Saturday, February 23, 2008


The assignment to research and write about a woman who is making a difference in feminism and women's equality was eagerly anticipated by myself. However, after choosing someone that I never heard of (Emi Koyama) and then after attempting to find out more about her, I realized hat I didn't get very far! There is minimal information about her or at least I didn't find the typical facts and bios one would after inquiring, especially after putting in her name up in the internet search site and then numerous websites showed up.

Here is what I did find out: First, there is no past biography for this still living activist. She (and I'm assuming she is a SHE) currently lives in Portland, Oregon and according to her own words located on her own website: she is a "multi-issue social justice slut, syn hesizing feminist, Asian, survivor, dyke, queer, sex worker, intersex, genderqueer..." and crip political activist! Whoa, this person even goes on to say she "does not identify with any particular gender...." Now, having quoted her own words, that leads me to explain what she does and how she became known, which I guess may qualify her for being a contributing factor to feminism and women's equality, however, after reading all the information that she is disseminating, I believe she is more a human activist than anything else!

Emi Koyama currently is the director of the Intersex Initiative which is an Oregon based national activist and advocacy organization for people born with intersex conditions. Most of you won't know what are intersex conditions so let me define them: Using the text from the website, it is the disorder of sex development (also know as DSD) which refers to a series of medical conditions in which a child's genetic sex (chromosomes) and phenotypic sex (genitalsdo not match or are somehow different from the 'standard' male or female. Before she began her organization, she worked for the Intersex Society of North America from 2001 - 2002 where she worked as an intern and then as a staff activist. She considers herself a third wave feminist who gives presentations to colleges and other organizations and to private groups as well.

I believe Emi Koyama has contributed to feminism in a very simple but dedicated way. She is being an independent activist who has lived through some of these experiences (she doesn't tell us which ones) and who creates website entries, does independent research and goes even farther by creating her own words that relate to the issue of intersex conditions and transgender issues, queers, etc. Her website originated by her use of 'emi' - which is her name and adds it to the word feminism. She also is responsible for the 'whore revolution' which was created after responding to an anti-prostitution feminist. According to Koyama, "the whore revolution will fight violence and oppression at every level, including economic violence and the violence by the state or by international organizations, because violence and oppression diminish our options," from A Conversation with Dr. A: A Sex Work Activist Takes on An Academic Feminist.

I believe she opens doors for women and men in areas of sexual identification and orientation and more deeply through the DSD (devlopment of sexual disorders). She has opened dialogue and also shows various class, gender and ethnic groups the controversial issues of DSD or intersex, prostitution, oppression and transsexual, transgender and transfeminism problems.

Emi Koyama has already taught me something that I knew nothing about. I had never heard of intersex issues and variation of XX and Y chromsomes in people. The fact that 1 in 2000 people are born with a type of this condition (either visibly noticeable at birth OR later on in their life) was a real eye opener for me.

The following websites were use for obtaining this information:
An interesting link about theoretical credibility rankings which ranked Emi Koyama's credibility as an 'organization/VIP/other with ONE star verses FIVE stars can be found at:

Kim Seder
Women's Studies 200

Friday, February 22, 2008

Alice Walker Blog 2

Alice Walker was a feminist writer born in Georgia, on February 4, 1944. She was one of eight children, and grew up on a farm. Alice became blind in one eye when she was very young when her brother accidentally shot her in the eye. This made growing up very different for her, as she had to acclimate to a brand new lifestyle. She has stated in books that she never felt as if she fit in, in her home town. After high school she went on to college and graduate school. She was the first woman to partake in an inter-racial marriage.

Alice is most highly known for winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, in 1983, for her novel The Color Purple. She has also won numerous other prizes for her writing excerpts. She has not only set the stage for women in writing, but she has also shown other African-American woman that they can do many things. She fought for her right for marriage as well as her right to write freely about taboo subjects.

I have never heard of this woman, but I was very glad that I chose her. I have seen the movie story of her book, but never really knew the background behind it. It is amazing to see women doing great things and rising above their struggles. She was an inspiration to me and I’m sure many others.

Further studies:

bell hooks

bell hooks

by Aaron Ashba

bell hooks, the African-American, feminist and author was born on September 25th, 1952 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Her birth name is Gloria Jean Watkins under her parents Veodis and Rosa Bell Watkins. As a young girl, she knew she wanted to be a writer and set a goal to become one. After high school in 1973, hooks enrolled at Stanford University and obtained a B.A. in English. In 1976, she earned her master's degree in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Later, she became a teacher and served as an English professor and as a senior lecturer in ethnic studies at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles until 1979. She is still alive and well today. After several years of teaching and writing, she completed her doctorate from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1983. She is alive and well today.

In her eventful and productive life, her thoughts and written words have touched the lives of many women, especially in the Black community. Her books and articles have focused on the interconnectivity of race, class, and gender and their ability to produce overcome oppression and domination. In her career, hooks has published over thirty books and several articles. She has also appeared in several documentary films and participated in various public lectures with topics ranging from postmodern feminism, race, class and gender in education, art, history, sexuality and mass media. The name “bell hooks” was actually her pen name she took in the late 70s. While teaching at the University of Southern California, Golemics of Los Angeles released her first published work titled "And There We Wept" in 1978. Basically, the name was a combination of her mother and grandmother. She uses it only in lowercase. According to her, the name's unconventional lowercasing signifies what is most important in her works: the "substance of books, not who I am." Hooks has held positions as Professor of African and Afro-American Studies and English at Yale University, Distinguished Lecturer of English Literature at the City College of New York and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and American Literature at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.

Along with teaching a several colleges and universities in the early 80s while in California, South End Press (Boston) published her first major work, “Ain’t I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism in 1981”. Decades after its publication, it has gained widespread recognition as an influential contribution to postmodern feminist thought. Ain’t I a Woman? opened the door to recurring topics she would discuss in her later work, such as the historical impact of sexism and racism on black women, devaluation of black womanhood, media roles and portrayal, the education system, the "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy", the marginalization of black women; and the disregard for issues of race and class within feminism. Since the publication of Ain’t I a Woman?, she became a strong liberal, postmodern political thinker and one of women's most cultural critic. Her voice attracts to many different topics and was able to use many various media outlets to spread her word. Besides her book publications and articles, she has provide many lectures and appears in various documentaries and news productions such as CSPAN. Hooks gave a controversial commencement speech in 2002 at Southwestern University. Rather than taking the congratulatory mode to the students, she spoke of government-sanctioned violence and oppression, causing a ruckus amongst students and parents, such to the tune of parents refusing to donate money to the university. Her work has been an example of not only her life experiences and personal views on the societal views or race, gender, culture and total harmony of its mutual existence, she has provided inspiration and a voice to all women to open their eyes to reality and also how to embrace the fact of womanly traits and intelligence. She has stood and faced patriarchy and overcome the challenges of those issues in her own life to inspire other women and people alike to do the same in a responsible way.

