Juliana, Queen of the Netherlands
04-30 TABLE of CONTENTS:
QUOTES by Flora Tristan, Mary Ashton Rice, Phil Donahue, and Mary S. Anthony.
Mystical Eve of Spring known as Walpurgis Night, Beltaine, May Eve Celebrated Throughout the World
April 30 is Walpurgis Night, also known as Beltaine, May eve, etc., one of the cross Quarter Days. The others are Feb. 2, Oct. 31, and Aug. 1, all sacred days of the followers of the old religion who are sometimes incorrectly called witches. The Wiccans have also adopted the days as did the Druids but the pagan practice of recognizing these dates predate them all, going back to the Mother Earth/nature worship.
As with the other cross-quarter days - the days equidistant from the equinox or solstice - it was supposedly the gathering night of witches... which in those ancient days were primarily the healers and those who dealt in things beyond common knowledge.
Mother Earth and the pantheon of gods and goddeses controlling or influencing each natural phenomena were replaced, finally, by the one male god concept that was quickly adopted by the male population to replace Mother Earth who appeared to be more in keeping with the feminine spirit and the natural order of things.
The one male god then dictated all occurrence in the universe and women were relegated to secondary positions of assistance.
Some of the old traditions of May even or Beltaine is a dance around a Maypole (may being a Norse word for "developing new growth.")
In Ancient Rome a five-day festival devoted for the goddess of flowers surrounded the date.
In several societies including the Celts, passing between or jumping over bonfires and gathering water and early vegetation for use in rituals during the year occurred.
Scorecard of Global Violence Against Women
"In the US, one in eight movies released commercially depicts acts of violence against women.
"In Sudan, 94 percent of all women are illiterate.
"In Iran, the fundamentalist Islamic interpretation of the Koran makes it illegal to execute a woman who is virgin. Therefore, virgin women sentence to death for an infraction of Islamic rules are raped before execution.
"In Thailand, the work of 41.5% of all women working in the Bangkok area is prostitution. Seventy percent of the Thai prostitutes are infected with venereal disease.
"In Pakistan, the evidence of two women equals that of one man in the application of certain laws.
"In Brazil, a husband can murder his wife (or his girlfriend or mistress) on the suspicion of infidelity, and then be set free with any proof of the alleged infidelity.
"In India, 50% of the women gain no weight during the third trimester of pregnancy due to near starvation diets. maternal deaths are caused by improperly performed illegal abortions.
"In South Africa, violence against black women by black men is common. Black women are beaten up so routinely on the streets that no one pays attention to the violence. [WOAH note: this violence has been shown to exist in the white community as well and sexual harassment in white social events is also common.]
"In Java, 80% of the pregnant and nursing mothers are anemic.
"In Africa and on the Arabian peninsula, girls before puberty (age 3 or 4 and up) have their genitalia mutilated by clitoridectomy. It is estimated that 70 MILLION women alive today have been subjected to this barbaric ritua which would be analogous to the amputation of the complete male penis, not merely the loose foreskin.
"In China, the killing of female babies has increased. The government has decreed that each couple may have only one child. The traditional preference for sons has created an epidemic of drowning and other murders of girl babies."
-- from Gabrielle I. Edwards' Coping With Discrimination. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 1986 and 1992.
Scorecard in U.S. Democracy: 1,715 Men to 11 Women
"This uphill political battle for women has been under way for the last two hundred years. Between 1776 and 1976, men outnumbered women 1,715 to 11 in the U.S. Senate.
"There were 9,591 men and only 87 women in the House of Representatives during the same period. And until Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed in 1981, no woman had served on the U.S. Supreme Court.
"Finally, 507 men and a mere five women served in the president's cabinet during those two hundred years."
-- from Women in Power - The Secrets of Leadership. Cantor, Dorothy W. and Toni Bernay with Jean Stoess. 1992: Houghton Mifflicon Company, New York. The authors interviewed 25 office holders from Congressional Representative Pat Schroeder, to Olympia Snowe of the U.S. House of Representatives to U. S. Senator Barbara Mikulski to Suzie Azar, Mayor, El Paso, Texas.
Orange on the Seder Dish
"I found a bit more about Sue Fulton's Orange/Seder story from one of my students. When I passed it on to him, he replied:
"'As I heard this story, the male rabbi said that a woman rabbi was as out of place as a ham sandwich on a seder plate (both the leavened bread of the sandwich and the pork being inappropriate). A female rabbi in plate... unexpected, but not breaking the dietary laws.'
"The family with which I celebrate Passover each year had an orange on their seder plate and told me the story when I asked what it was doing there among the traditional foods."
-- sent to WOAH by Florence Deacon, firstname.lastname@example.org, who suggested Oranges on our Seder plates next year.
04-30 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and EVENTS
B. 04-30-1662, Mary II - Queen of England (1689-94).
As the daughter of King James II she was the legitimate heir to the throne. She insisted it be shared with her Dutch husband who was crowned as William III and he reigned alone after her death. She chose to only exert authority when he was absent. As a protestant, she married William in Holland and supported his invasion of England that drove her father from the throne.
She rejected the idea that she rule alone.
She died of smallpox at 32 and William ruled alone thereafter in spite of not being a royal.
Their early marriage was difficult because Mary did not have children and William was often found in other women's beds.
