I sat in a frigid moot court room at a conference on the morning of March 8, trying to concentrate. Within an hour of the program’s opening keynote, my underarms had become damp with that weird cold sweat that happens when you are at once freezing and yet decidedly overwarm in your wool overcoat. I was distracted, trying to decide whether I was sick, menstruant, nervous, or inappropriately dressed. My coat was long and fitted over my suit coat, and I was vaguely worried about bleeding through or around what had become a misaligned feminine product. Sitting straight in all those stiff layers for several hours felt, I imagined, something like the confinement of a full body corset.
The collar was taut around my neck, which made me feel sort of protected, but my presently over-long hair was caught up in a bun that kept bumping against the back of that same collar. My glasses were smudged, and I can barely see out of them anyway at present, so I pushed them on top of my head. However, my piled up, giant-feeling hair kept rocking them off center, so they sat at a precarious tilt on their perch. Every time I leaned to get something from my purse, they would clumsily tumble forward off my head and onto the floor. My pulled-back hair was giving me hair headache (which is just hard to explain if you’ve never had it – maybe something like a toothache in your hair follicles), and my left eye was working a sty that made my left eyelid twice the size of the right one. My eyes are naturally a little unevenly sized, and it is especially apparent when I am tired, so with the sty, I was rocking a sort of partial Peter Lori look. Continue reading “Integrity of the Self by Natalie Weaver”
Happy International Women’s Day! I hope it is a happy day for you as we recognize women’s achievements throughout the world. Our FAR community is not only for or about women, but as feminists in some form or another, collectively we support women, their growth, their health, and their contributions to the world. On a day like today, we should take note of what still needs to be done and recommit ourselves to our work. But let’s not rush past an opportunity for joy and celebration. Many generations of women have fought for equal rights and participation in all sectors of society, and we have made progress. To commemorate that legacy today, I am highlighting just a few of the women who inspire me with their lives and with their work. They are my “womenspiration.” My hope is that you join me in recognizing them and that as you read about them, you reflect on the women who inspire you.
“I stood in the authenticity of my being: Black, preacher, Baptist, woman. For the same God who made me a preacher made me a woman, and I am convinced that God was not confused on either account.”
– Reverend Dr. Prathia Hall
These words came across my Facebook feed on Sunday in celebration of International Women’s Day. Reconciling Ministries Network put the statement on its Facebook page, along with a picture of Prathia Hall preaching from the pulpit, in remembrance and honor of women leaders who contributed to the US Civil Rights Movement. This past Sunday, March 8, when the quote was displayed, marked the 50th anniversary of Selma’s Bloody Sunday. Prathia Hall was a leader in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and one of the activists on the Edmund Pettus Bridge who were attacked as they began to march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Later in her life, she became an ordained minister, professor, and womanist theologian.
For me, this past weekend was about remembrance through many forms. While there were many events commemorating Selma and the important events that unfolded there 50 years ago, my family and I were focused on a more intimate form of remembrance. On Saturday, we held a dinner and informal memorial service for my godfather who passed away last month. I got the news of his death on a day when I’d been doing some deep soul-searching and reflecting about the image I present to the world and its correspondence with who I am and desire to be. Just a few days prior, I’d spoken to my godfather about his health and subsequently, I had been questioning how I might be more connected to him. We lived several states apart, and I wondered how I could be a good goddaughter to him despite the distance. Those questions are left unanswered in the wake of his death. Continue reading “Role Play: In Search of the Authenticity of My Being by Elise Edwards”
According to their website, International Women’s Day (March 8) is a “global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.” The day was established to honor the work of the suffragettes who campaigned for women’s right to vote. (Note that the word “suffragette” is derived from “suffrage,” the right to vote. Today some women prefer to lose the “-ette” syllable, which diminishes any word it’s added to, and say “suffragist.”) “Great unrest and critical debate,” the website continues, “was occurring amongst women [at the beginning of the 20th century]. Women’s oppression and inequality was [sic.] spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.”
On March 19, 1911, the site continues, “more than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic Triangle Fire in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events.”
Two thousand years earlier in Rome, the month of March began with the Matronalia, or Festival of Women, when the Vestal Virgins entered a sacred grove and hung offerings of their hair on the oldest tree. Some historians say that Roman matrons served their female slaves at this feast. For every baby born in Rome, a coin was deposited in the temple of Juno Lucina, “Light,” to give thanks to the goddess for a safe birth. Continue reading “Today is International Women’s Day—Let’s celebrate! by Barbara Ardinger”
I’m trying to finish this blog from Chile before I travel by bus over the Andes Mountains in to Buenos Aires. This is me: ticking things off my bucket list. It makes me look forward to what I want to do and back to what I’ve done. Perhaps the right stars aligned in the heavens; the forces of the universe synchronized, or my day is done–but this year, International Women’s Day was one of the happiest days of my life. And I just want to celebrate!
I am writing this on International Women’s Day. I know from living in three different countries what different faces this day can have. And I can see how these different perceptions are informed by each country’s history and political situation. This is a Buddhist principle of dependent co-arising: nothing exists in separation from anything else, all phenomena arise in dependence on everything else.
For instance, the Soviet 8th March was a public holiday and culturally it was a day to celebrate femininity, and – separately but connected – awakening of nature in spring. In the US, International Women’s Day was next to non-existing when I lived there in mid-1990s, apart from for hardcore Communists and Socialists, who celebrated it as a milestone on the road to Socialist equality. In the UK nowadays, International Women’s Day takes on a shape of a women-only day, a statement of women’s independence and very often celebration of same-sex love between women.