As part of our reading assignments this semester, we had to read "Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics" (2000), as this was my first introduction to bell hooks. Not knowing her prior to the reading gave me a , but now after her book and this assignment, I have enjoyed learning about her life and can respect her views and opinions she has so passionately expressed in many different outlets. As I move on toward obtaining another degree and facing challenges in life, I can appreciate everything hooks has accomplished with the utmost respect outside of her views on feminism.


Aaron Ashba

Madame C.J.Walker (JamelaTemple)

Madame C.J. Walker

Birth: December 23, 1867
Death: May 25, 1919

Madame C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867. She had one sister and 4 brothers. When she was 7 yrs old, her parents died of Yellow Fever. She and her sister moved to Vicksgurg, Mississippi in 1878 where they took up employment as maids. She got married at the age of 14 to Moses McWilliams, and they had a daughter, A'Leila Walker. She got married two additional times, one ending with her being a widow and the other in divorce.

Madame C.J. Walker is known for inventing hair and scalp products for African-American women. She herself suffered from a scalp condition that made her hair fall out. She was criticized by others for trying to make African-American women's hair look more like that of a white woman's, but she said that her products were made to help African-American women hair grow and be healthy. Her hair products were sold all over the country. She had a beauty training school for two years in Pittsburgh called the Leile College for Walker Hair Culturists.She is known as the first African-American woman millionaire, and some think that she was the first woman millionaire.

She was an inspiration to women everywhere. She understood that women wanted to know how she became so successful, so while she lectured about her products, she also empowered women to start businesses. She was interested in empowering woman and showing/telling them that they could do what she was doing. One of her famous quotes were "I got myself a start by giving myself a start."

Madame C.J. Walker was also a Civil Rights advocate. After the East St. Louis riots in 1917, she committed herself to making lynching a federal crime. She was a keynote speaker at NAACP anti-lynching events. She donated large amounts of money to the NAACP lynching events and also, later on in her life, supported black schools, individuals, YWCA's, orphanages and more.

The only thing I knew about Madame C.J. Walker was that she invented the "perm" for black women. I didn't know that she was a civil rights activist and that she helped so many different organizations. I think that I can learn from her hard work and determination. She never gave up, and she was not "stingy" with her earnings or her time; she gave back and did her part to make sure that she helped people coming after her along.

There are many resources, books and websites devoted to Ms. Walker. She has a website that gives her complete biography.

Blog #2 - Betty Friedan

Stevie R. Bowling
Blog #2 – Betty Friedan
February 22, 2008
Womens Studies 200
Professor Joelle Ryan

On February 4, 1921, Betty Naomi Friedan (Goldenburg) was born in Peoria, Illinois. She attended school there in town where she instantly became interested in writing columns for her school newspaper. After high school graduation in 1938, Friedan went on to attend Smith College (an all female university) to major in Psychology. She excelled academically to win scholarships and still continued to publish her poems and writing samples in the college publications which helped her work her way up to editior-in-chief of the Smith College newspaper. A few years later, Friedan graduated near the top of her class in 1942 and continued on to graduate school at the University of California at Berkely where she worked with re-knowned psychologist Erik Erikson, but later turned down the opportunity to receive her PhD and that was the end of her academic career. She married Carl Friedman in 1947, but later divorced in 1969. They had three children together. Betty Friedan passed away on her 85th birthday on February 4, 2006 due to congestive heart failure.

After leaving UC-Berkeley in 1944, Friedan went on to work as a journalist for a few different publications that included The Federated Press and the United Electric Workers – UE News. Friedan claims that she was fired from the UE News in 1952 because she was pregnant with her second child, but many claim that statement was untrue and it is still unclear to many why she was fired. Friedan left the UE News and became a free-lance writer for a handful of magazines that even included the popular women’s magazine Cosmopolitan. Friedan was very interested in hearing about the lives of women and if they were truly satisified with their current lives and their experiences.

In 1963 Friedan accomplished a huge goal when she published what many refer to as the “Second Wave” of Feminism titled The Feminine Mystique. Friedan wrote about the lives of those women who took on the homemaker role and feel trapped in their lives for they never take on the role of a working citizen who could also keep a family. She discussed many psychological theories of psychologists like Freud and offererd answers to those women who wanted to move on with their lives and get an education and a job while still tending to their family. Her book was a huge best seller and many give credit it to her book for sparking up the women’s movement.

Not only did Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique contribute to women’s rights and feminism, she also wrote books titled The Second Stage and The Fountain of Age which educated those on the issues that women face and their fight for equal rights and freedoms. Betty Friedan is credited for co-founding “NOW” the National Organization for Women and “NARAL” National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws for she was an advocate for legal abortion. Friedan was also a lead supporter of the lesbian community when she seconded the motion supporting lesbian rights at the Women’s Conference which Dr. Jocelynne A. Scutt described this as “a defining moment for the U.S. Women's Movement, for lesbian rights, and for Betty Friedan” (Wikipedia 1)

Betty Friedan contributed to feminism and the women’s rights in so many ways and made such a huge impact on those women who were struggling with the lives they were living. Not only did Friedan publish books that opened the eyes of feminists out there, she inspired so many with all of the different organizations she founded and worked for.

In high school, we researched the impact theat Friedan had on so many in my American government class senior year. We discussed feminism and those who stood out during the women’s movement and Friedan was one of them. After researching more on Friedan I am thankful for the differences that she has made in my life although I may not always realize it. With her guidance, so many women achieved great things which all have led up to the rights and freedoms that I have today at 20 years old.

National Women’s Hall of Fame
American Writers
Books written by Betty Friedan
The Feminine Mystique (1963)
It Changed My Life (1976)
The Second Stage (1981)
The Fountain of Age (1993)
Beyond Gender (1997)
Life So Far (2000)

Helen Keller

Shayna Gray

Helen Keller was a deaf/blind American author, activist, and lecturer. She was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama on June 21st, 1880. She was not born deaf and blind, but when she was 19 months old she came down with an illness, which is known today as scarlet fever or meningitis, that left her unable to see and hear. Helen lived with her mother and father until 1887 when she met Anne Sullivan, a woman who helped change Helen’s bad behaviors, taught her sign language, how to read braille, and other basic skills. Helen became famous because she was promoted in articles as “a phenomenon”. In 1896, Keller attended Cambridge School for Young Ladies and then enrolled in Radcliffe College in 1900. She was the first deaf/blind person to enter into and graduate from a higher education. Upon graduation, she began to write books and travel the world to lecture and campaign for women’s suffrage, worker’s rights, and socialism. She also spent the remaining years of her life helping other deaf and blind individuals. On June 1, 1968, Helen Keller passed away in Arcan Ridge in Westport, Connecticut.

