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WRC Newsletter Feb 2013

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WRC Newsletter Feb 2013

  1. 1. FEB 2013VOL 5 Issue 1  PREGNANCY AND PRIVACY 1  WOMEN AND WORK 3  PROUD AND PROFESSIONAL SU WOMEN 3 A Page ofHer OwnDISCUSSING THE SUCCE SSES, NEEDS AND ISSUES OF W OMEN IN BOTH THE SUSQUEHANNA COMMUNITY AND THE W ORLD. The Women’s Resource Center of Susquehanna University is located on the first floor of the Scholar’s House and is welcome to all questions, concerns and visitors. Pregnancy and Privacy Pregnant stars—Beyoncé, Snooki, Adele, The Royal couple, and Kim Kardasian— have been popping up everywhere lately (no pun intended), and they all have and will handle their pregnancy differently. Some of these women have been very open, and some are trying to keep the news quiet. Before we can form an opinion, cast judgment good or bad, we should ask ourselves some questions re- garding pregnancy and privacy. How private is pregnancy for wom- en? If you were in, let’s say, Beyoncé’s shoes would you feel obligated to publicize your pregnancy? Would you allow Vanity Fair or Elle Magazine to put an almost naked picture of you on the cover illumi- nating your belly and breasts? How would you answer personal ques- tions like the sex and plan for your baby? Would you disappear from the limelight or embrace it? Adele, an English singer-songwriter, musician and multi- instrumentalist announced the news on her website, “I’m delighted to announce that Simon and I are expecting our first child together,” she writes, “I wanted you to hear the news direct from me. Obviously we’re over the moon and very excited, but please respect our privacy at this precious time.” A graceful plea for arguably the most popular powerhouse singer of this generation. She has managed to remain out of the public eye during her pregnancy, and only a few pictures have been published. The Huffington Post quotes an insider, “She’s an old fashioned girl and can’t wait to be a part of a family unit. She just wants to focus on the baby and the man she loves.” Adele can be seen as a relatively low-key star, even her music reflects her tradi- tional style. But there is no denying how incredibly popular she is. Adele is a reference point for other pregnant stars. She is one side of the spectrum-- the most private side in the spotlight. How are the Royals dealing with their pregnancy? “The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are an intensely private couple. They are also the most famous couple on the planet,” says Max Fos- ter, a CNN reporter. The Royal’s situation is a bit more complicated since they each hold power as prince and princess. Even their baby already holds power. They are obligated by status to be somewhat public about even the most private matter. The couple let the world see their wedding (literally), should they be expected to let the world in on the next head of state? Kate Middleton has to be a graceful woman when it comes to the news. She seems to be respected, and respectful in her duty to let her people be a part of the baby. The cou- ple has a tough job of juggling personal experience with their ex- pected relationship with the press. This is an example of a couple’s high status complicating personal matters. Then, there is a star like Nicole Elizabeth Polizzi, or Snooki, who is more than happy about being open about her pregnancy. Jionni and Nicole’s relationship was created in the public eye on MTV’s Jersey Shore. Therefore the lavish publicity of her new baby is no surprise. She has pictures of her labor and newborn, Lorenzo, on the Internet for anyone to view. She also regularly tweets and insta- grams pictures of her family. Nicole’s relationship with the media has always been very personal. As a couple they find nothing wrong with publicizing their growing family. This is a smart strategy really— WomenSpeakAn organization that welcomes all Susquehanna students and faculty who support equality for all individuals, regardless of things such as sex, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. This semester they plan to host Take Back the Night on Friday, March 22nd. They will be observing Eating Disorder Awareness week by having a table in Deginstein. Check the WomenSpeak Facebook page for meeting times and further information on campus events and ways to get involved. By Larell Scardelli Cont. Page 2
