09-13 TABLE of CONTENTS:
"What I really needed was a Wonderbra."
In a recent London Times article, Suzanne Daley, the South Africa bureau chief for The New York Times said:
"Getting ready to cover southern Africa, I had shopped for hiking boots with perhaps more care than I needed. What I really needed was a Wonderbra."
It appears that while racism is being obliterated in South Africa, sexism is rampant, openly practiced even by SA president Nelson Mandela.
Daley explained, "First we go to see President Mandela for a brief courtesy meeting. At one point Mr. Mandela leant over to my boss, Joseph Lelyveld, the executive editor of The New York Times, points at me and says: 'You know, in my day, if you had a wife like that, you would be embarrassed... a woman needed a little more meat on her bones.'
"My reaction was shock even though I realized that Mandela was trying to make a joke... and I managed a weak laugh out of politeness. But I did not like being sized up physically in that way, it simply was not appropriate."
Ms. Daley says that SA women are still expected to withdraw after dinner so the men could enjoy a cigar and talk politics.
Many South African women are stepping forward and accusing Mandela's African National Congress ruling party of sexism. Because the women shared all the dangers and hard work - including arms smuggling and hiding guerrillas on the run - they expected equality after the struggle. This misbelief and the consequential disillusionment has been the mark of almost every revolutionary group in history, including the American Revolution and the Russian Revolution. After the fighting, women expected equal respect for their equal efforts and didn't get it.
One SA woman known simply as Mary (afraid to use her last name!) said, "Almost from day one, it became obvious that we had just exchanged one set of male bosses for another. The only thing that had changed was the color of their skin... If it's not the Afrikaners or the English, it is the black man who thinks he rules his woman."
Mary Bengu, a freelance writer, was also quoted about the rampant sexism in South Africa:
"There is no reason I should suffer [sexism] any more than I should be expected to accept racism. And yet, every day in this society men assume that we should take second place. I will not be passed over in favor of a man; I will not allow him to push ahead of me for a job, a tin of soup at the shopping counter, a meal in a restaurant or a drink at the bar. If that makes me unpopular, so much the better - this male tyranny has lasted longer than apartheid and it is time we fought back."
Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, argues today that sexism is a bigger problem than racism in South Africa. "You cannot outlaw one inequality while allowing another to flourish," she says.
One man, Eric Miyeni, 32, said, "The main difference between black and white guys is that white guys are usually more subtle, but just as sexist. That is not always the case though... I know a white managing director who punched his wife in the face in public and then carried on talking to his friends. I think people were shocked, but he got away with it... most guys, black and white, think that cracking a sexist joke or even beating up women is part of being male."
[Information excerpted from the London Times 10-14-1998]
| RETURN TO TOP OF PAGE | 09-13 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and EVENTS
B. 09-13-1666, Sophia Dorothea, another tragic royal woman's story that does not match the fairy princess tales (lies) told to little girls. Married to the future George I of England for political reasons (as were the arranged reasons for most royal women), her husband hated her.
After foiling several of her attempts to escape, he divorced her on charges of adultery. Not satisfied with a simple divorce, imprisoned her for the remaining 32 years of her life in Hanover (Germany). (He may have feared that she would have more children with a different man and they would challenge his heirs. Or he might have just been as nasty as he is said to have been.)
He had several German mistresses before and after he ascended the English throne. Sophia Dorothea's children were to become England's George II and the other, mother of Frederick the Great. One can only imagine the circumstances of their conception.
The euphemistic phrase used by historians regarding the practice of selling of royal princesses for their hereditary influence is called "for dynastic reasons."
B. 09-13-1775, Laura Secord, Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. Secord walked 20 miles to warn of a planned American attack on a British position in Ontario, Canada. Sarah Anne Curzon wrote a dramatic verse version of the incident, Laura Secord, the Heroine of 1812 (1887).
B. 09-13-1819, Clara Wieck Schumann, considered one of the finest pianists of her day was a highly talented composer whose best work may have gotten lost within her husband's. It certainly has been almost completely erased by the refusal of the male-directed symphonic music organizations to play works by women composers.
CWS's family opposed her marriage to Robert because they thought she would sacrifice her musical abilities in marriage - which she did. Some say he was scrupulous in attributing musical help/creativity to his wife while others recognize the conventions of the times which dictated that a husband automatically assumed everything his wife did or thought as his right.
Robert's emotional health snapped; he even attempted suicide before dying in a mental institution. In dire financial straits because of his emotional instability, Clara went back to the concert stage to earn money to feed her seven children.
The problem of authenticity remains because, as some point out, the manuscripts are in Robert's handwriting. Others point out that he would have simply copied her work into the context of his.
