12-20 TABLE of CONTENTS:
QUOTE by Susan L. Adkins.
"Men take their past for granted: they look back to it for guidance, confirmation, inspiration. But even at the most elementary level, women usually encounter an absence when we seek to find ourselves reflected and resonated in past generations.
" 'Imagine', says Louise Bernikow (1980), 'a woman is wandering in the countryside; at the foot of a gnarled tree or at a crossroads she encounters another woman making a journey...
" 'This is the stuff of which men's myths are made, men's existence empowered with meaning; we have no equivalent.
" 'I want to leap, pretending to have a confidence none of us has,' adds Bernikow, 'into a place in our imaginations where our mothers stand on firm ground, along with our sisters, daughters, friends, lovers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, to a place where we become the mythmakers, and these female connections are the stuff of our myths and we consider these to be PRIMARY stories... bring all we know...
" 'Imagine that we conjure up a world that is safe for mothers and daughters. A great celebration takes place at the birth of a DAUGHTER. The mother is honored; the girl child is honored...'
Just imagine! What different meanings life could have."
-- Spender, Dale. Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them. London: Pandora. 1982, 1988, 1990.
Gender and Strength
"What men find it hard to believe is that a strong woman is not necessarily imitating a male, or wishing to play the role of one. Strength - of body or mind or character or talent - is not a matter of sex.
"A woman who knows how to be a woman not only needs and must have an active force of character and mind, but she has invariably, I have never known it to fail, an intense self-respect, precisely for herself, her attributes and functions as a female, and I never knew a woman worth herself who really wanted to be a man.
"What she wants is the right to be a woman, and not the kind of image doing and saying what she is expected to say by a man who is afraid of one thing from her: "That one day she will forget and tell him the truth!"
-- Katherine Anne Porter, from March, 1958, Letters, p. 547, submitted by Ruth Reis whose master's thesis was on Ms. Porter's Miranda stories.
12-20 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and EVENTS
B. 12-20-1827, Lydia Sayer Hasbrouck, inventor of the style of a kneelength dress over pantaloons, which the press named "Bloomers" (in honor of the wrong woman) and lifelong advocate of dress reform and women's rights; first woman to be elected to a New York State school board when women were permitted to run for school offices in 1880.
B. 12-20-1829, Ellen Cheny Johnson was a prominent figure with the U.S. Sanitary Commission and during her voluntary work she developed an interest in the plight of female prisoners. She established a retreat for discharged women prisoners and led the campaign that established the Massachusetts Reformatory Prison for Women in Sherborn, Mass., and after years of voluntary service, she became superintendent of the reformatory. She promptly instituted reforms that included gardening and livestock management which resulted in better food for the inmates. She established vocational training classes aimed at rehabilitation as well as other programs that are considered normal in today's prisons: recreation, libraries, good behavior credits, etc.
B. 12-20-1865, Elisie Anderson DeWolfe, awarded Croix de Guerre with bronze star for her work during World War I. EAD was one of the few women to serve in the war zone constantly with the French forces as a nurse specializing in ambrine treatment for burn patients. She was an actor and highly successful interior decorator (at that time exclusively a man's preserve) known for her innovative interiors. Her American citizenship had to be restored by a special act of Congress because she had married an Englishman.
B. 12-20-1867, Jessie Hubbell Bancroft Winona, teacher, lecturer, and writer. First woman to direct a physical education training program in a large public school system (New York City, 1893).
B. 12-20-1886, Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman, dominant American tennis champion of her time took tennis playing women out of corsets and established the Wightman Cup Matches for women tennis players in England and the U.S. She won two Olympic gold medals and the Wimbledon doubles. In all, she won 45 titles, the last at the age of 68. A member of the Tennis Hall of Fame, she was named an honorary Commander of the British Empire.
B. 12-20-1895, Susanne Knauth Langer, American philosopher who pioneered artistic forms as non-discursive methods of expressing ideas. Tutored philosophy at Radcliffe College, 1926-42. Her major works: Philosophy in a New Key: A study in the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art (1942).
Event 12-20-1973: Jane D. McWilliams and Victoria M. Voige, became the first women to graduate from the U.S. Navy flight surgeon program.
Event: 12-20-1989 Capt Linda L. Bray, 29, became the first woman to command American soldiers in battle, during the invasion of Panama by the U.S. as an MP. She was assigned to lead a force of 30 men and women soldiers to capture a kennel holding guard dogs that was defended by forces of the Panamanian Defense force. Although law forbids women in combat, the distinction between combat and military police in the Panama invasion was hazy. About 620 women were stationed in Panama before the attack and about 170 more women went to Panama in the attack. No women were killed, but 23 American men were. Eight American women lost their lives serving in Vietnam, the Army said.
The 123-member 988th Military Police company commanded by Captain Bray was sent to Panama from Fort Benning, Ga. One Army officer, although stressing the difference in training between that given an MP officer such as Bray and that given combat officers added, "What has been demonstrated is the ability of women to lead, for men and women to work together as a team without distractions, and for women to react in an aggressive manner."
The official army report stated Capt. Bray was not in attendance when the initial fighting erupted, but her unit was under fire from snipers while she was on the scene. She oversaw the first stages of the operation by radio from a command center about a half-mile from the kennel. She ordered her troops to fire warning shorts after the Panamanians refused to surrender. The Panamanians replied by firing for about 10 minutes. She ordered the firing of a single warning shot and then later ordered her soldiers to fire M-60 machine guns to the side of the building so as not to hurt the Panamanians. The Panamanians continued to fire until threatened by an artillery attack and then they fled into the woods nearby. When she heard the Panamanians were escaping, she had her driver take her to the kennel to try to stop them. She crawled into a ditch to get closer to the building. No Panamanian bodies were found, but a cache of weapons was recovered.
QUOTES DU JOUR
ADKINS, SUSAN L.:
"Women do not cry from physical pain. Instead we weep from pure anger. This woman cries for a country that in 1991 poured $2.2 BILLION into each of its new bombers while it invested only $92.7 million for (all) breast cancer research."
-- Susan L. Adkins, "After Mastectomy," Ms. Magazine Vol. IV
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