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October 9

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


Flotsam from the files of WOAH

Pompeia Plotina

Maria Polidoúri (1905-1930)

Worship of the Woman God Growing


QUOTES by Charlotte Bronté, Queen Victoria, Lucy Stone, and Olivia Goldsmith.


Flotsam from the Women of Achievement and Herstory files

      -- What would the murder mystery genre be without Dorothy L. Sayers - or her contemporary, Agatha Christy? Together, they have sold more books than any five other mystery writers - male or female - combined.

      -- In November, 1974 John Maury Allin, presiding bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church, refused a $672 donation to feed the hungry because it had been collected at a New York service conducted by three women priests who were not officially recognized as priests by the Episcopal Church - although they had been "ordained" by bishops of the church. Allin's refusal of the money for the hungry stands as a benchmark in male prejudice.
      Since then, of course, women have been officially accepted into the priesthood of both the Episcopal church and its spiritual foremother, the Anglican church in England.
      There remains, even at the close of the millennium, some old-line priests who insist that a penis is necessary for priesthood.

      -- Charley Parkhurst, a one-eyed driver for the California mail-coach route, had the reputation of being the nastiest, meanest stage-coach driver in all the west. When Charley died in 1881 at 73, he was revealed as Charlotte not Charley Parkhurst.
      Charlotte evidentally donned men's clothes so she could travel unmolested when she ran away from a New Hampshire orphanage. She never dropped the disguise - or shall we say - she never donned the awkward, confining women's attire that invited unwanted attention and rape from the opposite sex again.

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Pompeia Plotina

As wife of the Roman Emperor Trajan, PP is noted for her defense and advocacy of the people's rights, especially regarding taxation. She often stopped attempts at excessive revenues. Because they had no children, PP persuaded Trajan to adopt Hadrian and name him his successor. Hadrian became one of the great Roman emperors. Tradition has it that when her husband was made emperor, she told the watching crowd that she would not change and she retained her "common touch." This honorable woman and influential woman died c. AD 122.

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Maria Polidoúri (1905-1930)

This talented Greek poet is best known for her reflections during her fatal illness at age 25. The tone of the two volumes of poetry range between anger and bitterness to resignation, almost as if she was looking at her pain and illness from a third person view. An orphan, her life in Athens was not easybut she vowed to study law. Friendship with poet Kóstas Kariotákis led her on a different path and she went to Paris. Within two years she returned to Athens fatally ill. Her name is also spelled Polydoure.

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Worship of the Woman God Growing

This surprisingly marvelous book Megatrends for Women (1993) contains a number of "right on" predictions by Patricia Aburdene and John Naisbitt is well worth reviewing again. It is part of the series by the two that peek into the future based on trends of today.
      Even though the "women's movement" appears to be stymied at the end of the 20th century by the media-fueled rise of the extreme religious right, it's only a matter of time before the movement resumes, probably under a different leadership organization.
      But with the religious centre at present, it isn't surprising that Megatrends for Women has an extensive chapter on the growing goddess worship. However, the goddess movement is not a recent development. It has been an accepted part of most European cultures, that women in particular should have a particular affinity for a woman god and openly worship her, Sometimes her worship is in conjunction with the more accepted male centrist religions and at other times, her worship is openly for the god(dess).
      Aburdene and Naisbitt point out there are more followers of WICCA than are Quakers in the United States and that the movement is homing in on the numbers who follow the Unitarian "doctrine." (From what the author of Women of Achievement and Herstory has seen of Unitarians, a lot of the women members are already goddess followers.
      (My one major criticism of the megatrends coverage is that it does not really differentiate between WICCA and the followers of the Old Religion. They are, in actuality, two different disciplines. No self-respecting witch of the Old Religion would have a man as even *part* of her coven of 13). The following is excerpted from Megatrends for Women:

"Activists who seek equality, disarmament, a balanced environment, eventually come face-to-face with the same cynical argument: it has always been this way. lt's just human nature. In the late 20th century, a new generation of feminists offer a counter argument: 'No it hasn't.'
      "Archeological discoveries after World War II present evidence of a peaceful, remarkably advanced, prehistoric agricultural society where the Goddess was worshiped extensively and where women and men lived in harmony, neither dominating the other. This civilization extended across Turkey and into the Middle East, as far west as France, as far north as southern Poland.
      "This stunning new view is most frequently associated with Marija Gimbutis, the noted Lithuanian-born professor at UCLA, though it is also accepted by many scholars, including British archeologist James Mellart... Gimbutas has devoted most of her career to collecting evidence of Goddess culture. Gimbutas knows mythology and folklore, reads more than 20 European languages, is a veteran of five European excavations and has written 20 books and 200 articles, including Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe (University of California Press) and The Language of the Goddess (Harper San Francisco). The description of the Neolithic period in what she calls 'old Europe' that emerges from her work has fascinated people everywhere.
      "The vast majority of European Neolithic sculpture portrayed the female body. Thousands of figurines of women, some from as far back as 30,000 BC, were initially considered erotic art. Gimbutas disputed that conclusion, arguing they were Goddess figures intended for worship."

