March is Women’s History Month, and we at the EMW would like to celebrate that. I went to the Department of English’s list of faculty and staff and sent out a mass email asking them two questions. Here are some responses, more to follow.
Dr. Molly McCaffrey:
How do you celebrate this month?
I’m a firm believer in the idea of “voting” with our dollars, meaning we should spend our money on the groups we want to support. One of the groups I most want to support is female artists, so this month I’m going to try to spend my free time reading books and seeing films by women. Women are grossly underrepresented in Hollywood, so I’m really excited about Friends with Kids by first-time director Jennifer Westfeldt. I also plan to see The Hunger Games, which is adapted from Suzanne Collin’s wonderful dystopian novel. Though women are better represented in publishing than they are in film, they are still not getting the same “air time” as male writers. For that reason, I hope to read several books by women this month. I’m currently reading Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club and will start Mishna Wolff’s I’m Down as soon as I’m done with that. Also, Bobbie Ann Mason will be at the SOKY bookfest in April, so I hope to read one of her books this month. In addition, I’m encouraging my students to write something for the Gender and Women’s studies creative writing contest. Finally, I have asked all of the female readers of my blog, I Will Not Diet, to look in the mirror and find something they like about themselves in my “Five easy steps for celebrating women everywhere” post: http://www.iwillnotdiet.com/?p=2003
What does it mean to you?
In a time when women are under attack on all sides–by politicians and by radio show commentators–I think this month gives us a wonderful opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of equality and the feminist ideals that support that goal.
Dr. Deborah Logan’s, who is actually in India right now:
Here in India, media would have us believe that the primary ways of celebrating are 1) buying skinny jeans and/or 2) diamond jewelry (discounts offered on both!). One alternative is next week’s conference at Vidyasagar University in West Bengal, ”Writing by Women and Writing about Women,” where I’m presenting a paper on this theme as regards India. In terms of your query, I believe the concept of IWD/WHM in India is relevant only to the comparatively few Indian scholars and Euro-Western outsiders – not at all to the countless, illiterate women working construction or sweeping or begging on the roads, multiple children in tow.
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