Goodbye to “Rosie the Riveter”

Mary Doyle Keefe, more famously known as “Rosie the Riveter,” passed away yesterday in her home in Connecticut at age 92. In her much younger days, though she didn’t know it at the time, Mary Doyle Keefe became the symbol of American women working on the home front during World War II.

Taken in 2002

Keefe with her Post cover in 2002

As a 19-year-old telephone operator, Keefe posed for Rockwell’s famous painting that would become the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943. Rockwell’s painting saluted the millions of women who stepped into the jobs of men conscripted into military service, to keep the massive American war effort moving.

Keefe was paid $10 for her two mornings of modeling work. After posing for the painting, Keefe went on to graduate from Temple University and became a dental hygienist. In 1949, she married Robert J. Keefe and had four children, 11 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren that she is survived by.

We thank Norman Rockwell and Mary Doyle Keefe for the inspiration they provided in 1943 and continue to provide today.

Happy Friday!

Anna Bekavac, Women’s Center Staff

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The Importance of WGSS

As graduation nears and my days at Ohio University are dwindling, I often find myself reflecting on my time here. Albeit I have only been here for two years—I made the decision to follow my partner here for medical school after living in Bowling Green and abroad—these two years have in fact been my most enlightening years to date. As I reflected upon why I thought these two years were amazing, I kept coming back to one decision: to become a student of WGSS. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies has been most influential in understanding myself in a world of difference. While I must admit I first came to WGS 1000 in order to fulfill a credit, I was hooked from the first day. Following the course, I decided to sign up for the certificate program and continue this incredible experience.

WGSS has not only taught me about the inherent privileges that I have as a white, cisgender male (while also literally teaching me the definition of those words) but that there are many times when I need to check these privileges as well. WGSS has lead me some of the most outstanding and most dedicated faculty that Ohio University has to offer. WGSS classes are often very personal in terms of experience and emotion. Most people who take such courses, myself included, are at a crossroads in their lives and yearn to learn more about themselves in terms of identity. Thus, when one comes to such terms or realizations, it is often not only an experience for the specific individual, but for the entre class as well. This is extraordinary for a college classroom, and something that I have not experienced in the other departments that I am involved with. This classroom experience is invaluable and in face what makes WGSS so unique. The opportunities in the WGSS program now include study abroad experiences, major research experiences and projects, and of course the opportunity to make life long friends who are dedicated to social justice issues.

Similarly, WGSS led me to my current position as a student worker in the Women’s Center. I cannot reiterate enough how thankful I am for having been offered such a great opportunity during my final year at Ohio University. While being the “lone male worker” in the Women’s Center seemed un-newsworthy to me, that didn’t appear to be the case. I was surprised when I was asked to be interviewed by The Post about my experience working in the Women’s Center as a male—as if male allies in the fight against gender oppression is something to celebrate, when in fact it is women who should be celebrated for somehow managing to survive in a patriarchal, capitalist, homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, ageist, transphobic, ableist society. As I reflected upon this interview, I realized that the fight is nowhere near over. The experiences of women, and all marginalized groups, are largely ignored and unacknowledged. Without the support, space, staff, programming, and resources that the Women’s Center offers, such experiences would likely not receive the all too little attention that they do now on this campus. So while I am excited to be moving onto the next chapter of my life, I am confident that I am a much better person for becoming involved in WGSS and the Women’s Center. And while I strive, and will continue to strive, each and every day to be a better, open, and more understanding person, I must concede that WGSS has left me with a strong foundation to build from.

Kyle Serrott, Graduating “lone male” Student Worker

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What Do Feminism and the Environment Have in Common?

2015 Cherry Blossoms By Connor Rogers-Wartinger

OU Cherry Blossoms 2015, Connor Rogers-Wartinger

The grass is green, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and the robins are calling from the hickory and walnut trees on college green. Athens flourishes during spring and we honor the resources and sheer magnificence of nature on Earth Day and on Athens Beautification day, this Sunday. To that end, we should take time to honor the female environmentalists who strove to remind us that we must not be antagonists to the earth that provides for us. Rachel Carson was a writer, scientist and ecologist most famous for her 1962 book, Silent Spring. Silent Spring questions the practices of agricultural scientists and the government’s use of synthetic chemical pesticides after World War II. Fifty-three years later, these issues have become

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

even more alarming. Rachel Carson is important to the feminist community and the Appalachian community alike. She grew up in Pennsylvania, now a central hub for resource extraction. Sixty-four percent of Pennsylvania gas wells are to be drilled in forested land, including state forests and natural areas. I have to wonder how Carson would respond to resource extraction, and my intuition tell me she would be on the front-lines of the anti-fracking movement.

Wangari Maathai is another female environmentalist that we should keep in our minds this week. Maathai is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, a mission developed to form cooperation among women in growing seedlings and planting trees to bind soil, storing rainwater, and providing food and firewood (Greenbeltmovement.org).

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai

Maathai developed the Green Belt Movement in response to rural Kenyan women reporting that their streams were drying up, their food supply was less secure, and they “had to walk further and further to get firewood for fuel and fencing.” The women in the Green Belt Movement have planted 51 million trees since 1977.

It is important to do small environmental practices like recycling, using less water, turning the lights off, planting trees, picking up garbage, avoiding plastic water bottles, and eating local, but it is even more important to fight against poor environmental practices by huge corporations and even the U.S. government. We have to ask questions about why the streams are drying up, why the water supplies are polluted, and why the forest is being deforested–especially living in Appalachia. Carson said that humankind is a part of nature and a war against nature is a war against ourselves. This Sunday, recognize the beauty of Athens County and make a promise to defend it from harm.

Hope to work with you at Athens Beautification Day!

Madeleine Toerne, Women’s Center Staff

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Join the Movement to #ask4more

April 14, 2015 marks National Equal Pay Day. This day reminds us of the unjust wages women are receiving each year…in 2012, women earned 77 cents for every dollar men received! At the current rate, equal pay won’t be realized for another 50 YEARS.

The Levo League has started the campaign #ask4more to bring this injustice to light and move to close the wage gap. They have enlisted several well-known women, including comedian Sarah Silverman to spread the word and encourage women to #ask4more :

Sarah Silverman’s personal story is here:

Follow the links and watch more women talk about their experiences in the work place and get advice from very successful women. Be inspired to #ask4more because you deserve it!

Have a  wonderful weekend!

Anna Bekavac, Womens’ Center Staff

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Who stays home with the kids?

Before the advent of the second wave of feminism (in the 1960s and 70s), women were pushed to choose between motherhood and a professional career. The second wave of feminism sought to change by arguing that women, like men, are entitled to be devoted e4b74c590479a3ccdbeec5a6ed73e9ceparents as well as professionals in their chosen career field. While this idea is widely accepted in theory in contemporary American society, the practical framework that would allow for workplace and parenting equality is not firmly established. Although 70 percent of American children are raised in households in which both parents work, the parental leave policies that are set in place are limited, at best.

What does this mean for contemporary American families? For many families, this means that new mothers take (often unpaid) time off from work, reduce their hours to part-time indefinitely, or leave their job. Their male partners, on the other hand, often take on more work hours in order to make up the difference in paycheck. While this may allow the family to remain economically afloat during an emotionally and financially turbulent period, this division of household labor is not necessarily satisfying for those involved.

Sweden has implemented a solution that allows families more options regarding division of labor. Out of the 480 paid days off per child, 60 are allocated specifically to the father, and the family is able to divide the remaining days in whatever way they deem fit. This gives both parents an opportunity to rest, bond with their child, and return to the workforce, if they so choose. By offering both new parents family leave, Sweden has allowed new families to figure out how to raise their children without having to give up their careers. In essence, Swedish families are able to have their cake and eat it too. Perhaps, in the upcoming years, the United States will reach a point in which American families can do the same.

0204pregnancyleave_final

 

-Co-authored by Hannah Abrahamson and Emily Burns,

Ohio University Women’s Center Staff

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Feminism, Activism, and Finding Where I Fit in it All

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Hannah Abrahamson, Senior

“Is it possible to be a feminist without being an activist?” I asked on the last day of a class that I took through the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department. I meant it as a rhetorical question to point out that I could, in fact, hold feminist beliefs while not engaging in activism. What surprised me was that a few classmates responded quite differently, suggesting that all feminists have a duty to live out their beliefs through activism. My classmates seemed surprised that someone as talkative and opinionated as myself could be uninterested in activism. Did I not want to share my beliefs? Did I not want to hold people accountable for their prejudices? Did I not want to stand with those who were facing discrimination?

The answer to these questions was that, while I am interested in sharing my beliefs and holding people (especially myself) accountable for prejudices, I do not consider it a form of activism. I am not comfortable standing behind a bullhorn or even protesting outside. If I had to mount a protest, it would be, at best, a halfhearted affair. There are countless people on this campus who are both more interested in and better equipped to perform that job than me. So where does that leave a feminist non-activist?

I am far more comfortable living my life in the background, while being engaged behind the scenes. I may not shout out my beliefs, but there is a good chance that I am involved in a workshop that discusses them. I would rather tell a friend that they are being sexist than shout it through a megaphone. While my WGSS classmates said that expressing my beliefs, even if only to a few people, was a variety of activism in and of itself, I see it a bit differently. I see it as living life and hoping that society will continue to progress towards greater equality. And if I happen to talk about the necessity of providing resources and support for survivors of sexual assault or creating more inclusive spaces for trans* individuals, to me it isn’t a form of activism, it’s a conversation.

-Hannah Abrahamson, Women’s Center Staff

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OU Women’s Basketball Team Makes the Big Dance

The Women’s Center would like to extend a special “Congratulations” to the Ohio Women’s basketball team (27-4) for winning its first MAC Tournament championship since 1986 AND advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1995!

Photo from The Post

Photo from The Post: Ohio won over Eastern Michigan 60-44 on March 14, 2015.

This is an impressive, incredible accomplishment and we are all so proud of the work put in by each member of the women’s basketball team here at Ohio University. I hope everyone is speaking about and spreading the word about this wonderful feat. Often women’s sports are overlooked, but these Lady Bobcats deserve all the attention in the world! Make sure to watch the game and cheer them on this Saturday!

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Tune in to ESPN on Saturday, March 21 6:30 PM ET to cheer on the Women Bobcats, seeded at 14, as they take on Arizona State, the number 3 seed in their section.            _____________________________________________________________

In Bobcat Solidarity,

Anna Bekavac and the Women’s Center Staff

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