Regardless, Clara's work was seldom played until the women's movement resurrected it. Several excellent recordings have been made in the last few years, but the world still maintains, as Clara lamented in her diary: "unjustifiably, the inferiority of women's work."
Robert is considered one of the great composers although many point out he was more an arranger than an original thinker. Clara's forte was piano compositions - the raw material preferred by arrangers.
Please read an essay by Bill Cutler about Clara Schumann and her music at the end of today's episode. Part of it reads:"Please make no mistake, I am no supporter of political correctness. Having said that, I wish to publicly bemoan the fact that the world has done itself a disservice of enormous proportions by creating artificial barriers that have suppressed the marvelous talents of women who could have but were not allowed to show their exceptional natures. (Our history of music should be singing high praise of TWO Mozart geniuses, Wolfgang and sister Nanerl.)"
B. 09-13-1827, Emily Bradley Neal Haven, author and editor who wrote under the nam0es Alice G. Lee and Alice Neal, mostly sweet-natured novels and short stories. Her children's column "The Bird's Nest" was highly popular. Her editor-husband whom she had met after the publication of her first few stories died the next year and she took over the editing chores to Neal's Saturday Gazette and Lady's Literary Museum of Philadelphia for more than six years. She wrote about ten books, mostly light-hearted, feel-goods.
B. 09-13-1830, Marie Ebner-Eschenbach, the Baroness (Freifrau) von, Moravian-Austrian novelist who wrote of the Austrian life. She explored the actual lives of the rich and poor with clear understanding. She was particularly adept at revealing the reality of children without the usual sentimentality.
B. 09-13-1843, Marian Hooper Adams, one of the first American women photographers. Her portfolio included the likeness of many noted men of the day. Married to a noted historian, MHA was a famed salon hostess in Washington, DC where she brought together the elite of government and the arts.
She committed suicide following the death of her father whom she had been nursing. Her mother, a minor poet, died when MHA was quite young.
Her letters to her father that recounted Washingtonian life with lively insight were published as The Letters of Mrs. Henry Adams (1936).The sculpture Grief, considered the masterpiece of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, marks her grave site.
B. 09-13-1844, Anna Lea Merritt, artist. One of her works was the first painting ever purchased by the noted Tate Gallery in London that was painted by a woman. American by birth she lived most of her life in England.
In keeping with the times, she agreed to give up her career when she married her former art teacher but she was widowed after three months and she resumed painting. She was a regular exhibitor at the Royal gallery and her work won medals in various exhibits in Europe and the U.S.
B. 09-13-1844, Ann Eliza Webb Young. Forced to marry 68-year-old Brigham Young when she was 24, AEW sued for divorced in 1873 after four years of marriage. She went public in the divorce and tore the mask of silence from the inner workings of the plurality marriages of Mormon men.
She thought she was wife 19 but research shows that she was wife 27 with whom Brigham had physical sexual intercourse as opposed to his more than 40 "spiritual" wives.
Fleeing to Wyoming in fear, she refused a settlement offered by the Mormons. Instead she went on a lecture tour to expose the conditions under which women lived as Mormons. Her book Wife No. 19 or The Story of a Life in Bondage (1876) was a bestseller.
Her divorce was granted in 1875 although Brigham claimed that their relationship was only "spiritual." The divorce was overturned later because no legal marriage could occur when a man was still married to another woman.
Brigham refused to pay alimony to Ann Webb. Prosecuted for bigamy, Brigham Young only served one day in a federal penitentiary plus a few months in a house arrest - the house, incidentally, where most of his other wives lived!
Brigham's biographers claim he only had 20 wives and fathered 47 children. Ann Webb's expose, however, led to federal action against polygamy causing it to be outlawed in the U.S.
There are Mormon sects today that still practice polygamy and only lip service against them is expressed by the Mormon hierarchy.
Her later life was spent in obscure poverty and even the date of her death is unknown.
B. 09-13-1856, Maria Louise Baldwin, educator who as the "master" of the Agassiz Grammar School became the first Afro- American head of a school in New England. The Agassiz school located near Harvard University had a mainly white enrollment and an all-white faculty.
Harvard president Charles Eliot said MLB was the best teacher in New England. She had started as a primary teacher with the Agassiz school in 1881following pressure from the community to appoint a black and she was elevated to principal in 1889 on her own considerable merits.
She extended the school's influence by holding classes at the Robert Gould Shaw settlement house.
On her retirement in 1921 after 40 years service, she received tributes from throughout the nation. The women's dormitory Mary Baldwin Hall at Howard University in Washington, DC is named in her honor.