Helen Keller had many accomplishments throughout her life. She wrote books, lectured, inspired others, and campaigned for important issues. Some of her accomplishments include: learning to write, read and speak as a deaf/blind individual; graduation from Radcliffe College; worked for American Federation for the Blind; published “The Story of My Life in 1903; wrote a groundbreaking article for The Ladies’ Home Journal in 1907; published “The World I Live In” in 1908; published “Out of the Dark” in 1913; donated money to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1917; help found the American Civil Liberties Union in 1918; published “Midstream: My Later Life” in 1929; published “Teacher” in 1955; awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964; and was elected into the Women’s Hall of Fame in 1965.

Helen Keller also contributed to feminism and eradicated oppression and discrimination in many ways. In 1909, she became a socialist and suffragist and traveled the world campaigning for women’s suffrage. In 1912, she publicly spoke out in favor of birth control and following in 1914, she confirmed with Women’s Peace Party for peace in Europe. She also campaigned for worker’s rights and in 1916 supported the Industrial Workers of the World. To fight against discrimination, she fought for freedom of speech with the American Civil Liberties Union, which she helped find. I think she helped open doors for other women because she was a women, despite her handicaps, who fought for what she wanted and knew others deserved. Her courage and determination helped and can continue to help inspire other woman around the world to do the same.

I first heard of Helen Keller in grade school. We read her first book “The Story of My Life” in 5th grade for English. I remember after reading the book, I was inspired by her success as both a woman and a deaf/blind individual, and later did research for other classes in middle school and high school. I believe she has contributed to teaching me that anything is possible if you are willing to work hard despite any obstacles you may run into. I have also realized how lucky I am to have the ability to see and hear. I think many people, especially myself, take little things such as vision and hearing for granted. And to hear a story like Helen Keller’s, makes me appreciate these things even more. I think the story of Helen Keller can help contribute to my success just because its inspiring and encourages me to work harder for what I want regardless of what people tell me and regardless of any obstacles that may cross my path.

Resources for further study:
“The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller
“Helen and Teacher: The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy” by Joseph Lash
“Helen Keller, Prodigy” by Edward Wagenknecht
“Notable Women in American History” by Lynda Adamson
Deliverance (1919)
The Miracle Worker (1962)

Audre Lorde

Jennifer McKenna

Born Audrey Geraldine Lorde (though she later dropped the “y” in her first name) on February 18th, 1934, Lorde was the daughter of West Indian immigrants from Granada. She grew up in Harlem, although she recalled her parents’ frequent desire to return to their native Caribbean. She did not speak until she was five years old; afterward, she remembers speaking in poetry. She found written poems around the age of twelve, but was unable to find ones that expressed how she felt, prompting her to write her own. Her parents did not encourage her in her writing, but Lorde had her first poem published when she was fifteen. The poem, written about her first love affair with a boy who attended the Roman Catholic high school with her, was deemed by her teacher “too romantic”. When the school refused to print it in its literary journal, Lorde sent it to Seventeen magazine.
After high school, Lorde went to Hunter College, where she would later hold the renowned post of Thomas Hunter Chair of Literature. She supported herself with low-paying jobs. She eventually continued her education at Columbia University, earning her master’s degree in library science. Lorde worked as a librarian while honing her poetry and married attorney Edward Ashley Rollins. The couple was married for eight years and had two children, Elizabeth and Jonathon. In 1968, what Lorde termed the turning point of her life, she quit her job as head librarian at the University of New York and accepted the position of poet-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Jacksonville, Mississippi. Here she was able to see the violent response to the civil rights movement, which inspired her dedication to use her artistic talents to seek social justice. Here also she met her lifelong companion, Frances Clayton. Later that year her first book of poetry, The First Cities, was published. Lorde would go on to write more than twelve volumes on poetry and six books of prose.
Lorde described herself as “Black lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”. Though not all of her work was political in nature, she opened doors for many women, co-founding the Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, establishing coalitions between Afro-German and Afro-Dutch women, beginning the St Croix Women’s Coalition, and forming the Sisterhood in Support of Sister in South Africa. She campaigned for the rights of black women, the value of black culture, and the advancement of the gay and lesbian movement, working as editor of Chrysalis, the lesbian journal. She died on November 17th, 1992, after a long battle with breast cancer.
Although I had never before heard of her, Lorde was the recipient of several awards and accolades. She was New York State’s Poet Laureate and received a great deal of recognition for her literary accomplishments, including the 1974 National Book Award nomination. Her commitment to the causes she believed in and her insistence on being true to herself, even at a time when a black lesbian was not accepted.
Audre Lorde resources:
Memoirs: “Zami: A New Spelling of My Name” and “The Cancer Journals”
Award-winning book: “A Burst of Light”
Movie: “A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde”

Jennifer McKenna

Helen Keller - by Carla Bertoldi

Helen Keller was born on June 27th, 1880, in a small town in Alabama. What makes her extra ordinary is the fact that at the age of 19th months she suffered from something that may have been scarlet fever. The illness left her blind and deaf. Keller did not let this make her give up on opportunities that most children and women have had. She was the first blind-deaf women to graduate from college. She attended Radcliffe College and graduated in 1904.
Upon her college graduation Keller devoted her life to writing and public speaking. She wanted to serve as an inspiration to women. She fought for those with disabilities, she supported birth control, and she supported women’s suffrage. President Lyndon B. Johnson even awarded her the President Medal of Freedom for all achievements and for making a difference in the lives of others. At the age of 87, on June 1st, 1968 Helen Keller.
In her long life of 87 years, I truly believe Helen Keller touched the lives of many people and I think her legacy still does today. Although she wrote and was an activist for many causes. Her own life story and her persistent struggle, and the fact that she refused to give up, and overcame all obstacles are what make her so accomplished. Overcoming her disability was her greatest accomplishment. The fact that she inspired others makes her personal accomplishment even more powerful.
Helen Keller was an advocate of many causes. She supported the American Foundation for the Blind. Was a socialist and supported equal suffrage. Favored the feminist pro choice views, and supported birth control use. Was a member of the Women’s Peace Party. She also supported the NAACP and helped found the American Civil Liberties Union. She fought for both the rights of the disables, and civil rights in general (this includes both rights base on race and feminism).
At an early age I read about Helen Keller. Even since then I have been interested in her life, not just because of her feminist actions, but because I can personally relate to they type of person she is. My mother suffers from a degenerative disease that will eventually leave her both blind and deaf. My mother to me is a real life hero, because she is living her life, overcoming a devastating disability, and she does it with the kindness heart. Due to my mother I have always admired Helen Keller. I learned that she was more of an activist than for just disability and I think this makes her even more admirable. She has taught the world that nothing should hold us back from living the life we dream to live.
For further information and resources used on Helen Keller please see:
Andrea Dworkin
By: M Volz

Andrea Dworkin is most known for her role as a speaker, writer, and activist in the feminist anti-pornography movement. Andrea was born on September 26, 1946 in Camden, New Jersey. Her father was a socialist, whom she credits for encouraging her passion of social justice. Her mother was a big believer in birthcontrol and legal abortion, this lead to Andrea’s later activism. When she was nine years old she was molested by an unknown man in a movie theatre. She began writing as far back as sixth grade.