As more women enter the fields related to the study of older cultures, they are upsetting the male-centrist concepts of how our older sisters lived. Instead of being passive homebodies who waited while the men folk brought home the bison bacon, women scholars are unearthing and reexamining evidence that shows that women were avid hunters. This view, of course, agrees with the more recent evidence of the American Indian agrian culture in which the women hunted and harvested the buffalo, etc. alongside their men; that food gathering was too vital for separation of egos. Also ignored in the male-centrist view of the past is the fact that during planting and harvest and other times of intensive labor on farms, the women worked alongside the men in the fields.

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DIED 10-09-1709, Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, a mistress of Charles II of England, for more than a decade one of the most powerful political forces in the kingdom. She had several children with Charles, two of which he acknowledged and were given the right of succession. Samuel Pepys said she was a woman of exceptional beauty but lacking in manners. In post-king days, she "married" several times, had numerous lovers, and spent a rather carefree existence going between England and Paris.

B. 10-09-1823, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Afro-American teacher and journalist.

B. 10-09-1830, Harriet Hosmer - U.S. sculptor. HH is best known for the sculpture of the Puck at Smithsonian and the Zenobia at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
      She lived most of her life in London or Rome and she is considered the first woman to actually earn an excellent living from her sculptures. Her showings in London were critically acclaimed - until her death.
      She was recognized as the premier woman sculptor of the times. Then in the usual way for women, her work was denigrated as not deserving a place in the first rank of sculptors. She was the toast of London, living for years under the care of noted actress Charlotte Cushman both in Rome and London. Cushman who had a lengthy history of affairs with women and played 30 masculine roles in her career including Hamlet took Hosmer to Europe so that HH could study.
      Her statue Beatrice Cenci was her first work in marble.

B. 10-09-1832, Elizabeth Anne Chase Akers Allen - U.S. journalist and poet. In 1859 while in Europe, she sent a poem via dispatch to an American magazine that started, "Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight, / And make me a child again, just for tonight!"
      When she published it years later in Rock Me to Sleep (1866) a man from New Jersey insisted that he had written it and caused a scandal. She was eventually vindicated but not after years of attack and discussion in the periodicals of the time. She published a number of collections and they are worthy of more notice than have been given her.

B. 10-09-1864, Jessica Blanche Peixotto, U.S. social economist.

B. 10-09-1874, Mary Heaton Vorse - U.S. journalist and writer.

B. 10-09-1885. Edith Terry Bremer - advocate for immigrant women, U.S. organization founder, and social worker. Early in her career, ETB became national field secretary for the National Board of the YWCA and began working with immigrant girls.
      Seeing that most services for immigrants ignored women by concentrating all their programs for men, she helped provide English classes, as well as housing, recreational, and citizenship help for women. She favored cultural pluralism and encouraged the immigrants to have pride in their heritage.
      Her American Federation of International Institutes took over the YWCA's Bureau of Immigration and became an umbrella organization devoted to the welfare of immigrant and refugees and helped them adjust to American life while retaining pride in their heritage.
      Growing up in Chicago, ETB did field research on women in Industry for the Chicago Women's Trade Union League and then served with the United States Immigration Service.

B. 10-09-1890, Aimee Semple McPherson - Canadian-born, controversial U.S. Pentecostal evangelist.
      For the last 20 years of her life ASP held sway in a $1.5 million Los Angeles Angeles temple, and broadcast the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. She was wealthy, famous and infamous, adored and hated.
      She built her appeal around faith healing and unfailing optimism. She used dramatic settings and costumes, a full orchestra, and highly dramatic sermons to mesmerize her audience. Her congregation numbered in the tens of thousands; she had a national broadcast, started a bible college, and churned out magazines eagerly purchased by her followers. Her church had 22,000 members at her death in 1944 and it quadrupled over the next decades.
      All this in spite of a scandalous private life that included three marriages, mysterious "disappearances" that were rumored to include a men (one proved) - and a raft of legal actions. She was called the "P.T. Barnum of religion." Actually, she simply used modern music syncopations, lighting, and electricity to augment the bible-thumping style she had learned as a child with the Salvation Army in Canada.

B. 10-09-1800 ???, Vivien Della Chesa, U.S. lyric soprano who helped popularize operatic music on radio.during the 1930s and 40s.

