RIP: Eva Figes, Author and Feminist

In the protest-driven and raucous-rebellious 1970s, three books drove the feminist agenda: Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics (1969), Germaine Greer’s Female Eunuch (1970), and  Eva Figes’ Patriarchal Attitudes (1970).

 
Raising two children after an acrimonious divorce at age 38, Figes examined the inequality inherent in marriage as well as  women’s inferior status in society: “The much vaunted male logic isn’t logical, because they display prejudices — against half the human race — that are considered prejudices according to any dictionary definition.”

 
Her anger and sense of righteousness steeped in her like hot tea after she experienced workplace discrimination. Her divorce proceedings further amplified her anger. Like other women of that era, her ex-husband had to guarantee the lease for her home. She was receiving no alimony by the way!

“Minutes” by “Minutes”

The minutes taken at the first AAUW general meeting in 1882, were written in a neat hand and went on for pages. Sixty-five college graduates from eight colleges and universities met together in Boston. Their goal was to change perceived injustice in their world. The journey they began continues 130 years later. Each successive generation has become one more link to forge a great chain of equality. Imagine all the minutes written by hand, typed and duplicated on reams of paper and now zooming across the net.

Kudos to AAUW’s philanthropic efforts!

We can all feel good about what we are achieving in AAUW. In addition to focusing upon research, education and advocacy, we are among the elite philanthropic organizations.
AAUW was recently recognized as a top charity by the Huffington Post, Charity Navigator, and even NerdWallet!

In addition, GreatNonprofits has again recognized AAUW was as a top-rated women’s empowerment organization! GreatNonprofits catalogs and shares reviews of nonprofit organizations around the world. The website allows the public to post stories about and rate their experiences with nonprofits and to find out more about the organizations they are interested in supporting.

Congressman Dingell responds

September 12, 2012

Ms. Anne Louise Gautreau
Dearborn, Michigan 48124

Dear Ms. Gautreau:

Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 3435, the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act.  I appreciate hearing from you.

As you may know, H.R. 3435, the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act, was introduced by Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) on November 16, 2011, and this legislation was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services, of which I am not a member.  If enacted, the STOP Act would establish a Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Council, as an independent entity from the Department of Defense (DoD), outside its chain of command.  This council would review cases of sexually related offenses that has been referred to a military appellate court or the Department of Justice (DOJ), and would submit a report to the Secretary of Defense, Congress, and the Attorney General on each Director request for referral to a higher court.  The main task of the office created by the STOP Act would be to investigate, prevent, and reduce the amount of sexual assault incidents in the Armed Forces.  Additionally, H.R. 3435 would also create a database known as the Military Sexual Registry, which would collect and maintain all of the data related to military sexual assault incidents.

You may be interested to know I am a strong supporter of our nation’s domestic violence laws.  I have been a steadfast supporter of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) since its introduction and passage by a bipartisan majority in 1994.  VAWA has proven to be a giant step forward in our country’s response to violence against women.  It recognized the devastating impact that gender-based crimes have on women and took action to combat such offenses by offering grants to state and local governments and nonprofit organizations.  These grants have provided invaluable funding to improve prosecution of violent crimes against women, encourage arrests in domestic violence incidents, provide rape prevention and education programs, and promote other important initiatives to combat gender-based crime.  You can rest assured I will keep your comments in mind should this legislation reach the House floor for a vote.

Again, thank you for being in touch.  For news on current federal legislative issues, please visit my website at www.house.gov/dingell; you can also sign up there to receive my e-newsletter.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me again if I may be of assistance with this or any other matter of concern.

With every good wish,

Sincerely,

John Dingell
Member of Congress

With Permission: Joel Robinson

These striking photographs are the work of Canadian-photographer, Joel Robinson. I contacted him recently to gain permission to use his work, and he most generously agreed. I was hoping the Dearborn Press & Guide would use one of his images to accompany yesterday’s “Be Our Guest” column written by yours truly and entitled “Portable magic available for a low price at sale.” The title alludes to Stephen King’s metaphor, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” For me Joel Robinson’s photographs capture the magic of being a fully engaged bibliophile. Check out his website http://joelrobisonphoto.wordpress.com/. Etsy sells his work for very reasonable prices as well.

Looking forward to seeing all of the AAUW-Dearborn branch faithful this week at the book sale at the Dearborn Ice Skating Center!