In 1965, while a student at Bennington College, she was arrested while taking part in a protest, and sent to Women’s House of Detention. Andrea later testified that the doctors in the House of Detention had given her an internal examination that led her to remain bleeding for days. An indictment was not made in the case, but her testimony contributed to the public’s fight of the maltreatment of inmates, and the House of Detention was closed within seven years.

After graduating college in 1969 she moved to Amsterdam. Soon after moving there, she met a guy, and they married. Once they were married, her husband began abusing her, hitting her, and slamming her head into the floor until she was knocked unconscious. Andrea left her husband in 1971. The next year she tried to raise money to return to the United States. In this period of time, her ex-husband stalked her, and was still after her to beat her. She lived like a fugitive, was often homeless, and even had to be a prostitute for a while. Ricki Abrams, a feminist, offered Andrea a safe house to stay to hide from her husband while trying to raise the money needed for the plane ticket. Ricki introduced Andrea to American feminist writing, and Andrea was very inspired. Andrea and Ricki began writing their own book together.

Andrea made a deal with a guy to help smuggle some heroin for $1000 and a plane ticket. The deal ended up falling through, but the man gave her the plane ticket anyways. Andrea moved back to the United States. Before leaving Amsterdam, Andrea had a convorsation with Ricki where she promised to finish their book, and also vowed to dedicate her life to the feminist movement.

Andrea published her first book Woman Hating in 1974, the book she began writing with Ricki. Living in New York, Andrea worked as an anti-war organizer, taking part in demonstrations, debates, and becoming well known as a speaker. She made a speech at the very first Take Back The Night march in 1978.

On January 22, 1986, Dworkin testified for half an hour before the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in New York City.

Andrea went on to write and publish a total of ten books, made numerous speeches, and wrote many articles. She believed that pornography lead to rape and other violence against women.

Andrea died in her sleep April 9, 2005.

I have never heard of Andrea Dworkin before doing this research. I think she is a woman that everyone needs to hear about. I want to go out and buy a few of her books tomorrow. I’ve been very interested latley in the study of pornography and it’s effects, so Andrea was the perfect woman for me to research.

Resources for further study:
All done by Andrea Dworkin

Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant (2002) ISBN 0-465-01754-1

Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation (2000) ISBN 0-684-83612-2

Life and Death: Unapologetic Writings on the Continuing War Against Women (1997) ISBN 0-684-83512-6

In Harm’s Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (with Catharine MacKinnon, 1997) ISBN 0-674-44579-1

Right-Wing Women: The Politics of Domesticated Females (1991) ISBN 0-399-50671-3

Letters from a War Zone: Writings (1988) ISBN 1-55652-185-5 ISBN 0-525-24824-2 ISBN 0-436-13962-6

Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality (1988) ISBN 0-9621849-0-XIntercourse (1987) ISBN 0-684-83239-9

Pornography—Men Possessing Women (1981) ISBN 0-399-50532-6

Our Blood: Prophesies and Discourses on Sexual Politics (1976) ISBN 0-399-50575-X ISBN 0-06-011116-X

Woman Hating: A Radical Look at Sexuality (Dutton, 1974) ISBN 0-452-26827-3 ISBN 0-525-48397-7

Fiction and Poetry
Mercy (1990, ISBN 0-941423-88-3)
Ice and Fire (1986, ISBN 0-436-13960-X)
The New Woman's Broken Heart: Short Stories (1980, ISBN 0-9603628-0-0)
Morning Hair (self-published, 1968)
Child (1966) (Heraklion, Crete, 1966)

A few good books by other authors:

Brownmiller, Susan (1999). In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution (ISBN 0-385-31486-8).

Strossen, Nadine, Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women's Rights (ISBN 0-8147-8149-7). New York University Press, 2000. (First edition New York: Scribner, 1995).


M. Volz

Billie Jean King

written by Annette Parson

Billie Jean King was born on November 22, 1943, in Long Beach, California. A natural athlete, she began playing tennis at the age of eleven and, by the age of fifteen played in her first Grand Slam tournament at the U.S. Championships, losing in the first round. In her tennis career, she went on to win twenty Wimbledon, four U.S Open, and three World Team Tennis Championships, and is considered by many to be the greatest woman athlete of her time.

Billie Jean grew up in an era when tennis was generally considered an elitist game, because access to quality courts and instruction were usually only available with a country club membership. Her father a firefighter, and her mother a homemaker, Billie Jean learned to play on the public courts of the city of Long Beach. For that reason alone, her tennis career could be considered remarkable, but it is what she accomplished for women on and off the courts that in the final analysis outshines her success as a tennis champion.

King was a professional tennis player, who as a woman earned less for a major win than the men. When she won a major title in 1971, she earned $15,000 less than the men’s champion. In 1972, King declared she would not play the following season unless the women’s winnings were equal to the men. The following year, the U.S. Open became the first tournament where there was equal prize money for both genders.

One of the most famous events in tennis was the so called “Battle of the Sexes”. More a publicity stunt than anything else, this was a match played in 1973 between King and male tennis pro Bobby Riggs. Riggs was a tennis star in the 1940’s, at one time seeded the #1 player for three years. At the time of the match Riggs was 55 years old, and King was 30. In a televised match, King beat Riggs in straight sets. It was a major sensation, and is considered to have brought more interest to women’s tennis than any one event or any female tennis star up to that time. To the general public, especially many girls and young women, the win by King against a male tennis pro was an empowering event.

Off the courts, King testified before Congress in support of Title IX, which became a federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination in educational programs and activities, this including equity in sports, for any educational institution that received federal funds. She was also instrumental in supporting and promoting the first women’s tennis tour, known as the Virginia Slims. In 1973, King was the first president of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), a women’s players union, and in 1974, she founded the Women’s Sports Foundation to “advance the lives of girls and women through sport and physical activity”. She is currently still very involved in the foundation.

King opened doors for women in many ways. In her playing days, she refused to be relegated to the second tier in terms of earnings, and it is directly attributable to her that to this day women’s prize money in tennis is equal to the men. She realized that Title IX was important in providing equal opportunities for girls in education and sport, and supported that belief through her testimony in Washington. What King can teach us is to believe in oneself, don’t accept second best, and more importantly, pay it forward.

In 1990 Billie Jean King was named one of the “100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century” by Life magazine.

Resources for further study:
Book by Joanne Lannin, Billie Jean King: Tennis Trailblazer

Alice Walker

written by Brittany Michels

Alice Walker was born on February 9, 1944. She is known for being an American author and feminist. Her most popular book was her nationally acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize-winning book, called The Color Purple. She was the first African American woman to win this award. The book was a semi-autobiography of her life and also spoke of her struggle with Lyme disease.

Alice was born, the eighth child of sharecroppers, in Eatonton, Georgia. She has many lineages. At a young age, she was blinded in one of her eyes by her brother's BB gun shot. Her experiences growing up showed her that life is full of fluidity and is ever-changing. She saw that there was freedom and began to fight to see that she could have it.