B. 10-09-1901, Alice Mae Lee Jemison - Native American Indian political leader and journalist. AMJ was raised in the matrilineal society of the Seneca which, she said, carried the ancient Iroquois tradition of women participating fully in tribal matters. Such a background gave her the self-confidence for her later work.
      AMJ began by aiding in the defense of persons accused of murdering a white woman. They were eventually freed. Her political and journalistic activism during the campaign led her to a career in journalism and lobbying.
      She appeared at more congressional hearings to speak on Indian affairs than any other Native American. She un-alterably opposed controls from Washington on Indian affairs and called for the abolition of the Bureau of Indian Affairs

B. 10-09-1919, Irmgard Seefried -Bavarian-Austrian soprano who joined the Metropolitan Opera Company in 1953 after a solid career in Europe.

B. 10-09-1921, Adrienne Clostre - French composer, won Grand Prix for Musicfromm the Ville de Paris for Raissa ou la Sorcière.

B. 10-09-1931, Jill Ker Conway - Australian-born U.S. historian, educator, seventh president of Smith College 1975-1985, the first president of the all-woman college founded by a woman who was also a woman.
      JKC wrote The First Generation of American Woman Graduates (1987). Her autobiographies The Road from Coorain (1989) was followed by a slightly less succesful True North that chronicled her move to the U.S.
      She continues to write woman-centered historical works and her name on a work is a guarantee of accuracy and good reading. Written by Herself (1992) is, as the title implies, a selection of autobiographical comments by noted women. Since leaving Smith she has been Visiting Scholar and professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

B. 10-09-1941, Rachel Rosser - Leading figure in giving psychological therapy to the victims of disasters such as the King's Cross fire. Professor Rachel Rosser, who has died in a fall aged 56, was a psychiatrist noted for her work in counselling victims of disasters such asthe King's Cross fire of 1987.
      After that tragedy she established a stress clinic, and through herappearances on television helped to put the idea of post-traumatic stressdisorder into the public mind. The clinic soon had more that 1,000 people on its register; and subsequently it supported those who had suffered from the Marchioness and Lockerbie disasters.
      Rachel Rosser's impact was enhanced by her ability to write and speak movingly about the experiences of those she treated."Imagine yourself in an Underground train that draws up in King's Cross," she told journalists. "The doors don't open, but through the smoke, you see people hammering on the windows screaming 'Let us in, let us in.' Then the train moves off. You are haunted with the thought: 'Why didn't I break the window? Did I murder them?'
      "The horror of the fire hit people who arrived in the main station on that cold November night, who suddenly felt an intolerable wave of heat. It affected passers-by, totally unprepared for scenes of extraordinary horror: people screaming in pain, horrific human remains. They are obsessed with guilt: 'Why did I survive when others did not?'
      "Such victims might become virtually unliveable with, unable to eat, or sleep. Rachel Rosser emphasised the importance of treatment as soon as possible after a disaster, to forward the process of anger, acceptance, forgiveness and reconstruction. Eventually, she believed, the afflicted might find hidden depths and strengths, and emerge all the more determined to make the most of every moment."
      [Quoted from the UK's Electronic Telegraph obituary on Professor Rosser that is almost a work of literary art.]

Event 10-09-1976: The four-woman team of Doreena Cary, Diane Greib, Kathy Roads, and Dorothy McCarthy set the record for chicken plucking: 12 birds in 32.9 seconds.

Event 10-09-1982: Betty Bumpers - equal partner with her husband Senator Dale Bumpers of Arkansas (formerly governor) - formed Peace Links, an international forum for peace.

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      "You ask if I do not think men are strange beings?
      "I do, indeed. I have often thought so; and I think, too, that the mode of bringing them up is strange; they are not sufficiently guarded from temptation.
      "Girls are protected as if they were something very frail or silly indeed, while boys are turned loose on the world as if they, of all beings in existence, were the wisest and least able to be led astray."
            -- Charlotte Bronté writing about her brother Branwell who with all the advantages of the male prerogative in a repressive society dissipated his life with drugs and drink.

      "The Queen is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this made wicked folly of Women's Rights, with all its attendant horrors, on which her poor, feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feeling and propriety."
            -- From a letter written by England's Queen Victoria (a woman who had it ALL). Victoria set the tone for a repressive society for women and all things sexual and, at the height of an age of hypocrisy she spawned, she surpassed all the other hypocrisy by probably keeping a male concubine, Mr. Brown, for many years.

      "We the people of the United States. Which 'we people?' The women were not included."
            -- Lucy Stone.

      " 'Are you premenstrual, by any chance?' (the man asked...
      " 'Yeah, and I've got a bad case of PMS,' Brenda growled. 'It makes me cranky and erratic, so for two days a month, I behave the way men always do.' "
            -- From Olivia Goldsmith's The First Wives, a wonderful tale of revenge on the patriarchy's accepted and approved practice of men dumping their first wives who got them started in business (or politics) for second, younger, trophy wives. The motion picture starring Goldie Hawn, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton was a terrible disappointment; it was a different tale that lost its human bite. The book was optioned for the screen by Sherrie Lansing who should have done better by it. The book is a must gift for any woman facing a divorce after being dumped by her hubby - and who still believes he will do right by her.

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