Delicious insights about reading books

  • I was the kid who got in trouble for reading past my bedtime.
  • If I could be paid to read books, I think I would die happy.
  • I like to walk down the aisles of the library or bookstore and say hello to the books I’ve already read. It’s like greeting an old friend.
  • Asking a bookworm to name their favorite book is like asking a mother to pick a favorite child.
  • I am reading this book because I don’t want to think about my life. I believe it is what is known as escapism.
  • I adore the feeling of being completely taken in by a book. When the tears of joy or sadness wet your cheeks. When you snort with laughter in a crowd. When you shout at the pages in anger.
  • I read slower toward the end of the book because I don’t want it to end.
  • When I finish a book, I close the back cover and just sit there.
  • I reread books not because I forgot. I reread to make sure I remember.
  • The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think. — Harper Lee
  • No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for READING or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance. — Confucius
  • The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. — Jane Austen

Source of first nine quotations: Phillipe Watkins’ “Peg-it Board”

Victors or Unwitting Victims?

What is success? Does it reside in cognitive, physical, emotional, social or spiritual satisfaction? Is it dependent upon gender traits? Is it rooted in cultural constructs or the rule of law? Is it apolitical or totally akin to political doctrines today?

The New York Times has printed a thought provoking review about a controversial new book, THE END OF MEN And the Rise of Women, by Hanna Rosin in this Sunday’s book-review section.

Jennifer Homans, the reviewer states: “a new matriarchy is emerging, run by young, ambitious, capable women who — faced with men who can’t or won’t be full partners — are taking matters into their own hands.” But the crux of the matter is how differently class reflects the newly emerging matriarchal America.

 
“Rosin’s chapter on women at ‘the top’ indulges the soul-searching of educated women trying to ‘have it all.’ She gives us Silicon Valley as today’s mecca, insisting that companies like Google and Facebook — flexible, new-economy places — are (in spite of their notorious frat-house cultures) solving the problems of women and children and work.”

 
The ideal of women reaching the top and then turning around to reach down and pull others up behind them is still a rarity: “…women aren’t always, or even usually, looking out for other women — or even being nice to them. Many prefer to work with men; and some are willing to put in the long hours it takes to wrest their way up the chain of command.”

 
Putting the book’s provocative title aside, it is a fact that men in the upper-class positions are not going anywhere soon! However, the dynamic of a more matriarchal economy is occurring in the middle and lower classes. Among men who lost jobs in manufacturing, many are still unemployed. Many more have simply dropped out of the labor market altogether as the women in their lives and government subsidies keep them functioning. The statistics are almost unfathomable: “…since 2000 the manufacturing economy has lost six million jobs, a third of its total work force — much of it male. In 1950, 1 in 20 men in their prime were not working; today the number is a terrifying 1 in 5.”

 
The new global economy has down-shifted America into a service economy. Rosin posits that interpersonal skills, emotional I.Q., willingness to communicate and ability to focus favor women’s strengths.  She presents forceful statistics: “By 2009 there were as many women as men in the work force, and today the average wife contributes some 42.2 percent of her family’s income — up sharply from the 2 percent to 6 percent that women contributed in 1970. For every two men who will get a bachelor’s degree this year, there will be three women graduates.”

 
Even as women grow more dominant in the world of work, pursue more education, and take more command of household decisions, love and marriage still call fetchingly and smear logic with enchanting emotional-and-physical reverberations.

 
One thing is certain. The past keeps flowing into the present. Consider how prominently access to birth control, abortion and equal pay for equal work have repeatedly surfaced in campaigns at every level.

 

See “Worth Considering Carefully” posted on September 11, 2012, for David Brooks’ take on the same book.

Past Treasurer Supports First Responders

The Dearborn Patch website caught AAUW-Dearborn member Sharon Dulmage relaxing as she worked to support first responders  on the eleventh anniversary  of 9/11. Dearborn firefighters raised money at the Post Bar to help the work of Friends of Firefighters which is a NYC organization that helps counsel those affected by the horrific work and traumatic stress that followed the infamous attacks.

 

Town Hall: New International Trade Crossing

The Henry Ford will host a town hall meeting right here in Dearborn on the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012, from 3-5 p.m. in the Anderson Center Theatre in the Henry Ford Museum. Featured presentations will be made  by Brian Calley, Lieutenant Governor of Michigan, and Roy Norton, Canada’s consul general.  A question and answer session will follow. For more information, visit http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4247245626.