A post for Women’s History Month, 2015
By Pam Pacelli Cooper, Verissima Productions
Many people are used to thinking about women’s struggles to gain equality and physical safety as a thing of the past. We see the statistics describing women’s rise to the top in corporations, in educational achievement, in politics, and in the Supreme Court, where we now have 3 female justices.
And yet…things are not always as rosy as they seem. Two powerful films, recently released, provide context for the life of women in the 21st century. The first, “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, “ traces the rise of the women’s movement from 1966-1971. Excellent footage and in depth interviews with veterans of this movement connect with the voices of contemporary women who continue to struggle with issues of choice, violence against women, and income inequality. Click here to watch the trailer.
Another haunting film, just out is “The Hunting Ground,” which explores the complexity of violence against women on college campuses. Viewed in conjunction with “She’s Beautiful,” it provides a stunning commentary on what can happen when sexual “freedom” is abused and issues of power are not addressed. Click here to see trailer.
Questions for Personal Historians:
1. Are you familiar with the history of women in your country, state, institution of learning?
2. Are you familiar with what is happening in the lives of women today?
3. How does this inform the questions you ask your female subjects when you are conducting an oral history?
4. Do you believe it is important to include contextual questions like these?
5. How do you deal with the challenge of people who say these questions are “political” and don’t belong in a personal history?
NEXT WEEK: My list of some books and movies that have inspired me as a woman, and a request to comment and add yours.