10-08 TABLE of CONTENTS:
QUOTES by Abigail van Buren, Isaak Dinesen, Delores Clairborne, Helen Fielding, and Abigail Adams.
Jills and Janes (Jits and Jats)
Bits of Herstory
In about 478 BC, Pindar wrote a tale of the old gods in which the huntress Cyrene vanquishes a lion by hand in an unarmed struggle. It is witnessed by the god Apollo who promptly rapes the woman using his godlike powers to overcome her resistance. (And we teach children admiration of the ancient Greeks and teach them the legends.)
Approximately 10% of the U.S. armed forces in the non-violent occupation of Haiti of 1994 was female. The women reported stares and culture shock from Haitian military.
The first forward-deployed commander of the operation was a woman - Lt. Colonel Joyce Fulton, Fort Bragg, N.C.
"The delegates of the annual conference are decidedly opposed to modern Abolitionism, and wholly disclaim any right, wish, or intention to interfere in the civil and political relation between master and slave as it exists in the slave-holding state of the union," as adopted by the Methodist Episcopal Church: General Conference, Cincinnati, May, 1836. The position was, of course, changed somewhat later.
Jills and Janes
From the "N - MISCELLANEOUS" File
Nammu is the primeval earth goddess of Sumerian mythology.
Circa 3000 B.C. Sumerian goddess Nintu, also called Ninhurgad or Ninmah, is believed to have created human beings in six varieties, molding them from clay. Almost all cultures have such legends although most of the modern religions have a male god doing the creating.
Elizabeth Noyce - EN gave away millions of the dollars she received under California laws when she was divorced by the co-inventor of the microchip, Robert Noyce in 1975. EN who retired to Maine often said she saw her fortune as a tool to protect Maine's economy. She was a major benefactor of Maine museums and charities. She died there in September, 1996.
Evelyn L. Newell - after paying her dues as a locomotive fireman, Evelyn L. Newell attended engineer's school and in January, 1974 began driving Southern Pacific trains in California.
Nijo - Supressed for 640 years! Because she used real name, her five-volume autobiographical work of Japanese Buddhist nun Nijo, Unasked Words was hidden in the Imperial library for 640 years before becoming public in 1940. It told of her love affairs starting at age 14 with the 89th emperor Gofukakusa and his brother. She also used real names for everyone she wrote about.
Comtesse de Noailles - considered the most distinguished living woman writer in France in 1923.
Dr. Ann C. Nobel - in 1976, she was the only woman on the faculty of the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California at Davis. "After all there are few areas that are really denied..."
Ida Noddack [nee Tacke] - German chemist. IN 1934, she is one of the first, if not THE first, to suggest fission. The idea was ignored until 1939, but she has never gotten the full credit she deserved from her work. Her husband is generally given the main credit for the discovered of the element rehenium although it was the result of years of heavy joint research.
Why Are There No Great Women Artists?
"It is certainly not realistic to hope, as some feminists optimistically do, that a majority of men.. will soon see that it is actually in their own self- interest to grant complete equality to women or to maintain that men themselves will soon realize that they are diminished by denying themselves access to traditionally feminine realms and emotional reactions.
"After all there are few areas that are really denied to men, if the level of operations demanded be transcendent, responsible, or rewarding enough: men who have a need for feminine involvement with babies or children can certainly fulfill their needs adequately, and gain status and a sense of achievement to boot, in the field of pediatrics or child psychology, with a female nurse to do the more routine work ...
"[On the contrary] how many men would really be willing to exchange their roles as teachers and researchers for that of unpaid, parttime research assistants and typists as well as full-time nannies and domestic workers that they expect from women and their wives.
"It is only the extraordinarily enlightened or altruistic man who can really want to grant - the term itself is revealing - equality to women, and he will certainly not offer to switch places with one under present circumstances; on the contrary, he realizes that true equality for women will certainly involve considerable sacrifice of comfort, convenience, not to speak of ego-support and 'natural' prerogatives, even down to the assumption that 'he' is the subject of every sentence unless otherwise stated.
DESPITE LIP SERVICE TO EQUALITY
"As John Stuart Mills pointed out, 'Everything which is usual appears natural. The subjection of women to men being a universal custom, any departure from it quite naturally appears unnatural.' Most men, despite lip service to equality, are reluctant to give up this natural order of things in which their advantages so far outweigh their disadvantages; for women the case is further complicated by the fact that, as Mill astutely pointed out, theirs is the only oppressed group or caste whose masters demand not only submission, but unqualified affection as well; thus, women are often weakened by the internalized demands of the male-dominated society itself, as well as by a plethora of material goods and comfort: the middle-class woman has a great deal more to lose than her chains.
