Diversity History

Women’s Movement

I am ashamed to say that I did not know this month was dedicated to Women’s History until I read this lovely rundown of historical moments by Alas, a Blog.

In keeping up with the theme, bean is continuing posting events in women’s history that have happened on each particular day in January. These are in keeping with all the other exceptionally good writings posted at this site.

I am ashamed that I don’t write on Women’s Writing or history for that matter, as much as I should for someone with my interest in both. Too easily sidetracked into other things that aren’t that important.

Such as political speeches that focus more on steroid use in athletes then on providing health care for all the people in this country. But then, we have California’s example to go by – that state felt it more important to rollback increases in car license fees rather than ensure the children of that state get access to medical care.

Damn, I just got sidetracked again. I think I’ll spend some more time at Alas, and focus more on women’s writing than the President and his politics – it is a much more palatable subject.


The little woman

Though I sometimes wish Dean would go out and hire a strong DC insider to manage his campaign and keep him from inserting foot in mouth, my estimation of him as a candidate was enhanced when I read about his relationship with his wife, Dr. Steinberg Dean, and the fact that she doesn’t have much to do with the campaign.

Finally, for once, an example of a political spouse who really does demonstrate that there could possibly be equality of the sexes in this country some day.

However, the mainstream media and all the little anal conservatives are just appalled at the fact that this woman is not giving up her career in order to stand by her man. But I’ll let View from the Loft speak my mind, he did it so well:

Go ahead and Google Judith Steinberg Dean–you’ll see many, many more examples of the we-like-independent-women-but-itsn’t-it-odd- that-Judy-is-never-seen-with-Dean-on-the-campaign-trail train of thought. Actually, “we”–that is, commentators, reporters, and throwbacks–don’t like independent women. They make “us” nervous. They have the unmitigated gall to believe that their own careers are important, not amusements to be tossed aside when hubby calls. “We” want to see a woman stand by her man, and if she doesn’t, well, “we” can’t be held responsible for the consequences. This is what underlies the rationalizations that “we,” as one columnist said, want to see the candidate “in context. And you can’t see a man in context without his wife.”

And here I thought electing a candidate had to do with his beliefs, policy proposals, position on crucial issues, qualifications for the job, and other trivia, when all the while it’s about whether he and his wife have a good (read: man-dominant, woman-subservient) marriage. Silly me.

(Thanks to Joel for the heads up)

(My, I’m making up for lost time not writing to the weblog, aren’t I? I miss my walks, though.)

Diversity Weblogging

Best blog with a female spirit

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

This is too tedious for words because I have things I need to be doing, but I would not be me, which would be remiss and inconsistent and therefore uncomfortable for you and that’s to be avoided at all costs (at least on a Tuesday, shaking your world being allowed on a Wednesday), if I did not make some form of response to this newest of weblog awards, the 2003 Weblog Awards. Normally I find these events to be, well, rather uninspiring except for the fact that the creator has created a Best Female Authored Blog award, as compared to we can only presume, Best Blog’s almost guarantee of male winnership.

Among all the plethora of nominations there would seem to be one criticism, whereby the author wrote that the award struck them as a Pretty Good Blog…For a Chick award. Both Misbehaving and Netwoman have responded, but my favorite response came from Feministe who wrote, after seeing herself nominated:

This is a sticky subject – being notable for being a female writer. I’d rather just be a marginal writer than a notable female author. While it hints of sexism, I have to acknowledge that I feel pride in being female, or feminine, or whatever, as I define it. I also feel pride in my writing. But they aren’t exactly related. While one informs the other, they are not correlational.

Thanks for nominating me, guys, and I apologize if I seem ungrateful. I just don’t want it suggested that I’m just okay.

For a girl.

Of course, one could say that this award is the result of conversations we’ve been having about women’s writing and weblogging and lack of acknowledgement for women’s writing. Many a man is probably slapping his head right now going, They wanted acknowledgement and we created their own special category. What more do they want.. True we do seem to be picky about such things and I realize that we are tedious with our demands to be seen.

