Category Archives: its always women’s history month

January 4, 2014, 7:37 pm

AHA Day 3: Remember the Women

marriedPartly because I was blogging yesterday’s panel and doing a lot of important business, I missed the morning digital history panels I had planned to attend. I then blew off the afternoon DH panel to go to Generations of Women’s History, which was pretty full. Of women. The one I was sitting next to whispered “I have counted about ten men here.” (Um -HMMM. And three of them were gay.)

As you can see from my Storified account below, I did have a few problems with the panel (see tweets below about the dominance of a heteronormative trajectory in some of the reflections.) I actually was called on, and did ask the question, about how the panel might have looked different had it included a lesbian, but it didn’t gain much traction.

That said, the panel had many high points. Darlene Clark Hine and Crystal Feimster were fantastic on the project of contemporary African-American women’s…

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September 20, 2013, 11:47 am

When Tennis Was King: An Interview With Historian Susan Ware

gamesetmatchToday is the fortieth anniversary of the Battle of the Sexes, Billie Jean King’s legendary 1973 victory at the Astrodome over former tennis champion-turned-hustler Bobby Riggs. In Game, Set Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports (University of North Carolina, 2011), Susan Ware, biographer and women’s historian, used the match to tell a bigger story about the role of feminism in sports and the role of sports in popularizing feminist ideals about women’s equality. Here’s a segment she did on MSNBC’s Up with Steve Kornacki on Sunday, September 15.

Susan and I had the opportunity to see the women’s semi-final matches at the U.S. Open this year. At this prestigious tournament,  women’s prize money has been equal for almost four decades because of King’s leadership in women’s professional tennis, and (more…)

September 14, 2013, 11:32 am

No Feminism Please, We’re British: Today in Women’s History

Forty years ago today, the British Broadcasting Company announced that on September 30 1973, it would turn over one of its radio channels to women for seventeen hours, the equivalent of a broadcast day. There would be only one male voice on BBC3, normally a music channel, and that would be a “male moderator.”

Screen Shot 2013-09-14 at 11.30.45 AM

British audiences had no need to be anxious that their cultural or political worlds would be upended, however. “This is not to be an occasion for women’s lib propaganda,” spokesperson Stephen Hearst reassured them; “we will be having serious and intelligent discussion about women in society.”

 

 

May 6, 2013, 10:26 am

Where Are the Women At The New York Review of Books?

nyrb052313_png_230x1292_q85One of the paradoxes of being a female intellectual in my generation is that we grew up dreaming about being part of a literary and academic establishment that did not include people like us. This is, of course, doubly true for lesbians and women of color. My life history is informed by what is, and what used to be: sometimes the two collide. These collisions usually occur when I revisit the literary institutions that have shaped my aspirations and career since the 1960s.

My perspective on publishing is a comparatively long one. I have been a continuous subscriber to publications like The NationThe New Yorker and  The New York Review of Books since I was a teenager. When, as a young person, I imagined myself a writer, I imagined myself writing for those publications despite the fact that they were almost entirely written by men. Since feminism was only beginning to make an…

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April 24, 2013, 9:26 pm

Report From The Post-Feminist Mystique

514_400x400_NoPeelIf you are not a subscriber to The Nation you may have missed author Deborah Copaken Kogan’s “My So-Called Post-Feminist Lit Life.” Riffing off the title of the  TV series about adolescent female angst that introduced us to Claire Danes back in 1994, Kogan rips the lid off what it means to be a female author in a literary world where men rule.

Kogan’s reflection follows her nomination for the Orange Prize, a British literary award given only to women, and is a reflection on the perennial (male) complaint that the time for “women’s” anything has passed. Because feminism finished the work — and anyway, if it’s for women it’s got to be second rate, right? Unlike things for men, like, say, Augusta National, the Joint Chiefs of Staff or President of the United States.

