose "Iron Jawed Angels" solely because it was the only one we could find at Blockbuster on that given day. After watching it both of us had pages of notes with dates and names, areas including the music and the sex/love story that made it more modern...but also areas that really hit us just because we knew very little about what women had went through back in the 1920's as they fought for equal rights.

When I saw the post topic question being what do you know and what would you like to know more about, my first thoughts were of that movie. I feel kind of silly admitting it but most of the dates, names and facts about the women's suffrage movement that I can remember are from the movie "Iron Jawed Angels". I remember being genuinely interested in what my teacher that semester taught and having pages of notes from class discussions, but without using that knowledge and repeating it, it was obviously easily forgotten. The movie indeed had its parts that were altered to fit the taste of a much different population of people and when I initially got my assignment to pick out the Hollywoodized parts, I thought it was because they were bad or took away from the story. One would definitely argue that it does, however I know how much I learned from that movie and would argue that if the only way people will learn about women's history or history in general is through more modern methods than I think its great people are still interested in learning.
Along those same lines, I feel American Girl Dolls do get a negative feedback because they are stereotypical dolls that express only certain periods in history. I was one of those girls that had the Kirsten doll because of my ancestors, where I lived and the similarities in appearance between me and Kirsten. With each holiday I collected her books and clothes and friend and I would compare our dolls and the stories that went with them. I remember learning a lot of historical tidbits from the doll's story books, where as if I never got the doll in the first place I wouldn't have learned them until well later in life. So summing up American Girl dolls, I think they are constantly trying to out do themselves and some of the accessories and options are a little much, but young children that do purchase the dolls and the stories that go with them learn something along the way. Maybe an expensive lesson but most parents I know don't spend the time to break down history with their children.
I guess in summary of it all, I feel a lot of what I know about history is from modern ways of learning it and yes I have been one to critique movies or dolls for making changes to make it more appealing, but if it works and people can see what is truth and what is just put in for entertainment value, I see nothing wrong with it.

The Importance of Historical Awareness

History is vital to know and understand because where we come from and what we have been through is what defines us, what makes us who we are today.

Coming into this course, my knowledge of women’s history was relatively limited. I hadn’t thought about why and how the women’s movement affects everyone, but seeing why and how that is true throughout history, the point is driven home. Therefore, providing a definition for the women’s movement (what it means for individuals in society and what is has meant for individuals in society) is absolutely essential. I was certainly aware of women winning the right to vote here in America in1919, but I was certainly not aware of the details that we have now read about and seen in the movie, “Iron Jawed Angels?. The honest truth of the matter is very moving and inspiring, therefore, in-depth knowledge of this event, along with many other monumental events, is essential for us as members of society to learn. For me, reading “A Day Without Feminism? from last week’s assignment painted a familiar (yet still disturbing) picture of women’s lives and sexism in society at that time, give or take a few details I wasn’t aware of. This picture is also important for everyone to see.
I think what is important to focus on is the history of gender and the women’s movement within many categories, because feminism is not only exclusive to women, let alone white women or whatever the stereotype may be. As our “Introduction? reading from Feminist Frontiers tells us, “. . .gender means different things, and has different consequences for status and power, depending on race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality? (1). The feminist movement does not only mean one thing for one group of people. As our class saw from the American Girls’ website, for one example, women’s history can be sugar-coated and missing huge pieces. Within this line of dolls, there were races that were completely unnoticed, amplified stereotypes, and positive aspects completely ignored. Unfortunately for us, this kind of historical view is what gets the most attention and exposure, especially to young children. This poor education must be refined.

A complaint

Right now, I'm listening to Frank Sinatra. Most people with an ear know his voice, but I'm willing to suppose that few know that he's said to have agreed with Reaganist Republicanism on most issues-- except for abortion. (In fact, Kitty Kelly alleged in a much-contested biography that his mother was a "part-time abortionist.") I love taking note of the things the history books don't tell, especially since that pile of knowledge is pretty large. American education—cultural and institutional—teaches what it wants to (what the government and media want it to), and that is often neither the entire story or what we need to know.

At the beginning of Manifesta's timeline is "The First Supper," a hypothetical gathering of biblical women. That would be one seriously small party. As Salma Hayek's character in the film Dogma says, "The whole book's gender-biased. A woman's responsible for original sin. A woman cuts Samson's coif of power. A woman asks for the head of John the Baptist. Read that book again sometime. Women are painted as bigger antagonists than the Egyptians and Romans combined."

The meaning of her statement isn't limited to the Bible. But why were women subordinated? Why are they? And whose stupid idea was that?

That's the kind of thing history should figure out, and, you know, get back to us.

Centuries later, Manifesta mentions Maryland's Margaret Brent requesting the right to vote. In 1648, which, as my calculator tells me, is two hundred seventy-two years before the Nineteenth Amendment. Can you imagine being put on hold for that long?

In 1872, Susan B. Anthony voted illegally. (She was also a travelling lecturer for women's rights for forty-odd years and died before the Nineteenth was ratified.) That's a rockin' thing to be on a silver dollar for*, but to be honest, all I'd learned in school was that she worked for women's suffrage. What's wrong with knowing the details of women in history?

I could go on and pick out events in American history—wouldn’t be a bit difficult to fill pages of what we don’t know—but the point is this: We need a foundation of knowledge. It’s so simple. Women deserve more than a series of footnotes, and so do the series of women’s movements, and so do a lot of groups and events that are next to ignored in history. Is it subversive to know where you came from? To know exactly how long and difficult the struggle for women’s suffrage was? To know more about the “sexual revolution? than that it “happened?? There’s nothing wrong with that, and pretending that we don’t have the time or the mentality to learn is contemptible.

End rant.

*The only other woman in American mint? Sacagawea, who, by the way, was sold as a slave to a fur trader, who married her to him and who was later hired by Lewis and Clark.

I remember when I was younger I didn't give much thought to the fact that most of history is about men. When I got older I started to realize that maybe the reason that there is little mention of women in history is not because there weren't women that were making history or trying to, but because men write history, and get to decide what is "history" or not.

I feel like I should have known more about the women's movement before I came to this class or before I came to college in general. While it is my fault too for not making an effort to learn about it, I feel like there should have been more classes in high school that dealt with women's history a little more in detail. One of the only things that I can think of that I knew about the women's movement was that women won the right to vote in 1920. I find it very interesting that you hear plenty about the struggle for African-Americans to get the right to vote and to be treated equally, but you hear very little about how once the slaves were free, women still were not allowed to vote until another 50 years or so. I think more people, like myself, need to be more educated about the fact that women make history too, and to think about who is writing the history books.

Women's Movement Knowledge

As stated in my last blog I wasn’t ever really too informed with what has happened with the women’s movement unless it was taught to me in a history class back in high school. The two biggest accomplishments that I can remember learning about were the women getting the right to vote in 1920 and Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat in the front of a bus in 1955. Other things such equal pay rights and protests and things of that nature were taught as well, but not nearly as in depth. Looking back on it though I feel as though they were not taught correctly or details were left out. When you learn about women getting the right to vote you never really hear about what they had to go through to get there. The fights that started, the arrests that were made, and the stuff the women actually had to go through to get that right are never really brought up. As one of the clips we watched said……we were taught as if the rights were just given to them not that they had to work their butts off and sacrifice to get it. It just seems as though we are leaving out necessary details when being taught about these things, which ultimately doesn’t allow us to grasp the concept completely or be able to fully understand what it was like for women to live through those horrible times.