In 1965, Walker graduated from College. She had attended both Spelman College, in Atlanta, as well as Sarah Lawrence College, in New York. After graduation, she moved to Mississippi and became involved in voter registration drives, campaigns for welfare rights, and children's programs. She later married a Jewish civil rights lawyer and became the first legally-married inter-racial couple in Mississippi. This followed harrassment and threats. She also had a daughter in 1969, but divorced eight years later.

While Walker stopped writing when she was working in Mississippi, she resumed when she joined Ms. Magazine in the late 1970s. She moved to northern California at that time. She had much success with book writing from that point on. Her first book of poetry, though, was written while she was a senior in College.

Her works focused primarily on the African American woman's struggle in a racist and patriarchal society. She is respected by many because of her support of unpopular views.

In 2006, she was inducted into the California Hall of Fame.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree): by Caroline R

Sojourner Truth was an American abolitionist and women’s rights activist who was born in 1797 and died on November 26, 1883. She was one of thirteen children, born in Swartekill, New York. She was born into slavery on the Hardenbergh estate, after her owner’s death her family was sold to his son. From 1806 to 1810 she was sold several times to many different abusive men. Then in 1815 she fell in love with a slave from a farm nearby, his name was Robert. He was beaten by his owner because of his relationship with Truth; they never saw each other again. In 1817 Sojourner was forced to marry a slave named Thomas, together they had five children.

1826 was when Truth finally found freedom. She escaped slavery with her infant daughter. She came across Issac and Maria Van Wagenen, a Quaker family who took her and her baby in. She lived with this family for a year, until New York’s Emancipation Act was legal. Living with the Quakers brought about many life changing events. She learned that her eight year old son was sold illegally to an owner in Alabama. The Quakers helped her take the issue to court and she eventually won back her son. She also became a Christian and in 1829 she was able to move to New York City and work as a housekeeper.

On June 1, 1843 she changed her name to Sojourner Truth from Isabella Baumfree, she left the city to travel and preach about abolition. In 1844 she joined the North Hampton Association of Education and Industry in Massachusetts, this organization supported women’s rights. She met many influential people while in the group, including William Lloyd Garrison, who later published her memoirs. After living with the group for a few years she moved back to New York and continued work as a housekeeper, and was soon able to purchase her own home in Northampton.

In 1851 she left her home to join George Thompson, an abolitionist speaker and dedicated her life telling her story. She delivered her famous speech, “Ain’t I a Woman,” throughout the country, and at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention. At one speech someone accused her of being a man; she opened her blouse and revealed her breasts. She later moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. During the Civil War she helped recruit black troops for the Union Army. In 1864 she took a job with the National Freedman’s Relief Association in Washington D.C.; she also met President Abraham Lincoln. In 1865 she rode in street cars to help force desegregation. Throughout 1870 she worked on a project that secured land grants for former slaves, she pursued this for seven years without success. In 1872 she tried to vote and was turned away.
Throughout Sojourner Truth’s life she spoke about abolition, prison reform and women’s rights. Not everyone welcomed her preaching but she had the support of many influential people. She proved to other women that they too could make a life for themselves and escape the imprisonment of being an African American woman in this time period. Her final words were, “Be a follower of the Lord Jesus.”

Yes, I remember learning about Sojourner Truth in grade school when we studied slavery. After reading Truth’s biography I see how important it is to stand up for what you believe in. There are several events and issues in our world that will affect our lives dramatically, we have the opportunity to speak out for what we believe, and we never know whose life we may change by doing so.

Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave, Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol and The Lifework of Sojourner Truth are books about her life.

Wilma Mankiller

A. Kelley

Assignment for February 22, 2008

Wilma Mankiller was born November 18, 1945 in Tahlequa, Oklahoma, the land of her forefathers dating back to Oklahoma’s statehood and almost certainly back to the forced relocation of the Cherokee to the Indian Territory in the 1830s. Her interest in Indian Activism dates back to the 1960s when, roughly a decade after her family was forcibly relocated by the Department of Indian Affairs to San Francisco, the Indian rights movement gripped California and resulted in such spectacles as the famous protest-based Alcatraz Occupation. She returned to her native Cherokee lands in 1977, where she achieved a job with the tribe administration and did social work for the Cherokee people, making real differences such as her attainment of grants to assist the Cherokee in their agricultural endeavors. Her successes caught the attention of Ross Swimmer, the then-chief of the Cherokee who appointed her as his deputy chief in 1983. When Swimmer stepped down in 1985, Mankiller became the first female chief, not only of the Cherokee, but of any Indian tribe up unto that point. She was elected to the position outright in election of 1987, and served until 1995, in which time she continued her previous policies from her times in lower-level administrative positions and accomplished her goals of working toward the betterment of the lives of the Cherokee, working toward economic self-sufficiency for the tribe, creating the CNCDD (Cherokee Nation Community Development Demartment) and remained dedicated to social issues within the tribe such as better schools, higher-paying occupations, and better health care. Her successes are reflected in the 300% increase in enrollment in the Cherokee nation during her ten-year tenure. After her retirement from the position of chief, Mankiller has remained an activist for both Indian and Women’s issues.

Mankiller used her life to contribute to feminism by being yet another inspiring example of women breaking barriers and proving themselves to be excellent leaders. Even more importantly, she demonstrated that tradition and women’s equality can be reconciled. Her rise to the position of chief did not go unscathed—she faced harsh resistance from the more traditional segments of the Cherokee population who feared that a female leader would destroy balance between the sexes, some even going to the extent of attempting to menace and intimidate her through slashed tires and death threats. Her resounding success as chief erased any doubts as to the capability of a woman to lead in a traditional setting. Also through her leadership she contributed to the eradication of oppression and discrimination, not just for women but for all Cherokee, whose history is a tragic one of neglect and abuse by the federal government. She decided that the only way that the Cherokee would ever lead better lives would be if they took their lives into their own hands, and began instituting social policies at the tribal level rather than waiting for assistance from apathetic outside sources.

I’ve briefly heard of Wilma Mankiller previous to this biography due to the recent social focus on American diversity spilling over into school textbooks. If memory serves, she is often listed as one of the most important American Indians of the twentieth century along with Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Jim Thorpe, and others. Although I had the impression from her simultaneous status in two different oppressed groups (women and Native Americans) that hers would be a story of breaking down prejudice and barriers, it’s good to see specifically what she accomplished as chief of the Cherokee. As for what she can teach me in my own life, any story that involves an individual rising from humble origins to become a leader and a benefactor to their people is inspiring in an age where it increasingly appears as if America is slipping from democracy to plutocracy at all levels of government. Mankiller shows what good can happen when people are put in power based on character rather than power and influence, and I find that motivating in the face of all the other current issues relating to power, how it is attained, and what is done with it once attained that so easily have the power to disillusion.

