04-25 TABLE of CONTENTS:
QUOTES by Edna Buchanan, Vita Sackville-West, Geneva Overholser, and Shana Alexander.
Does Veteran Whittaker Rest In Arlington or Was She Barred by Old Prejudices
At 19 Helen Margaret Whittaker of Lebanon, Pa., was a stenographer in the U.S. Navy in World War I - Navy Yeoman Helen Whittaker.
In 1996 at age 97 she requested future internment in Arlington National Cemetery, her right as a veteran.
But officialdom refused to agree to it or even rule on her request until after her death because of new regulations at the cemetery that automatically bar all women veterans of World War I.
Whittaker wants to be the first representative of the 12,000 women who served the armed forced in World War I. However, the women were immediately discharged or fired when the war ended. None were allowed to choose the armed services as a career.
Never married, she says she would have chosen a career with the Navy but women were not allowed to do that at that time.
Arlington cemetery has been closed in recent years to anyone who hasn't died on active service, retired after 20 years service, received high military decorations or the Purple Heart, or served in high-level government jobs.
Only 70,000 grave sites remain. About 235,000 people including hundreds of women are buried in the Virginia cemetery. Most of the women buried at Arlington are the wives of veterans.
These new regulations automatically bar any women who served in World War I since they were all prevented from putting in their 20 years by being forced to retire against their wills.
Whittaker's case went to the deputy assistant to the President / director of the Women's Initiatives and Outreach. The only way Yeoman Helen Whittaker would rest in Arlington is through Presidential intervention.
Stefan Presser, Legal Director of the Pennsylvania ACLU is following the case.
"I think we have to redress the initial wrong inflicted on women - and on her," Presser said in a 1996 Philadelphia Inquirer article written by Edward Colimore.
[WOAH comment: We have attempted to find out what happened to Wittaker's case. President Clinton's papers from that period are in boxes waiting to be inventoried for his library. The Pennsylvania ACLU does not return our queries and no one at the Phialdelphia Inquirer seems to know anything about the story.
We would sure like to know what happened.
By the way, more than 200 American women died in World War I. Although none are credited with being with the armed services (except as nurses), they were with ancillary units such as the women of the YMCA who set up hospitals and food services close to battle lines.]
A Suffragist by Another Name is a Radical Suffragette
In 1906, when the English newspapers were still censoring and refusing to publish most information about women's battles to get the vote, the [London] Daily Mail referred to suffragists in an insulting way, calling them suffragette.
Scathingly they referred to the women as not real suffragists. By adding the "ette" diminuitive, it tried to ridicule the women as something small, almost like an imitation of the real thing such as one would compare a kitchenette to a real kitchen.
The young radicals whose education was not always the best embraced the suffragette term as a way to differentiate themselves from the staid constitutionalists who sought political equality through negotiation and lobbying.
Within a few years the young militant suffragists had redefined the term suffragette from a diminutive put-down to a violence activist who broke windows, set fire to buildings, and went to jail. They were also leaders in the radical sexual politics, breaking new ground in women's relationships.
Maat, the Egyptian GAWD of truth, justice, and law
Maat or sometimes called Mayet is the Egyptian's ancient goddess of truth, justice, and law. As with many female deities, her powers eroded through time and she is today primarily reported to be the judge of the dead.
However, Maat, the daughter of Ra the supreme god who created the world was actually seen as the one who made order of that universe both in nature and in the actions of people.
This position of deciding the way everything must be for an orderly world made Maat a near supreme goddess who made the rules for all the other gods to obey.
Symbolized by an ostrich plume, she is shown in the Book of the Dead opposite a human heart indicating that her rules are what a human's actions must be judged in the afterlife.
Margaret, the Maid of Norway, Queen of Scotland at Age Four
At four years of age, Margaret known as The Maid of Norway (1282-1290), was proclaimed Queen of Scotland as the last of the Scottish rulers descended from King Malcom III who ruled the Scots in the 11th century.
At age eight she was betrothed to Edward, soon to be King Edward II of England and died on the trip tp England from Norway before she was nine.
Even though the marriage was not consummated since she never reached England and part of the marriage contract stated Scotland would remain independent of England, Edward II would claim Scotland as his right. Scotland fought more than 20 years to repulse the foreign overlords/invaders.
