Wednesday, June 10, 2009

school days

I have finished my senior thesis on the development of rights consciousness among women members of the UE in the postwar years, spoke at my first conference and am now done with my first year at O.S.U.!!!! Now comes the hard part...with only a year left, trying to decide what to do after after 

I really enjoyed working on this paper, i had the opportunity to go through some really cool sources like issues of the unions newsletter's from the 1950's that Betty Friedan wrote for before she started going by her married name. The political leftist ideology of the union, even during the cold war years is astounding, their dedication, wherever it stems from is astounding!
I'm really looking forward to the chance to carry the research further with my honors thesis next year!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

a fun new term!!!!

So, another term of fun papers for me to share!!! Try to hold back the i'll be posting on a pretty regular schedule startin next week!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

eastward ho!!!

So i leave in less then 24 hours to go back home. I still have to pack and get my stuffs ready...arrrrgh!! So far i have a trip to NY, Salem and a few paint parties well as a few trips to the movies...yeah

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

taking flight

So in 5 more days or so i shall  be making the retrn flight home after almost a year and a half!!! Thanks to hippy and bird! I'm kinda nervous bout the flight but excited bout the possible adventures...hopefully good ones!! I'll be home for about 2 weeks and migrate west on Jan. 2nd with 2 days before the start of the new term. I must admit that i'm kinda bummed bout not gettin to much time to just chill and such but...i'll just have to work it in throughout te term!

Fun Home; A Family Tragicomic: A review

The graphic novel Fun home: A Family Tragicomic, is written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel, an “out” lesbian and graphic novelist. She is also the creator of the Dykes to Watch Out For comic series. The memoir, which was awarded Time magazine’s book of the year in 2006, tells the intimate and moving story of her growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania as one of three children born to two very educated parents, her eventual coming to terms with her sexuality and her struggle in coping with the suspected suicide of her father that eventually led to the discovery of his closeted homosexuality.
The book itself is composed and told in Bechdel’s medium as a graphic novel. The story is centered on the dynamics of her family. Alison Bechdel’s mother was graduate student at a local university with little time for a family. She is depicted as an unsatisfied woman who had greater ambitions for her life then a family and white picket fence. In contrast, the father is portrayed as a stereotypical suburbanite who spends his weekends doing odd jobs on the families Victorian house and collecting antiques. The reason for her mother’s unhappiness becomes clear when she tells Bechdel shortly after her fathers death that he had liaisons with men, mostly former student’s. She illustrates in great detail the pain her mother must have felt carrying the secret of her father’s homosexuality around. The humiliation of her father’s arrest after being caught with a student and a beer driving around town is portrayed with skill and hindsight as the author herself was too young to have known much of the reason behind what had happened on that night.
She describes her house as an artist commune of sorts. There was very little communication between family members. The author describes her family as being a talented group. Everyone was typically off working on a particular project. Her mother was often busy working on her thesis, her father spent most of his time in his library reading and the children were often encouraged to express themselves in one form or another whether they wanted to or not.
The story appears to begin in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s and takes the reader along on a journey of not only the life of the author but runs parallel to and highlights the development of the gay rights movement including the impact the Stonewall Inn riots had on her life. The author correlates her self- discovery along side the early gay rights movement. As she reminisces over her walk through the village with her family and passing the stonewall inn shortly after the riots occurred, she says there was still “a feeling of electricity in the air”. The illustration depicts the Stonewall Inn with the Mattachine Society’s message in the window.
There is a heavy focus in the book on the tense relationship between her and her father. The novel portrays with humor the painful struggles of the author’s childhood, growing up with an overbearing father, who as the author describes, ran the family and their renovated Victorian house as if it were a museum. Her father was a former military man when he met his wife while overseas. He later became a high school literature teacher with a love for post-modern literature though he showed obvious dilike for his job. Bechdel reminisces over the discussions between her and her father regarding books as being the foundation of their relationship and until her fathers death she seemed to feel it was all they had in common. Bechdel illustrates this point by telling the story through a literary perspective using books that were in her dad’s library. This aspect of the memoire was very enlightening and amusing to those who have read any Earnest Hemingway or other post modern works. Alison Bechdel gives her story added depth by almost assigning her and her father, the two main characters, a literary persona of sorts based on her dad’s favorite pieces of fiction. This fictional persona fluctuates as the story develops to provide insight into the emotion surrounding the two main characters at a specific time.
As the author goes away to college in New York, her life begins to change. She meets her first girlfriend, discovers the underground world of gay liberation that’s taking place including lesbian and feminist literature. She comes out to her family through a postal letter and receives a surprisingly accepting but coded message from her father in return. Her interest in her studies begins to wane as she became more involved in her newly founded gay identity. She explores the “gay scene” in New York and becomes more interested in studying this aspect of herself then she was in studying literature. This eventually catches up with her as she starts to struggle with a class on James Joyces’s Ulysses, her senior seminar class that she had taken to please her dad.
Bechdel’s skilled and humorous bringing together of oral and social history in this book provides an intimate look at the struggle one goes through in the process of coming to terms with and coming out as a lesbian through the authors experiences and struggles as she did it. Bechdel’s illustrations provide the reader with a deeper sense of what she conveys with her words.
Alison Bechdel very nicely illustrates the story with explicit emotions and illustrations of what the world of her small town home looked like through her eyes. An example of this would be after the death of her grandfather when her dad takes over the family owned mortuary business. She recalls the time she walked in on her father in the process of an embalming and seeing her first body and how aloof her father was about it. She looks back fondly on the time spent as a kid helping polish the newly delivered coffins with her siblings, the time spent playing hide and go seek in the coffin display room. To many this would be seen as morbid at best, but to the author this was a normal part of her day to day life. This book would be a good read to anyone who is curious to the experiences of coming out to family and one’s self. The work also provides a humorous look at certain events in history that had an impact on gay histo

last womens history paper!!!!

A Legacy of Success
Janet Belisle
Marissa Chappelle
History 363

There are many legacies of second wave feminism that are found today. The presences of these legacies are reflected within the constantly changing social climate that increasingly provides ever more opportunity for women, in the labor force, in education and in freedom of expression and choice. Despite occasional setbacks suffered by the movement such as the failing to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, there have been many successes throughout the evolution of the second wave women’s liberation movement of the 1969’s and 1970’s.
The women’s movement was not just a unified front under one agreed upon cause but rather a number of small fronts based on the specific needs of the women behind them. It was this ability to be flexible that allowed the movement to last. These micro-movements were most often divided by class, social status and marriage among other things. The hallmark of the second wave of feminism is the movement’s incorporation and acceptance of the fact that not all women had the same needs or concerns. It is the small triumphs made by these groups that stand as the movement’s greatest legacy. As said in The Declaration of American Women, “[W]e seek these rights for all women, whether or not they choose as individuals to use them”.[1]
The movement faced many obstacles, the biggest of which was itself. There was severe fragmentation amongst its members based on class, race and sexuality. This division prevented the movement from reaching its full potential or using the resources available to their best ability.
The second wave women’s movement branched off from the multiple movements of the era, most notably, the civil rights movement and incorporated many of that specific movement’s messages and strategies into women’s fight for equality. Sadly, the civil rights movement offered little opportunity for black women to express their opinions or have their needs heard. This led to increased identity or gender politics within both the civil rights groups as well as the women’s movement. Women of color, who were oppressed not only as women or people of color but instead as both, were expressing their frustration at having no where to turn. The identity politics can be seen most clearly in the work by The Combahee River Collective when stating “Our situation as Black people necessitates that we have solidarity around the fact of race, which white women do not need to have with white men.”[2]
Women’s struggle for equality much like the struggle of other oppressed groups was created by a growing number of issues such as social stereotyping, unequal pay, unequal job opportunity and unequal education as well little to no say regarding decision about their bodies. This issue was a bridge over the gap between class and gender. Women of lower socio-economic status, a group that frequently included women of color needed ways to support their families, have a say in events and current affairs outside of the home and most critically, decisions regarding their own bodies. According to the Combahee River Collective, “The sanctions in the black and white communities against black women thinkers is comparatively much higher then for white women, particularly ones from the educated middle and upper classes”.[i][3] Once the women’s movement took root, women of color as well as those of lower classes were given tools that they were familiar with and therefore, an opportunity to make their voices be heard.
The women’s movement shared many goals with the civil rights movement. The major goals were equality and increased opportunity for women. Equality was sought in employment, education and decisions regarding family. The movement wanted increased opportunity for women of all classes and backgrounds though there would be some indecision among the various sub-groups as to just what that opportunity looked like.
One very important legacy of second wave feminism would be the techniques used by the movement to reach its goals such as consciousness raising. This tool proved itself to be critical to bridging gaps and helping women realize their full potential as individuals and as a group. Tools such as these allowed the movement to be flexible and continue to change with the times to meet the changing needs of women. In Orleck’s book consciousness raising is described as “[W]omen… meeting in kitchens and living rooms…talking to each other for the first time about concerns they had previously to cope with alone…”. [4]This tool helped to cross barriers of race as well as class. Other tools that were used to make their voices heard were protest, boycotts and community building.