They need to teach us more in schools about this issue if it ever wants to have a chance to work. Why not teach us things like the fact that not until 1978 was a law passed that protected pregnant women from getting fired from their job only because they were pregnant or that it wasn’t until 1980 that the US Census decided it was appropriate to say that women could be the head of the household instead of men. Most people might not think that those two issues are a very big deal, but the truth is they are. It’s scary to think that we just neglect the “little things? involving this issue when in all reality those two issues right there could be a couple of the most important steps for the women’s movement. Until we as a society decide that it is appropriate to learn about these things and to teach these things in schools when children are at a younger age I don’t feel as though much more will change. Without knowing what has really happened to women and is still happening to women today nobody will have the proper knowledge to help them fix the problems and make the world a better place for them.

Creating more awareness

Throughout my education, the women’s movement and women’s history were not popular topics mentioned or discussed in great detail. It wasn’t until I entered college that I started to hear on campus and see visual displays of women’s history and the great movement. Although I didn’t take the opportunity to participate in any of the groups, I strongly believe that every student should be educated about the history of women, their movement, and many other topics that are overshadowed in curriculums. If schools were to introduce these topics properly, I feel that there would be less ignorance towards these topics in the future; its topics that people don’t know about that create unawareness and lack of knowledge.

Although I felt all events and topics in both Manifesta’s Timeline and American Girls should be included in curriculums in schools, a few stood out in particular for me:

1. “1860: New York’s Married Woman’s Property Act gives wives the same right to own property that is enjoyed by their husbands, and gives women the right to joint custody of their children? (Manifesta, 324). This was the first time I even heard about such an act, much less understand and appreciate the importance of it. Relationships between women and children, I believe, are much stronger than that of men and children so this act certainly proved their right to take part in their children’s lives.

2. It wasn’t mentioned (I don’t think) the exact date that women were given control of their own reproductive rights including abortion. This is such a landmark event in the history of women and the movement; it really speaks out for us. Being able to decide what you do with your own reproductive system should have already been something that they have control over; it’s their body! For the time that it took to be able to give that right to women was a long and arduous task, and still a battle today.

3. When looking at the American Girls dolls and the characters that were chosen, I think the overall goal of the company is clear and positive. However, it’s still predominantly the histories of white girls. They have made monumental moves by including Addy and a few other girls of color, but I would definitely like to see more dolls of color like maybe a Japanese girl and her experience living in an internment camp? Not only would it allow more diversity, but shine light in overshadowed events that are important in our country’s history.

If the government was able to see the importance of women’s history and movement, there wouldn’t be any need to have the class that we have now; it would just be standard knowledge like math and science. Unfortunately, there is still an ongoing battle to fight for that education in schools. But if we keep fighting, sooner or later the government will have no option but to see the critical need for this education in our schools.

Thanks for nothing, high school!

After reading the assigned chapters from Manifesta I felt empowered and after some more reflection I wondered, where were all the feminists in my high school and college education? In high school I maybe heard about one or two outstanding women who were considered to be in the same category as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or Gandhi, but I definitely don’t remember them since they really did not stand out to me then; I am almost 21 and I am now learning about women who kick ass. I am reminded of a friend asking me, “Why are you taking intro to women’s studies? I am sure you will learn stuff but why exactly does there need to be a major/minor?" I guess I am still trying to figure out an answer to his question, but after reading two chapters of Manifesta I feel simultaneously encouraged to do what I can to further feminism and sad that I am learning some very important events in history for the first time.

I learned about suffrage for the very first time by reading the American Girl doll Samantha’s books. I thought suffrage was a weird word and I didn’t understand the upper class women who were really stiff and proper, protesting for the right to vote. The pictures in the book showed very prim and sophisticated women holding up signs but I don’t recall any mention of women in jail or women who died, so that I could vote today.
I think that education should include important events sparked by influential men and women. I learned all about the presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt when I was barely out of preschool and trend continued with an educated filled with important men and once in a while a woman who did something that no child is encouraged to think deeper/learn more about. Public education should reform a lot of their strategies on bringing up our future generation and should definitely include feminism and how it has impacted our world. As a 20 year old woman I should definitely have known a majority of events that were included on Manifesta’s timeline – of course I could have always researched the important of feminism on American history but I guess it never really crossed my mind. I suppose I just assumed that if there were really important events, I would have known about them all ready. Ha.I think if Manifesta’s timeline is updated regularly it should include more events that occurred outside America – especially those that happen in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
When I was nine or ten I received my first American Girl doll – Samantha. She was so beautiful and I was absolutely in love with that time period, actually, I still am. Two years ago there were no dolls of color and I still do not have a doll that I can identify with, there isn’t an Indian or Arabic doll. I think that the timeline on the American Girl doll website is rather limited, but at around one hundred dollars per doll, I guess they have to be sure that they can actually sell their dolls. Looking back I am glad that I did received Samantha for my birthday and all her books – it was my first exposure to feminism and suffrage, no matter how limited or glossed over; that experience always stayed in my mind and now that I am finally in control of my education, I can learn more about all the awesome women of the past and present and hopefully, I can become a woman that is fitted in the same category one day in the near future as a ‘feminist who kicked ass.’

Haven't made it far enough

After reading the "readings" so far, I've gotten a lot better of an idea what women have gone through to get to where we are today. It's funny that one person blogged "I'm glad I'm not living in the 1950s," because that had always been the era I would've loved to go back to.

I think that when we think about that time period and than we think about what we have today, things are a lot different. I think issues that we will come across in the future from now on (that will affect us) Is still men feeling they can overpower women (especially in the workplace..) I think sexual harassment will continue to be fought. As well as, the media. I think the fight has just begun concerning the media. To be truthful, I still want to go back to the 50s, but as a person of today, and try to start something like the women's movement...it should've happened a lot earlier. I think Men and others, just got scared because they had an insight of what was going and what should have been stopped. I can definitely say in my own case whether it be at work or with my boyfriend, I can feel my independence and I can feel how empowering it is say "no." (Work: No, don't touch me.." or with my boyfriend, "No, I won't get up and get you a pop." These are stupid little examples.. but to me it's interesting. I don't think in the 50s women would have said NO-even in these smallest of cases. I CAN say no and I WILL. All of this empowerment comes from readings like Manifesta, and not letting the women down who started this freedom for me and many of you. I'm not sure if this really fits into the assignment category - but it is what is on my mind when I think of women and history. I think we should learn more about the progress that has been made since the 70s and what we (today) have left to finish up. Also, I think we should hear more of the struggles and the movement in history books, as well. I have taken several history classes- but why is it not until I took this class- have I really HEARD of the women's movement and women's history? Everyone should know - not just those who seek out "to know and learn."

reconstruction of history

In Virginia Woolf’s essay “A Room of One’s Own?, she invents Judith, Shakespeare’s hypothetical sister of equal genius, to stress the ways in which women were mistreated and undervalued and to highlight the intense discrepancies between the lives of men and women. Whereas Shakespeare received a high-quality education and the opportunity to make a successful career for himself as a writer, his sister was screwed out of an education, betrothed, and beaten. Judith felt compelled to run away to follow her dream only to be laughed at, ridiculed, and impregnated by a man who regarded her as a charity case. Woolf takes the bold position that “any woman born with a great gift in the sixteenth century would certainly gone crazed, shot herself, or ended her days in some lonely cottage outside the village, half witch, half wizard, feared and mocked at.? A similar point is made in “Iron Jawed Angels? when the psychologist declares after speaking with Alice Paul that “courage is often mistaken for insanity in women.? Judy Chicago’s feminist piece, The Dinner Party (1979), seeks to raise awareness of the actions of the women’s movement by recognizing the work of various celebrated females. This sculpture of a dinner table has thirty-nine placemats dedicated to famous women in history. The Manifesta timeline offers unknown facts and small but important details through a very full and comprehensive account of women and their actions over the ages.

