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February 2002

The Women’s Times

A Joint Publication on the Status of Women and the Women’s Studies Program

Indiana, PA 15701

Issue 5

February 2002

Status Quo has Gotta Go!

By: J.A. Donald

What is status quo? It is an unknown African American Woman who has change our society as we know now, but somehow got lost in the process of our history books being bound together, so here are some woman who have changed how far we can go…take the quiz and see how far from status quo you are and pass along the information you know and learn. Let’s educate our future and prove to them that an unknown woman is no longer a shadow in the books of history, she is in the spotlight when we speak about her life.

  1. This woman’s famous speech was “Ain’t I a Woman” while she spoke around the country promoting racial equality and trying to end abolition.
  2. Okay that was an easy one…try another…This woman joined the all-black Philadelphia Choral Society and in 1930 she was given the Rosenwald Scholarship. She was a performer that studied in Europe, she achieved fame as black American performer and was supposed to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., in 1939, but wasn’t permitted to because the Daughters of the American Revolution, who owned the Hall refused to allow her. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged to have the concert at the Lincoln Memorial instead. She was the first African American to perform with the Metropolitan Opera.
  3. She was the first black woman to practice law in the United States and the first in North America to edit a newspaper. During the 1850s, she taught in Canada and while there edited the abolitionist newspaper The Provincial Freeman. With the outbreak of the Civil War, she returned to the United States, becoming active in the recruitment of blacks into the militia. After the war, she attended Howard University, earning a degree in law.

Answers, information, and much more can be found at www.cas.ilstu.edu/English/351/hypertext98/hankins/african.

Witch Hunting Somewhere Besides Salem: An Internship Story

By: Lindsay Amyx

Dr. Theresa Smith of the Religious Studies Department presented six students of IUP, including myself, with a great internship opportunity this past summer. Our destination was Cornwall, England. Dr. Smith had connected us with two sites within Cornwall, The Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle and the Hypattia Trust in Penzance. This is the first in a series of three articles that will be written on the experience.

This was an interdisciplinary internship that encompassed Women’s Studies, Religious Studies, Anthropology, and German. Three of the students were designated to each site and after two weeks then switched. After work hours we also worked on individual research projects, in which we would write a twelve to fifteen page paper upon returning to IUP. As a third facet of the internship we were also each given a task, in this instance I am writing for The Women’s Times while another student is presenting her paper at a conference and another student is working on a website.

The Hypathia Trust is a registered educational charity of the UK, which was created by Melissa Hardie to collect, and make available, published and personal documentation about the achievements of women in every aspect of their lives. It was the job of the interns specifically to help organize the wealth of materials available in the art archive of The Jamieson Library. Because they had acquired so much material, a larger forum to hold the books and archives was necessary, which would eventually become Hypathia House. Each group also worked on a creative research exhibit that was presented in the Hypathia Trust meeting building in Penzance. The first group of student’s exhibit was American women and the second exhibit was on The Witch Craze. We had a chance to work with three very nice women who were volunteering their time to make women’s lives a part of documented history.

The Witchcraft Museum has been in the hands of Graham King since 1995. Since he had been the main force behind the museum, it has become a welcoming site for visitors who can take advantage of its wealth of archival materials and artifacts. Also, Graham has a full library on books related to witchcraft, which is always getting bigger. The interns were also responsible for organizing and creating for the library, so it too could be accessible to academics and locals of Cornwall.

Our work at the museum was very much appreciated and we all felt that we were a part of something that was bigger than us.

In my next article I will discuss some of my own research from the internship. The final article will be about the valuable lessons and knowledge we have all learned from our experience.

Listen Up!

by: Ms. Dana Jerman

Tori Amos Strange Little Girls

Tori Amos’ new Atlantic release Strange Little Girls, is a strange and stunning piece of work. A compilation of covered tunes, songs written by men for and about women which begins with Lou Reed’s “New Age”, is accompanied by a great insert where Tori poses for 13 photos that portray her ideas of the physical manifestations of the women in each of the songs. It seems, to Tori fans, that each of her albums is a baby girl- an embryo that we get a peek of in the womb, and who grows into a beautiful child and adult before our ears; an adult who is capable and who continues to discover the world with the help of her mothers voice as a constant guide. With this album, the concept develops that here Tori has adopted children of the past, each one flawlessly re-worked and redesigned to suit their new purpose: the celebration of women by a woman! And despite the use of utilizing a man’s poetry to achieve this, it has always been Tori’s vocals that have presented the message as distinct and fresh as it can be. Her affinity in the past for covering songs written by men, from “Little Drummer Boy” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, has led her, and not a minute too soon, to the follow up to her Nine Inch Nails-influence-sounding double LP To Venus And Back.