Resources for further information on this subject: article on Wikipedia

Online biographies at:
Great Women

Offline information: biographical texts, et cetera:

By Wilma Mankiller:

Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (1999)

Every Day is a Good Day: Reflections of Contemporary Indigenous Women (2004)

By others:

Wilma Mankiller: Chief of the Cherokee Nation by Pamela Dell (2006)

Beloved Women: The Lives of Ladonna and Wilma Mankiller by Sarah Eppler Janda (2007)

A. Kelley

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Nora Hovanic
Women Studies 200
J. Ryan
20 February 2008

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton was born October 26, 1987 in Chicago, Illinois. She was raised by a Methodist family in Park Ridge, Illinois. In 1965 she attended Wellesley College. She majored in Political Science and graduated to attend Yale Law School, where she went on to become a profound lawyer. It was at Yale Law School that she met her husband, 42nd president Bill Clinton. Hillary graduated in 1973, with a Juris Doctor Degree. Hillary would soon be the “first” for many female positions.

Hillary may be first famously known as the 42nd First Lady of the United States. Although she may have been known for being a first lady, Hillary already had many accomplishments under her belt. Already being a successful college and law school graduate, Hillary continued to become a member of the impeachment inquiry staff of 1974 against President Nixon. She later moved to Arkansas and became one of two female staff members at the University of Arkansas. In 1975 Hillary Rodham and Bill Clinton were married. She decided to keep her name Hillary Rodham, as to continue her political job ventures and to separate her marriage from her career ambitions. In 1978 Bill was elected governor of his home state of Arkansas. In January 1979 Hillary became First Lady of Arkansas, as she would remain until 1980 when Bill lost for re-election. He ran again and won in 1982. In 1979 Hillary was named the first full female partner in the Rose Law Firm. From 1978, until her and Bill entered the White House, Hillary made the most income in the household. In 1980 Hillary gave birth to her and Bill’s only child Chelsea. In her stay as First Lady of Arkansas, Hillary had several career accomplishments. One of her most pronounced was from 1987 to 1991 when she chaired the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession. This organization addressed gender bias in the law profession. Hillary was named twice in National Law Journal top 100 most influential lawyers in America. From 1986 to 1982 Hillary also held the first female chair position on the Wal-Mart directors board.

In 1993 Hillary became the First Lady of the United States. She announced she would be using the name Hillary Rodham Clinton. She was the first, first lady to hold a post-graduate degree and have a full-time career until entering the White House. Hillary was also the first to have an office in the West Wing, and would later be known as one the most influential first ladies in the White House. In 1993 Hillary was appointed chairwoman, by Bill, of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. Although Hillary’s health care contributions would not prove effective until 1997, when she became the main force behind the Sate Children’s Health Insurance Program. In 1998 Hillary and Bill’s marriage would be under fire with the intrusion of the Monica Lewinsky Scandal. In the wake of the controversy, Hillary’s approval ratings would rise to the highest they had ever been while Bill was in office.
In 2000, post Hillary and Bill’s White House stay, Hillary would decide to run to be the first female senator of New York. She would be the first United States First Lady to run for an elected office. Hillary won the election in November 2000 with 55% of the vote. She would also run for a second term in 2006 and win again. In 2007 Hillary announced, what she will most likely be remembered for in history beyond being one the most influential first ladies; she would be running for the 2008 presidential campaign democratic nomination. Her position as running for president was first made light in 2002 when Hillary was named among the world’s most powerful people in Forbes and Time Magazine. No woman in history has been nominated by a presidential party for election and it appears Hillary maybe the first nomination, and possibly even the first female President of the United States. It is unclear at this moment in time if she will succeed, but one thing for sure is that she is going down in history as one the most influential women in America.
This day in age, everyone has heard of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and most are either for her or against her. She has contributed to the roles of feminism since being a young college student all the way through today, running for president. Even if she doesn’t become the first woman president she has still opened to the door for the possibility. To ask someone 10 or 15 years ago if they thought there would even be a woman nomination would have been unheard of. She was the first of many women in her law career, White House career, and political career. I find it hard to believe that any woman would not be inspired by Hillary to believe that women can do anything men can. She exceeds the word feminism and is not an idea of a feminist, but actual proof that a woman can do anything. If you would like more information on Hillary, you can simply turn on the news. You can also research her on the internet, and in many books. In 2003 Hillary released an autobiography titled Living History. This book has been translated into 12 languages and I would recommend anyone to read if they were interested in learning more on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Look for more information about Hillary’s party nomination in the following weeks. It will be decided very soon if she will be the democratic front runner for the 2008 presidential campaign.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eleanor Roosevelt - Blog 2

by: Michele Schwamberger
WS 200
February 20, 2008

Eleanor Roosevelt, birth name Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, was born in New York City on October 11, 1884 to Anna Hall and Elliott Roosevelt. Elliott was the younger brother of Theodore Roosevelt. The White House website ( states, “Eleanor was a shy child that was starved for recognition and love.” At age 15, Eleanor attended a school in England, which gave her confidence. Eleanor married her distant cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1905. Eleanor and Franklin had six children. In November 1962, Eleanor passed away in New York City.

Below are some of Eleanor’s major accomplishments in life.

"She's going to last forever as a symbol of the Democratic Party caring about the less privileged," said June Bingham (

Douglas Martin writes, “It was here she fought Tammany Hall, the Catholic Church on aid to parochial schools, and the sweatshops on the Lower East Side. There are still people who remember seeing Mrs. Roosevelt run for a bus, ride a horse in Central Park or dance elegantly.”

Below is what had to say about Eleanor:

“Going to work as a social worker in the East Side slums, Eleanor also taught dance and literature classes to the poor at a settlement house.

Eleanor took a hands-on approach with her deep concern for such less fortunate people.

Eleanor became involved in the League of Women Voters as vice president of the New York branch, the Women's Trade Union League as a member, and the Women's Division of the Democratic Party as a member. Through this work she was able to fight for many controversial issues of the day, such as the right of women to vote (gained in 1920), better working conditions for women, and women's rights in general.

In 1927, Eleanor and Marion Dickerman purchased Todhunter, a private school for girls in New York City.”

I would say all of her above accomplishments show how much of her life she contributed to feminism and trying to stop discrimination for all. She opened doors for other women by fighting such a strong battle for all women to be able to vote and by purchasing a private school for girls and teaching them history among other things. This was a great opportunity that she gave young women.

Yes, I have heard of Eleanor Roosevelt before but not to the extent I feel I now have of her since doing this research. I only knew she was the President’s wife, not what she represented or what she had fought for in the past.

After reading all of Eleanor’s accomplishments, I will be more successful in life by standing up for what I believe in and what I believe is right regardless of how others try and discourage me.


You can learn more about Mrs. Roosevelt from
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library
maintained by Marist College.