The start of the women’s liberation movement grew out of women’s struggle to have a voice outside of the home. According to Betty Freidan in The Feminine Mystique, “The feminist had only one model, one image, one vision, of a full and free human being: man”.[5] Women wanted to move beyond just being an expert in cleaning and cooking. They wanted to be able to use the education they received while waiting to meet their husbands and be a contributing member of society. Women were directed in to Home Economics course tracks. M. Carey Thomas, president of Bryn Mawr College, says “[W]omen like men are immeasurably benefited, physically, mentally, and morally, and are made vastly better mothers…by subordinating the distracting instincts of sex to the simple human fellowship of similar education”.[6]This easier home economics track was thought to be better for them as it required less thought and stress while at the same time providing women with the skills that they would need in their future. There was little to no expectation of a woman entering the labor force and needing training in anything else. Today, women have access to the same education as men and much more mobility in the job market with that education though some pay inequalities still exist.
An issue that the movement had great success with was reproductive rights. Before the 1960’s there was little access to birth control, especially among the lower classes who expressed the highest need. According to Emma Stampley, in Storming Caesars Palace “I would have preferred to have fewer children…but there wasn’t any birth control on the market for black peoples like there was white”.[7] White women of lower classes also struggled to gain access to birth control.
The women’s movement has within it many fractions. Women of lower economic status had different struggles then the middle class housewife. In Annelise Orlecks’ Storming Caesars Palace, women were engaged in a fight to be able to support their children and hold a job that offers security and subsistence wages. The women Orleck spoke with were trying to institute welfare reform that provided enough funds to house and feed the family and allowed the women, in this case mostly single mothers of color the same opportunity to provide her children with the same advantages as the middle class homemaker.
Women gaining acceptance in the workforce was and remains to be a serious issue faced by many. This is one area where it is difficult to distinguish whether there has been much success. This is due in part to the fragmentation of the movement. A strong example of this would be the 1908 Muller v. Oregon case where the state was granted the right to place a maximum hour restriction on women’s labor. This verdict was received with mixed feelings. Some women felt this was a success for the movement as it prevented women from being exploited. This view was help mostly by middle class activist. Today there is still great inequality in pay and job access for many women, though this has been slowly changing.
There are many legacies of second wave feminism. These legacies can be seen every time a woman cast a vote at the polls or works beside a man or stands next to that man on the picket line to fight for fair wages to raise her family. These are but a few of the legacies of the movement’s overall successes. The fight for women’s liberation is still fought today and referred to by some as third wave feminism. The movement has continued to thrive and transformed to meet today’s needs and will continue to do so because of its ability to evolve to meet the needs of the time. According to A Third Wave Manifesta, the needs of women today have changed but still reflect concerns at the core of the movement such as reproductive rights and the E.R.A.[8] The movement is more encompassing at this time. There is more acceptance of homosexuals and women of color for example.
The legacies of the movement are most apparent in the evolution of public attitudes toward women outside of the home. Society has grown to be more accepting, and in some cases even supportive of the struggles of women. According to Emma Goldman in A Radical View of Women’s Emancipation “I hold that the emancipation of women, as interpreted and practically applied today, has failed to reach that great end”.[9] I disagree with this thought, though there are many more hurdles to overcome, Second Wave Feminism has served to get the ball rolling and show that a difference can be made.
[1] Declaration of American Women Houston 1977 103
[2] Black Feminism Combahee River collective 98
[3] Black Feminism Combahee River collective 253
[4] Annelise Orleck Storming Caesars Palace 100
[5] Betty Freidan The Feminine Mystique 140
[6] M. Carey Thomas Present Tendencies in Women’s Education 6
[7] Annelise Orleck Storming Caesars Palace 30
[8] A Third Wave Feminist Manifesta Jennifer Baumgardner Amy Richards 139
[9] Emma Goldman A Radical View of Emancipation 25

Sunday, December 7, 2008

the end of the road!

Finally coming up on the end of the term...i was statriong to think it would never end!!!! I nam for sure a bigger fan of the semester system!!! I need my extra 6 weeks. I just wanna say that i got a 96 on the Orleck / friedan paper that i posted and as of yet theres still no grade on my interview with hippy but ill keep ya'll posted!!!