  2. 2. An interview with this semesters production director, Erica Reed The Vagina Monologues Erica Reed, a senior women studies minor, is directing this semester’s edition of The Vagina Mon- ologues. The Vagina Monologues is an episodic play written by Eve Ensler, and is made up of a varying number of monologues read by different women. Each of the monologues deals with an aspect of the feminine experience, touching on matters such as sex, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, mastur- bation, birth, orgasm and the various common names for the vagina. The monologue is embodied by the speaker, and many times reflects that woman’s person- al experience. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality. I asked Erica her opinion regarding the importance of the play on a college campus, and how she views The Vagina Mono- logues as a tool for women worldwide. Q. In your own words what are The Vagina Mono- logues? A. The Vagina Monologues are a celebration! A cele- bration of women and vaginas, and a critique of the ways the world interacts and reacts to women and their vaginas. The heart of the production is its ability to give women in every corner of the world a voice, especially to those who don't have the freedom or abil- ity to speak for themselves Q. Why do you think it's important to host V-Day on a college campus? A. Hosting a V-Day event on a college campus is ex- tremely important for one big reason: we are the next wave of feminism. If we don't enter into the 'real world' after graduation with our eyes on the prize, feminism will fall to the wayside. The voice of this generation and each generation to come must be pro- equality; we must understand what's at stake for wom- en. V-Day events anywhere are important, but V-Day events on college campuses keep the dream alive for the next wave of heavy hitters in the fight for equal rights for all. Q. There has been some criticism on the event such as a misrepresentation of male/female sexual encounters, and unequal attention given to brutal sexual encoun- ters vs. consensual ones. Do you feel the production is a proper representation of the 'feminine experience'? A. I think the greatest strength of The Vagina Mono- logues is the truthfulness of it. Criticism that the mon- ologues aren't positive enough is misplaced-- you're missing the point if that's your focus. The monologues are giving voices to women who maybe didn't and still don't have the opportunity to speak for themselves. Eve Ensler isn't here to sugarcoat the issues women and their vaginas face. There are women all over the world who have yet to have a 'negative' sexual experi- ence with a man, but more importantly there are thou- sands of women who only know brutality. So I say, to anyone offended by the number of monologues con- cerning brutal sexual encounters, in the words of Eve Ensler, “Until the violence stops.” Wouldn't it be fabu- lous for The Vagina Monologues, over time, to become a series of monologues about happy endings between women and their vaginas? But until then... When and Where? March 15th, 16th 7p.m. March 17th 3p.m. Stretansky Hall be the paparazzi yourself and you’re the main source of publicity. No one is hounding down Snooki’s door to see her baby because she isn’t making it hard for the press to get information and be a part of her life. Some could see this as untraditional and unconventional, but the cou- ple is happy and it reflects their personalities honestly and shamelessly. Lastly, let’s take the average woman. She gets pregnant and has the joy and obliga- tion of telling her friends and family. Then, like the press, there are visitors, and phone calls, and parties related to the pregnancy. It’s a time of celebration and family. An article titled “On Pregnancy and Privacy and Fear” expresses one woman’s view, “Once you let people know you’re pregnant, you’re entered into lots of con- versations about your belly, your weight, your breasts and how you plan on using them, what medications you’ll take, and why you’re right or wrong about them. I don’t want to have these conversations.” Then later on in the article, “But there is no such thing as a private pregnan- cy.” Is this true? Unless there is a serious sepa- ration from friends and relatives, people love babies and that will always generate paparazzi whether it be people who know and love, or people who adore and admire. However there may be various reasons women might choose to hide their pregnancy. Many times they are nervous of being viewed differently in the workplace, often fearing their job. It is a valid fear for many working women, because although maternity leave is often worked into a contract, it still leaves room for the unexpected. Is the person that replaced me for all those months going to take my job? What if I want to have another baby soon after? It also leaves a women feeling vulnerable, espe- cially when one holds power in a company. Authority can be taken away quickly, especially since the stereotypical image of a pregnant woman is being emotional and forgetful. An- other reason women choose to hide their preg- nancy is because the first trimester is often a slippery time. It is the period of a pregnancy when miscarriages are the highest. An average woman and stars alike would have a lot to deal with if they revealed their pregnancy too early. Sometimes it’s about security. Women handle their pregnancy differently. Each reflecting their morals, values as a couple, and status as a star. But every woman famous or not has a slight obligation to making her pregnancy pub- lic. A large belly is a hard thing to hide. Pregnancy and Privacy Continued from page 1
