January 08, 1995
Catt's Claws (named for Carrie
Chapman Catt, my personal feminist icon) will be posted up to 3 times a
week: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
Martha Burk, head of the
Center for Advancement of Public Policy recently wrote a thoughtful article
explaining the white male flight to the radical right, religious supremacists
politics of the Republican party in the last election. This is the heart
"The mostly male face of the Republican landslide
is no surprise. The male/Republican female/Democratic trend has been evident
since 1980, paralleling increasing Republican efforts to deprive women
of abortion rights and consign them to second-class economic citizenship.
"Beside women and men sometimes have opposite
priorities, and there was a smidgen of testosterone in this election. Many
guys who don't actually own a gun still want to be able to buy one easily
- just in case they're called on to clean up Dodge. Women tend to worry
about getting raped at gunpoint. Basic difference.
"Does this mean we are head for a new politics
of gender - a 'men's party' and a 'woman's party?' Hardly.
"The white male roar was in response to something
much more basic: fear of the future. For the first time since World War
II men are facing long-term systemic job insecurity. When people are fearful,
theylook for scapegoats and saviors. Republicans produced scapegoats -
welfare (blacks), affirmative action (women), and immigrants (all the rest)
- while pointing to themselves as saviors. Desperate white guys went for
it. -- Martha Burk, president, Center for Advancement of Public Policy.
According to the release, institutional sexism
was dealt a blow in October, 1994, with the publication of The Inclusive
New Testament, a new translation from Priests for Equality.
The publicity contains the following quote from Paul's
letter to the Ephesians, 5:22-23. This old Sunday School teacher noticed
a difference in tone from what I remembered (and abandoned) in those "glorious"
"Those of you who in committed relationships
should yield to each other as if to Christ, because you are inseparable
from each other, just as Christ is inseparable from the body - the church
- as well as its Savior. As the church yields to Christ, so you should
yield to your partner in everything."
The Women's Philharmonic located in San Francisco
has a four-concert season planned which includes 8 premieres in 3 concerts
conducted by Maestro JoAnn Falletta. The orchestra also held a Northern
California tour late last year. The repertoire spans over 200 years, and
will include works by composer- in- residence Chen Yi, and Mozart's renowned
blind contemporary, Maria Theresia van Paradis.
The Women's Philharmonic will record two works by
the renowned Bay Area composer Elinor Armer and the fantasy author Ursula
LeGuin Island Earth and The Great Instrument of the Geggerets
(premiered by the Women's Philharmonic) that challenge the imagination
of audiences and orchestras alike, envisioning a world that depends on
In addition the orchestra is doing their third self-directed
recording that will includes works by Germaine Taillerferre, Lili Boulanger,
Chi-Fun Lee playing Peggy Glanville Hicks and Morfydd Owen. (I have the
Women's Philharmonic's first two tapes and they're wonderful.)
Some little facts about male dominated world of music:
No disc jockey EVER plays two women's recordings back
to back - it's a NO NO ! In fact, the ratio of women to men pop/rock record
playing is suggested (behind closed doors) at 1 to 5 minimum, or better,
1 to 8. (Count it yourself!) No woman has EVER been allowed in a bassoon
section of a philharmonic orchestra.
Hildegard von Bingen (one of the first known woman
composers in Western Europe) and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (Felix's sister
and the real author of many of his compositions - as he himself admitted)
don't rate a mention in the 1988 edition of the most popular Western music
history textbook. Almost every major or regional orchestra in the world
still produces entire seasons without a single work by a woman composer...or
include one or two "token" pieces.
If you love music, send as big a gift as you can to
the Women's Philharmonic, 330 Townsend St., San Francisco, CA 94107-1630.
They really need the money since the corporate boys stay with the boys
Gladys Milton, 70, has delivered 3,000 babies
in her 35-year-career as a midwife and was just named to the Florida Women's
Hall of Fame by Governor Lawton Chiles. Also name were Betty Mae Jumper,
71, first elected chairwoman of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and longtime
women's advocate Nikki Beare, 66.
I met Betty Mae some years ago at the Seminole center
in South Florida. What a marvelous presence to be leading the nations into
the 20th century, unafraid to challenge the benign abuses of the Indian
Bureau. Before bingo, selling cigarettes, etc., the Seminoles were so horribly,
abjectly poor under the ministrations of the Indian Bureaus. Now they are
seeing a much better life. Thanks Betty Mae Jumper who sees beyond the
Betty Mae Jumper and Wilma Mankiller who leads the
Oklahoma tribes (the Cherokee Nations) have shown how far sighted and capable
women are at governing with human instincts that produce a better life
for people not self-aggrandizement or "territorial" expansion...
making love not war.