Sandra Cisneros

By: Willie Gibson

Sandra Cisneros an established author poet was born in 1954 in Chicago, IL where she later attended Loyola University and graduated in 1976 with a B.A. in English. She later attended graduate school at the University of Iowa and received her M.F.A. in creative writing in 1978.
She has written many books including Bad Boys (Mango Press 1980), My Wicked Wicked Ways (Third Woman 1987, Random House 1992), Loose Woman (Alfred A. Knopf 1994). Currently she resides in San Antonio, Tx where she is unmarried and has no children. Her major accomplishments include receiving the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award and founding both the Macondo Foundation and Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation.
Cisneros literary works fight to undo the many stereotypes that follow the Latino culture in the United States, especially those towards Latinas. Such books, including “Woman Hollering Creek,” describe the perspective of Latinas experience and oppression. She uses these stories to bridge the gap between Anglos and Latinos and to provide a voice to the Latinas that are not heard. Through teaching and counseling of high school dropouts, Cisneros has fought to bring equality, erase the oppressive patriarchy and open doors to young Latinas.
I have lived in San Antonio, Tx but never have heard of Sandra Cisneros. I think she brings a very unique point of view to understanding feminism for Latinas. She delivers a message to acknowledge oppressive situations and shares herself and life experiences to bring about change. In a world where it may seem that change is too much for any one person to accomplish, Cisneros shows that one person’s contributions can make a difference and I think that is something I can use in my own life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Angela Yvonne Davis

Angela Yvonne Davis

Angela Yvonne Davis (born, January 26, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American socialist organizer and professor who was associated with the Black Panther Party (BPP) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Davis was also a prominent member and political candidate of the Communist Party USA. She first achieved nationwide notoriety when she was linked to the murder of Judge Harold Haley during an attempted Black Panther prison break; she fled underground, and was the subject of an intense manhunt. She was eventually captured, arrested, tried, and then acquitted in one of the most famous trial in recent U.S. history.

She is currently Professor of History of Consciousness at the University of California and Presidential Chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She works for racial and gender equality and for prison abolition, and is a popular public speaker, nationally and internationally. Davis is a founder of the anti-prison grassroots organization Critical Resistance.
Davis ran for Vice President on the Communist ticket in 1980 and 1984 along with Gus Hall. She has continued a career of activism, and has written several books. A principal focus of her current activism is the state of prisons within the United States.

She considers herself an abolitionist, not a "prison reformer," and refers to the United States prison system as the "prison-industrial complex." Her solutions include abolishing prisons and addressing the class, race, and gender factors that have led to large numbers of blacks and Latinos being incarcerated.
Davis was one of the primary founders of Critical Resistance, a national grassroots organization dedicated to building a movement to abolish the prison-industrial complex.

The first of the three tracks on Herbie Hancock's 1970 album Mwandishi pays tribute to Angela Davis. The track itself is titled Ostinato (Suite for Angela).
In 1972, John Lennon and Yoko Ono released the song "Angela" about her and the Rolling Stones released "Sweet Black Angel," both of which chronicled her legal problems and advocated for her release. The 1976 film Network features a parody of her in its character Laureen Hobbs.
In the 1987 Eddie Murphy film Raw, Murphy makes a reference to Angela Davis' afro.
An audio clip of Angela Davis is used in a song by underground Virginia rapper Dicap the Emcee.

The Swedish artist Turid starts the song "Visa om imperialismens taktik" with the words "Åh, Angela Davis, det var natt när dom hämtade dej..." (Oh, Angela Davis, they came for you in the night...)

During a Black History Month episode of the Proud Family, Penny Proud had to play the role of Angela Davis for her history project.

Davis appears in the 2006 documentary film "The U.S. Vs. John Lennon" in both the archive footage and in interview segments as Dr. Angela Davis.
Davis's presentation forms a major part of the book and video of the 1996 Feminist Family Values Forum presented by the Foundation for a Compassionate Society in Austin, Texas.

Angela Davis used her time in prison to help others. After the all the protesting she has done she is still known as a great leader. She speaks out against the death penalty in California, and 1995 Million Man March, arguing that the exclusion of women from this event necessarily promoted male chauvinism. In her teaching she encourage development of critical thinking than on imparting knowledge.

I didn’t know much about her as a high school student in the early 70’s everyone want a Angela Davis afro.

Bibliography Books
If They Come in the Morning: Voices of Resistance (1971)
Frame Up: The Opening Defense Statement Made (1972)
Angela Davis: An Autobiography (1974) Women, Race and Class (1981)
Violence Against Women and the Ongoing Challenge to Racism (1985)
Women, Culture and Politics (1989)
The Angela Y. Davis Reader (1999)
Are Prisons Obsolete? (2003)
Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire (2005)

Melinda Scott

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Annie Sprinkle

By: Kelly Lever
Annie sprinkle is a former porn star born in 1954 as Ellen F. Steinberg(Still alive and active today). Sprinkle got a doctorate in Human sexuality and also received her BFA in photograph. She has written books such as “Post-Porn Modernist” and “Harecore from the Heart- The pleasures, Porfits, and Politics of Sex in Performance”. Sprinkle actually gave an artist talk at B.G.S.U a few years back. As an artist Sprinkle has done such performances like one she titles “celebrate the female body”. During this performance she displayed her cervix with a speculum and flashlight to an audience. She takes her sex educatation and uses it to give viewers a different perspective on femininity and sexuality. Sprinkle states “"To me, the television is sex, the bed is sex, the sky is sex, you're sex, I'm sex, everything is sex." Looking at her photos from art school, they just look like porn photos to me. I can appreciate some of the things she has done as an artist like “celebrate the female body” but other pieces confuse me. It in a way reminds me of the section in “33 things every women should know about women’s history” in that during different times women were expected to dress or be this certain way. To me Annie Sprinkle is still conforming to major female ideals that are present in today society. I think that’s what women in porn are doing by using sexuality and sex appeal. Which seems contradictory to feminist views and ways. She is tempting to bridge pornography with sexuality. “her performance explores the tension between feminism and pornography and the power relation that exist in any art that makes use of the female body.” Statement in an article titled “A sprinkle of Porn, Feminism, Art”. Annie is a sex positive feminist.

She puts porn at the center of feminist explanation of women’s oppression, focusing on freedom in sexuality. Annie has help really push along sex positive feminism, which was especially big in the 80’s. So there are women out there that take to her ways of thought. There are also others who are anti-pornography feminist. I would honestly have to say I would fall more into the anti-pornography category. She has taught me that through education and reaching out through art. What you want to express can be hear by so many. Even though, I come from a different view point then Annie Sprinkle there is something to be said about a women who is so open with sexuality and has such dedication to her viewpoint while using different means to express touchy subject matter like sexuality to a large audience of people.

