11.14.2012

FEMINIST FILM: SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY



This seems to be a day for spreading the good word. A friend wrote to tell me about a Kickstarter campaign launched by two esteemed filmmakers, Mary Dore and Nancy Kennedy. They are raising funds to finish their documentary about the birth of the Women's Liberation Movement in the sixties.

I cannot even believe this story hasn't been told on film before--and maybe that's why those bozo politicians think they can get away with telling women how their bodies are supposed to respond when we're raped, or why we shouldn't be able to get contraception, or why we're sluts if we need it. They have no idea how hard we fought, way back when the storks hadn't found them yet, to get where we are today. We're not done.

And our own daughters (and nieces) (and sons and nephews) have no idea either. Do you guys realize that girls weren't even allowed to wear pants to school? That's how weirdly controlling of women our society was--and that's just the superficial stuff. We've tried to explain it, but nothing does the job better than seeing it. I've whipped out the trusty credit card, because this film must be made; hope you do too.  Just the few clips in the Kickstarter teaser brought floods of memories. And waves of joy and pride. I sure loved being a feminist. Still do. I even have the silver charm a friend made for me--to ward off sexism, not that it worked. I wore it every single day through high school and college....(along with my mother's cameos, which may tell you more about me than about feminism, ahem.)

Bring it on! That movement had a long gestation, at least ten years, because even though I was a thirteen year old feminist, as far as I could tell, when I was in high school in the early seventies the movement was still being born. (Now we need to be born again.) We were "consciousness raising"--one of my all time favorite phrases. We were hell-raising. We were asking for raises. We were raising our fists. We were marching in the streets. We were getting arrested. We were given detention and being grounded. We were arguing, writing, screaming and yelling. We were mad. We were thrilled.

And we sure were beautiful. We still are.


29 comments:

Judith A. Ross said...

How well I remember waiting for the school bus in the middle of winter wearing my above-the-knee, but not-too-short kilt with knee socks. I nearly froze and my thighs were chapped!

I'm still angry. How DARE politicians try to control our health decisions! And on the employment front, I recently reviewed "The Good Girls Revolt" by Lynn Povich about the fight for equal pay at Newsweek.



Coincidentally? One of the new editors Povich mentions who later came on board after the they won the Newsweek lawsuit was a young woman named Dominique Browning.

frances palmer said...

wonderful post - just donated

CWoodyard said...

And we fought long and very hard.......this is so well said, and I'm sending it on immediately to my 6 nieces! Thankyou so much, Dominique! Cynthia

Ronnie302 said...

OK, I'm going to try to keep this story short because, as you know, I am working!

When I was in middle school, schools were on the brink of allowing girls to wear pants to school. One hot day, I wore coolots...remember those half skirt/half short numbers. I was grabbed by the hall guard as I entered school (a public school) and whisked to the principal's office. He called my mom to bring me "appropriate" clothing. She took her sweet time. When mom finally showed up at the end of the day to pick me up, she pranced in wearing very short coolots. The women in the office all stood up and clapped as we exited...mom with a huge proud smile on her face and me with my detention slip in hand. A few weeks later the dress code was dropped.

Yes, maybe this was the tip of the feminist iceberg...just "superficial stuff", but as with all activism, it is powerful to do something, however small. Donated and sent this post to my mom.

Leslie in Portland, Oregon said...

Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to the funding of what looks like it will be an important film. I remember those no-pants-at-school rules, which for me continued when I at Occidental College in Los Angeles, which I entered in the fall of 1965. Of course, female students also were locked in the all-female dormitories each night. All for our own protection! Which is interesting because after I was attacked by and fought off a rapist in my dormitory room one night in early 1966, after he had broken into the dormitory, the college had nothing to say to me and certainly did nothing to protect or in any way help me in the aftermath. Even though I had blood streaming down my legs as I banged on the "dorm mother's" door to beg her to call the police, and even after the police found the basement window the attacker had broken to get in, the college either did not believe me or had no idea what to do. This was not unusual institutional behavior at the time. After surviving that, I was afraid of nothing, and I went on to fly around the world as a purser for Pan Am while attending law school. My feminism crystallized there one day, when almost every female hand was raised in my "Women and the Law" class in response to the professor's query as to how many of us had been sexual assaulted. It is important to remember the lessons we learned in those days...and how we learned them.

