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July 20

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.

Ridiculing Media Spread the Word of Woman's Movement


QUOTES by Madame Germaine de Stael.

The Ridiculing News Media Helped the Woman's Rights Cause

SenecaFalls1848.JPGThe 1848 Women's Rights Convention as seen by an artist with the Harper's Bazaar. Note the men in the balconies who exhibit the male prerogative to be openly vulgar and nasty towards women. Such cartoons, although they amused men, helped spread the word to women throughout the nation that the movement was in existence - it enabled them to join their sisters.

Event 07-20-1848: Sixty-eight women and 32 men signed the Seneca Falls Women's Declaration of Sentiments and a list of 18 legal grievances of women.
      Ironically, the moment could have passed without much effect, but male journalists thought the "hens" so ludicrous - and their male editors agreed - that the conference got huge press. This, of course, enabled women from all over the nation to learn of it - and to join the movement.
      All that remains of the building that housed the beginning of the women's revolution are parts of the walls, but at least they are now being preserved by the U.S. National Park Service and plans are underway to restore it fully - when the money becomes available. To the left of the ruins is a grassy area and one may walk down a slope to the moving monument saluting the women's movement designed by Maya Lin - black marble with the declaration and the names of the women and men incised in it with a thin stream of water flowing over it.
      The monument is built to the side of the Park Services headquarters, which has several floors of fascinating exhibitions on the women's movement including a remarkable set of statues depicting the leaders of the movement in bronze. The compiler of WOA had to hug several of them, shedding a few grateful tears.

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Event 07-20: the Feast day of Saint Margaret, patron saint of all women in childbirth. In every nation, complications from or because of pregnancy or childbirth was the leading cause of death among women under 40.
      And most women suffer debilitating effects from childbirth the rest of their lives - even in the United States.

B. 07-20-1872, Hortense Sparks Malsch Ward - U.S. attorney and reformer. HMW led the drive to reform, i.e., give property rights to married women in Texas (the legislation is known as the Hortense Ward law).
      She worked for workman's compensation, reforms to lower a woman's work week to 54 hours (YES 54 hours), and spearheaded the suffrage drive in Texas. HMW acted as chief justice in the special all-woman Texas Supreme Court that heard only one case, one that involved a men's association. There wasn't a judge who wasn't a member of it (along with most of the other good 'ole boys of the state) so the system of men turned to women.

B. 07-20-1885, Theda Bara, early Hollywood star whose blatant sexuality (for the time) as a "vamp" (a woman who uses men and throws them away instead of being used and thrown away) was the subject of many a Sunday church sermon. She made more than 40 silent films.

B. 07-20-1889, Anne Ryan - U.S. artist.

Event 07-20-1900: Eleanor Annie Lamson was hired as the first woman astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, DC.

B. 07-20-1936, Barbara A. Mikulski, U.S. Senator, Maryland. She is an outspoken liberal and feminist.

chicagojudy.JPGB. 07-20-1939, Judy Chicago, artist who encourages women to do what she did, assimilate female imagery into their art work. She established educational programs for women, was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Feminist Studio Workshop which,among other things, opened the Woman's Building, and creator of a number of exciting woman-related images and sculptures.

Event: 07-20-1942: Black as well as white women begin officer training with the Women's Auxilliary Army Corps while the "regular" men's army stayed segregated.

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"I soon noticed that the feelings I expressed were turned into jests, and that my intelligence was silenced, as if it were improper for a woman to have any. Thus I locked up in myself everything I felt.staeldemadame.JPG
      "I early acquired the art of dissembling, and I stifled my natural sensibility. Only one of my qualities escaped my endeavor to control them all: pride. When I was caught in a lie, I never gave any excuse or explanation; I kept silent...
      "I was and still am convinced that women, being the victims of all social institutions, are destined to misery is they make the least concession to their feelings and if, in any way whatever, they lose control of themselves."
            -- Madame Germaine de Stael, the first woman of literary Europe during the Victorian age and a political scientist.

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