Particular Passions

Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times

Equality

Gloria Steinem - On Women in Society

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"I’ve been attacked viciously on a personal level for my ideas. It makes you want to go home and cry and never do anything ever again. The attacks are sort of inevitable. It’s hard to be opposed by men and/or women who feel women are inferior. That’s hard. They do a lot of things to you. They’re always attacking you sexually or saying you’re abnormal as a woman, that’s the most prevalent kind of attack, 98 percent. But I think what’s harder for all of us to take is attacks by other women who appear to believe the same things we do. It’s a tiny percentage of the attacks but it’s much more painful. It isn’t as if women had a choice. We’re all damaged people in some way. If you’re a woman who hasn’t been able to do what you want and need to do as a human being, and you see some other woman who is apparently more successful, then you want to say, “How dare she, she’s just another woman like me.” It’s self-hatred. It’s something that happens in the black movement. It happens in every group that’s been told systematically that it’s inferior. Ultimately, you believe it. You believe that your group is inferior, then it makes you angry at the other members of it and it makes you devalue them. There’s no solution for it, I don’t think, except to make a world in which women can be whole people. I only speak about it because it hurts the most."

– Gloria Steinem, from 'Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert. The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

Available at Amazon and Apple.

Gloria Steinem - On Women's Rights

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"What my male colleagues meant by revolution was taking over the army and the radio stations. I mean, that’s nothing. That’s very small potatoes. What we mean by revolution is changing much more than that, not just on the top. It means changing the way we think, the way we relate to each other, what we think divides us or doesn’t divide us, what we think our power relationships are in our daily life."

– Gloria Steinem, from 'Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times', by Lynn Gilbert. The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

Available at Amazon and Apple.

Gloria Steinem - On Women's Rights

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"It wasn’t until the late sixties, early seventies, that real feminist statements began to be made. It wasn’t just some women who were in trouble, but all women. Radical feminists began to talk about patriarchy and about sexual caste and women as a group. That set off all kinds of recognition in my head, as in millions of other women’s heads, because I think many of us, especially those of us who were in the civil rights movement and the old left, had identified with all other “out” groups, all other powerless groups, without understanding why we felt such a strong sense of identification. Women were not “serious” enough to be an out group ourselves. I think that this understanding is what has made this last decade so mind-blowing and exciting and angering, because we have realized we are living in a sexual caste system and it’s unjust, as is the racial caste system. We’ve begun to question and challenge and discard all of those arguments that say biology is destiny and that we were meant to be supportive, secondary creatures. So if you can generalize, which is awfully hard to do, I guess this decade has been about consciousness-raising and building a majority movement and getting majority support for the kind of basic issues of justice for women, whether it’s reproductive freedom or equal pay or equal parenthood."

— Gloria Steinem, in Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped our Times, by Lynn Gilbert.

The oral biography of Gloria Steinem, whose dedication to feminism and social justice continues to improve life for millions of people worldwide.

Available at Amazon and Apple.

Gloria Steinem - On Women in the Workforce

Gloria SteinemLynn GilbertComment

"You’ve got the hope that parenting can be equal and certainly you’ve got lots of women who are not having children until that’s true. They’re on kind of an unconscious baby strike. If we have to have two jobs while men have one, well, forget it. But we don’t have the structural change to make it happen. We don’t have parental leave instead of maternity leave. We don’t have shorter work days or work weeks for parents of young children, men and women. So I think we’re in a very uncomfortable period now because we’ve got lots of hopes and aspirations and changed ideas of what our lives could be, but not the structural change that would make it possible for most people."

— Gloria Steinem, in Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times.

Read the oral interview of Gloria Steinem from the late 1970s, available at at Amazon and Apple.

Betty Friedan - Herstory in a chapter

Betty FriedanLynn Gilbert1 Comment

"There was the great first movement for women’s rights beginning with Mary Wollstonecraft, and the early suffragettes in England and America who fought for the vote, and the early rights; but that movement came to a standstill with the winning of the vote in the United States in 1920, before I was born. It didn’t change the lives of women because the rights, while necessary, didn’t lead to the kind of changes that are happening now. The movement was aborted, or it was asleep. There was a backlash, which I then gave a name to: the 'feminine mystique.' We had to break through the whole image of woman and we had to define ourselves as people; and then we had to begin a process that’s still not finished, of restructuring institutions so that women could be people. The essence of the modern woman’s movement is equality and the personhood of woman. That’s what it is and that’s all it is. All the rest of it—all the images of women’s lib, the bra-burning, the man-hating, down with marriage, down with motherhood—was  an expression of anger based on an ideological mistake. It is not essential. It is not a part of the whole change. The anger was real enough, but sexual politics was not what it was really all about."

— Betty Friedan, in Particular Passions: Talks With Women Who Shaped Our Times.

Read the oral interview of Betty Friedan from the late 1970s - available at Apple and Amazon for 99 cents.

Betty Friedan - The Femine Mystique

Betty FriedanLynn GilbertComment

"Today I see the same contradiction, in a way, between what almost becomes 'the feminine mystique' if we get locked into the reaction, the sexual politics of the women’s movement and the reality of women’s lives, including my own. Don’t forget that my own agony that led me to write The Feminine Mystique had to do with the mistaken choice: either/or. When I see us heading toward it again, when I see us denying the basic needs of women that do have to do with love and men and children, it denies a part of me, it denies a part of my personhood and what I am as a woman. I will not deny all that I am."

