Author Topic: Keep Calm  (Read 3980 times)

brebis noire

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« on: June 13, 2007, 12:26:13 PM »
Hm, there really should be a forum on feminist history, or the history of women.

Someone just sent me a very interesting London Book Review item:
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n10/hill01_.html

Quote
The last daughters of the Victorians were destined to occupy a peculiar place in history. Born before women got the vote, many of them lived through two world wars to see The Female Eunuch published and watch Margaret Thatcher arrive in Downing Street. Contraception, education, economic independence all became widely available to women in their lifetimes, while the institutions that had seemed to frame their destiny at birth, the empire, the class system and marriage, came to count for much less. In some ways that made them fortunate, witnesses to if not participants in the forward march of emancipation. Yet in others they were particularly unlucky. As old certainties broke down behind them, the new opportunities were often slow to open up ahead. They were caught in a kind of social airlock.


Quote
It was boredom, isolation and a desire to be ‘more creative’ in their social relationships that brought together the women of the CCC in July 1935. That month’s issue of Nursery World carried a letter in its ‘Over the Teacups’ section from Ubique, who wrote from Ballingate in Ireland, wondering if anyone could help her. ‘I live a very lonely life as I have no near neighbours. I cannot afford to buy a wireless. I adore reading, but with no library am very limited with books . . . I get so down and depressed after the children are in bed . . . Can any reader suggest an occupation that will intrigue me . . . and cost nothing!’ Sympathetic responses flooded in and Ubique had to explain, through the pages of Nursery World, that with stamps at 2d each she couldn’t afford to reply to them all. Instead, it was proposed to start a magazine in which the contributions would be sent to an elected editor to be compiled once a fortnight into a single copy. This would then circulate by post among the members of the Correspondence Club. The idea took hold and the CCC, which was sent out in hand-embroidered linen covers, lasted, astonishingly, until 1990.

The magazine, like the members themselves, presented a more or less conventionally feminine front, behind which the contents, which were confidential and written under pseudonyms, ranged far beyond the duster and the oven. The CCC grew into a conversation that carried on for more than half a century between women of varying backgrounds and classes all over Britain (and occasionally abroad), some of whom sometimes met, but whose main connection was their writing to, for and occasionally about one another. Jenna Bailey has skilfully compiled and edited some of what survives of the magazines into a series of thematic chapters. Much of the material was lost over the years and some contributions have been judged by surviving relatives too personal for publication, but what remains is compelling: a behind the scenes account of women’s history through one of its most formative periods.



Very interesting, very worthwhile read.

Debra

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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2007, 02:30:36 PM »
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Hm, there really should be a forum on feminist history, or the history of women.


done
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart

lagatta

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« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2007, 02:31:28 PM »
That is a remarkable historical synthesis.

Personally, I'd start out with history period, as although I would hope all posters here take a feminist point of view (among others), not all the subjects I have studied can be easily fit into "women's history"; sometimes, though not always, workers' associations were largely male...
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

skdadl

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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2007, 04:42:42 PM »
It is a remarkable history -- the story of Isis is especially chilling, and happened not all that long ago.

I wonder whether every generation of women, for a time, will end up looking back at itself as a transitional generation. Since so much has still to change, and some but not enough of it will, women who are young now are going to find themselves watching a new generation or a couple of new generations by the time they're in their sixties and seventies, and reflecting on how they couldn't have done quite that.

There's a gap between me and the women in that history, but then there's a gap between me and younger women as well. We didn't grow up with the same assumptions because the world is different now, and it will be different again -- for women's sake, we have to hope so.

There's an unusual woman in that story who just seized her independence (she was 46; the year was 1952/3; so it was just possible). She was unusual, though. The others must have ended up feeling they were living in a world they were never trained for (because they weren't). I know that happens to men too, but it has been happening more dramatically for women for some time, and I think that will continue for some time.

arborman

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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2007, 06:21:53 PM »
In terms of cultural revolutions, I suspect feminism will be looked back upon in much the same way as the advent of agriculture.  Everything that was taken as a given before feminism has been questioned and re-evaluated.