B. 04-30-1819, Robena Anna Laidlaw - British pianist, piano teacher, court musician.
B. 04-30-1871, Louise Homer - U.S. contralto, reigning star of Metropolitan from 1900-19 and 27-30. Her unusually rich contralto voice often upstaged the more flamboyant music written for sopranos.
Her Orfeo in Orfeo and Euridice and Dalila in Camille Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila were said to be incomparable.
B. 04-30-1877, Alice Toklas - U.S. writer.
AT was the life partner of U.S. author Gertrude Stein. She published Stein's letters and wrote her memoirs.
Her fierce loyalty to Stein, her pushing of her literary merits, the perfect wife to the husband, etc., while catapulting her to fame are the very same traits that a heterosexual wife is expected to do for her male husband - and usually gets no credit for.
In fact, like several modern professional widows of famous men, AT became a legend through her long life after Stein.
B. 04-30-1898, Katharine A. Towle - first woman dean of students at University of California at Berkely and first director of the Women's Marine Corps between 1948 and 1953.
B. 04-30-1902, Marguerite Henry - U.S. author.
B. 04-30-1912, Eve Arden - U.S. actor. EA is perhaps best remembered as Miss Brooks in the television series Our Miss Brooks which netted her Emmy awards. She was also nominated for a supporting role Academy Award in the movie Mildred Pierce (1945), one of her many "best friends" roles. She was featured in more than 100 motion pictures. Because of her impeccable comic timing, she was often cast as the heroine's sarcastic, wisecracking best friend. She also was a regular draw on Broadway.
B. 04-30-1926, Cloris Leachman - U.S. actor. CL was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in The Last Picture Show (1971). An amazing comedic actor who had her own TV series, CL was seldom given the material to really show her abilities. CL's 2001 stint with the Ellen show allows her cameo parts that are absolutely hillarious.
B. 04-30-1933, Helen Vendler - U.S. educator. HV was, professor of English and American Language and Literature, Harvard University. Considered the foremost poetry critic of her time. Her mother was a teacher.
B. 04-30-1936, Harriet Sobol - U.S. children's author.
B. 04-30-1939, Ellen Taaffee Zwilich - U.S. classical composer.
ETZ was the first woman to obtain a doctorate at the Julliard School of Music. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Her music like so much composed by women today is seldom performed because most men composers don't want to take the trouble to learn it.
For this reason, many women composers are taking up the batons to conduct - and a nitch is opening up, albeit obviously the secondary role, of women composers or conductors stepping into a concert for one piece... and that piece written by a woman.
"There's no reason on earth why women can't write music. If so-called serious music has been the province of western white males, this tells you more about politics and society than it tells you about the nature of music."
-- Ellen Taaffee Zwilich, composer
B. 04-30-1944, Jill Clayburgh - U.S. actor.
Noted as a fine Broadway actor as well as film actor, JC has been nomined for the Academy Award several times and continues to act to great acclaim.
She was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her roles in An Unmarried Woman (1978) and Starting Over (1979).
B. 04-30-1945, Anne Dillard - U.S. author.
AD was the winner of the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and has produced many other critically acclaimed novels. [Academic American Encylopedia]
Event 04-30-1945: As Russian troops approached his Berlin bunker, Adolf Hitler committed suicide after shooting his long time mistress and wife of one day, Eva Braun. One week later, Germany surrendered unconditionally, ending Hitler's Third Reich.
B. 04-30-1953, Jane Campion - New Zealand/Australian film director whose movie The Piano was nominated for best director and best picture in the Academy Awards (1993). Although not winning as director, she was given the AA for best original screenplay. (She writes much of her own films.) The Piano won the Palme D'Or at Cannes, making her the first woman ever to win the prestigious award. Her Two Friends (1986) and Portrait of a Lady (1996) were also critically acclaimed.
She, of course, continues to direct and product marvelous films.
Event 04-30-1976: The Betsy Ross Bridge is the first major bridge named for a woman in the U.S. It spans the Delaware between Philadelphia and Pennsauken, N.J.
QUOTES DU JOUR
"Prostitution is a blight onthe human race... for if you men did not impose chastity on women as a necessary virtue while refusing to practice it yourselves, they would not be rejected by society for yielding to the sentiments of their hearts, nor would seduced, deceived, and abandoned girls be forced into prostitution."
-- French writer Flora Tristan, 1840.
RICE, MARY ASHTON:
"I wish I were God, for the instant, that I might kill every woman from Eve down and let you have a masculine world all to yourselves and see how you would like that!"
-- Mary Ashton Rice, 18, in 1838 to Harvard University's president Josiah Quincy who refused her and other women for admission to the college. Quincy admitted they were "unusually capable," but a woman's place was in the home.
"I am pro-choice. I am publicly pro-choice. I am also pro-choice because I am pro-faith. I would never choose to live in a nation that presumes to say that all women who are pregnant should remain pregnant by the order of the state. I simply ask those who disagree with us on the issue of choice honor our values... I ask that they respect-without the government's interference-that choices each woman reaches on the basis of faith is every bit as sincere as their own."
-- Phil Donahue
ANTHONY, MARY S.:
"I have given the best of myself and the best work of my life to help obtain political freedom for women, knowing that upon this rests the hope not only of the freedom of men but of the onward civilization of the world. "
-- Mary S. Anthony (1827 1907), U.S. suffragist. As quoted in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 5, by Ida Husted Harper (1922).
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