All of these works emphasize the struggles, misconceptions, and earned achievements of females but I fail to understand why I didn’t learn about any of these things in school until now.

Women are not talked about enough in schools in their deserving context. Too little is known of their troubles and tribulations by children. But I agree with Annie that an education in which women are emphasized in the same framework as men is wrong. It gives the illusion that women haven’t suffered or fought through submissiveness, stereotypes, and premeditated roles to attain a higher level of equality. It is important to have a more thorough education of the women’s movement that emphasizes the high points and the successes but it is just as necessary alongside that to present the low points to allow for a fuller appreciation of the fight, past and present.

I realize that American Girl dolls aren’t perfect and don’t represent all races but at least they are a positive attempt on the part of today’s society to offer young girls an encouraging perspective on the talents, courage, and independence of women in history.

Society is Reversing History...Why?

Prior to taking this course, I’ll admit that I didn’t know much about the history of the women’s movement. I had some basic knowledge of the fight for women’s suffrage rights during the early-mid 1900s and about the ongoing fight for women’s reproductive rights with respect to effective contraception and abortion. However, without taking this class, I would have never found out about other important dates. Prior to 1860, women weren’t allowed joint custody of their children. This is something I find quite ironic since in the typical American family the mother is thought of as the “caregiver?. Also, I find it interesting that the first woman to head a presidential cabinet did so in 1933, 74 years ago, and a woman has still yet to be President of the United States. I also think that it’s a good idea to know about some of the lesser known events of the women’s movement, the seemingly smaller things that add up to really mean something. These such events include the starting of female athletic teams, sexual harassment rights, universal daycare, etc.. The ongoing struggle for women’s rights puzzles me…why does it seem as though we are reversing the things that previous generations of women fought so hard for? For instance, when considering the issue of abortion, Roe v. Wade happened in 1973, giving women the right to safe and legal abortions. Women have held the slogan “Our Bodies, Ourselves? for years, why is it that today, people are trying to reverse the decision? I would think that my generation would be more liberal and understanding than that. I think that it is important that more of these women’s studies’ events be taught to children in school. That way, the women’s movement won’t face the retreat into history that it faces now.

American Girl

The American girl doll are obviously stereotypical versions of each group of girls that they are trying to represent. Sometimes these stereotypes are pretty close to reality. Kirsten’s similarity to myself kind of freaks me out. To start with we have the same last name. She is Swedish American and I am also of Swedish/Norwegian decent my grandfather coming over from Norway when he was young. We also both live in Minnesota and have that wishy-washy blonde/brown hair. I suppose that is not too strange since those are all pretty common characteristics to find in Minnesota. However this could give young girls the wrong idea allowing them to stereotype other girls into categories based on what they know about the dolls. Obviously not everyone relates so closely to these dolls.

I did have an American Girl doll when I was younger. I picked a girl to look like me, as if Kirsten wasn’t enough like me. I wanted a doll with brown eyes I guess. However I never bothered to read the books for the other girls. I know a lot of girls probably do but I’m sure a lot are like me and just didn’t care to read them. So they are missing out on any message that these dolls might send. I think that it is also important to remember that these are “American? Girl dolls. So they are trying to keep them within US history. Looking at the girl from New Mexico for a second I wondered why she wasn’t just from Mexico until I realized they are American Girl dolls of course. They are trying to give girls a little American history while still respecting the traditions customs and hardships of moving to America. They also try to find topics that are educational but also that are easy for these young girls to understand and relate too. They are not women they are girls who probably wouldn’t understand a lot of concept that they might be important to learn about later. I mean really how old are you when you stop playing with dolls? I know I was pretty young.
I think they do a good job a representing different backgrounds for these girls. However they have some room for improvement. They didn’t have to make Addy a slave girl that does seem like it would deter a lot of young girls from wanting an Addy doll. This is true for the servant girl doll as well. I’m sure girls of the time who were servents had to be strong and these were important parts of history but its just kind of weird. They also could have added some more racial diversity to one of the best friends dolls or something. From reading the profiles they sound like they do a good job of making the girls strong role models who follow other strong female role models. Overall I think these a pretty good dolls for young girls, better than Barbie by far.

February 4, 2007

American Girl's History

It is really difficult for me to admit any flaws in the American Girl Dolls because like a lot for other girls, I loved them. Like Kari, I can remember getting the magazines and although I never had a doll, I read all of the books and thought they were amazing. When I looked ahead at the class syllabus and saw that we were touring the American Girl website in class I was confused because at the time, I couldn’t think of anything wrong with them, they were good role models. After reading the articles and thinking more about it, I can see that the American Girls I loved so much are missing something.

Like Kevin said as well, they are a good idea. They aren’t scientifically impossible, un- proportional skanky dolls, they have a message to give and they do so, they just leave out some details. I also don’t think that it’s fair to blame it all on the dolls because they do give kids an overview of American history but because of the media and textbooks, women seem to get lost in the stories of “our history?. It’s true that there aren’t dolls that are described as a “courageous girl fighting for the vote.? Some vital parts of women’s history are left out of not only the dolls but also schools. They do a decent job of having characters from different settings and races but there are still important races and classes that are missing in American Girl’s history.

However, with that in mind I am going to say that in comparison with a lot of other toys on the market, American Girl dolls are not bad. Not only by the way they look but also by what they stand for. They teach some individuality about girls who stand out, who don’t do exactly what other girls their age are doing during that time. They connect young readers personally with someone who is different than them. They don’t outright teach about a lot of women’s history but by reading it, girls are taught what life used to be like for women and it's a stretch but they are able to see how far women have come (although I know a lot of them probably don’t see it like this yet) . I think that if textbooks taught more women’s history, past-fans of the American Girls will be able to remember a personal story from a time where women were not given the same rights as today. I agree that there could be things done to improve the history of these dolls but I also think that it’s fair to say that they provide a much better role model to young girls than others.

The wrong history

In school the history of the women’s movement wasn’t spoken about, the only thing that I heard about was suffrage, but I didn’t understand what women had to go through to get the right to vote. History was never something that I paid attention to in school, because it was never taught in a way that I could understand. So many things didn’t fit, so many people were left out and I learned early on that the history I was going to be taught was going to leave a lot of people and events out, that stories were going to be changed to fit patriotism and American pride and that the books that I would flip through would show white faces and any people of color, of different class, sex, orientation, borders, language, and so on would be silenced. What I needed to know about everyone in this world wasn’t available to me until I was ready to think and learn for myself.

The first time that this came about was in first grade. It was soon to be Thanksgiving and Christopher Columbus was being admired, everyone wanted to dress up and cut out colored paper and make Indians and Pilgrims to celebrate the wonderful union and founding of America. We were all told to the carpet and the teacher told us to sit “Indian style? and while everyone else sat down I questioned her on why she had called it Indian style. She told me that Indians sit like “that? and that we weren’t focusing on them right now. I told her that if I was going to sit anything it would either be cross-legged or Native American style. She told me to be quiet and to sit down and listen to the book we were reading on Christopher Columbus and the discovery of the “New World?. I again brought up the fact that he didn’t discover anything, but that we white people came and stole the land from the American Indians and put them into reservations. She told me to go sit out in the hall until I was ready to come back in and participate appropriately. Scolded for the “wrong? history early on I didn’t listen much to the history I was taught in school. Instead I heard stories from my family members who were around during the times of history that I missed out on. What my parents were doing during the Vietnam war and what happened when the American Indian Movement was born and American Indians came into Custer South Dakota and threw a bomb into the court house where my grandfather was inside with the other white people of the town trying to figure out what to do because an “Indian? had been killed in a bar and the “Indians? were mad.
So why is it that I never learned about the American Indian Movement, the women’s movement, or about the Zapatista’s or about the white privileged men who wrote the books that I would read well into the end of high school? Why is it that the children that I was educated with somewhere inside still think that Columbus discovered America or that women were content being silenced? I’m not sure why history was made to speak clearly to me in my color, my language, my side of the border, my class, and all of my other privileges, but I know that there is a history that needs to be uncovered and it needs to be taught to those who still think that Columbus discovered America and that women belong in kitchens and men belong in workhouses.