Kathleen "Kitty" McKane of Great Britain won the ladies doubles tennis gold in the 1930 Olympics and the silver in 1924. She won the mixed doubles silver in 1920 and in both 1920 and 1924 won the bronze in ladies singles
Crystal Macmillan Fought for Equal Rights for Women in England
Crystal Macmillan who earned a degree in mathematics and natural sciences from Edinburgh University was still not considered qualified to cast a vote in the parliamentary elections of 1908.
Active in woman's suffrage, she took her case to the House of Lords where she became the first woman to address that august body. After a seven-day hearing, the lords turned down the rights of women.
After that CM joined the National Union of Suffrage Societies led by Millicent Garrett Fawcet, the less radical wing of the suffrage movement that actually did most of the political manuevering that actually won the vote rather than the confrontational actions of the Pakhurst contigent.
(The Fawcett group parellelled the American-National Woman Suffrage association in the U.S. while Alice Paul and Lucy Burns' group followed the Pankhurst style.)
In 1923 CM resigned from the women's movement and founded the Open Door Council that aought the removal of all egal restraints against women. In 1929 she headed the Open Door International for the Economic Emancipation of the Woman Worker.
Along with Carrie Chapman Catt of the U.S., CM was one of the main organizers of the International Women s Congress at The Hague in 1915, which led to the foundation of the Women s International League for Peace and Freedom.
CM also waged a long campaign for English women to retain their citizenship if they married a foreign man - again a law that was in effect in the U.S. as well.
Irene Morgan Refused to Give Up Her Seat on a Bus in 1944
It seems impossible that only fifty some years ago in the United States there were a class of white people who actually believed a black woman should give up her seat on a bus to a healthy white male - or that in Virginia it was illegal for a black to sit next to a white person even if the black was there first.
Irene Morgan, born in 1917, changed that when she was only 27. She stood up to such laws - rather *refused* to stand and enabled NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The court then struck down segregation in interstate transportation.
Irene Morgan's rebellion against Jim Crow laws occurred more than a decade before Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat in an Alabama bus in 1955 as part of the planned NAACP challenge to the Jim Crow bus laws. [See WOAH 02-14]
According to reports in Virginia in 1944,
"It was a muggy July morning when Morgan, then a young mother, boarded a Greyhound bus in Hayes Store, took a seat in the back and headed for home in Baltimore. She was recovering from surgery and had brought her two children to stay temporarily with her mother in Gloucester.
"A few miles down the road, the bus driver told Morgan to move because a white couple wanted to occupy her row."
" 'I said, Well, no,' recalled Morgan, who now lives on New York"s Long Island. 'That was a seat I had paid for.'
"Morgan was jailed for refusing to move and resisting arrest. She refused to pay the $100 fine that included kicking one deputy who arrested her and scratching another. Her mother put up the $500 bail.
"Soon the NAACP and Marshall were appealing her case.
"When asked how she had the courage to do what she did, Irene Morgan answered, 'I can"t understand how anyone would have done otherwise.' "
[WOAH comment: EVERY single decision that enabled blacks to enjoy equal rights in the United States has come from the federal government. The same for women's rights. Those who favor state's rights over federal rights are generally those who want to control people by force such as shown by the Klu Klux Klan and unregulated domestic violence.
Also, in almost every incident regarding black civil rights, it was a woman or girl who stood against - generally alone - the laws that precipitated the later legal battle.]
04-25 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and EVENTS
B. 04-25-1816, Eliza Daniel Srewart - U.S. temperance leader.
Appointed by her brother, the postmaster of Piketon, Ohio, as assistant postmaster, she was the first of her sex to hold such a position officially.
She became devoted to the cause of temperance. Durign the Civil War she gathered supplies and medical needs and distrbuted them to Union solders and the wounded becoming known as Mother Stewart.
In 1872, she gave a temperance lecture urging the public to encourage wives of drunkards to bring suit against liquor dealers under the Adair Act, an Ohio statute that allowed such suits for damages to be brought by the wives or mothers of drunkards.
She continued her temperance work and speeches and in 1873 she locally organized the first Woman s Temperance League. The idea went statewirde and a lossly formed national organizaion emerged that became known as the "Woman s Crusade."
