Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Transformers

March 29, 2012
Howard Zinn
 "What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.
And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” ~Howard Zinn

March 30, 2012
Paulo Freire
 “It is necessary that the weakness of the powerless is transformed into a force capable of announcing justice. For this to happen, a total denouncement of fatalism is necessary. We are transformative beings and not beings for accommodation.” Paulo Freire

March 31, 2012
Addie Wyatt
"Wyatt's major achievement as a union activist was to protect and enhance the rights of women in the workplace. She was the first chair of the National Women's Committee of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), which honored her by naming an award after her, the Addie L. Wyatt Woman of the Year Award. Wyatt was appointed by Eleanor Roosevelt as a committee member on the Labor Legislation Committee of the Commission on the Status of Women, which reported in 1963. She was appointed by President Carter to the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year. Wyatt was named one of Time's Women of the Year in 1975 and by the Ladies' Home Journal in 1977. Ebony judged her one of the 100 most influential black Americans between 1980 and 1984. On August 26, 2005, her footprints were added to the Civil Rights Walk of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia, in acknowledgment of her work as an activist, campaigner, and leader." as found here

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


March 26, 2012
Fredrick Douglass
 "Observing woman's agency, devotion and efficiency in pleading the cause of the slave, gratitude for this high service early moved me to give favorable attention to the subject of what is called "woman's rights" and caused me to be denominated a woman's rights man. I am glad to say I have never been ashamed to be thus designated." ~Fredrick Douglass

March 27, 2012
Angela Hartnett
 I have been having conversation about this project and people to be included over on Facebook.  This is one of the conversations I had about Angela Hartnett:

"Well Bridget," says Connor McAlonan, (my cousin and a chef in Ireland) "I think Angela Hartnett is a good example. She is a chef in the UK who earned a Michelin Star. But for me any woman who can achieve at this level in a very male/macho dominated world deserves a nod."

... "It seems also, Conor that she is not embracing the bravado of "I am amazing so I can treat my employees like shit" mentality. It seems (and perhaps you know more about her ripples in the foodie community) that she is egalitarian in her approaches. I especially love her comment about having childcare available for ALL employees, not just women. This is what I am looking for when I think about this paper doll project," I say.

"Definitely. From talking to people that have worked in her kitchen, she doesnt have to say much. One of Heroes, " says Conor

March 28, 2012
Sojourner Truth

"Wall, chilern, 
whar dar is so much racket 

... dar must be somethin' out o' kilter. 
I tink dat 'twixt de nigger of de Souf 
and de womin at de Norf, 
all talkin' 'bout rights, 
de white men will be in a fix pretty soon. 
But what's all dis here talkin' 'bout?

Dat man ober dar say 
dat womin needs to be helped into carriages, 
and lifted ober ditches, 
and to hab de best place everywhar. 
Nobody eber halps me into carriages, 
or ober mudpuddles, 
or gibs me any best place! 
And ar'n't I a woman? 

Look at me! 
Look at my arm! 
I have ploughed, 
and planted, 
and gathered into barns, 
and no man could head me! 
And ar'n't I a woman? 

I could work as much 
and eat as much as a man -- 
when I could get it -- 
and bear de lash as well! 
And ar'n't' I a woman? 

I have borne thirteen chilern, 
and seen 'em mos' all sold off to slavery, 
and when I cried out with my mother's grief, 
none but Jesus heard me! 
And ar'n't I a woman?

Den dey talks 'bout dis ting in de head; 
what dis dey call it? 
(whispered someone near). 
Dat's it, honey. 
What's dat got to do wid womin's rights 
or nigger's rights? 
If my cup won't hold but a pint, 
and yourn holds a quart, 
wouldn't ye be mean 
not to let me have my little half-measure full? 

Den dat little man in black dar, 
he say women can't have as much rights as men, 
'cause Christ wan't a woman! 
Whar did your Christ come from? 
Whar did your Christ come from? 
From God and a woman! 
Man had nothin' to do wid Him.

If de fust woman God ever made 
was strong enough to turn de world upside down 
all alone, 
dese women togedder ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! 
And now dey is asking to do it, 
de men better let 'em. 

Bleeged to ye for hearin' on me, 
and now ole Sojourner 
han't got nothin' more to say."
 Delivered by Sojourner Truth 1851 at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dancing with cultural norms

March 24, 2012
Andrea Smith
 "The focus on building autonomous power does not imply separatism. In fact, this model of radical women of color organizing is not simply based on a narrow politics of identity but more on a set of political practices designed to eliminate the interlocking systems of oppression based on heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism and colonialism—a vision that is liberating for all peoples. Unlike the demobilizing reformism of the mainstream women’s movement, this organizing is about asserting power and taking responsibility for transforming the world." (Andrea Smith)

March 25, 2012
Carmen Amaya

Choosing to create a fluidity between masculine and feminine traits of flamenco dancing, "Carmen Amaya created a deeply personal style of dance that was so individual and this along with her manly image and legs ...of steel became her trademark. She revolutionized female flamenco dance and broke many of the rules and traditions of the old style dance, and there were, therefore, those who criticized her non-conformist style."