Revealing that she has not yet been allowed to pick a title for one of her four books (Shuttergirl, a 2002 memoir of…

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April 8, 2013, 9:53 am

What A World Without Women’s Studies Looked Like

Sexist

Before women’s studies, these signs were invisible.

Mariam Chamberlain, one of the founding mothers of women’s studies, died last week at the age of 94.  A Ph.D. in economics, as a program officer at the Ford Foundation she disbursed around $5 million in grants to identify key areas for curricular change, as well to establish research on women through institutes like the Center for Women Policy Studies.

It’s easy to forget how important women’s studies was to reshaping what knowledge looked like. In part this is because there are fewer and fewer of us who remember what universities that were almost entirely run by and for men looked like. But the success of women’s studies has led to its transformation — into feminist studies, gender studies, queer studies — and to inevitable (as well as important)…

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March 17, 2013, 10:29 am

The Feminine Mystique @ 50: A New School Symposium

Ephemera-I-ChooseBack in February, we had a two day symposium at my new intellectual home, the New School for Public Engagement. Since it is women’s history month, I thought I would make the edited tapes of the event available to the rest of you, with the events featuring Tenured Radical embedded in this post.

Here is a discussion of the documentary “Some American Feminists,” led by my colleague Tracyanne Williams, and shown courtesy of Women Make Movies (Hat tip to another colleague, WMM board member Michelle Materre, for making this possible.) Here is our first panel, “House/Wife: The Feminine Mystique at Home,” moderated by my colleague and co-organizer Laura Auricchio, which situated women in twentieth century kitchens designed for modern family life.

Our keynote speaker was Susan Ware, general editor of American National Biography, with an introduction from yours truly:

The first…

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March 10, 2013, 7:09 pm

Prikipedia? Or, Looking for the Women on Wikipedia

50s-housewifeTo celebrate women’s history month, I have decided to tweet an historical fact about a woman, or women, every day in March. Silly? Perhaps. Fun? Why yes: I’m enjoying it enormously. Women’s history rocks.

So far, women as different as abolitionist Harriet Tubman, the Empress Josephine Bonaparte, and Svetlana Alliluyeva have appeared in the Twitter feed to the right of this post. I find these women by simply entering the date in Wikipedia’s search box: a list of events, births and deaths show up in an entry devoted to that day. Presto!

Well, not so fast.

You might be surprised to learn how very few items in these lists name women as historically significant figures.  Sometimes there are three or four women named; sometimes it is only one.  One day there were absolutely no women listed and I had to get creative: I picked a major civil rights event and did some newspaper research…

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March 3, 2013, 8:55 pm

We Don’t Need Another Hero: One Woman’s Disabled History

2235_regHarilyn Rousso, Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2013), 224 pp., paper $24.95.

From its title onward, New York activist Harilyn Rousso’s Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back argues against the American romance with parables about everyday heroism and triumph over adversity. Instead, this book asks: what would a public that is welcoming to disabled people actually look like? An American Studies Association panel I attended last fall, riffing off of Dan Savage’s It Gets Better YouTube campaign for GLBT youth, put it this way: what if “it” doesn’t get better? What if there is no cure, no triumphant overcoming? What if the body you have is the body you get? Can we imagine instead narratives about rich and full lives with disability?

These are crucial questions, and it is is why you …

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February 22, 2013, 10:59 am

Why The Feminine Mystique? Why Now?

Today and tomorrow we are hosting a symposium at The New School for Public Engagement in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Betty Friedan’s popular feminist blockbuster, The Feminine Mystique (1963). A gathering of multiple generations of feminists in four panels and a keynote, the event was sparked by undergraduates at Parsons School of Design. These young women, who were over 25 years away from being born when the book first came out, planned an exhibit (which opened today and will be up until March 5) inspired by Friedan’s ideas as a class project. One thing led to another, and suddenly we have An Event, with a keynote delivered by feminist historian Susan Ware, who published a wonderful book on Billie Jean King and Title IX in 2011. See our fancy announcement in The Grey Lady here.

We who…

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