In 1874 when the general convention to organize was called, she played a prominent part in the founding there of the Woman s Christian Temperance Union.
She made a highly effective lecture and organizing tour of Great Britain and helped organize British Women s Temperance Association and the Scottish Christian Union.
On 1895 she was the keynote speaker of the World's WCTU convention in London. She wrote a number of books on temperance and how the movement spread.
Event 04-25-1861: Emma Edmonds alias Frank Thompson became a male nurse in the Second Volunteers of the United States Army.
She later wrote Nurse and Spy, published in 1865, a rather lurid and perhaps not too accurate an autobiographical account of her exploits as a Union field nurse :in northern Virginia and Kentucky but who was also a spy for the union forces.
It has been estimated that approximately 400 women succeeded in enlisting in the army (either Union or Confederate) during the Civil War.
The exact number will never be known because there are a number of women who obviously served without ever being "unmasked" as women - and there are those "male" soldiers who died in battle, unknown as women.
There were also a number of women who served in military posts and even led troops into battle as WOMEN, generally the wife of a military man or a relative, but not always.
EE not only succeeded in remaining in the army for several years but also served as a successful Union spy while impersonating a man.
A Canadian by birth, she was forced to impersonate a male during her childhood because of her father's resentment that she had not been born a boy. He finally drove her from her home and she fled to the U.S. settling in Michigan.
At the outbreak of the war, EE either cut her hair and changed into men's clothing or was already passing as a man and enlisted. She was turned down three times but the fourth time she was sworn in. It might be noted that there were no physical examinations for soldiers at the time (or any time before in any nation) so her sex was not an issue. It wasn't until near the end of the war that enlistes and draftees were forced to strip to the waist to prove their sex. Such a chance in rules indicates that perhaps many more than 400 women were found to be in the armed forces. It must also be noted that many of the women posing as men worked around officers as aides and secretaries which again indicates some knowledge of their true sex.
On 04-25-1861, EE became Frank Thompson, a male nurse in the Second Volunteers of the U.S. army.
She became part of McClellen's army in Virginia. Private Thompson was assigned as a male nurse to the hospital unit of the 2nd Michigan Volunteers and was said to have had no trouble in maintaining her masculine pose - although being assigned nurseing duties indicate that her masculinity was not macho.
According to EE, a McClellan spy was caught and executed at just about the same time an old friend of hers from Canada died. She then volunteered as a spy to prepare the way for McClellan's planned offensive.
She said she studied all available material on weapons, tactics, georgraphy, etc., before interviewing for the position of spy. The studying impressed the officers and she was accepted.
Her disguise for crossing the lines and blending into the background was to make herself into a black man. She used silver nitrate to darken her skin. She used a minstrel wig and the name Cuff.
On the confederate side she was assigned with local blacks to build ramparts to protect against the expected union offensive. Her hands were badly blistered from the work and she got transferred to kitchen duty.
On the third day she was assigned as a confederate picket and was able to escape back to the union lines and reported that the confederacy was using "Quaker guns," or logs crudely shaped and painted like cannons from afar to make it appear they were better defended than they were.
She wrote that her information was eagerly received and she even spoke to General McClellan himself.
For two months she continued her male nurse duries and thend was ordered back to the confederacy to spy. This time she went as a Irish peddler woman by the name of Bridget O'Shea.
She sold her good in the Confederate camps while gathering information. She then stole a horse she named Rebel to return to the Union lines and was shot in the arm. The arm wound did not expose her as a woman.
Transferred to the Shenandoah Valley and under the orders of General Phlip Sheridan, EE described a number of other trips she made into the confederacy, sometimes as Cuff which she admired as a plucky fellow with grit. She also went as a black mammy and a laundress. As a laundress she found a packet of dispatches in an officer's pocket and quickly returned to the union headquarters with them.
Near the end of 1862, she was transferred to Kentucky under General Ambrose Burnside and was ordered to assume the role of a southern sympathizer in Louisville, Ky., and spy on the military there just before the campaign to defend Vicksburg.
Under General Grant at Vicksburg she contracted malaria and went to Cairo, Illinois and checked into a civilian hospital as a woman to avoid detection at a military hospital.