the so called subject of history

Throughout my course of education, starting from elementary to high school, history was not my favorite subject. As an Asian American, I had soon realized that history is merely a story told from the winner’s point of view. Although there are facts within the story, most of the other important aspects are missing. The idea that the subject has only put the emphasis on such so called courageous “white? men is simply unforgivable. In other words, there were many elements and especially, many other people that had made tremendous contribution to those historic events. Thus, I am still surprised that not many changes have been made to what we are taught in school. Besides the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War I and II, I had not learned much about anything else. The only time that I was taught about women’s movement was about 1920, the year that women had gained the right to vote. Similarly, even if the subject of women’s movement was mentioned, it was not in depth. It was not like we had to memorize the words to the Preamble or the name of each president in the United States.
Furthermore, another aspect about history that really bothers me was the fact that it never talk about other race. For instance, you don’t find that many history books writing about the gold rush and more specifically the barbaric condition that Chinese people had to endure during the building of the transcontinental railroad. Also, history had forgotten to include the many misery and details that the Vietnamese had to suffer through the Vietnam War. We were given only a brief overview as to what happened but not exactly how and why. Sadly, it wasn’t until college that I had decided to learn more by taking classes to focus especially on those subjects.
Thus in conclusion, I strongly believe that changes should be made in the way history is taught. Students should be able to learn about more than one perspective. Likewise, history should be about the exact description of the whole picture rather than the selective part of what had happened. Simply stated, history needs to include women and other races.

History in the making

I know that women have been fighting a hard battle for a very long time, for equality. As for the specific dates and accomplishments of women, I know that I am naïve to the huge influence the women’s movement has had on society. Women’s history is far more extensive than I have ever been taught in any classroom. Women as a whole, as a movement and a history, have wrongfully been overlooked in my education. We, being any person who is being educated, should learn of the rights that were earned by women, the accomplishments that have been made, and the powerful women of our past. Rosa Parks, Sacagawea, Susan B. Anthony, these are the women that come to mind when I think of strong, influential women. Yet, these women represent so many women who are constantly ignored. Media presents women as eye candy, not as activists. The activists that are represented are the women who fit the horrible stereotypes that have turned so many people away from the women’s movement.

One thing that makes me think about the media also, is not just the physical representation that the media presents to the public, but also that CBS now is holding a “Special Series? for the good things happening in the world. Why do we need a special series for the good things; why is it only the hurtful, harmful, depressing stories that make it into the media. How is it that media became so warped?
I know that American Girls only represents a small portion of the widespread history of girls and women, but how could you acknowledge all of the girls? I think that presenting any history for young girls to learn about is a great start. I don’t mean for this to sound hypocritical or rude, I am honestly just curious as to what the solution would be. I think that a broader survey could have been made, but also that you would always be leaving a piece of history out.
I think that it is interesting how different companies, news broadcasters, gossipers, etc, spread the same piece of news. The solution to the misguidance of women’s history would be to teach people objectively about the accomplishments of women. The accomplishments that have been made and also the future of the movement, the direction it is moving.

More Than Dates and Names

As I read through other people’s entries, I noticed a debate discussing how much women should be included in our history textbooks. Some people thought they were severely lacking while others believe they should be less prominent than men because it has just been recently in history that women have made huge societal impacts and changes. As I thought about this issue more, I came to realize that I was never impressed by the women that were listed in the textbooks because of the factual style of schoolbooks.

I learned about women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton but the ideas she fought for and things she achieved were ones that seem so common and obvious today. The ideas are so basic to our current society that I figured they were easy to achieve; they just needed someone to get the ball rolling. To show women’s achievements through dates and labels of events, and to skip the context of current society overlooks the struggle and effort women activists went through.
I believe that women should be more prominent in our general history educations, but that they shouldn’t be added to our current books. I believe a different book or lesson plan should be used that emphasizes women’s roles and limitations in the time period they were set in. This is why Iron Jawed Angels impacted deeply me in terms of showing the struggle of earning the right to vote. Of course the real event wasn’t followed by an empowering soundtrack or filled with all attractive people, but it did show clearly the everyday conflicts women encountered and overcame. I think our classrooms would benefit with similar lessons of showing what women achieved against their existing society.

Selective Histories 1001

What history was I taught in school? I was taught the basics about all our wars; the who’s who of generals, battle sites and death tolls. I was taught to memorize the presidents, vice presidents and random facts about their administration. I was taught that Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and FDR were very important men. With all this emphasis on facts, dates and figures of men in our countries history, I noticed that there was an obvious lack of women representation.

The only recollection I have of women in any of my American History courses is Rosie the Riveter, Sacajawea and the president’s wives. Considering the first is a fictional figure made for war advertisements and the second was a forced tour guide of two white men, the appropriation of women in my schoolwork pales in comparison to the Manifesta time line. I learned more about women outside of my history classes. One of my AP English courses focused on American narratives. In that class i learned a lot about black women who yearned from equal rights in the political and social arenas. I learned about white females who wrote about topics that challenged their male counterparts. These were the things i wanted to learn about in history class. But with the agenda of history classes set so strictly by the district, there can be little meandering.
Looking at this time line, I wonder why I wasn’t taught a lot of these events. Did they not fit cleanly in between The New Deal and The Great Depression? Did they feel they would isolate some of the reading audience? Are we too used to a narrow viewed focus on our history? It seems that the people who make our textbooks are seriously misguided in their efforts of providing a balanced history of our country. Sure they get all the politics, leaders, wars and Constitution stuff down, but there some serious omissions here. For example, I had no idea the U.S. Census in 1980 stated that a female could also be “head of household?. I assumed that it could always go either way, but I never knew! I’m not suggesting that there be a complete revamping of the system, where every event in feminist/women’s history is outlined, but what I am suggesting is that some ARE included. There should also be inclusion of more ethnic group besides whites, GLBTQQ, and more things about when our country didn’t succeed. A one sided, “America is great and we can do no wrong? approach to history worked fine in the 1950s when we didn’t have a choice, but now we do. We know our country has strengths as well as weaknesses. One weakness is representation of the other sex that history books seem to be ignoring: females. And it’s about time for it to change.

Good o'le School

When I first glanced at the assignment, I figured the point trying to be made was to have me look back at my life and realize how little I knew about the history of women in our society. After reading most of the other posts, I realized my high school must have done a pretty good job with teaching me about women’s history. So I started to think of specific examples of this. In my world history class, I remember taking a few weeks out of the year to evaluate what was going on in the world through the eyes of a woman. We usually did this with a series of videos, group projects, or writing assignments that focused on an era we were covering at the time. But what did each of these assignments have in common? Each assignment required us to learn about the information via media like the web, or television. I learned about the history of women in our society through the media, not because my teachers were lazy, but because our textbooks were just too pathetic. Bits of women’s history is scattered throughout the book, but how often do you make it through a full history textbook in a year? So from events in history involving Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul to more recent events such as the WNBA and the issues with abortion, the media has been my “teacher?.
I was also able to find information about women’s history in a class where I least expected it; Spanish. An important aspect of understanding Spanish is to understand the masculine vs. feminine form of nouns. Men and women are complete opposites when it comes to Spanish-speaking countries. But where women had their movement in the United States, there was no movement for the women in Spain. I believe that if a student wishes to understand the true history of women, they need to learn about feminism and its history throughout the world. Each generation of students has the opportunity to see feminism evolve over and over again in countries where women are still seen as the submissive being. So I think it is important for students to be in touch with the media in order to learn about new developments and movements occurring around the world.