Some of it we will likely keep, but most of it has been or will be changed for the better.  For all intents and purposes, our current culture and gender relations are almost (but not quite) unrecognizable to an person from the 19th century, certainly a male person.  With any luck, our current 'normal' will be unrecognizable to a person from the 22nd century, and seen as hopelessly outdated and mysogynist.  

Obviously as a male it isn't my role to be more than a cheerleader and (hopefully) a supportive participant in the feminist movement, but I can root for y'all at least.
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

alisea

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« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2007, 11:31:32 PM »
Knowing the scaffolding that anyone lives in is so important.

But one mustn't forget that for any individual woman, in any particular cultural/political milieu, things might be different from the majority experience.

Look at my grandmother, born in 1886 in a small town in industrial Cape Breton, her father first a coal miner and later a pit head superintendent (which led to horrid internal family splits when his first cousins were labour radicals, and he'd 'made' it to a management position, and ... you can fill in the blanks).

So there was my grandmother, you would think marriage out of high school if she even finished that.

She became a journalist, and not just any journalist, fought the good old boys to a standstill and became the *business* journalist for her local paper and the stringer for the main Nova Scotian one down in Halifax. In 1908, at 22. Then she was hired as the private secretary to a senator (at a time when only men filled that role) who was writing a book on the history of Louisbourg. And she taught herself French, and translated many of the documents he had accessed from the French government archives.

But then she fell in love, with my grandfather. He was a wonderful man, kind, gentle, very very smart. But he was transferred after a year in Cape Breton to the Gaspé (he was with the Bank of Nova Scotia, and they moved people around like chess pieces), and she threw up her careers, and went with him.

I remember her saying to me when I was a teenager "Put yourself first. If you don't have yourself, you can't help others." I didn't know what she meant then. I think I do now.

There were so many smart women like my grandmother in the various generations of the 20th century, many of whom were expected to have good careers. BUT it was also expected that those careers would skid to a halt as soon as they married.
Do not meddle with the Forces of Nature, for you are small, insignificant, and biodegradable.

arborman

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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2007, 11:42:04 PM »
Quote from: alisea

So there was my grandmother, you would think marriage out of high school if she even finished that.


I am in awe of my great grandmother for much the same reasons.  Cape Breton, daughter of a fisherman.  Found her way to being one of (if not the) first women to graduate from Dalhousie.  Then met a dashing young remittance man from Transylvania, and started a school on the prairies, built from scratch.  By all reports tough as nails, and brought a large family through the Depression.

She was one of what has been a long string of very strong women in my family, arborwoman included.  Huzzah for the strong and brave who defy the culture of their times and carve their own path.
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

Croghan27

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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2007, 06:18:50 AM »
Quote from: Debra
Quote
Hm, there really should be a forum on feminist history, or the history of women.

done

I am interested in hearing some thoughts about this. "With great lawyers you (I) have Discussed lepers and crooks" I would like to hear some feminist thought. Yes, I see myself as a feminist, as in supporter of feminist objectives and ideals, but by society and biology I have never experienced the limitations of 'gender politics' or rejoyced in the glories.

History in the making from the Star:

Quote
Liberals lose 2 female MPPs

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Bountrogianni (Hamilton Mountain), first elected in 1999, said in an interview that she's "leaving for personal reasons" and wants to spend more time with her husband and two teenaged children.
and

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Mossop, 46, a former broadcaster who was elected in 2003, said she was stepping aside to spend more time with her 4-year-old daughter.

The author of the article is even a male, Robert Benzie
Queen's Park Bureau Chief
. He gives prominance to the spin that:
Quote
The departure of two high-profile Liberal women from Queen's Park is further proof that provincial politics is not "family-friendly," opposition MPPs say.


(The actual story is not that harsh - opposition MPPs, both PC and NDP, seem more understanding of their plight.)
"It is also a good rule not to put overmuch confidence in the observational results that are put forward until they are confirmed by theory." -- Arthur Stanley Eddington

 

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