The hallmark of her method was that a child must accept responsibility for her or his decisions. Her physical presence was one of great dignity.
B. 09-13-1865, Maud Ballington Booth, British-born American social worker. She organized the Volunteers of America (VOA), and was one of the founders of the Parent-Teacher Association.
MBB was disowned by her father, a minister, for the notoriety she got for preaching on the streets and in cafes of Paris. When she married Ballington Booth of the famed Salvation Army Booths, her father sent an attorney to make sure the marriage was legal. MBB was barely 5 feet tall and he was 6'4".
The VOA biography states "She organized a brigade of Salvation Army `slum sisters' who gave up their uniforms and moved into tenements to live among the immigrant families."
In 1890, she established a short-lived day nursery in lower Manhattan to serve working mothers, but fearing that desperate women might abandon their babies in her care so she kept it rough: boxes for beds, homemade toys, etc.
Her true vocation was ministering to men in prison and easing their way back into society. Women, whom she didn't seem to trust or like, were seldom included in her charitable works after breaking away from the Salvation Army.
B. 09-13-1878, Dorothea (Katharine) Lambert Chambers, outstanding British tennis champion before World War I . Her record of victories is only surpassed by Helen Wills Moody. She remained active in top flight tennis competition through her 40s, reaching the U.S. Open quarterfinals when she was 46.
B. 09-13-1892, Marguerite Stitt, was elected to succeed her late husband as U.S. Representative, Illinois, in 1950. She served for 12 years before retiring at age 70. She was a teacher at Wellesley College and a consulting psychologist. Like so many congresswomen she paid close attention to the needs of her constituents and did not seek the spotlight in headline-seeking actions. MS was a active member of the House Foreign Relations committee with an expertise in Asian affairs. After retiring, she served on the national board of the Girl Scouts.
B. 09-13-1904, Gladys George, vaudeville, stage and screen actor. Her career developed from ingenue roles to some of the greatest character acting every seen on film.
B. 09-13-1905, Claudette Colbert, American actor who won the academy award for her work in It Happened One Night (1934) and was nominated twice more. The hitchhiking episode with Clark Gable remains one of the most famous of all movie scenes. Her career spanned 40 years and more than 60 films. Her forte was light comedy with a lilting laugh. She retired to Barbados where she died at 92. She remained a friend and host on the islands to President Ronald Reagan.
B. 09-13-1931, Marjorie Jackson, Australian sprinter who won two Olympic gold medals and rewrote the world record books 19 times. Only 17, she was one of the few women to outrun the still great Fanny Blanker-Koen when she was coming to the end of her fantastic career in the 1952 Olympics.
B. 09-13-1931, Barbara Bain, American actor with the expressionless face who starred in the TV series Richard Diamond (1959), Mission: Impossible (1960-69), and Space 1999 (1975-77).
B. 09-13-1938, Judith Martin, American columnist who writes under the name of Miss Manners as the witty commentator of contemporary lifestyles and etiquette.
B. 09-13-1939, Arleen Auger, American coloratura soprano recognized as the foremost interpreter of 18th century baroque music, especially the works of Bach, Gluck, Handel, and W. Mozart.
B. 09-13-1939, Carole Keeton McClellan, mayor of Austin, Texas (1977). CKM had been a high school teacher and president of the trustees, Austin Community Center, and winner of practically every Austin civic award possible before seeking public office.
B. 09-13-1944, Jacqueline Bisset, English-born American actor. Her mother was a barrister who had practiced law in France.
Event 09-13-1948: Republican Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was elected to the U.S. Senate to become the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.
B. 09-13-1948, Nell Carter, Tony winner for best actress in a musical, Ain't Misbehavin'. A big woman with a giant talent!
QUOTES DU JOUR
MARY, a South African woman:
One SA woman known simply as Mary (afraid to use her last name!) said,
"Almost from day one, it became obvious that we had just exchanged one set of male bosses for another. The only thing that had changed was the color of their skin... If it's not the Afrikaners or the English, it is the black man who thinks he rules his woman."
-- A London Times article on South Africa 10-14-1998.
"There is no reason I should suffer (sexism) any more than I should be expected to accept racism. And yet, every day in this society men assume that we should take second place. I will not be passed over in favor of a man; I will not allow him to push ahead of me for a job, a tin of soup at the shopping counter, a meal in a restaurant or a drink at the bar. If that makes me unpopular, so much the better - this male tyranny has lasted longer than apartheid and it is time we fought back."
-- Mary Bengu, a freelance writer, quoted in an October 1998 article in the London Times about rampant sexism in South Africa. (This is not the same Mary as the other quote.)