Her plans to return to duty were cancelled when she found out she had been declared a deserter. According to her autobiography, she then went to Washington, DC where she worked as a nurse until the end of the war.
Her book that included the details of her 11 spy missions into the Confederacy became an instant bestseller and she reportedly gave all the earnings to the U.S. war relief.
She then returned to Canada and married Linus Seeyle and returned to the U.S. She raised three sons, one of whom is said to have enlisted in the army "just like Mama did."
Encouraged by her sons and friends, EE petitioned the War Department to get her name cleared of the desertion and be recognized as a union soldier.
On March 28, 1884, the House of Representatives passed House Bill Number 5335 validating EE's case. The bill, in part reads,
"Truth is ofttimes stranger than fiction, and now comes the sequel, Sarah E. Edmonds, now Sarah E. Seelye, alias Franklin Thompson, is now asking this Congress to grant her relief by way of a pension on account of fading health, which she avers had its incurrence and is the sequence of the days and nights she spent in the swamps of the Chickahominy in the days she spent soldiering. That Franklin Thompson and Mrs. Sarah E.E. Seelye are one and the same person is established by abundance of proof and beyond a doubt. She submits a statement... and also the testimony of ten credible witnesses, men of intelligence, holding places of high honor and trust, who positively swear she is the identical Franklin Thompson..."
On 07-05-1884 by a special act of Congress granted Emma Edmonds alias Frank Thompson an honorable discharge from the army, plus a bonus and a veteran's pension of twelve dollars a month. The resulting Special Act of Congress read:
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of Interior is hereby, authorized and directed to place on the pension roll, the name of Sarah E. E. Seelye, alias Frank Thompson, who was late a private in Company E, Second Regiment of Michigan Infantry Volunteers, at the rate of twelve dollars per month."
EE wrote, "I am naturally fond of adventure, a little ambitious, and a good deal romantic-but patriotism was the true secret of my success."
Sarah Emma Edmonds was born in December 1841. Before she enlisted in the army she was an itinerant Bible salesman and dressed in men's clothing.
In the army she took part in the Battle of Blackburn's Ford, the First Battle of Bull Run, and the Peninsular campaign of May-July 1862. At Fredericksburg she was an aide to Colonel Orlando M. Poe.
EE lived until 09-05-1889 at LaPorte, Texas.
She is buried in Washington Cemetery, Houston Texas, in lot G-26. This is a GAR lot that belonged to George B. McClellan Post of the Grand Army of the Republic. She is the only female member of the organization formed after the Civil War by Union veterans-The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR).
There is also a biography of EE, She Rode With Generals, by Sylvia Gannett. Also, Richard Hall in Patriots in Disguise has some biographical information on Edmonds, including her postwar career, but the source of Hall's comments appear to be from Gannett's book.
B. 04-25-1838, Sarah Ann Dickey - U.S. educator who devoted her efforts in the post-Civil War United States to creating and enhancing educational opportunities for African-American students.
She founded Seminary for Black Girls in 1875 in spite of opposition by white supremacists. She got no church or state funds and had to do it all herself. She was ordained in the United Brethren in Christ in 1896.
B. 04-25-1900(?), Edith Gregor Halpert - Russian-born American art dealer, collector.
Without any family or inherited money or support, EGH's widowed mother brought EGH and her sister to the U.S.and raised them on money she earned herself.
EGH opened the Downtown Gallery of Contemporary Art after a very sucessful business career wanting to showcase young American modern artists and to collect American art. The sisters established the Edith Gregor Halpert Foundation which lobbied for the right of artists to control the sale and reproduction of their work. They endowed universities with pieces of art that the universities could sell to create scholarships in American art. Her devotion to the recognition of the once-scorned American art was such a success that her personal collection brought $3 million at her death.
B. 04-25-1912, Iris Faircloth Blitch, U.S Congressional Representative from Georgia 1955-63.
Her official congressional biography reads:
"Following an unsuccessful run for the Georgia General Assembly in 1940, Blitch was elected to the Georgia senate in 1946 and to the state house of representatives in 1948. After her defeat for reelection in 1950 she was again elected to the state senate in 1952 and served until December 1954.