"This is not to say that the oppression of women does not, in some way, disadvantage the dominant male in our society: male supremacist attitudes may distort intellectual matters in the same way as any unquestioned assumptions about historical or social issues. Just as a very little power may corrupt one's actions, so a relatively minor degree of false consciousness may contaminate one's intellectual position.
-- Excerpted from Linda Nochlin's marvelous and incisive essay "Why are There No Great Women Artists", as published in Women in Sexist Society, edited by Vivian Gornick and Barbara K. Moran, New York: New American Library, 1971. For the feminist student and women seeking their intellectual and emotional centers, this is an excellent book.
10-08 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and EVENTS
B. 10-08-1515, Margaret Douglas Lennox, Countess of - prominent Roman Catholic conspirator against Queen Elizabeth I in her attempts to secure the English throne for her son. MDL had been a close friend of Mary I of England and following Mary's death had retired to country where her home became a hotbed of Roman Catholic conspiracies against Elizabeth. She was the mother of Lord Darnly, wife of Mary Queen of Scots.
MDL was sent to the tower twice and lived her last years in terrible poverty. Her grandson was chosen by Elizabeth as her successor and he ruled as James I of England (James VI of Scotland) without reviviving the religious wars.
B. 10-08-17943, Caroline Howard Gilman - U.S. author and editor. CHG was publisher of the Rose-Bud, an pioneer children's magazine (1832), and author of a number of magazine articles and books. Her one abiding theme was trying to explain the similarities between the peoples of the North and the South just prior to the Civil War. She was active in the Confederate cause and lived in South Carolina.
B. 10-08-1826, Emily Blackwell - U.S. physician. Like her sister Elizabeth Blackwell who was the first female doctor in the U.S. and the first in modern times, Emily sought a medical degree and was turned down by a number of colleges.
She was even forced out of a Chicago medical facility by male pressures.
Finally Western Reserve in Cleveland admitted her and she gained her degree there.
EB worked with her sister in setting up the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, then administered it and expanded it to include a nursing training program. She then added a medical college that graduated almost 400 women doctors. EB maintained a private practice as well as being dean and a professor at the college. The college was later transferred to Cornell University when it agreed that women would be admitted on an equal basis with men.
EB lived and traveled with Dr. Elizabeth Cushier.
An excellent reference of Dr. Emily and her sister Elizabeth, etc., is E. R. Hays'. Those Extraordinary Blackwells (1967). One must, however, remember the book was written by a man in the days before the "second wave of feminism" demanded realistic portrayals of the entire woman.
B. 10-08-1847, Rose Scott - Australian activist. RS was president of the Women's Political and Educational Association of New South Wales, Australia and an ardent activist in the battle for the vote and social reform.
B. 10-08-1858, Marie Van Zandt - American- Franco opera star for whom Leo Delibes wrote Lakme. Her mother was a successful concert and operatic singer.
MVZ became the toast of Europe but as an American engendered great jealousies. Her voice broke during a performance in 1884 and she was accused of trying to perform while drunk. She attempted to resume her career but a riot broke out and she moved on to Russia where she was successful before returning to the U.S. and starring at the Metropolitan Opera. She was then able to return to Paris where she again starred.
B. 10-08-1872, Mary Engle Pennington - U.S. chemist. MEP was the authority on the preservation of food with refrigeration.
In 1892 she was refused a B.S.by the Towne Scientific School of the University of Pennsylvania because of her sex. Instead she was given a certificate of proficiency although she fulfilled all requirements and scored well. She earned and was awarded a Ph.D. from UP later.
Her research with bacteria led to methods adopted throughout the U.S. to preserve and safeguard milk.
MEP had to take the U.S. civil service test in 1908 under her initials disguising the fact that she was a woamn so she could be appointed chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Research Laboratory.
She devised methods of preserving and handling perishable foods that were adopted by the entire food handling industry. She even invented a sharp knife for killing and plucking chickens. She designed and set the standards for railroad refrigerator cars.
B. 10-08-1892 (N.S.), Marina Tsvetayeva - one of the greatest modern Russian poets. Her first poetry was published in 1910. MT married a White Army officer and vocally opposed the Bolsheviks. She was forced into exile and lived in Paris for years. She had studied at the Sorbornne before her marriage. She returned to Russia at the beginning of World War II and was still subjected to official persecution. When Moscow was evacuated when Hitler's army neared, she was moved to a remote village where living in intellectual isolation, she committed suicide.