She has written 3 books:
Post-porn Modernist:my 25 years as a multimedia whore
Dr. Sprinkle Spectacular Sex
Harecore from the Heart-The Pleasure, Profits, and Politics of Preformance

Sex has an interview with Annie Sprinkle
Annie Sprinkle swims forward - Article at
Sex Positives? By Thomas Foster, Carol Siegel, and Ellen Berry

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Gloria Steinem

By: Erin Harris

Gloria Steinem was born March 25, 1934 in Toledo, Ohio. Her mother, Ruth Nuneviller, was part German. Her father, Leo Steinem, who was a Jewish-American, was a traveling antiques dealer and the son of immigrants from German and Poland. The family split in 1944, when he went to California to find work while Gloria lived with her mother in Toledo. She also had a sister named Susanne. She attended Waite High School in Toledo, graduated from Western High School in Washington, D.C., and attended Smith College. In 1963 she worked as a Playboy Bunny at the New York club so she could research an article she was writing that exposed how women were treated at the club.

Steinem eventually got a political assignment covering George McGovern's presidential campaign and then she received a position in a New York magazine. Her 1962 article in Esquire magazine about the way in which women are forced to choose between a career and marriage preceded Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique by one year. She became politically active in the feminist movement. Steinem brought out other famous feminists and toured the country with lawyer Florynce Kennedy, and in 1971, cofounded the National Women’s Political Caucus and the Women’s Action Alliance.

In 1972, she helped start the feminist Ms. magazine and wrote for it until it was sold in 1987. She still serves on the advisory board of the same magazine today. Gloria also became Ms. mgazine’s consulting editor in 1991 and that same year, she founded Choice USA, which is a reproductive rights non-profit organization based out of Washington, DC and Oakland, CA. It is youth-led and has a focus on pro-choice movements. During this time, she also faced a number of personal issues such as the diagnosis of breast cancer in 1986 and trigeminal neuralgia in 1994. Almost immediately after these horrible tragedies, she focused back her efforts on becoming an advocate for children who she believed had been abused in their daycare centers.
A funny piece of information about Gloria Steinem is that she was actually interviewed in 1998 in regards to the Bill Clinton impeachment and when they asked her if she thought he should be impeached, she said "Clinton should be censured for lying under oath about Lewinsky in the Paula Jones deposition, perhaps also for stupidity in answering at all."

On September 3, 2000, she married David Bale, who is the father of actor Christian Bale. The wedding was performed at the home of her friend, Wilma Mankiller. Mankiller, whom we have read about in our texts, was the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Bale died three years later of a brain tumor unfortunately, and even that didn’t slow her down.

One of the most noble things she did during her lifetime in my opinion was appear in the 2005 documentary, I Had an Abortion, by Jennifer Baumgardner and Gillian Aldrich. Her part in the film had her describe the abortion she had in London. In my opinion, this was a very noble and important thing that she did for today’s society, and I’m sure it took a lot of courage.

I had never heard of this amazing woman before I began this research, but everyone should have heard of her because there was a song written with some of her quotes in it. David Usher, who is a Canadian singer-songwriter, had a song called “Love Will Save the Day” and it includes sound bytes from her speeches. A couple of them include the song's opening with her quote "It really is a revolution," and the ending breaks for the quote, "We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned; we are really talking about humanism." I listened to this powerful song, and it was really touching. Lastly, in the credits of the movie V for Vendetta, this last speech is also quoted.

Some links to additional information on this amazing person are below:

By: Erin Harris

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Susan B. Anthony

By Michelle Rush

Susan Brownwell Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She was the second of eight children in a strict Quaker family. Her parents believed in discipline, education and social justice. Her whole family was involved in the abolitionist and anti-slavery movements. She started her public activism through the temperance (anti-alcohol) movement.

She was a teacher for a private school, and fought the administration wanting equal pay as the male teachers. Her petition was denied, and she was also refused to speak a the temperance rally. She then decided to form her own women's temperance society. She began to fight for the rights sufferage of women. In 1851 she met Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The two became the dearest of friends and joined together in activism.

Susan B. Anthony was known for her traveling, making speeches and appearing before congress. Women's sufferage was her largest concern. She and several other women tried to vote in the 1872 presidential election. For that she was arrested and thrown in jail. The judge ordered the jury to find her guilty and fined her 100$, which she refused to pay.

"I declare to you that women must not depend
upon the protection of men, but must be taught
to protect herself, and there I take my stand."

Susan never married or had children in her lifetime but she did help care for several members of her family when they were ill. Susan B. Anthony died March 13, 1906 (in Rochester, New York) of pneumonia and heart failure. Fourteen years later women gained the right to vote and she is the woman who paved the way. Below is her last public speech.

"I am here for a little time only and then my place
will be filled. But the fight must not cease. You must
see that it does not stop. Failure is not an option."

Wouldn't you like to know more about this incredible woman? Check out these helpful links:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Blog #2-Helen Keller

Helen Keller
-Mandie Kohlenberg
Helen Keller was born June 27, 1880 in Tuscumbia, Alabama to Captain Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller. She was born with no disabilities, but at nineteen months an illness described as “an acute congestion of the stomach and brain,” which could have possibly been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness did not last long, but it left her deaf and blind. She created a sign language with six-year old Martha Washington and by age seven she had over sixty home signs to communicate with her family. Her first word was “water.”
A little after the age of ten, Helen learned Braille and used it to read, not only English, but also French, German, Greek, and Latin. At age twenty-four, she graduated from college, becoming the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Helen suffered a serious of strokes in 1961 and she died, in her sleep, June 1, 1968 at Arcan Ridge, Westpoint, Connecticut at the age of 87. It was only 26 days until her 88th birthday.
The biggest accomplishment she had was accomplishing so many things being blind and deaf that people with no disabilities accomplished the same. She campaigned for women’s right to vote and supported women’s education and birth control. From Helen Keller’s writings: “One gentleman said to me, “I do not approve of college women, because they lose all respect for their men.” She definitely thought differently, obviously. She said Radcliffe College gave America’s women, for the first time, educational opportunities that were equal to those of men. Helen Keller also stated, “I am tempted to think that the perplexed businessman might discover a possible solution of his troubles if he would just spend a few days in his wife’s kitchen.” And, “If they are unable to accomplish their task of the economic system, we women shall have to send them into the kitchen for a few lessons in common-sense economics.”
She also wrote in The Ladies Home Journal about the prevention of blindness. She says, “I am making a plead that the blind may see, the deaf may hear, and the idiot may have a mind. In a word, I plead that the American women may be the mother of a great race.” She also wrote twelve books and numerous articles. She received an honor in 1999, being listed in Gallup’s Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century. In 2003, Alabama honored her on its state quarter. The Helen Keller Hospital is also dedicated to her.
Helen Keller is famous for being deaf and blind and still accomplishing so much in life. I have heard of her many times during my life. Helen Keller stood up for what she believed in and fought for women’s rights, rather it be voting or the right to birth control. I believe seeing someone with such disabilities accomplish so much in life, and fight for women, makes others believe more in them selves and what they could and should do., including myself.
Resources that have been helpful in finding this information for me were the books, “The Story of my Life” by Helen Keller, and “Helen Keller-A Life” by Dorothy Herrmann. Also the following websites:,, and www.afborg/mylife/ .
-Mandie Kohlenberg