"She also served as secretary of the Georgia Democratic executive committee and represented Georgia on the Democratic National Committee. Running as a supporter of Governor Herman Talmadge, Blitch defeated incumbent Representative William M. Wheeler in the September 1954 Democratic primary, a contest tantamount to election in Georgia's Eighth District. She was reelected three times.
"In March 1956 Blitch joined ninety-five senators and representatives from eleven southern states in signing the 'Southern Manifesto,' which pledged the signatories to work to reverse the Supreme Court's 1954 decision outlawing racial segregation in public schools.
"Seeking to protect the jute-backing industry in her district and encourage the growth of industry throughout southern Georgia, Blitch favored amending the 1930 Tariff Act to make it more difficult for foreign-made jute to enter the country.
"In August 1961 she responded to attacks from Iowa Representative H.R. Gross and defended the use of the comic strip character "Pogo," a native of Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp and consequently her district, in a government pamphlet aimed at parents concerned with the television viewing habits of their children. Because of ill health, Blitch declined to run for renomination for a fifth term in 1962.
"In August of 1964 she announced that she would leave the Democratic Party and support the Republican presidential candidacy of Senator Barry M. Goldwater.
"Blitch was a resident of St. Simons Island, Georgia, but subsequently moved to San Diego, California, where she resided until her death on August 19, 1993."
B. 04-25-1917, Ella Fitzgerald - U.S. black jazz and scat singer who became world famous for the wide range and rare sweetness of her voice. Her singing style was much imitated in the 1950s and '60s
This fabulous talent developed the scat singing style that enabled the singer to do solo trills in the manner of musical instruments - one of the marks of jazz.
Revered by several generations of musicians and fans, she was one of America's greatest treasures who will will continue to awe and pleasure us for decades to come because of her almost 250 recordings.
Her scat singing when she recorded "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" in 1938 made her famous. She won awards by the bushel (12 Emmys) from evey conceivable organization and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1992).
Oh lady, you were good!
B. 04-25-1921, Margaret Gowing - English scholar, CBE, FRS, FBA., founding Professor of the History of Science, Oxford University.
The London Times obituary paid tribute to her scholarship.
"Margaret Gowing enjoyed the rare distinction... of being a Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society. Her remarkable reputation was made in four different fields: as an official economic historian; as an authority on public records; as the doyenne of nuclear historians; and as Oxford's first Professor of the History of Science."
B. 04-25-1923, Melissa Hayden-Canadian-born U.S. ballerina who was the star of the Balanchine's American Ballet Theatre and ballet presentations throughout Europe.
B. 04-25-1932, Lia Manoliu - Romanian track and field athlete. LM won the 1968 Olympics gold for discus throw. She won the bronze in 1960 and 64 and was sixth in 1952. With her ninth places in 1956 and 1972 she holds the female record for the number of participations in the Olympics.
Her latest throws were longer than the one in Mexico City that won the gold showing the continued improvement of women athletes.
Event 04-25-1940, the right to vote and stand for political office for men of the Canadian Province of Quebec was validated. The general nfranchisement of women in Canada occurred 05-24-1918 and all the other nine provinces had enacted the suffrage of women in the nine-year time period from 1916 to 1925.
B. 04-25-1942, Rubye Doris Smith Robinson - U.S. black civil rights reformer and activist whose short life proved to be a powerful influence on the Civil Rights Movement. She died at 25.
Event 04-25-1945: Ann Stringer became the first war correspondent to let the world know of the linkup of American and Russian forces in the closing hours of World War II. The news as greeted worldwide as a reality that the war in Europe was almost over.
Her exploit shows the inventiveness necessary for women correspondents...
She was covering the First Army's front but was ordered back to Paris. She had been traveling with them through the mud and filth, and now that the BIG story was at hand, she was being pulled out. Instead, she persuaded friends in Army Intelligence to lend her a plane and a pilot who then flew her over the lines to the village of Torgau where she knew the fighting and linkup was about to occur.
Landing she spotted a man coming away from the Elbe River and (probably using a bit of bribery) convinced him to row her across to the east bank in a racing shell (not the safest thing under ideal conditions, but in a war, pure foolishness.)
On the other side she met the Russian troops.