How odd, though, that I read about this award following an evening spent watching National Geographic specials focusing on women: first one on the life of a Geisha, followed by one on taboos that focused on gender specific issues, such as the fascinating story of the Sworn Virgins of North Albania – women who eschew their feminine side, formally, in order to participate in all activities normally only allowed to men. It was an amazing contrast in stories: going from women who epitomize the art of femininity so strongly that this image transcends cultures; to women who with the blessing of the village become seen as men from the day they make their decision, and treated as such. So much so that they may hold any job and afterwards, sit down and have a beer and smoke a cigarette with other men in a place where women rarely leave their homes without shawls wrapped around their heads.

Completely opposite stories, and yet, they are strangely similiar because both feature women who wear a costume, of one form or another, to successfully compete in a world virtually dominated by men.

But returning to the Best Blog written by Female award. Rather than join in the voices raised in consternation at the seeming sexism apparant in this award, I want to congratulate the creator because, in my opinion, he hasn’t created an award to differentiate women’s writing from best writing – he’s created an award to recognize that which epitomizes the female spirit in our writing, regardless of our gender.

Or at least, that is how I seek to view it, and based on this I would like to offer some nominations of my own of weblogs who best demonstrate the spirit of Women’s Writing:

  • Mike Golby because no one better demonstrates the power of passionate commitment than Mike, and women’s writing is, above all, passionate.
  • Stavros the Wonder Chicken whose embrace of life in all of its highs and lows shows us life is not meant be accepted with trepidation, and women’s writing is the very verbalization of embracing life.
  • No one is better able to demonstrate the subtle awareness of others that is so characteristic of women’s writing than Joi Ito, with his tact and diplomacy.
  • Dave Winer because the best of women’s writing contains a little bitchiness.
  • Love of a child represents a sense of wonder in women’s writing and no one loves their child more than Papa Scott or Gary Turner so I must list them both.
  • Women’s writing focuses on true courage as compared to contrived – the type of bravery that rarely gets medals. This is best represented by Kevin Walzer who demonstrates courage by quitting his job to support his full time poetry publishing business.
  • Within some of the best women’s writing there is the figurative grandmother, the wise woman who sits in the corner spinning yarn and tales equally, and in the process helping to continue traditions without which our lives would be so much duller. But it is hard to find candidates from among the worthies who best exemplify this so I must list them all: Euan SempleDavid WeinbergerAKMATom ShugartRev Matt, and Steve Himmer.
  • The women’s touch is said to be delicate, so women’s writing can be no less, delicate and balanced like stones tumbled just so into art in a cold, clear stream. There is no better at this than Jonathon DelacourOblivio, and Wood s lot.
  • I don’t wish to imply that women’s writing is all that is noble and grand because women can also be sly in their writing; words flickering like reflections caused by stones dropped into a glassy lake, or the tongues of snakes smelling the air. To be assertive or even aggressive in writing is to court degradation or death and so women’s writing can be at best subtle, and at worst, devious. However, to nominate those who are good at this passive aggression would be an aggressive act, and therefore negate the categorization.
  • Women in their writing are aware of the past but they must by necessity be facing forward because women have long been held to be the care takers of the future while the men seek to influence the past by destroying the present. Three writers consistently demonstrate this concern for the future with their very strong awareness of the times today: Doug AlderAllan Moult, and Norm Jenson.
  • Women write of what interests them and this interest can be natural and scientific, worldly and not. Technical writing is not beyond us, though we are not known for it. There are fine technical voices to nominate for this aspect of women’s writing but they are mentioned so frequently that they must be exhausted, and so we’ll let them rest this time.
  • My list of attributes of women’s writing would not be complete if I did not mention writing that nourishes the soul, with equal parts life and poetry, food and sex, with just a touch of mask, mysticism, and madness and for this I would have to pick Loren WebsterJoe DuemerWealth BondageRageboywKen, and Jeff Ward. I will leave it to you to differentiate who writes about what.

And at the end of the list I can see so many more candidates for this award, and I sorrow leaving them out, but the list grows over long and I grow over tired. In fact, there is not a person I do not read, male or female, who does not demonstrate in one way or another the ancient and fine spirit of women’s writing, earning the only award I can bestow – my time.

And now a return to my offline contemplations, and women’s writing of a different kind.