Serendipity: the Artwork of NWSA and Baltimore.

Saturday was full of art. The best kind of day.

I walked around the NWSA (National Women’s Studies Association, by the way) poster session and looked at the booths from different organizations and publishing companies, and was so inspired. I had to get a print of this amazing artwork I found at the Syracuse Cultural Workers booth.

Art by Erik Drooker, words by Käthe Kollwitz, a 1920s German artist.

You can purchase the print, as well as these powerful postcards I picked up at their website,   SyracuseCulturalWorkers.com

Saturday was a day of serendipity. I met so many completely unique and inspiring individuals. One of them, an artist named Minnie Chiu, approached me while I was writing a few postcards to home. We started talking about our conference experiences and about art. 

Turns out, Minnie was a fantastic feminist artist. She told me about how after the election, she took all the rage and disappointment she was feeling and channeled it all to make a postcard series. She then used those postcards to spread word of the Women’s March. 

She was just so inspiring and I wish I was a bit more eloquent but I don’t know how to describe the awe I felt around all the powerful, fierce women and feminists at the conference. She even gave me a few of her postcards!! 

Postcards by Minnie Chiu.

You can buy her artwork at her Etsy store Practicing Democracy.

Later that day, after going to a roundtable on publishing in feminist scholarly journals, I decided to go out and explore the Charm City a little bit.

In truth, I had heard there was a free art museum that has a very famous collection, and I knew I would be disappointed if I didn’t stand in front of an original Vincent Van Gogh painting and contemplate life when I had the chance. Not only did the Baltimore Museum of Art have Van Gogh, but they also had the largest collection of Matisse paintings in the world! 

It was an emotional experience, to be sure. Georgia O’Keefe, Diego Rivera, Andy Warhol, the list of names goes on. I actually took a ton of pictures, but I’ve decided not to post them. It just doesn’t do it justice. 

What I will say, is if you ever get the chance to go to the Baltimore Museum of Art, take it. Admission is free, but hours are limited so be sure to check their website. 

Bonus Tip: take the Purple Route of the Charm City Circulator to get to the museum from the Federal Hill area. It’s free! 

As I was waiting for the bus to take me back towards the convention center, I spotted some awesome street art. Taped to the light pole at 22nd Street, miles from the convention center, a poster for Trans Rights. Social Justice in action. Feminism hiding in plain sight. I was moved.

Found at St. Paul and 22nd, Baltimore, MD

I joked with my roommates when I got home, the word of the weekend was serendipitous. Seriously, though, the muses shone down on me this weekend. 

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NWSA Round up Day 1

Day 1 of the NWSA conference is coming to a close and I have so many thoughts buzzing around my brain. I’m going to try and grab some of the slower moving ones and share them with you, because the stuff I’m learning is too important not to share.

We got to the conference around 9am and checked in. I had time to go to one session before ours at 11, so I chose Digital Transformations: Scholarship and the Public Sphere which really drew my interest because of this right here. An Adjective and a Noun. I’m always looking for ways to improve the blog and, of course, make it more feminist. 

I learned a lot about digital archiving that I really never knew. As a scholar in the 21st Century, you can imagine how much I use online databases and digital archives for research. I never really thought about how much work goes into those, and the potential politics and special interests that go into “simple” things like categorizing and tagging literature. 

I also spoke with someone from the blog Nursing Clio, which is not about nursing at all, but about feminist history. I encourage you to check it out at Here. I especially liked the post about fleas, because it made me examine something I thought I was sure of, my hate for fleas.

Next was our roundtable discussion, titled Community (Colleges) of Resistance: Revisiting Class in the Intersection of Women’s Studies and Activism. My good friend Jill moderated it while I and 2 other JCTC students answered some questions on activism projects we’ve started in the community. It felt so amazing to sit next to these accomplished individuals and talk a out something important to us– activism. We also had a great turnout, at least 15 people were actively engaged in our conversation, gave thoughtful questions and fantastic feedback. I wish I could say more but honestly, I am not far from K.O. so before my brain turns to mush I am going to bid you all good night.

Stay tuned for another Round Up tomorrow. There’s so much I haven’t shared with you yet!!

✌ Rach

Gorillaz Fictional Band Member Drops Sick Playlist

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Photo credit: Wikipedia  

 

Mostly, Facebook is just a great way for me to waste a lot of time, but every once in a while, I find a real diamond in the rough of my news feed. This week, that diamond came in the form of an article from Bullet about Gorillaz fictional bandmember and lead guitarist, Noodle’s newest project: a playlist on SoundCloud. To be honest, I had forgotten about the Gorillaz until I saw this article. I was so excited to learn that the Gorillaz have a new album coming out, and they’ve been doing super random, cool promotional stuff, like giving each band member their own origin stories. The newest thing that’s been released in the ramp-up to their new album is this playlist I mentioned on SoundCloud, and it is everything my feminist dreams are made of.