Track 2, a chillingly soft and ingratiating rendition of “ ’97 Bonnie and Clyde” works with the element of the mother, (Tori) as also a father figure, as, after a minute of listening, the images of a family become so replete with pain that the words and the depiction overshadow the stark clarity of the song. The “Strange Little Girl” cover seems as if it was Tori’s song all along, and yet again she picks up the pace to create the stop and start rhythm of the record itself. Taking it down again with Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence”, the lyrics filter in over a sad piano, but her tone always seems to blend into itself, creating the infectiousness of her sound that has brought her loyal fans at the same time that it has made her staunch enemies with a worldwide listening public. It’s a love-OR-hate relationship one can have with Tori Amos and her art, it seems. And, although she is as beautiful as her vision, I remain neither listener nor fan of her work despite my understanding and appreciation of her lofty efforts.

“I’m Not In Love” is another ethereal plaything that blends sweetly with a down tempo backbeat into “Rattlesnakes”, at track 6, mid-album, I’m moved to consider a theme that has emerged, (along with the consistent use of a Bosendorfer: a synthesizer/keyboard instrument) is the reference to weapons, particularly guns, that Tori has managed to carefully include in her testament to music of modern and classic genres. A theme as well in her own music of the past, here with “ ’97 Bonnie and Clyde”, a reference in “Rattlesnakes”: “She says a girl needs a gun these days…”, and “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”- Lennon and McCartney’s wild political statement that does not falter here in Tori’s strong presentation, taking seriously her own right to bear arms in more ways than two.

Track 7, “Time”, another image-driven heartbreaker, this time by a champion of the human psyche, a Mr. Tom Waits, Tori chimes out beautifully on the low end of the 88 keys and leaves our freed minds wide open for the sleigh-bells and driving percussive action of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold”, which in turn stops dead in the tracks of “I Don’t Like Mondays.”
Her inversions and flip-flop/crisscross sensibilities of a song’s time, speed and original intent aren’t destroyed, instead revitalized, and this is what is so hard to understand about the work. But as it is with all Tori’s LPs and Eps, and as we move on to “Raining Blood” and “Real Men”, the last tracks by Slayer and Joe Jackson respectively, we the submissive, case our hungry poetic souls into the velvet, bottomless pit of the whisper of her voice- the vocal drop-off and rejuvenation of her nymph-like beckoning and aching breath. Here the castigation and kisses are no different, no sweeter, nor more bitter. Tori fans, be encouraged and united.

Introducing Valerie - Women’s Times Student Editor/Writer

Hi everyone! My name is Valerie Laughlin and I’m the newest addition to the Women’s Times staff. I am currently a junior majoring in Journalism with a Women’s Studies and Sociology minor. So that means I’m a writer trying to change the world one article at a time! I hope my writing will make you stop and think for a moment, because the more people we get to thinking, the better chance we have for improvement.

Here are a few more quick facts about Val: I’m Eastern Pennsylvania born and bred and the oldest of four children. My favorite book is “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.” My favorite movie is currently “Shrek,” and my favorite author is Maya Angelou, whom I saw speak last November at the Forum in Harrisburg (she is AMAZING!!). I love penguins. My previous endeavors into the world of journalism include work for The Penn and being the first (and so far only) editor-in-chief of “Whit Bits” which was a collection of work done by Whitmyre students.

I wish everyone a great semester!

Read Val’s article below!

An Evening With My Hero

By Valerie Laughlin

On November 30th, 2001, I had the unique opportunity to view one of the greatest speakers of our time, Dr. Maya Angelou, at the Forum in Harrisburg, PA. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my life so far. I was in the same room as one of my idols – granted, I was about 40 rows away from her, but still in the same room.

Dr. Angelou came out on stage singing her heart out. The room started to grow quiet as everyone listened to her song. It was so moving that at one point I felt tears coming to my eyes. I wasn’t the only one either – the woman in front of me also needed to pull out her handkerchief. It wasn’t just because she was a good singer, and it wasn’t just the lyrics she sang. It was a combination of both and something else – something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until later that night during the drive home. It was the way in which she sang. I’m not talking about voice inflection or anything like that. When she sang, she sang with feeling – almost like she had been there herself experiencing the pain and joy of the women she sang about.

She put that feeling into her whole lecture, as well. The main point of her lecture was that we all make a positive difference in someone else’s life, whether we know it or not – in her own words, we are their “rainbow.” She spoke of the rainbows in her own life – her grandmother, brother and son. She spoke of how her grandmother took care of her during her childhood and supported her throughout the years after her rape when she would not speak a word. She spoke of how her brother tried to protect her from everything and everyone and was her best friend. She spoke of how her son inspired her to become a better person and find her own sense of style (once he got over the childhood embarrassment of our parents that we all feel). I don’t know about anyone else in the theater, but I was completely enthralled by her whole performance. Maya Angelou has been one of my favorite writers since I was a freshman in high school, when I first read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” so this was a dream come true for me.

She spoke for about an hour and half, which was rather impressive for a 73-year-old woman. She didn’t just stand there either. During much of her speech she danced around the stage as if no one was watching her. After she was finished, the mayor of Harrisburg came out on stage and proclaimed the day “Maya Angelou Day.

My only regret about that night is that I was unable to get her autograph. I tried, but they were not letting anyone back to see Dr. Angelou because she was very tired. I respect that, but it still would have been great to have her sign my copy of “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” – which I’ve had since high school.

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