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Historical, Contemporary, Personal

March  19, 2012
Simone de Beauvoir
 "There are cases where the slave does not know his servitude and where it is necessary to bring the seed of his liberation to him from the outside: his submission is not enough to justify the tyranny which is imposed upon him."  ~ Simone de Beauvoir

March 20, 2012
My 11 year old daughter
 "I'm happy today! Don't you just love it when you have a great day!" ~my 11 year old daughter

March 21, 2012
My daughter's father (who is also my best friend and wonderful husband)
 "Parents who judge their children have completely misunderstood the role of being a parent. It is the parents who must wait to be judged by their children, in order to finally understand the purpose of being a parent." ~ Timothy Eichfeld

March 22, 2012
Samira Ibrahim,
Egyptian activist who is currently taking on the Egyptian Army's use of 'virginity tests.' 
  “I refuse to allow this. A woman’s body should not be used as a tool for intimidation, and nobody should have their dignity violated.” ~ Samira Ibrahim

March 23, 2012
Rosa Parks
 "The only tired I was, was tired of giving in." ~ Rosa Parks

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Propaganda Swing

March 18, 2012
Rosie the Riveter

During WWII, able bodied men were sent off to war.  But the manufacture of the war machine(s) still needed to be completed.  This left the construction of 4000 aircraft per month up to a female work force.  By 1943, 2.1 million workers were placed in the aircraft industry and the overwhelming majority of those were women.  Women were throwing around machinery and tools just as well as any man.  Gender it evidenced did not dictate capability.
However, after WWII the returning male soldiers needed jobs.  The Rosies were booted out of the workforce and into the suburban kitchen.  The propaganda machine changed its tune from “We Can Do It” to “Let the big strong man take care of the weaker women.”  (See the sit-coms Leave it Beaver and Father Knows Best.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rock Protest

March 17, 2012
Sheela Na Gig

When Saint Patrick came to Ireland, he brought with him intolerance for the pre-existing beliefs (driving the "snakes" out of Ireland references the expulsion or repression of pre-existing pagan belief structu
res.) Among this intolerance was to women's knowledge of fertility and the sexual health of the community. This knowledge was driven underground despite attempts to make it taboo and forbidden.  Seems like we are currently still dealing with this misogyny and intolerance today.

 In the churches sheela na gigs, stone figures of the goddess with her enlarged vulva, were placed in doorways and other points. Touching the enlarged vulva of these figures is believed to ensure fertility and good sexual health as well as prosperity.  The links between women's health, education levels and sense of empowerment have been found to be one of the strongest factors in ensuring the ENTIRE community's overall well-being.  Hmmm.  Seems if we ensure that women have adequate access to contraception, education, and hope and empowerment, then perhaps we all might do better.

Confronting the Patriarchy; Outwitting Misogyny

March 12, 2012
Alice of Wonderland
 Why Alice in Wonderland? I specifically am not choosing Lewis Carroll or Alice Liddell BUT Alice in the story. Yes, she is fictional. But how many little girls and boys developed an interest in chess and logics because of her. She embodied curiosity and straying from the path in order to chase after dreams, and she confronted a fascist monarch twice and won.

March 13, 2012
Annie Oakley
 "She was a super bad ass that whipped the boys (via sharp shooting) at a time when women weren't supposed to." (as described by Molly Nelson)

March 14, 2012
Guerrilla GRRL
 "We're a bunch of anonymous females who take the names of dead women artists as pseudonyms and appear in public wearing gorilla masks. We have produced posters, stickers, books, printed projects, and actions that expose sexism and racism in politics, the art world, film and the culture at large. We use humor to convey information, provoke discussion, and show that feminists can be funny. We wear gorilla masks to focus on the issues rather than our personalities. Dubbing ourselves the conscience of culture, we declare ourselves feminist counterparts to the mostly male tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Batman, and the Lone Ranger. Our work has been passed around the world by kindred spirits who we are proud to have as supporters. It has also appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Bitch and Bust; on TV and radio, including NPR,, the BBC and CBC; and in countless art and feminist texts. The mystery surrounding our identities has attracted attention. We could be anyone; we are everywhere." (taken from the Guerrilla Girls faqs should check it out and support local feminist artists.)