Noodle has released a funky, fantastic, and feminist playlist to hype you up and get you moving. I have listened to the 28 minute long playlist at least 5 times since I found it a couple days ago. Every voice you hear is female and that is pretty damn cool when they’re rapping about riding low and singing about not giving a fuck. Noodle’s playlist is a fabulous reminder that being a girl is powerful!

Plus, like 26 minutes in, she hits me with the Tardis! Girl, you’re awesome. Thanks for the tunes 🙂

Ok, now I gtg find these backstories… Who is Noodle?

Listen to 私 Noodle❗️ by Gorillaz #np on #SoundCloud

Women Who Wow Us: Maria Montessori

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found out https://creativesystemsthinking.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/let-a-childs-spirit-be-free-to-unfold-m-montessori/

Monday was WWW Us day, and it also happened to be Maria Montessori’s birthday.  Unfortunately,  I’ve been really slacking off on my blogging, so just two days late, here’s your weekly Women Who Wow us.
Maria Montessori was born on August 31st, 1870 in Italy.  She was raised middle class at a time when Italy, and the rest of the world held fairly strict gender roles. Despite this, though, she refused to fit into any boxes and, as a child and an adult, succeeded in many things thought at the time to be “masculine.”
Maria and her family moved to Rome when she was 14 and she began attending classes at a boys’ technical school, where she excelled in the sciences, especially biology. Her father never quite supported her, but her mother did. This continued into adulthood, when Maria went to the University of Rome and became the first female doctor in Italy.
Her choices of concentraion as a doctor were pediatrics and psychology, and she used these to treat children who came to the free clinic at her school. She made many observations on the psychology and intelligence of these children.
In 1900, Maria became the director of a school for developmentally disabled children and began to extensively research and observe early childhood development and education. Maria developed an education plan and practiced it within her school and found remarkable improvements in student development. She began talking and writing about her findings, and also use these speeches and paper to advocate for women’s and children’s rights.
After several years of success helping disabed children, the Italian government gave Maria the oppurtunity to help “abled” children. She was given charge of 60 low-income children from 1-6 years old. She tweaked her method where necessary and used it in her new school. This method is now referred to as the Montessori Method.
The Montessori Method refers to an environment where the teacher allows the student to learn what they would like, how they would like to learn it. One of her most famous quotes is, “The Greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, The Children are now working as if I don’t exist.
By 1925, The Montessori Method had gained great popularity all over the world, including in America. There were over 1,000 schools in the United States at it’s peak in 1925. They method eventually lost favor around 1940.
By then Maria had been forced to flee Italy and move to India, where she developed a program called Education for Peace. This program, and the work she did on it, earned her two Nobel Peace Prize nominations.
Maria Montessori died in 1952, in the Netherlands. In the 1960’s Montessori schools saw another bout of popularity, and there are many in the United States and all over the world still today. In fact, Montessori schools have recently been recognized as a major influence of many famous movers and shakers. Check out this video, where Google Founders talk about the influence a Montessori education had on them.
I’ve always loved Maria Montessori, and her system of education. I have learned a lot more about her while researching her for this post, and it’s been great! I hope you enjoyed learning, too!!
Until next time,
Stay Awesome

7 Seriously Important Feminist Readings

After telling you guys all about Margaret Mead yesterday, I had someone ask to recommend some of her essays to read. This, of course, got my brain swirling with all the wonderful papers, stories, and other writings I have come across since I started studying Women’s and Gender Studies. I feel like just about everything I have read in the last few years is extremely important because there are so many different facets and viewpoints to feminism. I could list every thing I’ve read since 2012 and I promise there would still be SO much to learn, for me and for you.

So, I have shortened this down to a handful of papers and stories that I think encompasses several different topics that you can use as firepower against MRA’s and meninists and racists who say ignorant shit.

  1. Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, By Peggy McIntosh

This essay, written in 1988, is still 100% relevant. It is about privilege. Whether that be white privilege, male privilege, straight, cisgender, religious privilege, even privilege for being able to live in a Western Society. The first step in becoming a feminist is recognizing your privilege and accepting that you have no idea what people who aren’t as lucky as you go through. This essay does a great job of breaking down simple privileges that we never realize we take advantage of.

2. bell hooks

THIS is a good place to start with bell hooks, (lowercase letters intentional) but I suggest reading anything by her you can get her hands on. Her rhetoric is honest and painful, in the best way. She deals a lot with issues of race. Also, she’s from Kentucky and I think that’s awesome.