Missing pieces in history?

I was disappointed in High School when I graduated, feeling like I had not learned anything about what I really wanted to know. As a young adult, they teach you the basics: “you need to know Algebra in case you end up working in a field of Math or Science. You should take a gym class because healthy people get jobs. Let's throw in a few English classes so you don't look like a fool trying to write a resume. Oh, and History...just so you know what kind of MEN helped to build the society in which you live today.? Give me a break! I wasn't getting anywhere and became frustrated with teachers' and their damn textbook's ideas that men were the only people I should care to learn about! (Because, duh..obviously they are the reason I am here today!)

I took an American History class last semester at the U in hopes of learning more about the history of America and what roles women have and had in it. I soon realized that amidst the entire curriculum, there was only one random chapter about the Women's Movement and significant women who had an impact on these changes. Within this chapter, the textbook's authors decided to cram in all the information they could about Lucretia Mott, a well-known abolitionist Quaker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, two women who organized suffrage movement conventions, and a few other well-known female reformers. I think that the authors felt they owed it to students to teach them about the 'few things American women actually did to make our country what it is today', but why hadn't they incorporated any educational information about women into any of the chapters? All I remember learning about is the way women dressed and their chores in the household during different eras of history. Perhaps they could have better described the way women were treated or what OTHER significant roles they had in creating America instead of giving the blood-thirsty men all the credit! Teachers and authors and educators in general just don't even realize that they are leaving huge chunks of history out of the curriculum because that is just what we are used to.

I do think we need to better educate ourselves about women in history and I think that Iron Jawed Angels is another captivating attempt at doing just that. To me, it is not just another next big Hollywood movie. It is not only an extremely attention-grabbing, emotionally thrilling, prideful film, but it is also educational. If making it to Hollywood is what it has to take to keep people more aware about the history of American women and the reasons why our society is what it is today, so be it!

p.s...if you are a History channel geek like I am, you may appreciate this link. It, like many other teaching tools, gives a brief overview of women's history, but why not obtain a little refresher? :)


The way women's history is taught...

Throughout all of my history classes even back to junior high school, I have little to no recollection of a women’s movement or specific events in women’s history because of the way they were taught if they were taught at all. Although we discussed the women’s suffrage movement in my US history class, it really didn’t stick with me. There may have been a mention of Alice Paul, but I don’t remember it. This was one of the only times in the whole class that women’s rights and women’s advocates were at center stage, and it was briefly skimmed over. There was nothing within the teaching that provided anything to leave a lasting impression. There were no stories of hunger strikes in prison. There were no stories of women protestors going to the hospital after being beaten as the police just stood by watching.

Besides the obvious problem of women’s history not being taught in schools around the country, there is a further problem with content that is there, in that it is taught in a way that doesn’t leave a lasting impression.

If you consider other important movements and events in our country’s history, they are saturated with stories that leave people today thinking “how could it have been that way?? I will provide some examples that most readers will remember vividly or at least be able to recall. First, the Revolutionary War occurring within towns where women and children were present and women were raped by members of the British army. Also, the abolitionist movement resulting in the most deadly war our country has ever seen. This came in the wake of slaves being beaten, lynched, and sold as if they were cattle. The civil rights movement extended further into the 20th century where MLK Jr. was killed and Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus.

I find it interesting that there is little to no mention of any of the violence and defiance that occurred during the women’s rights movement. I had no idea what women went through during suffrage protests. I didn’t know because there was no imagery used to convey the messages like was used in the other events in our history. The way in which it was taught made it very easy to skim over and not internalize it.

I was thrilled to see clips from Iron-Jawed Angels. I was thrilled because I will never forget them. When you look back on our country’s history, think about all of the movies that have been made that recreate events that provide vivid pictures about the way things were. Although most of the movies are turned into love stories, these pictures contain brutal, heart-wrenching or triumphant stories and images that leave a lasting impression. Iron-Jawed Angels left that lasting impression in my mind about the women’s suffrage movement.

Unfortunately, much of the history we absorb comes through movies or pop-culture media that is laden with patriarchal undertones and biases. I think the best way to demonstrate women’s history is to create images in people’s minds about the true suffering that women experienced in everyday life. This can be done through textbooks, supplemental reading within classes, or through movies and other forms of non-patriarchal biased media sources. Creating those lasting images is what makes people remember the way history was. We live in a society that needs to be entertained and needs to have attention grabbed immediately. The normal textbook way of teaching history is not an effective way to teach women’s history or any history for that matter.

I understand this is a very narrow example to answer the prompt, but it is a reason that women's history is overlooked in our country's history that many people might not think about.

It Wasn't "Significant" Enough...

Throughout my middle school and high school career, I learned a multitude of facts about the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Holocaust the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Red Scare, the Civil Rights Movement and other “significant? events in history. While I do not deny each of these events played a part in forming the American society we live in today, I can’t understand how the Women’s Rights Movement wasn’t worthy of our studies. I could tell you hundreds of minor details about each of King Henry VIII’s wives, but all I can tell you about the women’s history is that Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman doctor in the United States, and the Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton held the first women’s rights convention in America. Other than those brief paragraphs in my history books, all of which had entire chapters on the Civil Rights Movement, I was clueless when it came to the Women’s Movement.

Not only am I shocked that I didn’t learn more about the women’s movement during those 7 years of education, I am also embarrassed. I, a woman, was completely unaware of all the adversities faced by women in order to gain equal rights and other amenities in American culture. I felt guilty for reaping the benefits of years of other women’s relentless efforts to protect my rights.
I think that every person, regardless of ethnicity, race, color, or gender should be exposed to the multiple waves of feminism, and the major events associated with them. We should know that until 1920, women weren’t allowed to vote. We should be taught all of the events presented in Manifesta’s Timeline. Each event presented is equally important and emphasizes the struggle of women from A.D. 33 to the present. Its hard for me to distinguish which events I think are important enough to be taught to students about the women’s movement, but because I was required to memorize the dates and a brief description of all the events of both the Seven and Hundred Years’ Wars, I think I should at least have the opportunity to learn about as many events about women’s history as possible.


History is written by men. All you need to do is look at the word: HIS story. History is also written by the victors and since women have recently been gaining voice, we have found a small place within history. Women are found in history books and philosophical writings; however, it is not their voices. For example, Aristotle, a philosopher studied extensively, states, "The male is naturally fitter to command than the female, except where there is some departure from nature...We must therefore hold that what the poet said of women 'A modest silence is a woman's crown' contains a general truth - but a truth which does not apply to men" (Aristotle, Politics). When taking a history class, one does not learn events from a women’s point of view, unless it is specifically a women’s history class. Events are studied from the patriarchal perspective. History guides thought and action today. I take it, then, as no surprise when men today believe what ancient philosophers did. As an example, Tucker Carlson, in an interview about the Duke Lacrosse rape case with Wendy Murphy, stated that, "The testimony of an ordinary person is different from the testimony of someone who hires herself out to dance naked in front of and, yes, sometimes sleep with ... strangers...It's OK to have a bias against strippers in this case, isn't it?...I'm merely saying that her testimony about matters of sex is to be taken by ordinary commonsense people a little differently than the testimony of someone who isn't a crypto-hooker." Although statements like this shock and infuriate me, I can understand where it comes from. I believe that history should be addressing events not only from the victor’s point of view, but all points of view. Especially for recent events. It would be ridiculous for only men to document all events dealing with or around abortion clinics or violations against women’s rights. As a feminist, I write because I don’t want history to be only HIS story. I think its time for herstory.

"They were important, we swear!"

This prompt immediately made me think back to a conversation I had a few months ago with my friend Naomi. She mentioned that in her high school, the United States history curriculum was set up in such a say that women were emphasized (chosen in context among all of the usual men studied, and highlighted for their ‘importance’ as a way of ‘giving women a say’). My friend said that this tactic essentially ignored the voicelessness of women in history, and actually made them seem less important in comparison by profiling them according to lesser historical deeds. So: is this a good idea or a bad one?

I have to think it was a bad thing for her history teachers to have done this. Perhaps, if indeed contemporary girls grow up with visions of equality, this type of class will only bury women’s history and it’s importance even more than it already has been.

I can’t say I learned a lot about women’s history in school (or growing up, for that matter). It didn’t seem important- why should it be, if my history was the same as any American’s history? I mean to say that it seemed as though boys and girls had the same history. We learned about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Rosie the Riveter, and the suffragist movement, too—but women’s history never felt more important than anything else, than say Teddy Roosevelt’s campaign slogans or the Muller V. Oregon court case. In history, it seems, all events share equal relevance.

As I’ve become more aware of women’s issues, I view the historical perspective in a much different light. I’m not much of a history person, but reading the ‘Bust’ article surprised and enthralled me. I felt proud of the suffragists, and I wish we had studied the issue in more depth in school. Textual facts are hard to swallow for many. When we watched the clips of ‘Iron Jawed Angels’, my throat choked up MAYBE 5 times in 15 minutes. It was very moving. There’s a tug-of-war inside of me, with one pull telling me that film is fiction and should be the subject of skepticism, while the other pull tells me that movies are as realistic as historical events are going to get; that a fiction lie can be more moving and close to the truth than bare facts can be.

I think a great deal of historical learning (and emotion) can come from a film. ‘Amistad’ and ‘Roots’ tell the story of slaves, as ‘Gangs of New York’ tells of a lesser known, turn-of-the-century NYC history. I think we get a lot of historical context from films we see growing up.

I don’t know exactly what my opinion on this subject is. I just know that I have missed out on women’s history growing up, despite abundant access to textbooks, American Girl dolls and Spice Girls CDs. I think that history classes tell a collective story that only applies to some of us. To attempt to pander a single history to a mixed group may not be the way to tell the truth, or help us avoid mistakes made in the past.

February 3, 2007

Who I Should Have Learned About in High School

To satisfy my CLA history core, which I was not excited about, I decided to take a HIS/WOST course. I learned about the exact same time periods and issues that teachers taught in high school; however, everything I learned in the WOST course was completely new material for me. I am absolutely appalled at the fact that I had never stopped and wandered what the women were up to during this "history" school "taught", and even more appalled that schools can get away with only teaching half of the real story. For this assignment, I've decided to look through my notes of the real history WOST course and refresh my mind of what I had learned. I picked out a few of the most important people and the issues that they stood for. Of course, there are millions of others that should be mentioned, and hundreds that I could mention, but I only have room for a few:

Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Stanton and her colleagues organized the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 to discuss the status of women. They drew up the Declaration of Sentiments to highlight women’s oppression in the same vocabulary and writing style of the Declaration of Independence. This is known for jump-starting the women’s movement. One important issue they wanted to revise was the concept of coverture. Through most of the 1800’s single women could own property, develop contracts in their own names, create wills, and act on numerous other legal and civic duties or rights. Once a woman married, however, these rights were no longer honored. They were considered to be “covered? under their husbands’ identities, and their identities no longer carried weight. Also on the declaration was the demand for the right to vote. This was not a unanimous decision at the time and was considered quite radical.

Buffalo Bird Woman
When Natives’ homes were being stolen and Anglo gender roles were being forced onto the men and women, Buffalo Bird Woman was a leader who resisted the practices that were not traditional to her Hidatsa upbringing. Through practice, oral stories, and other teachings she kept her culture alive.

Jane Adams
Among others, Adams helped to set up settlement houses. Her particular house was called Hull house. These were places for immigrants and those with little income to find refuge. She set up health clinics, English classes, after school programs, and hygiene education.

Florence Kelley
Kelley dedicated her life to protecting (mostly) women and children from terrible working conditions. She fought for the 8 hour work day, minimum wage, and over all better working conditions for all classes.

Ida B. Wells

Wells is known as the “Princess of the Press?. She is an African American woman who used her journalist skills to open the public’s eyes about Lynching. Her anti-lynching campaign went from 1892-1900, a time when both African Americans and women had little say in public policy. Wells made her voice heard and was known globally. I read a book containing all of the pamphlets that she was known for and speeches that she had recited through out the world, and it was one of the most moving compilations I have ever read in my entire life. I found myself sobbing on a regular basis while attempting to finish the book. I highly recommend reading anything that she written. I find myself most surprised about never learning about her in school. In fact, I believe lynching in general was only mentioned from some outside context; it was completely glazed over in the text books, never studied in and of itself.

Margaret Sanger
Sanger defied strict laws by opening the first birth control clinic in 1916 in Brownsville, New York. She was jailed, and the clinic closed, but she continued her “crusade? for birth control, giving women more control and knowledge of their own bodies, and saving hundreds of lives in the process.

Combahee River Collective
This organization was founded in Boston in 1974. It was formed by African American women fighting for equality based on sex, race, class, and sexuality. They felt that these identities all intermingled especially for them who dealt with sexism from white people and black people who felt that their “isolation? was disrupting the black organization as a whole. On the other hand they were experiencing racism in the 2nd Wave Women’s Movement. They believed that if they were given “freedom? or equal rights then oppression would be abolished altogether because they were considered the very bottom of society. They played a role in getting women abortion rights and health care. They also did work with battered women and rape victims.

Constructions of History

The main theme in the womens movement that I know of and had known of before this class started was women gaining the right to vote. Growing up in this day in age, its hard for me to picture women not being able to vote. Today, we are all told of how important it is to have a voice in our countries matters. Women for years have been trying to push their way up in social status. Gaining the right to vote was defiantly the first of many huge advances to help women have more freedom. Currently, there are still many people who dont believe that women have the right to reproductive freedom. Abortions are still a huge controversy in the world. I do agree with abortion in some instances. For example, rape, incest or if the birth of the baby is going to harm the health of the women giving birth of the baby itself. I do not agree with the use of an abortion as a means of birth control. For example, a way to get out of a sticky situation. However, women have made huge advances throughout the years with the use of birth control and other contraceptives. I find it surprising today that there are some women who arent on the The Pill. Mainly because it is so easily accesible today. I think its amazing that women have the power and the will to bring themselves up in society.

How censorship beautifies history...and other speculations.

History is written by man; with this knowledge we can conclude that it will be flawed, censored, and exclusive. Sooner or later we all realized that Mr. Columbus wasn’t at all the “great? discoverer we once thought he was. Rather, we found out he exploited, raped, and murdered humans in an effort to “unite? and “understand?…(lest we not forget he was also a horrible navigator- thinking America was actually India). So you bet I am pissed that there is a national holiday esteeming this man. Not only this, but I began questioning the validity of history all together, and I still do...