  3. 3. Proud and Professional SU Women The Women’s Studies program is hosting a series of events this semester that focuses on Women and Work. The first event, a screening of Norma Rae, took place on February 4. The film portrays the strug- gle by women to unionize in order to im- prove wages and working conditions in the textile industry. The second occasion, titled “Bread and Roses,” will occur on Feb. 25, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Scholar's House, 002. The event will include a brief presenta- tion about the 1912 Bread and Roses textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Audi- ence members will receive roses, and re- freshments, including bread, will be provid- ed. The term, “Bread and Roses,” signifies the call made by working-class women in the early twentieth century for better work- ing conditions and higher wages. Many women today still struggle to balance their work life with home and family life, a fight that embodies the very idea of bread and roses. The final event of the Women and Work series is a showing of North Country, a film that documents sexual harassment and the fight to end it. For more information e-mail: weaverk@susqu.edu This months featured female professor is Catherine Zobal Dent, a creative writing professor and fiction writer. Interviewing Catherine Zobal Dent, a creative writing professor here at Susque- hanna University, was my pleasure as I learned just how devoted she is to the study of gender and equality. Dent was one of the first two Women Studies majors at Duke University where she earned her undergrad- uate in English, French, and Women Stud- ies. She received her Ph.D. in fiction from Binghamton University, and has worked at SU teaching introductory, intermediate and advanced writing workshops, as well as literature and composition courses for 4 years. Her first book, a collection of stories titled Unfinished Stories for Girls, will be published in 2014 by Formite Press. Dent shares her position as a writ- ing professor with her husband Silas Dent Zobal, who is also interested and committed to achieving equality in the workplace and at home with their children. Dent praises SU for having the vision for hiring a couple. They planned their careers around raising children, and want to share each responsibil- ity equally. The couple has been featured in books such as The Libra Solution: Shedding Excess and Redefining Success at Work and At Home and Equally Shared Parenting: Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents which illuminate their equally shared parenting style. In 2009 they were interviewed by USA Today in an article ex- ploring how people balance parenting, working, and fulfilling their passions with a follow up appearance on The Today Show. Dent is deeply committed to equality and naturally practices her visions through teaching, parenting, and writing. Larell Scardelli: Besides Karla Kelsey who hasn't been here this semester, you're the only other female creative writing professor. What is it like to work in a mostly male environment? Catherine Dent: So, let me start by admit- ting that I miss Karla dearly, but for reasons other than her gender. I can understand the question, of course. I don’t actually feel like the Writers Institute is a mostly male environment. I spend most of my time with students, and they’re so often female stu- dents. But more importantly, I think that people’s sex (male/female) is not the issue. My understanding of gender is that it is a range of performed behaviors. Some people challenge heteronormativity, and others don’t. If I’m around people with a range of gendered behaviors, then I consider it a bal- anced and interesting and diverse crowd. My creative writing colleagues run the gam- ut, and I appreciate all the variety. Scardelli: Do you think your teaching style is a reflection of your gender? In other words, how do you think being a female influences your methods or attitude during class discussions (or workshops)? If at all. Dent: That’s a great question, and one that I can’t answer simply. Yes. My teaching style is a reflection of my gender. I am a product of a lovely, conservative, deeply Christian family and the society in which my parents raised me, a world that told me from birth to eighteen what it meant to be human. Much of my personality has been formed by sexism and prejudices of all vari- eties, and I don’t imagine that I have thought through all the values on which I was raised. That said, I devote a lot of ener- gy to questioning my biases. Part of my personality has developed in opposition to my culture. I like creating communities within the classroom, and teaching people to think, and to lead, and to listen. My mother loves to sit back in a group and listen; I both re- peat and challenge her stereotypically “feminine” style in my role as professor in the classroom, as I encourage students to take charge, but I also step in (sometimes heavy-handedly!) when I think things are going awry. My father, involved in Boy Scouts for his entire life, also provided me with an early example of the importance of community. He sees leadership as a form of service, and I know that part of my teaching Women And Work Article by Karol Weaver Head of the Women Studies Program Cont page 4