3. I Am Not a Rapist By John Stoltenburg

This essay is  written by a male feminist activist. Stoltenburg has long been a supporter of women’s rights, writes and speaks against violence towards women, and tries to reframe how we as a society perceive masculinity. Also, he’s a guy!!! A MAN who’s a feminist! Whhhhaaatttt. But seriously, he writes well and I really like this essay.

4. X: A Fabulous Child’s Story

This is a fictional short story that explores the idea of society-constructed gender roles. I actually recommend it to any of my friends about to have a child, and now I recommend it to you. It is heart warming and sweet, but remember it is just fiction. Still gives you something to ponder on though.

5. 1.5 Million Missing Black Men

This is actually a newer article from the New York Times, from April of this year. I added it to this list, though because I think it’s really important. True feminists believe any social injustice is wrong, and “the race issue” is one of the most important issues of our time. To me, this article proves that. NYT takes facts and statistics and forces the reader to realize that PoC have a harder time living “normal” lives than cis, white people. Before you disagree, or you are offended, read the article. They do a much better job of explaining this than I do.

6. Am I Blue? By Bruce Coville

This is a really witty short story that explores identity and homosexuality in a very relatable way.

7. Margaret Mead

I can’t find any direct articles or excerpts from her books, but I did find a few articles explaining why her work is important. For me, personally, her work isn’t as relevant as some of the newer pieces I’ve listed above.


These six articles and stories are the very basic “Starter Pack” for feminists, if you will. I did not discover any of these myself, but was introduced to them, by amazing professors like Jill, my mentor and feminist role model. I tried to cover a number of topics, because that’s what feminism does! It doesn’t JUST follow “women’s issues” like many people believe, because we understand that if one person is held back, then we are all held back as a society.

I would love to hear what you think about these different readings! Which one is your favorite?

What did I leave out? Is there an article or story you feel is JUST WRONG to leave out here?

I fully plan on doing another round up of important readings, so we can move forward as a society.

Peace & Love

Rach

Women Who WOW Us presents Amelia Earhart

I love this color portrait I found of Amelia on fiddlersgreen.net
I love this color portrait I found of Amelia on fiddlersgreen.net

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life.”

Amelia Earhart was someone that could be a great role model to anyone.

She was a game changer in both the field aviation and in helping women everywhere see their own potential. She set nine flying records and sold several books. All while everyone around her said a woman could never do it. She has always been a big hero of mine.

In this post I will tell you about Amelia’s accomplishments and her amazing willpower.  I hope you take away from this that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.

Amelia Earhart was born July 24th, 1987 in Atchinson, Kansas, but she did not stay there for long. She grew up very unconventionally, especially for the time, and was quite the tomboy. She spent her childhood moving from town to town a lot with her railroad attorney parents. Eventually she ended up in Toronto, Canada, where her sister lived. In Toronto Amelia took a Red Cross first aid course and enlisted as a Nurse’s Aid tending to soldiers during World War 1. Following World War 1 Amelia returned to the states and enrolled in the premed program at Columbia University.

In her heart, though, Amelia must have heard another calling, because in 1920, after only a year at Columbia Amelia left the school and travels to New York where she went on her very first plane ride. After being up in the clouds, Amelia knew she had do it again, and was determined to take flying lessons.

The very next year, 1921, Amelia was able to buy her first plane, a bright yellow two-seater she nicknamed the “Canary”. Amelia used the Canary to set her first record, as the first woman to fly up to 14,000 feet in altitude.

In the years that followed, Amelia had some rough times. In 1924 Amelia was sick and had to be hospitalized for Chronic sinusitis. She was forced to sell the Canary and work several odd jobs, including a social worker, a teacher, and a salesperson for Kinner Airster, the same company that produced her first plane.

Then, on a cold morning in April, 1928, a fateful call was made. The man on the phone said “How would you like to be the first women to fly across the Atlantic?” With that phone call history was made. Even though Amelia was just a passenger, she and her whole team were given a parade and reception at the white house with then president, Calvin Coolidge.

Little did Amelia know, on this history making flight she would meet her future husband, George P. Putnam. Putnam also became Amelia’s manager, organizing her interviews and public appearances, booking her a luggage and clothing line, and even publishing two of her books, “The Fun of It” and “Last Flight”.

Though most of the records Amelia set were women’s records, this did not deter her. She felt she was always fighting to be seen as an equal person in a man’s world. She was quoted saying “Now and then women should do for themselves what men have already done–occasionally what men have not done–thereby establishing themselves as persons, and perhaps encouraging other women toward greater independence of thought and action.” Amelia believed every person, man and woman was capable of doing ANYTHING they set their mind to, and I think she is a great proof of that.