William said...

What??? Girls weren't allowed to wear pants to school??? That sounds kind of indecent and. frankly, a little slutty and dirty.

Mardi said...

Hi William, I was a student at University of Vermont in the 60's and the only exception to the no pants rule was if the temperature was under 0 degrees F. We also had a dean of women (not of women's studies). She was the overseer of all female students on campus. Yes, we too were locked into our all female dorms at 10PM on weeknights and 11:30 on weekends.

Mia said...

I'm still in shock, I cannot believe the utter nerve of these politicians, the sheer gall of these idiots. I suppose i should take comfort in the fact that we were not the only group of people that were insulted by these ignorant fools! That said, it was a big wake up call to imagine that we could even come close to this mindset leading the country!

Could it be that we women have become so complacent that something like this type of irrational and archaic mindset could actually be put in a position in 2012 to run this country? Or are the women too busy driving, running households, taking care of aged parents and babies plus holding down jobs to realize how perilously close we were to losing control over our own bodies?

As Elizabeth Warren, the newly elected senator from Massachusetts said, " I can't believe in 2012 I have to tell women that i will fight for equal pay for them"!!!

I was eighteen, and in my first year of nursing school when I landed a stint in the maternity ward, I remember a beautiful young mother of 5 being admitted, she had tried to abort her pregnancy and was very sick, a few hours later she died. As a young girl, I was aware of what had happened, I could understand the under current that was rippling thru the ward. Some nurses whispering about how this could have been avoided if abortion was legal. Others were not so compassionate. The Catholic Obstetrician, disgusted, turned to me and told me " to let this be lesson". Shaken to my core, my nursing instructor took me aside and tried to comfort me, then told me not to say a word about what had happened, to anyone, as this poor woman was from a very prominent family, it had to be kept secret at all costs! Later, I overheard nurses being severely reprimanded for voicing their passionate views, one nurse was fired. This was a memory that had stayed buried until this summer, when after reading the political nonsense, it came to the surface in the middle of the night, unsettling me completely.
What ever happened to "We've come a long baby!"? How could women's rights even been an election topic in America in 2012?

Louise Cady-Fernandes said...

Bravo girlfriend!

mary said...

Bring it on!!! I cannot believe that this must be revisited in the second decade of the 21st century. When I graduated from Duke in 1970, women students had finally "earned" the right to wear slacks on the "Men's" campus; we had "earned" the right to advance from strict curfews to key cards; from no guys in dorm rooms to coed dorms----Of course, the men had had these rules all along with no questions asked. We do not need to retrace our steps. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. Mary

William said...

Let me get this straight, the female dean was okay with women wearing no pants to class unless it was below 0 degrees F? Then she required pants? So you would go to class with no pants unless it was below 0 degrees F? Can I just stop for a moment and point out that this sounds sort of kinky?

tj said...

hi - I would love to share the kickstart trailer for the movie on Facebook with the intro by Dominque but when I click the button it wants to post someones comment from below?... is that what will show up? can you help otherwise I may just forward the email to friends
thank you for this as well :)

warren said...

Luv ur rant! I am annoyed as hell when I see how Hollywood churns out the crap that turns women back into objects. Now more women than boys are going to college. Hope I live long enough to see the change become permanent. It's happening here in WA state.

SlowLoveLifeDominique said...

Thanks for my morning's laugh, William. Yes, it does seem KINKY indeed that the guys were deciding our dress code....to say nothing of CHILLY...

dterrydraw said...