...With every civil movement in history, it seems as though there is common drive, then a separate drive, and then two different groups fighting for essentially the same reformation. For example: in the Women’s Rights Movement there was the American Woman Suffrage Association, who jive with the voting rights bit almost exclusively. Then there was the National Association of Colored Women, who focused not only on women’s rights but also the improved treatment of black women. Next it was the National Women’s Trade Union League who dig that whole union thing the guys had been benefiting from. Essentially, all of these groups are going for a common goal: that is women’s rights- they were just coming at it from different angles.
All movements seem to divide like this, be it the women’s, the civil, or the gay rights movement. I think it’s because people are always and have always looked out for their personal interests before all others, but that’s for a different conversation.
We must have an understanding of our past in order to evaluate and understand our present. Example as such, homosexuality has been a happenin’ thing throughout documented history. We notice homosexuality in the young Victorian femmes who had more-than-friendly sleepovers with their gal-pals. Also, in young men whose sexual experiences were at the help of their male mentors in ancient and modern era. However, somewhere along the line homosexuality became discouraged, and sodomy banned. It was forced underground...and on some levels, remains there today! It is ESSENTIAL to understand our history if we want to fight this obvious perpetual prejudice. Y’see?
So, why is it that our history is SO censored, that we’re only taught what some “higher? deity wants us to learn? It just isn’t right that we have to critically think about why Manifest Destiny was a load of crap. As if raping women, spreading disease, and scalping native vagina was our “god-given right?. Give me a break, America. Or why, in the American Girl doll selections, it was never mentioned that Josefina (the “hopeful New Mexican girl?), was also a part of the largest illegal migration of people in and out of our home front. Nor did the doll’s summary mention that our government turned the other cheek when it came to that whole “equal-pay/treatment for equal-work? thing. Or, if we REALLY want to get historically correct, why doesn’t Kaya, the Nez Perce girl, come with syphilis- on the house via white pioneers?
History is a fable that holds some truth, but that truth isn’t found until you do some digging. And yeah, I guess I am bitter that the only history we’re taught is by some shitty dolls and through some censored textbook. I'd rather be chit-chattin' with the old-time folk that did some experiencing. Yeah, I guess I'm a little bitter. xo

February 2, 2007

Fond Memories with American Dolls

Last Tuesday night brought back some fond memories of me when I was little and was obsessed with American Dolls. I remember reading all of the American Doll books; my favorite was Molly’s stories (I don’t think that Kit and Kaya were actual characters yet.) I remember getting the magazine every month and my sister and I circling all the things we wanted, which was just about everything. Once we read all the stories, my mom said we could get a doll, like Rachel’s daughter, my sister and I didn’t want the historical characters especially not the slave doll or the poor doll. Instead, we chose the dolls that looked like us with the cute clothes, not the ugly rag-doll dresses. I even had a basketball outfit with high-top basketball shoes just like mine for my doll named Emily.

After class, I was thinking about Emily, still sitting in the back of my closet in her school locker case, which took me a whole summer to save up the ridiculously expensive one hundred dollars to buy, and recalling what I actually learned from American Dolls. Surprisingly, I remember Addy’s story the best and became very fascinated with the whole Civil Rights era when the topic came up in school. Like Kevin stated about his sister in his post, “she was never one to look a little deeper than the surface.? I was the exact same way. What can you expect from a third grader? I think it’s amazing to even get young girls to read about historical events. Of course these stories are altered quite a bit from actual history, but learning about women’s rights and racial equality is important and everyone has to start learning somewhere. Perhaps making dolls and stories to resemble actual historical heroes like Harriet Tubman or Alice Paul would make a better impact on young girls, but I believe having characters that are everyday girls, like the American Doll characters and like the readers themselves, is more effective. I think I would have been scarred for life if I learned the actual stories of women suffering or saw what they did to slaves in the past at such a young age. Just getting exposed to these historical events is important, but I think it is also important to reach a certain age and maturity level before learning all the details. The clip of Hilary Swank getting force fed in Iron Jawed Angels was even disturbing for me at nineteen, but I am glad to know what these women did and all the suffering they went through so we can do all the things women are able to do today.

I don’t think we need to blame American Doll for not exposing the whole truth and all the details about history or women’s suffrage, but rather the textbooks and the learning curriculum in schools. Isn’t that where the learning should take place anyway? The ultimate goal of American Doll is to sell products and make a profit; they aren’t out there just to enlighten the minds of young children. Although, just adding a little bit of educational learning into something little girls enjoy is always better than nothing!


No one has really picked at the American Girl dolls yet, so I guess I will take a stab at it. My sister had quite a few American girl dolls growing up; she had all the books and clothes to go with them. I remember her reading about the lives of each doll she owned and really enjoying the books. After class on Tuesday, I called my sister right away and asked her if she remembered all the books and the history contained in them.

“Of course? she replied, “I loved those dolls!? I thought to myself, how great! My sister had these dolls that provided her with some history of women in America and really enjoyed them.
I then asked her if she found any hero’s or what she thought about the history of these dolls and the roles females have played in this history.
Her reply was, “No, but I learned how women were supposed to live in colonial times.? This response only confirmed my preconceived notion of these dolls.
Now, I love my sister to death, but she was never one to look a little deeper than the surface. So I asked her again, “Are you sure you didn’t find any part of you that was inspired by these books, any specific person that stood out and was a roll model for you??
Her answer, “I remember in the Samantha books, the author talked about women trying to get the right to vote.?
I think you all get the point. I am sorry if I am offending anyone by making this post, but I think it really says something about the dolls. It seems like a really good idea, giving young women a fun way to learn about the history of females in American society, which I think the dolls do, but are the company and therefore the target consumers missing the point? Shouldn’t they be equipping young women with a more realistic account of history and its events? Where is the doll that were force fed in prison, or the black-eyed doll, you know, the one who was beat by her husband, or the Angela Davis doll (thanks Rachel)? I know that you are all probably thinking, come on Kevin, these dolls are for kids, and kids love them. I would have to agree with you, but don’t you think that the dolls are glossing over the obstacles women have to face in this country? The dolls trivialize the roles women have played in American History, and they don’t do much to dispel any stereotypes placed on women. These are just some of my random thoughts with a little bit of ranting going on, but to sum it up, I think that the dolls provide a good foundation for women’s history in America; I just think that it needs to go deeper and move away from the “stereotypical woman? of general time periods. Please, if you had a much different experience with the dolls, I would love to hear your comments.

Mary Poppins and Hilary Swank

Before this class, I didn’t pay much attention to the fact that our sources of historical information are generally controlled (and censored, for that matter) by bell hooks’ beloved “mainstream white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.? For this reason, much of what I knew of the women’s movement has been watered down or oversimplified. The media or the textbook writers have enormous power over their audience because people tend to trust these sources and regard their information as fact. Historical events are not always black and white, and these sources can control the way they present the information to manipulate the impression on the audience.

For example, my idea of the women’s suffragist movement before watching the clip from “Iron Jawed Angels? was the image of the mother in the movie “Mary Poppins? parading around the house in her beautiful purple and gold dress, singing the praises of her cause. She appeared radiant, confident…and relatively unopposed. Contrast this with the image of Hilary Swank being force-fed raw eggs through a tube in her throat, gagging and wild-eyed with terror. This illustrates the true sacrifice and bravery of the suffragists, and we should be exposed to this accurate depiction of the struggle in order to fully appreciate their victory and our resulting freedom. Women were not “given? the vote, it was fully earned. We may need to dig beneath mainstream media and historical information to come to this realization.
When I think back to my high school U.S. History textbook, I’m sure there were black and white pictures of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Harriet Tubman. History, as recorded by privileged white males, has highlighted the contributions of select women. However, there seems to be little variety in the coverage of women’s historical contributions. Or when these women are acknowledged, the focus may be on how they affected society as a whole, i.e. voting demographics, rather than how they contributed to the goals of feminism. Obviously, there is much more information about historical men than women. This does not necessarily mean there is a bias in how information is recorded, because in reality, women were often restricted from the arenas of politics and public affairs. History writers should not overcompensate for past inequalities by attempting to portray women as having had the same historical influence on our country as men or meet some sort of politically correct quota for the number of women’s names listed on a given page. Instead, they should pay more attention to the women’s rights movements, delve into the issues that prevented women from being major players in many aspects of American history, and celebrate the ways in which this situation has changed.

