Sunday Sermon, Women’s History Style

photo_perkinsToday at Trinity Collinsville we had a guest sermon by our bishop suffragan, the Rt. Rev. Laura Ahrens [the audio file of the sermon should be up in a few days).  She started the sermon by talking about the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911, the worst industrial disaster in U.S. history up that that point.  Being a smarty-pants women’s historian I thought, okay where is she going with this?  Well, Prof. Smarty Pants didn’t know that Frances Perkins (pictured at left), witnessed the fire and as a good Episcopilian, was called to find a way to prevent this from happening again. So, Perkins became active in the U.S. labor movement, fighting for the rights of workers in New York State, and later as Secretary of Labor under Presidents Roosevelt and Truman.

Since today is Palm Sunday, the bishop made a link between the horrors witnessed by Perkins, and the horrors of the Passion, asking us what we will do to prevent things like this from happening again.  Good question — I guess this is what this week is for, to mediate on such things.

Knitting Clio=Gloria Steinem

1063932546_ia_steinem Kittywampus posted a poll, Which Western feminist icon are you? [Kitty is Angela Davis — interesting result for a white woman from North Dakota]

I’m a sucker for these, so I took it, and my result — Gloria Steinem:

“You are the McDonalds(tm) of liberal feminism, though you used to expouse some pretty radical ideas, you ended up working the system. Because it’s easier? Maybe. But thanks for the only mainstream feminist magazine and for heading one of the most significant feminist lobbys in the history of the US. We wouldn’t be where we are without NOW and Ms., as much as some of us are loathe to admit it.”

Yup, that pretty much is right on target.  I have to say I’m a big fan of many of her essays, especially the wicked satire, “If Men Could Menstruate.”

I’ll tell Ms. Steinem how much we have in common when she comes to give a lecture at CCSU on March 19th, 2pm, Torp Theatre.

Women’s History Nostalgia Trip: Classic feminist programming for children

A group of friends and I are having a great time swapping favorite clips of children’s programs with feminist themes on Facebook.  So that my technophobic colleague out West can join in the fun, here are some of the highlights.

The first is a clip from Sesame Street, proclaiming the various careers women can pursue:

Next is a repeat from last year, the Schoolhouse Rock classic, “Sufferin ‘Till Suffrage”:

This prompted a reply reminding me of the children’s special, “Free to Be You and Me”

My favorite song from that show is this number by former football player/bodyguard and now Christian minister Rosey Grier:

Rev. Grier is not a knitter, but he showed men you could do needlepoint and still be manly.

This all leads me to wonder, what happened to all the great feminist children’s programming from the 1970s?

Women’s History Month Blogfest: Book Discussion of Judith Bennett’s History Matters

historymattersSeveral of my feminist blogger colleagues have decided to host a blog-based discussion of Judith Bennett’s book History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.) Each Monday in the month of March, one of them will write a post to her blog and each will comment on each others postings.  They invite others to join in on the fun.

The first post, by The Adventures of Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar, is Should politics be historical? Should history be political?

Speaking of women’s history and blogging, Tenured Radical announces that  The Journal of Women’s History will be hosting a round table on this subject.  Here is the call for proposals:

Call for Papers: Feminism, Blogging and the Historical Profession. The Journal of Women’s History invites submissions for a round table on the emergence of blogging as a location for critical thought among women in the historical profession; historians of women, gender and sexuality; and feminist scholars who may, or may not be, historians. Participants may wish to address one or more of the following questions in an abstract of no more than 250 words: What role does self-publishing on the internet play in a profession where merit is defined by scholarly review and a rigorous editorial process? What are the intellectual benefits, and/or costs, of blogging? What are the ethics and consequences of blogging under a pseudonym? What kinds of electronic acknowledgement already correlate with established scholarly practices; which can be discarded; and which need to be attended to, perhaps more rigorously than in printed publications? If many scholarly publications and organizations have already adopted blogs as a way of spreading news and inviting conversation, is blogging itself developing rules and practices that will inevitably produce intellectual and scholarly hierarchies similar to those that blogging seeks to dismantle? Does feminist blogging offer particular opportunities for enhanced conversation about race, sexuality, class and national paradigms, or does it tend to reproduce existing scholarly paradigms and silences within feminist scholarship? Finally, are new forms of colleagueship and scholarship emerging in the blogosphere?

The round table will consist of a short introduction, several essays of 2 – 3,000 words, and a concluding comment/response. Abstracts should arrive no later than July 15, 2009, and can be submitted electronically to Claire Potter at Final submissions are due October 1. Pseudonymous bloggers may publish under their pseudonyms, but must be willing to reveal their identities to the editor of the round table and the commenter. Bloggers based outside the United States are particularly encouraged to contribute.

I seldom read LOL cats but . . .

Kittywampus tempted me to take this quiz, since I haven’t posted in awhile and don’t feel like coming up with anything that would strain my brain on a holiday.   The result:

Lion Warning Cat

81% Affectionate, 61% Excitable, 42% Hungry


“You are the good Samaritan of the lolcat world. Protecting others from danger by shouting observations and guidance in cases of imminent threat, you believe in the well-being of everyone.”

Well, I agree with the 42% hungry part — time for lunch!

Just because you quote Abigail Adams doesn’t make you a feminist

In her budget address, Governor Jodi Rell used the following quote from Abigail Adams’ letter to her son John Quincy Adams, written on January 13, 1780:

“It is not in the still calm of life … that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised … then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.”

Apparently, the Governor forgot about another famous quote from Abigail Adams — i.e. “remember the ladies.” One of the proposed cuts will be to the state’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women.  She also proposed deep cuts in the state’s safety net that serve women, children, veterans, disabled persons, the elderly — in short everyone but the rich Republicans will pay for the current state budget crisis.

Susan Campbell has an excellent critique of the Governor’s proposal.  Nope, Rell don’t got game, that’s for sure.

I propose that the Democrats find a real feminist to run against Governor Rell in 2010.

P.S.  Uh, oh, looks like Big Sister Governor Rell will be watching me and other state employees.  Guess I won’t be blogging from the office anymore!