While the boy reporters were celebrating with the guys and riding back with champagne in jeeps and not worrying about competition because all the guys were partying together, Mrs. Stringer bummed a ride to Paris on a C-47 cargo plane and was thus able to beat her competitors with a flash across the world that the armies were linked - the Russians having conquered across Germany from their homeland and the Americans from the invasion points in Normandy across France into Germany.
Ann Stringer died in 1990 at age 71, unheralded.
Bet you thought all the brave, big-time, breaking news war correspondents were men... no, they just get written about more by other men.
[WOAH note: As one who heard that first bulletin, I can't begin to tell you its importance and stupendous good news. The war was horrible, long, bitter and the casualties were mounting - and the horrors of the concentration camps were becoming known. It would be a few days until V-E day (Victory-Europe) but from this day forward we gratefully knew it was only a matter of time. -- IS]
B. 04-25-1946, Talia Rose Shire - U.S. actor and producer. She was nominated for best supporting actress in her role in The Godfather: Part II.
However, she is probably best known for her role of Adrian, the girlfriend of Rocky in the series of films. She also garneredd an Oscar nomination for one of the Rocky films.
TRS is the aunt of director Francis Ford Coppola and of Nicholas Cage, the actor in a close family that believes in helping each other.
B. 04-25-1950, Karen Nussbaum - director, U.S. Labor department's Women's Bureau and director, AFL-CIO working women's department.
In 1993 KN was appointed by President Bill Clinton as head of the U.S Department of Labor's Women's Bureau. In a survey she commissioned, more than 200,000 working women's replies indicated that women shared the same aspirations of men: fair pay, health insurance, help with the dual responsibilities of home and work - and RESPECT.
Her biography claims that workplace discrimination did not exist for women as an issue until 1973 when KN began organizing her clerical working collegues in an organization that would be called 9 to 5.
[WOAH would hate to disagree with Nussbaum or Working Women magazine that published such drivel, BUT it was an issue in the 19th century and in the 20th century as well as throughout history for all working women of which there were always many. The problem was, of course, that wage payers and unions were controlled by men and they ignored or ridiculed women's concerns or need for equal money in a solid wall. The unity of men against women's equality or fair play is one of the greatest wonders of civilization.
In the labor movement until the 1980s, most unions INTENTIONALLY set women's wages at 20% or more under the rate pay for a man doing EXACTLY the same job. WOAH's compiler's mother was a union organizer - I speak from first-hand experience... as well as common sense. What thinking person is going to believe that women were content to be paid less than men for the same work? Or not get paid enough to live on. History agrees that women have ALWAYS been discontent with their treatment. -- IS]
B. 04-25-1961, Agnetta Andersson - Swedish athlete. AA won three gold Olympic medals in Kayak racing in 1996.
Event 04-25-1967, Colorado became the first state to officially liberalize its abortion laws when pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, endangered a woman's physical or mental health, or was likely to result in the birth of a child with severe mental or physical defects. The abortion approval had to be a unanimous decision with three doctors. Similar bills were passed in North Caroline and California.
Event 04-25-200: Five women were appointed to the newly formed Japanese cabinet of maverick reformist Junichiro Koizumi.
In a newspaper article by Colin Joyce, Makiko Tanaka (see 01-14) was named Japan's first female foreign minister "Makiko Tanaka, a notorious critic of the political status quo, is the daughter of the former prime minister, Kakuei Tanaka. She is often compared to Lady Thatcher for her tough image and withering attacks on her party's old guard. She is a key supporter of Mr Koizumi and her appointment may help revive the ruling Liberal Democratic party's fortunes ahead of elections to the Diet's upper house in July.
"Opinion polls consistently show Mrs Tanaka as the person Japanese would most like to see as prime minister but, despite her popularity, she has been excluded from the LDP's upper reaches until now. Her only previous cabinet post was as science and technology minister in 1994 and critics point out that she has little experience of diplomacy."
Partially educated in the U.S., the foreign minister had harsh words about President G. W. Bush's abilities. It is now widely believed that the price of U.S. financial help to Japan is tied to Mrs Tanaka's removal from office for denigrating Bush II.
