September 2000

  • The Women’s Times

    Volume 5

    September 2000

    An Introduction to the New Women’s Studies Graduate Assistant

    Hello, my name is Claudette Dolan, and I will be working in the Women’s Studies department during the 2000-2001 academic year. I am looking forward to an exciting, fall semester as a first year graduate student at IUP, studying in the English department’s M.A. in Literature program. In May of this year I completed the B.A. in English and B.S. in English Education programs here, so I am very familiar with IUP already.

    Originally from Bristol, Tennessee, I now live in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, which is close to State College, with my husband, Eric, who is currently enrolled part-time in the graduate program for safety sciences at IUP. I have a son, Jacob, who is nine years old and in the fourth grade. We, also, have a Netherland Dwarf bunny named Clover, who is extremely mischievous! I have always enjoyed reading and writing, and hope to obtain my PhD, eventually, and teach college literature or creative writing. In the fall, I hope to attend either the State University of New York or Penn State in the pursuit of my doctoral degree. I currently hold the office of historian for both Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor fraternity, and the English Peer Mentors, and will be the graduate liaison for NCTE-IUP, as well. I strongly encourage campus involvement for every IUP student, as it enhances one’s experience at IUP more than one could imagine. Please contact me if you would like information about any of the above organizations.

    In the coming year, I hope to encourage much interest and involvement from students and faculty for Women’s Studies, while learning more about the program myself. The department has many wonderful things to offer every student and faculty member. I am only beginning to learn the ins and outs of the Women’s Studies department, but would be happy to assist anyone with questions about any aspect of what we have to offer or direct you to someone who is more knowledgeable. Feel free to contact me at either (724) 254-4056 or I look forward to serving all of you at the university this year!

    Claudette Dolan

    Holding On to History

    by Jessica Donald

    I had the opportunity to meet with two wonderful women, Chris Catalfamo, and her colleague, Veronica Watson, who literally founded the groundbreaking Indiana County Underground Railroad Project. Their brochure accompanying the project proclaimed, “Celebrating the courage and conviction of Americans struggling for freedom and the Indiana County citizens who gave them a helping hand.”

    The project was started in response to the National Underground Network to Freedom Act of 1998. It commemorates all of those men, women and children who gave or risked their lives for freedom and who put themselves directly at risk by helping people escape the institution of slavery. The brochure and discussion centered around many current issues and other organizations that Chris works with, including the N.A.A.C.P. We discussed the differences between the current society, which is building on individualism from her perspective, and the society in which she grew up that tried to get all people to work as one. Chris hopes that this project will stimulate interest in all Indiana County residents to share in their history and bring forth a new community spirit in which all persons can be involved.

    The Underground Railroad Project brings back a long-forgotten time in Indiana’s history, when men and women were willing to go to jail and to die in order to help fugitive slaves escape to freedom. They risked everything for these slaves and gave them supplies to aid them in their journeys. The directors are erecting an historical marker to commemorate important events in the Anti-Slavery history, and are also arranging walking and driving tours of areas that played a large part in the history. They, also, plan to include educational exhibits for schools and citizens, an oral tradition project, and their own web site. There will be a countywide commemoration for this project in February of 2001. For all of these projects, they need help in finding grants and holding fund-raising events, so, if you are interested in becoming part of history and bringing some, perhaps, forgotten past to life, please contact:

    Dr. Catherine C. Catalfamo
    1190 Old Route 119 North
    Indiana, PA 15701 


    Dr. Veronica Toombs-Watson
    Coordinator of Pan African Studies
    Department of English
    Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    Indiana, PA 15705 

    Or if you are just interested in seeing what is going on, please visit the website at

    Chris will also be giving a panel presentation with Carolyn Thompson for the Women’s Studies evening Entremesa lecture series on Wednesday, September 13, at 6:30 p.m. in the Oak Room West. Please join us!

    My View

    by Jessica Donald

    For as long as I can remember, popular magazine covers that stare back at us from the grocery store shelf have told us that we have to change something about ourselves. They have proclaimed that we are supposed to be thinner, to look nicer, to be more tan, to wear smaller-sized clothing and look as if we put an abundance of time into our physical appearance. The other, hidden side of this phenomenon is that we can only blame ourselves, because we are the women who buy these magazines and pay the $2.95 an issue in the store or buy lifetime subscriptions through some ad with Ed McMahon on the front of it. Any woman can tell you that the photos of women in those magazines do not represent the majority of the female population, and that not even a small minority would be able to fit into their clothes. These women are primped and emaciated by contracts and modeling agencies. They are air-brushed, cropped and plastered to the fronts of our Sunday morning newspaper. These women do not exist in reality. They are made up to be ogled and desired, like any item on the menu at your favorite restaurant.

    We, the consumers who support these ridiculous notions, are the ones who are real. If we want to stop it, we will take control of these false and damaging images. We can control how women are to look and be looked at, and for once, we don’t have to rely on our outside appearances, but on the beauty that resides within us.

    So, here’s how to do it: First, you have to either stop buying your favorite body-slamming/slimming magazines, and second, if you are craving that gossip or “what we did in bed” column, check out magazines and ‘zines that help to rebuild that stolen image. The women and men that have created positive images for us need our support. Many are grassroots projects paid for solely by subscription fees. The best variety of these magazines and ‘zines offered is on CHICKCLICK.COM, which also offers free email and a place to voice your opinions. The sites listed below are very worthwhile and interesting, so, when you get a minute, check them out!