March 15, 2012
Mae West
 "In a time where women were still grappling for power, Mae West wrote, produced and directed her own plays which were all highly successful. When finally given her big break in movies, she was known to rewrite her lines and self direct her ...scenes. She was one of the first acts to move to Las Vegas...she never apologized for who she was and never compromised herself. And she was a curvy gal that everyone found immensely sexy." (as described by Malaina White)

March 16, 2012
Louise Bourgeois avec La Fillette

"Sometimes it is necessary to make a confrontation – and I like that." (Louise Bourgeois) 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Women: Raise your voices

March 11, 2012
In 2009, Iran held presidential elections and there was a large opposition that supported Mir Hossein Mousavi. It seemed that Mousavi, a supporter of women's rights and interested in opening up dialogue with the US, might win. He did not and this defeat lead to wide spread protests, lead and propelled by women. Not everyone in Iran wants the "west" to be killed. I grabbed the image for today's paper doll out of Jezebel's coverage of the protests and a print out of the image hangs above my desk at work.

This image always runs through my head when the Republican Presidential candidates vow that they will go in harshly to Iran and teach them a lesson. (To be fair, it runs through my head when even a country is wholesale demonized by either the left or the right.  A country is not the leader who clashes with political opponents, but also the people who have no voice and are forced to go along.)  I wonder who will have to deal with the aftermath, but only for a moment.  The women who protested to change will be left with the heartache, the clean up and the trauma.  This is not to say that men do not feel these thing as well.  But women do not have equality and yes, the oppressed feel havoc and chaos and war more keenly then those with power.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Peace Laureates and a Storyteller

March 10, 2012
Leymah Gbowee

"We are tired of war. We are tired of running. We are tired of begging for bulgur wheat. We are tired of our children being raped. We are now taking this stand, to secure the future of our children. Because we believe, as custodians of society, tomorrow our children will ask us, "Mama, what was your role during the crisis?" Leymah Gbowee, leader of Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace on April 23, 2003
March 9, 2012
Hayao Miyazaki
 "Prizes do not mean anything to is more important to make a child aware of the existence of a weird creature like a water spider that breathes through its backside."  Hayao Miyazaki

March 8, 2012
Aung San Suu Kyi
 “In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.” Aung San Suu Kyi  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Resistance through words and through actions

Kurt Vonnegut
March 6, 2012
 "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be." Kurt Vonnegut

Irena Sendler
March 7, 2012 

Irena Sendler died 12 May 2008 (aged 98) in Warsaw, Poland.
During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a

plumbing/sewer specialist.  

She had an 'ulterior motive'.

She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German).

Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and she
carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids).

She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi
soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.

The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking
covered the kids/infants noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500
kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept
them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.

After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and
reunited the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.

She was not selected.
 ~ Morgan Powder

Monday, March 5, 2012

Eleanor as dictated by Katharine

March 5, 2012

Eleanor: What would you have me do? Give out? Give up? Give in? 

Henry II: Give me a little peace. 

Eleanor: A little? Why so modest? How about eternal peace? Now there's a thought.

"I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be the inferior sex."  Katharine Hepburn

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Protesting Oppression...Marching Forth

Lucretia Coffin Mott

"I have no idea of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on me or on the slave. I will oppose it with all the moral powers with which I am endowed.
I am no advocate of passivity."

Sampat Pal Devi
"Nobody comes to our help in these parts. The officials and the police are corrupt and anti-poor. So sometimes we have to take the law in our hands. At other times, we prefer to shame the wrongdoers," says Sampat Pal Devi, between teaching a "gang" member on how to use a lathi (traditional Indian stick) in self defence. 

Elizabeth Blackwell

"If society will not admit of woman's free development, then society must be remodeled. "  Elizabeth Blackwell

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Feminism on Paper...

March is Women's History Month.  That's fine.  But I would like to explore Feminists in History.  This desire to create a month of feminists did not happen, I must admit prior to March or even on March 1.  I wish that I had had the foresight to plan this project ahead.  But I will have to go with hindsight and the joy that the month is young.

The idea for this month's focus sparked as a result of this article on Senator Judy Eason McIntyre.  But, upon reflection, I think that my burlesque girl fits in nicely to this meme.  In the film A Wink and A Smile, artists explain that the performers on stage are in control of the gaze and of their own sexuality.  How powerful.  Control over one's one sexuality and sensuality.  The idea that relationships are entered into based upon a mutuality and respect... erotic.  And lovely.  And revolutionary.  Feminist.

March 1, 2012
 Female sexuality is under attack.  Women are limited to a duality of virgin or whore and quite frankly I personally don't subscribe to either of those points of view.  The paper doll for March 1 is the Burlesque Riot GRRRL.

March 2, 2012
  Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre was the paper doll for Mach 2  because of her stand on the current punitive laws being pushed through by the conservative right intended on limiting women. Her sign was labeled offensive however the bill that she was protesting (invasive ultrasounds) was much more hideous.

March 3, 2012
Today I have chosen Lucy Stone because she was the first married woman in America (granted pre-abolishion so this is a loaded issue) to not take her husband's name. This was a radical form a protest.  In addition she wore pants. For the time period both were outrageous. Also, Lucy Stone's work in the abolition movement through public speaking sparked many of women to join in the suffrage movement.

Thursday, March 1, 2012