Oh, Mary(and I see you've spent at least some time in North Carolina)....a good, longtime friend of mine was raised in Winston-Salem, where her father was dean of the law school. She tells of how she later went to law school at UNC in Chapel Hill, during the first years (the mid/late 70's, I suppose?) when women were admitted. To this day, I'm still gobsmocked to hear from her (she has NO PROBLEM telling this) that, when she and the other women were law-skool students, they were "allowed" to go to the law-library from 7-10 (men were allowed to go whenever they pleased after dinner and until the joint closed at midnight). Once there, female students were "allowed" to sit ONLY in the reading room.....if they wanted or NEEDED a particular reference book, they had to stand in line and request that a library employee go fetch it for them. they were FORBIDDEN to go into the stacks.
Men were, of course, allowed to roam as and when and as often as they pleased. Women were not allowed to peruse the stacks or, for that matter, even go specifically to find the book they needed for tomorrow's test. Is that MEDIEVAL, or what?.....
this was in the late 1970's....not so very long ago....it just boggles the mind, doesn't it?
thank God for Elizabeth Warren. I don't pretend to know much at all about her, but I remain extraordinarily impressed and delighted (I mean that) by her and the things she has no problem saying publicly. The lady speaks her mind, and it's refreshing (or perhaps just a relief) to find that so many have listened to her.
At the risk of seeming a complete sexist-jerk (and as I've asked Herve)????....am I the only person who thinks that, in addition to being a formidable intellect and making it clear that she is not at ALL scared of taking-on a fight, Elizabeth Warren is just plain-out and unavoidably pretty? No one ever mentions that. I happen to think she's got a really lovely face....but, then, I draw these things for a living and tend to notice them.
In any case, I think Warren is just tops, in every way I could cite.
----david terry
www.davidterryart.com

dterrydraw said...

Oh, William.....you need to re-read "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Anna Karenina". Quite aside from all Feminist and "political" considerations, the fact remains that, for CENTURIES, women remained more-or-less warm (if not exactly "comfortable") in hoop-skirts, bustles, corsets, all manner of bustiers, and/or toe-to-neck strait-jackets (their reward for objecting to the former).
And I'm the only person (I gather you're too young to recall this, William...take that as a compliment) recalling the late 1970's....when, while Bruce Jenner and various, male tennis stars wore presumably awe-striking "athletic shorts", the same short-pants (when worn by women) were referred to has "hot shorts"?
As the Wicked Witch of West moaned as she melted away....."What a world...what a world....."
---david terry
www.davidterryart.com

Mia said...

Oh David, I wholeheartedly agree with you, she is BEAUTIFUL! That you would pick that up is no surprise to me.The funny thing about this is that early on in the campaign Scott Brown made a nasty remark about her looks!!! He went down a few notches in my book.
I got the impression right after that that his idea of beauty was far from mine. I am not sure if you got the same amount of political ads that we got here in MA, but all of Scott Brown ads included very unflattering pictures of Elizabeth Warren, the content as well as her physical looks.
That said, she looked absolutely stunningly wholesome and beautiful to me on November 6th at about 9:00pm when she won the election!

Judith A. Ross said...

David! I am so proud of our new Senator in Massachusetts. She came to Concord right before the election, where I saw her in person, and yes, she is amazing in every possible way.

William said...

Well Dominique I'm glad you got a morning laugh out of it. I'm still reeling from learning that there was a time in this country not so very long ago when girls went to school with no pants on!

William said...

One thing I need clarity on here, Dominique, is were girls going to school with both no pants and no underpants? My sense is that is what was going on. I really feel the obligation to get the 'Parents Television Council' involved here because of all the good work they have done fighting indecency and I sense they would be of great help. I might make this my cause to make sure it never happpens again.

Darlene said...

Some things never change. Here is the latest controversy at a high school in suburban Minneapolis:

http://minnetonka.patch.com/articles/minnetonka-high-school-principal-asks-for-modesty-but-doesn-t-ban-yoga-pants

Christine Willis said...

Hell Yes!

Laurel Sears said...

I have a 5 year old daughter, a 2.5 year old daughter and a 68 year old mother. I've just started telling my daughters about how, 90 years ago, women could not vote. It blows my mind that we were sub-citizens. It also blows my mind when my mother tells me stories of having to agitate for the right to wear pants to work in 1970 in Santa Cruz, CA. She had to argue to wear pants as she crawled around under desks to hook up cable and wires. As the only woman in a male dominated field (computer programming), she took a lot of flack. But she gave as well as she got, I have little doubt. I've never NOT been a feminist. And I still have to work hard to keep my swagger up- some days are easier than others.

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