Just before her exile, she read some of her poetry that was decidedly anti-Bolshevik, in fact openly praised the White (loyalist) army. She explained:"I was guided by two, no three, four aims: (1) seven poems by a woman without the word "love" and without the pronoun "I'; (2) proof that poetery makes no sense to an audience; (3) a dialogue with anyone, a single person, who understood (oerhaps a student); (4) and the principal one: fulfilling., there in Moscow of 1921, an obligation of honour. And beyond any aims, aimlessly, stronger than aims, a simple and extreme feeling of what if I do?"
A life of many sorrows, she was also a woman of many lovers. Several volumes of her work have been translated into English:
"Your name is a - bird in my hand
a piece of - ice on the tongue
one single movement of the lips.
Your name is: five signs,
a ball caught in the night,
a silver bell in the mouth."
Above selections from Marina Tsvetayeva by Elaine Feinstein published as part of the Peguin series of Lives of Modern Women. Feinstein also wrote a study of Bessie Smith.
B. 10-08-1908, Martha Eccles Dodd - U.S. educator forced into exile. Although a strong opponent of Fascism, MED became a victim of the Joseph McCarthy "communist" witch hunt and was indicted on espionage charges in 1957. She fled to Czechoslovakia.
MED was the daughter of the American Ambassador to Germany 1933-1937 and wrote of her experience in Through Embassy Eyes (1939). She claimed that the anti-communist movement often hid pro-fascist sentiments.
B. 10-08-1918, Alla Genrikhovna Massevitch, Russian astrophysicist, professor of astronomy at Moscow University.
B. 10-08-1929, (Hilda) Gracia Baylor - Australian politician, municipal councillor 1966-78, first woman Shire pres 1977-78; member of Legislative Council for Boronia Vic 1979-85; 1st woman sworn in as member of the Legislative Council 1979, member of the new inner shadow cabinet.
B. 10-08-1934, Faith Riaggold, Afro-American artist. Much of her art combines the feminist viewpoint and the black liberation movement. She changed her style from being based on white male European to African influences.
She also started to work in fabric and soft sculptures, sometimes depicting women from Harlem with open mouths because black women need to find their voices. She has been criticized by some white critics and especially by black male artists who claim her work should be classified as crafts, not art.
In 1984, she became professor of art at the University of California, San Diego.
B. 10-08-1936, Rona Barrett - U.S. personality columnist.
B. 10-08-1949, Sigourney Weaver - U.S.actor. SW received Academy Award nominations for her portrayal of Dian Fossey in Gorillas in the Mist (1988) and for her work in Working Girl (1988). She is best known as Ellen Ripley in Aliens (1992) with its many sequels. Her mother is Elizabeth Inglis, a British actor.
She changed her first name to Sigourney after reading The Great Gatsby. She is 5"11" which limits her choice of male leads in an industry that seems to feature small men.
B. 10-08-1956, Janice Voss - U.S. astronaut with more than 909 hours in space in four space flights. She is scheduled for another space journey at the end of 1999. JV holds doctorates in electrical engineering and aeronautics/astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977 and 1987, respectively. She worked as a crew trainer, teaching entry guidance and navigation, then mission integration and flight operations support for the Transfer Orbit Stage. She was payload commander on one of her flights. Dr. Voss became an astronaut in July 1991. See http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/voss-jan.html
QUOTES DU JOUR
VAN BUREN, ABIGAIL:
"The turning point came when a friend told me how much she regretted putting off divorce until her children were grown (because) her daughter assumed that a verbally abusive relationship was normal and she married into one. Set a good example for your children. (Be) a woman who loves herself enough to refuse to tolerate an abusive mate."
-- From a 1996 Dear Abby column.
DINESEN, ISAAK (Karen Blixen):
"I do not think I could ever really love a woman who had not, for one reason or another, been upon a broomstick."
"Sometimes being a bitch is all you have to hang on to."
-- The Delores Claiborn character in the excellent movie of the same name.
"Single girls in their 30s and homosexuals have natural affinities, both being used to being treated as disappointments to their parents and as freaks by society."
-- From Fielding's book Bridget Jones's Diary.
"I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature; and that power, whether vested in many or a few, is ever grasping, and like the grave, cries "Give, give!"
-- Abigail Adams in an 1775 letter to her husband John Adams.
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