B. 04-25-1969, Angel Martino - U.S. swimmer. AM won the Olympic gold in swimming in both 1992 and 1996.
B. 04-25-1980, Hoang Thanh Trang - Vietnamese international master and woman international grandmaster of chess.
Event 04-25-2000: the Vermont state legislature enacted a legal civil unions bill and beginning 07-04-2000 gay and lesbians couples could pledge a legal equivalent of heterosexual marriage. The right wing religious who think only their way is the correct way launched a campaign to discredit the actions and the legislature rescinded the law. [See WOAH 12-20]
QUOTES DU JOUR
"Language is real. It is powerful. It defines existence. What we allow ourselves to be called is how we allow the world to view us.
"I doubt that few thinking adults would quarrel with my condemnation of addressing any female by the generic, 'Hey you bi*ch!' It is harder to explain the more subtle reasons why only close family members should address a female over the age of 12 as 'Honey' or 'Sweetheart.' The reason is that keeping females 'cute' by calling them endearing names is a very effective way of keeping them powerless.
"The generic grouping of females by language into either 'cute' groups or 'sex' groups denies their identity as individuals. The effect of this is damaging to males because it teaches them to view females as less than people. More disastrous is the effect on females because they learn to view themselves as beings without individual self-worth...
"Females are not anybody's 'honey,' 'sweetheart,' 'bi*ch,' 'ho,' or 'slop.' First and last, a psychologically healthy female belongs only to herself. Any act that is destructive to her self-worth is destructive to her humanity."
-- Matilda Buchanan, English teacher, Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas.
"As you know, I am not a feminist, but there are limits."
--Vita Sackville-West, English poet and writer, when she was referred to in a newspaper as merely the wife of Harold Nicolson.
"It is a great deal easier to depict women as either social or professional, motherly or ambitious, public or private, feminist or anti-feminist. This has been unforgettably apparent with another eminent woman of our time, Hillary Rodham Clinton - the human battleground for our anxieties over feminism and the changing role of women, not to mention our fear of a first lady's power. Carl S. Anthony, an authority on first ladies, suggested at the beginning of the Clinton era that Hillary's move into the White House might help the nation understand at last that what most women hope for is options. 'Perhaps,' he said, 'it really is time for the American people to fully permit this last holdout of female expectations, this role of first lady, to also be one in which a woman has choices.'
"But the continuing presence of choices is so untidy, so confusing. Journalism prefers its choices made. We like clarity, simplicity, symbols, strong story lines. Consider the sound bite that gave birth to Hillary the Anti-Mom and Anti-Homemaker. Challenged about connections between her law firm and Bill's governorship, she replied in frustration: 'I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was fulfill my profession.' But there's a catch here - the rest of the quote was conveniently dropped from the sound bite in the name of clarity. 'You know,' Hillary went on to say, 'the work that I've done as a professional, as a public advocate, has been aimed in part to assure that women can make the choice that they should make - whether it's full-time career, full-time motherhood, some combination.'
The other day, I was introduced by a mutual friend to Don Jones, Hillary's youth minister from her high school years in suburban Chicago. I asked what he thought of the press portrayals of Hillary. Well, for one thing, he said, the position of first lady is 'the most unevolved' position in contemporary America. Then there was the fact that Hillary was too modern for some, not feminist enough for others. Finally, something had struck him as particularly odd: The things that Hillary accomplished that did fit the feminine stereotype didn't receive the coverage he'd have expected. Take the fact that she is 'an absolutely wonderful mother,' or that, like Jackie Kennedy, she redecorated the White House extensively and, he added, introduced contemporary art to the residence.
"But those things didn't fit the story line. We in the media, confronted with complexity, could only deal with it serially. We could see Hillary as bristling with power one day, chastened and changing her hairstyle the next, and we felt sure that the one came in reaction to the other. We could see her going from white to black and back, but never imagine that she was gray all along."
-- Nationally syndicated Washington Post columnist Geneva Overholser who edited the Des Moines Register to a Pulitzer prize with a series of article about women confronting rape and speaking out. She resigned the Register over a dispute regarding the lowering of staff salaries and joined the Post.
"Roughly speaking, the President of the United States knows what his job is. Constitution and custom spell it out, for him as well as for us. His wife has no such luck. The First Lady has no rules; rather each new woman must make her own."
-- Shana Alexander, U.S. writer, editor, and TV commentator in her 1968 article "The Best First Lady."
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