#MeToo by Michele Stopera Freyhauf

metoo image 1Once again it is time for another blog post, and once again I find it difficult to write.  The news embroils you in a landslide of negativity and you feel like all common sense and rationality has dissipated – I even made the comment that I am glad I am not young because I fear the state of the world in the future.

With that said, the one thing discussed and needs to be discussed is the #MeToo movement.  First, yes, I have several stories, and yes, I stayed silent for over 25 years.  Did I attempt to resolve the issues with the remedies available? Yes.  Did I suffer backlash? Yes. To the detriment of losing my job?  Yes. Did I consult an attorney? Yes.  What was I told – move on or risk being blacklisted from your field – as a new career professional in her twenties, there was no choice?  Yes.  Did it happen again?  Did I out of fear, just try to stay away from the person but never reported it?  Yes. Continue reading “#MeToo by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

#MeToo or Why I Didn’t Make a Film in Film School by Marie Cartier

I needed to check out a camera for an assignment. I was in the small equipment room looking at equipment I clearly did not know how to use yet. But, I was required to check out a camera and start. I was excited to begin.

I turned around to ask a question of the guy who helped us check out equipment. I was surprised, and then stunned to see him close the door behind him. I don’t know if he locked it, but he stood in front of it, blocking my exit, and asked me, “How bad do you want that camera?”

I was a radical lesbian separatist who wore “ACT-UP FIGHT AIDS” T-shirts regularly to school. I stared at him and said the first thing that came to my mind, “I am not the person you want to do this to. Trust me.” We stared at each other. He laughed and slowly moved away from the door. I left, with the camera (I think), I finished that assignment and somehow passed the camera class. What I do know for sure is that I never checked out a camera again, and somehow convinced myself that the “equipment” part of film making was somehow too technical for me.

I had come out to LA from Colorado and was extremely proud to get into one of the best theater and film schools in the US. However, I was completely not “used to” the level of casual and cruel sexism women in the industry were subjected to. There was an unwritten code that if you wanted to make it as a woman—well, you better toughen up and get used to what the industry looked like for women. Continue reading “#MeToo or Why I Didn’t Make a Film in Film School by Marie Cartier”

The Real World Series by Natalie Weaver

Natalie Weaver editedI live in Cleveland, and I am writing at the end of the World Series.  I don’t know how it will conclude, but like most of the people in my city, I’m holding my breath.  As I write, I literally just left the cardiac ward of one of the Cleveland Clinic hospitals, where patients’ lives actually seemed to hang in the balance of the game, according to one of the nurses who was monitoring heart rates from a central station in the hallway.  

I, who never cared about baseball and avoided Cleveland sports, am more than a little surprised at myself.  For, I have grown to care about the outcome of these games.  Why so, I ask myself.  Why am I sitting with my mom in the hospital, watching a game, when she’s ill, and neither of us has ever cared about sports?  I’ve been thinking about this recently, and believe I have landed on the right answer.

You see, when you are from Cleveland, it is not uncommon to have this precise conversation or some permutation thereof:

Self: Hi.
Stranger: Hello there.  Nice to meet you.
Self: Where are you from?
Stranger: Denver
Self:  Denver is a lovely city.  I visited for my friend’s wedding once.
Stranger:  Yes.  We love it out there.  Great weather; friendly people.  What about you… where are you from?
Self: Cleveland
Stranger: (chuckling) I’m sorry.  Mistake on the Lake.  River’s on Fire.  Etc.

Clevelanders are made to feel shame about our city, whereas, by contrast, Chicago is heralded for its architecture, food, and skyline, and so one.  Now, I have lived in Chicago.  It is beautiful and all that, and, more importantly, Chicago is not what I am writing about.  What I have come to observe about myself is that I actually love Cleveland for what it has to offer, which primarily includes people.  Hard workers, brilliantly talented musicians, artists, actors, educators, physicians, architects, and more.

I have grown to appreciate the people and stories that built the city’s heritage, culture, ethnic churches, diverse neighborhoods, beautified lakefront, museums, international airports, colleges and universities, rivers, parks, gardens, and on and on.  There is persistent and nearly inevitable derision that is glibly tossed our way here in the Two-One-Six.  I realize, it has worn me down over the years.

And, especially when I travel for academic conferences and chat over drinks at the receptions, I am tired of playing Justin Martyr to the city, in large measure to defend my own merit as a scholar and educator.   Continue reading “The Real World Series by Natalie Weaver”

Somebody Almost Walked Off With All of My Stuff: And He Didn’t Even Know He Had a Thing of Value on the Open Market* by Carol P. Christ

Gina Messina-Dysert’s blog on sexual harassment by a Religious Studies professor brought up memories that have haunted me for years. It has taken me some months to find the courage to post this story.

When I was an undergraduate, I was very naive and barely dating. I was not as prepared for college work as most of the other students, and I devoted myself to my studies.  I had a favorite professor, and I spent a lot of time in his office talking about books and about God.  This professor encouraged me to go on for a Ph.D. in his field at a time when a woman with a Ph.D. was an oddity.  His belief in my intelligence gave me the courage to overcome my parents’ opposition to the idea that I would pursue a doctorate. His recommendations helped me to win Danforth and Woodrow Wilson Fellowships. I naturally assumed that this professor respected me.   

After I began graduate school, I met my former professor at the American Academy of Religion meetings.  One time, he invited me to his room for a scotch. There he told me that he had often imagined having sex with me when I was a student discussing religion in his office. I was shocked because I had always thought of this man as a professor–beloved professor, yes, but a lover, no–the thought had never even crossed my mind! Because he was closer in age to my father than to me, I had placed him in the category of father-God-authority figure. Continue reading “Somebody Almost Walked Off With All of My Stuff: And He Didn’t Even Know He Had a Thing of Value on the Open Market* by Carol P. Christ”

%d bloggers like this: