Friday, November 2, 2007

Tuscon, Day 1: JOANNA

Joanna Frueh : late fifties, art historian, erotic performance artist, feminist.

On youth and sexuality:
“When I see women who look like you, I identify with you. I identify with the girliness, sexuality, the shapes and shapeliness, natural-ness, your individuality and femininity.
..Many older women just stop talking about sex, mainly because they stop having it altogether. So many women resign to being unsexual as they get older. That seems like giving up to me."

Discussion Questions:
Question 1

Tucson, Day 1: BAILEY

Bailey Doogan, a painter and feminist, was the first woman to teach in the art department at the University of Arizona. Bailey came to feminism because of the difficulty she found being a woman in the art world. Bailey’s work has never received the recognition it deserves, and she has been attacked for portraying the reality of aging women’s bodies, “scary” to some critics, but for her the work has always been about “beauty” and getting past “shame about the body.” One person went so far as to call her simply “an angry aging bitch,” a phrase she later reclaimed and incorporated into self-portraits.

A recent set of life-size self portraits hangs in her studio (right and above), and is called “Self-Examination.” Bailey has battled with various illnesses over the last year, challenging her sense of identity and stability. As we leave Bailey’s, both Nona and I wonder what issues become important to feminists as they grow older, and have to deal with a corrupt healthcare system and a society that idolizes youth. We just are glad there are artists like Bailey to keep women visible, at all ages.


Wednesday, October 31, 2007


For Halloween we decided to dress up as famous "scarrry" feminists, to educate the throngs of Las Vegas party goers wondering "who are you guys supposed to be?"

Nona as Bella AbZOMBIE

Marianna as Gloria DIEnem

Emma as Emma GHOULman

San Diego, Day 2: BECKY

Becky: 20, originally from Chicago and La Verne, CA, student at San Diego State, in the midst of applying to law school.

“If you’re not a feminist, you’re a masochist. Your eyes are not open. Women who prescribe to the ideals but have trouble with the label—that shows a lack of maturity. People shouldn’t be afraid of what other people think.”

Discussion Questions:
Question 1
Question 2

San Diego, Day 2: MELISSA

Melissa: Medical student, surfer, future psychiatrist. Doesn’t consider herself a feminist: “Even though I believe in women’s rights, there’s still a tinge of those negatives stereotypes that bother me.”

On women doctors:

“Many women in the medical field kind of joke that they’re going to be the breadwinner in their families. I would be okay with that. I want to be with someone who is intelligent and motivated, but if I’m making more money to support our family, that’s fine.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The subject of men infiltrates most of our interviews, but we often gloss over the idea of men actually being feminists. When we met with three San Diego ladies, all feminists, we discussed the possibility of a women’s movement that includes men—after all, it does have a considerable effect on their lives.

Kristen, 25 (left), is originally from Modesto and San Jose, CA, and working on a PhD in public health. She thinks that feminism has been too limited and should definitely include men, that “if feminism is ever going to work, everyone has to be involved.”

Marilisa, 27 (center), from Philly and getting her masters at San Diego State, agrees but adds that “women should be the center of attention.” Emma asks at this point about the expansion of gender labels—that it’s a slippery slope when choosing who gets to be at the forefront of a movement. Marilisa thinks for a second, then says, “Then I guess we need to redefine what it means to be a woman and a man.”

Kristen tells us “there’s always that fear that men will end up dominating the conversation” if they’re included in women’s activism. But Shannon, 25 (right), from Cali and Wisconsin, also in the sociology masters program at San Diego State, points out, “It’s not like the guys that would be involved in feminism would be misogynists.”


Discussion Questions:
Question 1

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Los Angeles: LILI

Lili: 21 (on her Bel Air terrace, right), Jewish-Persian, graduated from UCLA, raised in a very conservative, traditional household.

“[In my culture], you don’t date someone unless you intend to marry them. And my parents want me to get married as soon as possible. They always encouraged me to have a career, but marriage was always the priority. Sometimes I think they want me to have a good job so that I’m more marketable to men.”

Discussion Question:
Question 1

Los Angeles Ladies: WOMEN AND THE "BIZ"

If you never go to Los Angeles, you may hold onto the stereotype that LA is in its own sunny, flaky, movie bubble. If you do pay a visit, it’ll occur to you that this sprawling metropolis largely dictates the fate of mainstream culture—and in turn, the fate of young women, their representation, and their self-esteem.

In the first couple days in LA, we met with three young women: a documentary film-maker, an actress, and a screenwriter, all very aware of how their gender affects their career and desires in the movie city.

Julia B.: 24 (on Venice Beach, left), documentary film-maker, lives in Venice, the daughter of film producer Laura Ziskin.
"The job of director is a position of control that women are almost
afraid to want. In the film industry, men challenge and question women’s authority at every turn."

Anna: 22 (in West Hollywood, right), actress originally from the suburbs of Chicago.

"The less talent you have, the more pressure you have to look good. For women actresses, confidence is the #1 obstacle.”

Julia G.: 24 (left and below), screenwriter, feminist, Orthodox Jew.

“Mean Girls, brought up a lot of important issues, but it basically said, ‘Whether you’re Janice or Regina, you’re a bitch.’ My friends are just as entertaining and engaging as guys we see on film. We curse a lot, we tell dirty jokes too, but that’s never represented on film. My friend and I are writing a screenplay with women who are neither threatening nor boring.”

Discussion Questions:
Question 1
Question 2

Los Angeles: HARRYETTE

Harryette Mullen, professor of poetry and African American literature, poet, feminist.

“There are so many women writers nowadays. Girls and women are still expected to be quieter, kinder, more willing to step aside and let others take the spotlight…I try to encourage young women to feel comfortable taking power that the culture usually gives to men.”

Los Angeles: MARJORIE

Marjorie Perloff: poetry critic, former professor at Stanford, neighbor to Whoopi Goldberg and Steven Spielberg.

“I am a feminist practically speaking, but I have no interest in feminist art or literature. Identity politics are hurtful. They posit that women all feel the same way. Feminist art shows and novels are no threat to men at all—it makes it easier for them to relegate women to the side.”