- Betty Friedan, in Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times.

The oral biography of Betty Friedan, who fueled the women’s liberation movement that continues to work toward equal rights for women around the globe. Available for $0.99 at Apple and Amazon.

Addie Wyatt - On The Labor Movement

Addie WyattLynn Gilbert1 Comment

"When I think about what I’ve contributed to the organized labor movement and what I have received in return, I can only conclude that it has been a profitable venture. I’ve contributed so little and received so much. I think this is basically true for most workers. I’d be the first to say that the unions have not really achieved all that I thought they ought to achieve. This is understandable — though you have to define who and what the union is. We’re the union. It is an imperfect institution because it is made up and led by people like us, who are imperfect but seeking to perfect ourselves and seeking to perfect our movement. Imperfect as it is, it’s the best that we have as working people, therefore it’s up to us to strengthen it and to make it as effective and as responsive as possible to our needs. We’ve got more work to do to completely bridge the gap between the promise of equality and the fulfillment of that promise because it’s the only way to win for ourselves the fuller and better life we all seek. I’m a part of that movement and I hope to remain a part of it."

- Addie Wyatt, from 'Particular Passions: Talks With Women Who Shaped Our Times.'

Betty Friedan — On Women in Society

Betty FriedanLynn Gilbert1 Comment

"There’s no question today that women feel differently about themselves than they did twenty years ago, fifty years ago. For the most part, it’s been great for women to take themselves seriously as people, to feel some self-respect as people, to feel that they do have some equality even though we know it hasn’t been completely achieved; to feel some control over their lives, some ability to act, not just to have to wait passively, some ability even to express their anger when they feel it. It has given women a whole new sense of being alive. We’re only beginning to know what we’re capable of." Betty Friedan, Particular Passions: Talks With Women Who Shaped Our Times.

The oral biography of Betty Friedan, who fueled the women’s liberation movement that continues to work toward equal rights for women around the globe. Available for $0.99 at Apple and Amazon.

WOMEN’S ONGOING MARCH FOR EQUALITY

Betty FriedanLynn GilbertComment
'Liberty Leading the People', the painting by Eugene Delacroix, 'Liberte, Egalite et Fraternite' depicting the storming of the Bastille.

'Liberty Leading the People', the painting by Eugene Delacroix, 'Liberte, Egalite et Fraternite' depicting the storming of the Bastille.

Delacroix depicted Liberty as both an allegorical goddess-figure and a real woman during the first French Revolution, of 1789-94. This powerful image: woman as leader wasn’t a possibility at the time unless through marriage or birth.

In the 20th century there have been a few remarkable women leaders such as Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, and Indira Gandhi polled by the BBC in 1999 as the Woman of the Millennium. Gandhi's contributions as Prime Minister in India are remarkable, but would she have even gotten in the door if she weren’t Nehru’s daughter.

More than 200 years later, women still fight to gain a seat at the table. In 2016, American’s are holding their breath to see if they will have their first woman president.

As Betty Friedan said in “Particular Passions: Talks with Women who Shaped our Times.”

“When you're under the aegis of the feminine mystique, ...to do anything at all, you're going against the stream of society…” Fifty years after Friedan published her 'The Feminine Mystique' which reverberated around the world, for women to accomplish that’s what is required.

Read the brief chapter and oral biography of Betty Friedan, who fueled the women’s liberation movement that continues today around the globe.

"This is a wonderful book... The book is recommended reading for anyone — no matter what political or sociological background — who wants to know more about living history." — Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Available at Amazon and Apple for $0.99

HOW WOMEN ARE WINNING THE WAR -- Stories of Inspiration

Lynn Gilbert1 Comment

“Failure is impossible.” - Susan B. Anthony

“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”

“Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military. Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as a symbol of feminism and women's economic power.

Although women took on male dominated trades during World War II, they were expected to return to their everyday housework once men returned from the war. Government campaigns targeting women were addressed solely at housewives, perhaps because already employed women would move to the higher-paid "essential" jobs on their own, perhaps because it was assumed that most would be housewives. One government advertisement asked women "Can you use an electric mixer? If so, you can learn to operate a drill.” - Wikipedia

SEVEN DECADES LATER Nov 6th 2012: “Americans elected a record number of women to the Senate. The 113th Congress will include 20 female senators – more than ever before. In a country where women currently make up just 17 percent of the legislature but more than half of the electorate, you can either view this as very, very slow progress or a sign of things to come. We prefer the latter.- Huffington post.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” –Life’s Little Instruction Book

ROSIE THE RIVETER “Rockwell painted the image of feminine brawn that symbolizes women's place in the World War II-era workforce for the May 29, 1943, cover of The Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell's Rosie is posed as an homage to Michelangelo's frescoed depiction of the prophet Isaiah from the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The 52-by-40-inch oil on canvas depicts "Rosie" on lunch break, her riveting gun on her lap as she uses a dog-eared copy of Mein Kampf as a foot stool.”

Particular Passions: Women who Shaped our Times -- the oral biographies of 46 pioneering women of the 20th Century.