  4. 4. Stop By and Meet Our Staff… Professor Karol Weaver Larell Scardelli Women’s Resource Center Hours Monday 11:00-12:20, 12:30-1:15, 2:00-4:00 Tuesday 2:30-4:00 Wednesday 11:00- 12:20, 12:30-1:15, 2:00-4:00 Thursday 2:30-4:00 Friday 11:00-12:20 Jasmine Jones The Women’s Resource Center offers faculty, staff, and students: *A place to relax and study *Information about issues related to women and gender *Referrals to campus and community services *Library relating to women, history, education, psychology, biblical studies and much more style is modeled after him. I enjoy leading by example. I like to organize experiences for young people. I love being involved in something larger than myself. Scardelli: In your personal writing, do you naturally take on a female voice? Have you been a male narrator or character? If so, how do you accomplish this effectively? Dent: In the collection scheduled to be pub- lished next spring, the leading story is told by an anonymous, peripheral, male narrator, but the story centers on the sad life of a young woman named Ella. At the beginning of the story, the narrator tells us that Ella goes down to the river, and he says, “That’s how she met all the men. I’m not telling which one I am.” The story refuses to fully identify him, a move I’ve stolen from Toni Morrison, whose first line of the novel Par- adise reads: “They shoot the white girl first.” I think it’s a phenomenological ap- proach to writing: I’m interested in how people construct the world, and I want sto- ries to challenge readers’ biases. In Morri- son’s novel, readers never learn which char- acter is white, and in my story, readers can’t pin the actions (or failures to act) on a single character. Most of my short stories do feature female characters, but the narration varies from a non-gendered “we”—thanks, Wil- liam Faulkner; to a story narrated by brother and sister twins—thanks, Andrea Barrett; to a large, lonely, single man sitting in a li- brary—thanks, Ron Mueck. As I mentioned earlier, I see gender as being performed on a continuum. When I’m writing from a male character’s point of view, I try to access parts of my own experience that fit that character. Characters give me—all of us— the chance to see the world in new ways, or to consider the patterns in which we are stuck. Scardelli: J.K Rowling felt she had to dis- guise her name to be taken seriously and without prejudice. The literary environment seems like it should be the least judgmental in terms of male/female work. Do you think there is sexism in the publishing world? If so have you ever personally felt this? Dent: I don’t know. I’m not an expert on the publishing world. There are some sys- temic issues that can make it harder for women to do well at publishing literary fic- tion, especially at a high level, but there are also biases that can make it harder for men. When I dive into the newest issue of The Paris Review and find male authors of four out of five of the fiction pieces, I get wor- ried. But then I turn to Glimmer Train, and six out of nine stories are by women. And in 2012 Best American Short Stories, twelve out of the twenty stories chosen by Tom Perotta are written by women. There are so many different ways to look at this question. But I will share a personal story, one that perhaps reveals too much. Last fall, I rearranged the order of my short story col- lection and retitled it. I’d been trying to pub- lish the book for four years. I’d sent it to contests, queried agents, and written directly to editors of small presses, all with no inter- est. At some point over the summer, Silas and I were discussing our recurring observa- tion that what gets published by women, especially in debut collections or novels, is often either highly sexualized or focused on gender. Silas suggested that I try an experi- ment: why not try an experiment? Write a book that’s all about sex and see what hap- pens? Hmmm, I thought. The idea didn’t really inspire me. But then I realized: I had written a story that really highlights sex, illicit sex, sex that leads a young girl down a strange path. Maybe I should bite the bul- let—accept this disturbing belief for purely practical purposes—and put that story first. I retitled the collection to highlight gender, rearranged the order of all the stories, and sent it to an editor at another small press. Within two weeks, he accepted it. So. We will see what kind of attention it receives. Is “At the Mouth” it the best story in the book? You be the judge. Proud and Professional from page 3

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