    Hits on feminist issues and has a great attitude for when you are depressed
    P.O. Box 1016
    Cooper Station
    NY, NY 10276
    Four issues @$11.95

    Alice Magazine
    Was started to commemorate Alice McGrath, who taught women’s self defense classes in the 1950s.
    Subscription Info:
    Alice Magazine
    Medusa Press
    41 Freitas Court
    Santa Ross, CA 95407
    Twelve issues @$25.00 (No profits here!)

    Moxie Magazine WWW.MOXIEMAG.COM
    Great articles on media portrayal of women and promotes all those “women who dare” to be different.
    Subscription Info:
    Moxie Magazine
    1230 Glen Avenue
    Berkley, CA 94708

    So you say you don’t want to wait for your first issue? Check these magazines that have everything you could possibly want on line:
    Today’s Woman Online WWW.TODAYSWOMAN.COM

    Wench — A message board with great comments.

    Gurl-‘zine — A great site with free e-mail.

    Health Watch

    by Jessica Donald

    So you had a hot night last night, but either you used contraception (“half of all women getting abortions reported they had used contraception during the month they got pregnant,”according to the National Abortion Federation), or you just forgot. Maybe it was an experience that you would not want to remember, such as sexual assault. Anyway, if you think that you may have become pregnant, there are several things you can do before panicking. First, you should know that sperm can live within the body for up to seven days. Next, you can call Emergency Contraception Hotline at 1-888-Not-2-Late, which can provide you with five emergency contraception providers near you. Then, you have options such as “morning-after-pills,” which are taken within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. They are combined with oral contraceptives taken 12 hours apart. Or you can have an emergency IUD insertion. This must be done by a clinician, and can be effective within five days of unprotected intercourse. Or you can call Planned Parenthood at 1-800-230-Plan, so they can give you other choices based upon your personal decision concerning emergency contraception. You can also get a list of emergency contraception centers and treatments at Now, for some information that you may not have known about…

    • You can get pregnant during your period. Sperm can live up to seven days. After the cycle, ovulation can occur within just a few days of your last period.
    • You can’t have your period if you are pregnant, but you can have vaginal bleeding while pregnant, although it is very rare.
    • Abortion occurs most frequently between the ages of 11-24. 34% of those women who have had an abortion were between the ages of 20-24.
    • One-sixth of abortion patients describe themselves as “born-again” or Evangelical Christians.

    The Latest Development In Reproductive Rights: Mifepristone

    Mifepristone was formerly known as RU-486. This medication blocks the action of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is needed to become pregnant. Mifepristone, in conjunction with other medications called prostaglandins, has been used for medical abortions since 1988 in France and China and since the early 1990’s in the United Kingdom and Sweden. More recently, nine other countries have licensed it, including Israel. Millions of women have safely used mifepristone regimens to end their pregnancies.

    This process is as safe and may be safer than conventional methods for women seeking abortions. It is more cost effective and less painful in some situations. Complications are rare and the full abortion of the fetus happens within about four hours of taking the mifepristone/misoprostol. Mifepristone is currently unavailable in the United States. For more information, see 

    Fall 2000 Calendar of Events


    WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30 ,4:30 – 6:30 HUB Lobby
    Women’s Equality Day Celebration with Indiana Co. League of Women Voters and Friends of Women’s Studies. Anniversary of women’s right to vote ratified on August 26, 1920

    Women’s Studies Welcome Back Picnic and cookout, College Lodge, times???
    Refreshments provided

    “Entremesa” evening colloquium series “Women in Politics,”
    Oak Room West 6:30 – 8:00.
    Join us for refreshments and informal panel discussions including a variety of perspectives on topics concerning women and politics in this important election year.

    Wednesday, Sept. 13
    Dr. Chris Catalfamo, historian and activist and Prof. Carolyn Thompson, IUP faculty and activist

    Wednesday, Sept. 20
    Indiana County League of Women Voters

    Thursday, September 28
    Ms. Yvonne Redd, Provost’s Office and Indiana Borough Council Dr. Pat Heilman, IUP Professor of Journalism and President, APSCUF

    Wednesday, October 11
    Madeline (sp) Ross, Managing Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Wednesday, October 25
    Attorney Carol Hanna, specialist in family law, and State Representative Sarah Steelman


    by Brenda Mitchell

    Women’s Studies would like to extend a warm welcome to new IUP faculty, students, and administrators and a welcome back to those returning from summer break. The theme of Women’s Studies programs this fall is “Women in Politics.”

    You will find a schedule of events on page 6 of this issue of The Women’s Times. Our first event of the year, Women’s Equality Day Celebration, was held on August 30, in honor of the 80th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guaranteed women the right to vote. This anniversary serves to remind us that American women and men struggled for seventy-two years to win this basic democratic right. The Indiana County League of Women Voters and the community group Friends of Women’s Studies joined us in our celebration to distribute information and conduct a voter registration drive.

    We urge everyone who hasn’t already done so to register to vote as soon as possible. October 10 is the last day to register for the general election. You must register to vote:

    • if you have never been registered and will be 18 by the day of the election
    • if you have moved
    • if you have changed your name
    • if you wish to change your party or nonpartisan enrollment

    Important Dates to Remember!

    • October 31 = last day for a civilian absentee ballot
    • November 3 = last day for the County Board of Elections to receive absentee ballots
    • November 7 = general election

    For further information, please contact the Indiana County Voter Registration Office at 825 Philadelphia Street, Indiana, PA 15701, (724) 465-3852.

    The League of Women Voters is sponsoring a “Meet the Candidates” meeting on Monday, October 23 at
    7:00 p.m. at the Omni, Old Route 119 South. 

    Please note: The Women’s Studies office will be moving to the first floor of Gordon Hall on Friday, September 8. Marcia McCarty’s office will be in room 110 and the Director’s office will be next door in 111.

    Stay tuned for more information! Best wishes for a great semester!