On June 1st 1937, Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan departed from Miami, Florida on a 29,000 mile journey that would take her around the entire world. She would be only the second person ever–and the first woman–to make this flight. By July 2nd almost three quarters of the trip had been completed. Inaccurate maps and shady weather had made the trip difficult for the pair, and their next stop, Howland Island would be the most challenging. Howland Island is only a mile and a half long and a half-mile wide. There landing would have to be perfect.

Despite constant contact with the US Coast Guard, who were stationed all around the island, Earhart and Noonan could not find their landing zone and shortly before 9 in the morning they lost communication entirely. Nothing was ever heard from them again. The U.S. government spent nearly $4 million scouring 250,000 square miles of ocean before finally calling off the search on July 19th.

On Howland Island there was a lighthouse built in Amelia Earhart’s honor. I hope you will always remember Amelia for her courage, her vision, and her ability to push the envelope in both aviation and women’s’ rights. I hope Amelia Earhart helps you to see the potential in yourself. Anything you set your mind to is possible.

Juliette Gordon Lowe: Founder of the Girl Scouts

Today I want to tell you about the woman who founded the Girl Scouts. She was an incredible, unique woman, especially at the end of the 19th Century. I really relate to her in a lot of ways. We both love the arts and having fun outside and being active. We both have a strong desire to accomplish things and help people. Juliette Gordon Low is one of those ladies I really look up to. She is a woman who wows me.

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Juliette Gordon Low was born on Halloween, 1860 in Savannah, Georgia. She was a good-natured and beautiful baby according to all accounts. She was given the nickname “Daisy.” Juliette had a complicated childhood, being born just before the Civil War to a “divided house.” Her father was a Southern slave owner and her mother was part of a prominent Northern family who helped found the City of Chicago. For the many years the war dragged on Juliette, her mother, and her siblings barely survived. Once the war was over they were moved to her maternal grandparents in Illinois. There, Juliette attended boarding and finishing schools and lived a wholly different life than she had known on her Southern plantation.

Juliette learned all the appropriate subjects for girls to learn at the time. As a result, she gained a lifelong love of the arts; she could sketch, write poems, write and act in plays, paint, and sculpt. Juliette, however, yearned for something more. She loved the outdoors and was constantly caught sneaking out to play tennis, swim, canoe, and ride horse, all of which were frowned upon at the strict finishing schools to which she was sent.

Juliette was later called “Crazy Daisy” because she was often very eccentric and whimsical. She was known for “good natured disasters” and “frequent experiments that went awry.” Additionally, Juliette was an animal lover and had many pets in her life, including dogs and exotic birds. To Juliette, however, life was not yet whole. She still sought purpose and meaning in her early twenties as well as independence, something young girls at the time could only dream of.

Eventually her parents agreed to allow her to move to New York to study painting. She believed she could achieve a little financial independence by selling her art. Still, though she was expected to get married. She finally did, at 26 years old, to wealthy cotton merchant William Mackay Low. He was an Englishman and after their wedding they purchased a home in London, but Juliette’s time was more often spent in America and travelling. As a result of a freak accident on her wedding day, Juliette lost the hearing in one, and eventually both of her ears. She often travelled searching for a cure to her deafness. Meanwhile, her husband was travelling with his madame , gambling, partying, hunting and having a good ole time. Eventually Juliette found out and during the divorce trials William Mackay Low drop dead while on vacation with his mistress. Karmaaa!

After William died Juliette began travelling the world and eventually ran into Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts. She was sure she would hate him, but ended up thinking he was very charming; they also shared many views and ideas, especially on the new youth movement of the time. After their meeting Juliette spent all of her time and energy on the  creating a fledging youth movement.

Coincidentally, Baden-Powell had been searching for an answer to his problem with girls. They kept showing up with their brothers, eager to learn all the same skills and play the same games. This, especially in the beginning of the Twentieth Century created enemies, those who believed in would “feminise the boys”, or make the girls more masculine.

Less than a year after their fated meeting, Juliette founded the first Girl Scouts in her hometown of Savannah, Ga.  At that first meeting there were 18 girls, now there are 2.8 million girls in the Girl Scouts of America. The Girl Scouts, since the time of it’s beginning, teach girls not only about homemaking skills, but also survival and nature skills as well as preparing girls for possible roles as professional adults. The Girl Scouts have never excluded girls with disabilities, something Juliette was very serious about, never letting her deafness hold her back.

In 1927, Juliette found out she had breast cancer, but she kept it a secret and kept working diligently with the Girl Scouts of America until her death. She was buried in Savannah, GA and has received many awards and medals, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Juliette Gordon Low was a phenomenal woman, and it has been an absolute pleasure researching her life and achievements.