February 1, 2007

Why did I not know that?

Like many people, I have been unaware of the complete history of women and their struggle(s) for rights in this country. I know we won the right to vote in 1920 but I did not know that “on November 2, more than right million American women voted for the first time? (Manifesta Timeline). It still shocks me that for hundreds of years women were living in this country, contributing what they were allowed to contribute but were still not seen as first-class citizens. According to the Manifesta timeline, “in 1860 – New York’s Married Woman’s Property Act gives wives the same right to own property that is enjoyed by their husbands, and gives women the right to joint custody of their children?. Women were not allowed the custody of their children? How did the government think children were born? Did the father pick them up at the butcher shop?

After being in this class and reading these excerpts, I wonder why I did not know this information before. I have taken your average World History and American History courses but feminism and the movement for equal rights for women was rarely, if ever, mentioned. There was maybe a section saying how we “were given the right to vote? but no real description of how long women fought to get to that point. Also, I have never read much in my history books about the women’s movement in the 1960s – 1970s and in some aspects that is just as important because it is closer to our generation. Did you know that because she was “appalled by the lack of sex toys and the number of female clients who don’t have orgasms, sex therapist Joani Blank opened Good Vibrations in San Francisco? in 1977? Probably not because the people who write our history books did not want us to know that women are just as sexually curious as men and we also have needs that need to be fulfilled. The only way to get this information out there is to have different sources and people write our books. If we have the same authors, we will learn the same information and learn nothing new. Apart from books, our beliefs of women’s rights are also constructed by our public/private school system and the media. I learned about safe sex in school and how abstinence is “the best choice? but I did not learn about sexual health, especially for women. Furthermore, films show men “pleasuring themselves? and it is usually seen as a joke and part of growing up (i.e. “American Pie? and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High?) but for women, that topic is rarely addressed. Why?

I am very proud of the women who have come before me and I know I would not have the rights that I have today if it weren’t for them. I just hope that my generation can take it another step further: improve sex education and discuss sexual health freely with our friends and future children and not have it be “wrong?.

Textbooks, a source of United States history.....well sort of.

When I started taking this class, I didn’t really know much about the women’s movement, or about women’s history for that matter. I never really gave much thought to why I knew so little about this topic. I guess I just looked at this class as an opportunity, which I was excited about, to learn more about the women’s movement and women’s history. Now, after reading “The Big Lie? and “Why Fixing the Media Should Be on the Feminist Agenda?, I have a little different opinion on the fact that I haven’t learned much about feminism until this class. I have changed from, excited to learn more but ignorant when I started, to eager still to learn more but upset that I knew so little to start with.

When I think about whom it is that gets to decide things like what goes into the news reports on television and in the newspapers, I guess the answer is actually somewhat obvious. The big shots of the news corporations are the ones who ultimately have the say of what is reported and what is not. I realize this and at the same time I remember reading that the majority of the executives in companies are males. This sparked me to recall that there is a lack of support for the feminist movement from males, which ultimately means that there is going to be little reported on the feminist movement.

Another huge source of our knowledge is from the textbooks that we use. We’ve been learning out of some sort of textbook since elementary school. These books generally have male authors, and furthermore the books we were using back then were most likely published 10-20 years ago. This concerns me because I think that feminism was probably even less accepted by males back then, which means that the books would have even less information about the women’s movement than the ones written now. When I try to think back to what I learned in elementary school and in junior high history class, the only woman I can recall learning about was Anne Hutchinson. The reason that I remember her so well is because when I was learning about her, back in eight grade, I remember thinking about how cool it was that we were actually learning about a woman for once. The lack of emphasis on women’s history in the textbooks that I used while growing up is probably one of the main reasons that I have reached the age of twenty with pretty much no idea what feminism is.

All in all the media has a huge influence on what people are exposed to every single day. I think the thing that I learned most from reading these articles and thinking about the sources I learn from is that I need to be very skeptical. I also need to find more information, even though it may not be so easy to get to, if I really want to get a well-rounded education on women’s history and what is going on today.

It may be about feminism, but it's rarely from the feminist's mouth.

Before taking this class, I hadn’t really heard much of anything on feminism. Sure, I had acquired some news about their strength in fighting for our right to vote, but other than suffragists, I had no idea who they were, much less if I was even one of them. I had always wondered what it would have been like back then, but I never thought to myself that what they were fighting for years ago is still being fought for today. Not until entering this class had I received any information on their issues.
I mean, you hear all these stories about parades, protests, banners, and flags, but did that really show me what feminism was all about? The truth is, you don’t get much information on feminists and the issues they are fighting for from your average information resources. And the few articles and TV shows that do share feminisms from popular sources aren’t even hosted or presented by feminists. It may be about feminism, but it’s rarely from the feminist’s mouth.

Why aren’t we hearing more about the contributions the feminist movement has given to this country? Why are we not being educated in the classroom, not just in relation to the 19th Amendment being accepted in 1920, but also to this movement helping to win “class-action lawsuits against sexual harassment…[and] improved labor conditions?? (Jennifer Pozner Pg. 36). I certainly never knew that in 1993 (when I was 5 years old) Newsweek wrote a column about the anti-rape activists entitled “Stop Whining!? I was shocked when I read that in The “Big Lie? chapter of Pozner’s book.
Mass media is by definition our major source of information, and if we can’t trust that they will write objectively about current events, whom can we trust? One thing that really hit me was the quote that Pozner picked up from a Fox station manager who said, “We paid $3 billion for these television stations. We will decide what the news is. The news is what we tell you it is.? (Pozner Pg. 47) I had to sit in my chair and mull this over in my head I was so dumbstruck. It reminds me of those great movies like Equilibrium and V for Vendetta. The only difference with these movies and the reality of the nation is that the power source doesn’t lie with a single man in reality. In this world, big corporations are the people in control, and “We are the Product? (Pozner Pg. 45) that these corporations buy from the media. No matter what the textbooks tell us about us living in a free country, we are in submitting to censorship that occurs within our stream of information. All sources seem to be censored, whether it’s in textbooks, magazines, cable TV, or even a silly poster on a restaurant wall.
This is the major reason for why I never found out about all the progressive steps the feminist movement helped us take. My only question is, why? Why do the big corporations fear us to the point of slandering our theories? Why do they think they would lose business, lose profit, because it seems that at the heart of it all everyone wants peace and stability. Everyone wants to be seen as a human being, as an equal. No one wants to be abused or violated or subjected to indecent stereotypes. We are really no different, at the heart of it all, so why is it so hard to see this? Why do the big corporations not see this, and work towards building a better more stable future?
Yes, there are underlying reasons that I simply do not see. Maybe it’s just the fear of the unknown result from opening their eyes. It could be the fear of bringing to light the reality of the world instead of making a mockery of it (as sitcoms, commercials, and movies often do). I watched the Colbert Report a long time ago (in October), and as much as I love the man’s comedy, I felt like he took it a bit too far when he interviewed two feminists (their names escape me) while having them all make an apple pie. It was so demeaning because they were talking about important issues while their bodies were showing the stereotype of the female cooking show that all women watch while their husbands are at the office. I knew it was satire, but I couldn’t help feeling hurt by Colbert’s depiction of women’s issues. I’m sure the majority of the people in the audience weren’t even paying attention to the words that were being said because they were so focused on the humor of the whole scene, and the physical movements of the two women. I admit that I was one of the many who stopped listening and started simply watching the action happening on stage.
As much as I’d like to believe that this world is free and supports equality for all, the proof against that theory is too great to be so naïve.