"In the 19th century, an all-male Supreme Court had little difficulty opining in 1874 that God's plan for women was to be wives and mothers, not lawyers...
"The issue is whether women's perspectives will finally be included in shaping our laws. One woman on the Supreme Court is tokenism; two moves us slowly toward equality."
-- Helen Neuborne, Executive Director, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1995.
"There is no such thing as a non-working mother."
-- Hester Mundis
Artificial Barriers In Music
[The following are excerpts from a post by Bill Cutler of Canada to the classical music discussion list. Specific use for WOA is being sought but our address for him is outdated. Use of his post is strictly non-profit and it may NOT be reproduced.]
This posting is sort of combination modest review and essay based on two recordings I've just purchased and very much recommend.
The minor essay is about women in the arts, with most particular regard to music. Both recordings are on the bargain Discover International label, which makes them that much likelier additions to your collection: Discover, DICD 920267, piano works of Clara Schumann from the period just before the death of her husband, Robert, and the end of that devoted couple's life together, performed by award-winning pianist Uriel Tsachor.
Discover, DICD 920125, Facade - Something lies beyond the Scene, basically a poetry reading by musician and actress Pamela Hunter of 40 poems by Edith Sitwell that, soon after their compilation began, became a joint project with their setting to music by then teenaged William Walton. (Also with the Melologos Ensemble conducted by Silveer Van Den Broeck.)
Please make no mistake, I am no supporter of political correctness. Having said that, I wish to publicly bemoan the fact that the world has done itself a disservice of enormous proportions by creating artificial barriers that have suppressed the marvelous talents of women who could have but were not allowed to show their exceptional natures. (Our history of music should be singing high praise of TWO Mozart geniuses, Wolfgang and sister Nanerl.)
I was going to wait until I played all of the Clara Schumann CD before making this posting. No need. After playing just half of it, it was immediately obvious that her piano music, at least, has strength and beauty. It is forward-looking and evokes deep emotions and pensive moods.
You will be able to find music by great composers to equal hers; you won't be able to find any that is greater. Just how great a tragedy we created by suppressing the talents of women is indicated by the fact that Clara Schumann, when writing in her diary about the joy composing gave her, lamented unjustifiably, "the inferiority of women's work". (And to hers, we can add the sorrowful loss or at least lack of attention this CD's liner notes identifies for Fanny Mendelssohn's compositions ... how ironic that her brother Felix - who literally couldn't bear to live upon hearing of his beloved sister's death - apparently thought "a woman's first duty was to husband and home and only secondarily to composition" [as bemoaned in both cases by the notes' author, Alan Colebourne].
As for this particular performance, I'm sure Uriel Tsachor's interpretations should be given some credit for what I believe is a most wonderful way to spend a little more than an hour of your life, but I am not a capable judge of musical performances. I will say that, when the CD began playing, it sounded like it had been recorded in a closet, but that was either my hearing problem or a fault soon overwhelmed by the fantastic music.
The "Facade" recording of March 1993 (the Schumann recording was done in 1984) was a Gramophone Critic's Choice Record of the Year and rightfully so. Speaking as a lukewarm fan of poetry readings set to music, this is a most delightful work. It began as early as 1918 when Edith Sitwell, later to become Dame Edith, published the first of these poems in "Wheels", the literary magazine she edited (they were also published in her 1920 book of poetry, "Clowns Houses").
As reciter Pamela Hunter states in the CD liner notes: "She had been experimenting with words, not just for their meaning but also for their musical sense - their rhythm, musical colour and sound. She played the piano and liked to think of her poetry as similar to Liszt's Transcendental Studie." She continues "it was at the instigation of her brothers Osbert and Sacheverell, who had 'taken up' the poor but enormously talented William Walton at Oxford, that the idea for a work combining speech and music came about."
It was completed with Edith Sitwell and William Walton working together, "he composing the music to reflect and complement the sound and meaning of her words... to treat the spoken voice as a musical instrument using strict rhythmic notation and to integrate the words as sounds in their own right." To which I add, you don't have to "treat" the human voice as a musical instrument... it is, in fact, the world's first such instrument. -- Personally, I give credit for the pleasure derived from the performance of this piece first to reciter Pamela Hunter, then to the word-pictures of Dame Edith Sitwell and then to the music of William Walton, who also would later gain stately recognition in his knighthood. In closing, allow me to pass on a request to members of this list with influence in the fields of recording, broadcasting and live performance.
Please give serious thought to devoting a portion of your time and occupational efforts to travelling those avenues (wherein we can experience the suppressed talents of women) that have not been closed permanently by the ignorance and shortsightedness of the past.
Bill Cutler, Toronto, Canada
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