Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Intergenerational Feminist Series at Jewcy.com

The intergenerational convo continues to heat up over at Jewcy. Check out our third round in the series on this election, feminism, and dog whistles. Don't ask, just read.

Three Generations at SUNY-New Paltz

Here's a shot of yesterday's intergenerational feminist panel at SUNY-New Paltz--Amy Kesselman, Elizabeth Gross, me (Deborah), and Heather Hewett, who graciously organized us all.

It was humbling to share the stage with Amy, a second-wave radical feminist/now historian, who shared a number of zingers herself, including: "Coming out of the 1950s, everything looks like progress." Amy is currently working on the history of women's liberation movement in New Haven and I can't wait to read what she has found. Elizabeth--a very savvy sophomore who turned 20 yesterday and who heads up the only feminist group on campus, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance--spoke beautifully from her heart. (Welcome to the 20s, Elizabeth! The 30s get even better!) We talked a lot about forms of social activism, current attitudes toward political engagement, what issues we'd fight for, and what "the personal is political" still means to women of different ages. And we talked about the role feminism plays in our life. Amy has written how "Feminism saved my life." I talked about how "feminism launched my life." In Elizabeth's words, "Feminism is me." I wished the WGLs could have been there to hear Amy and Elizabeth--they both moved me to my core.

Monday, March 24, 2008

WGL at Eastern Michigan University

WGLs immersed in post-panel conversation with audience members, and signing books!

Deborah to Speak on Panel at New School 3/27

So this week, I'm intergenerational-panel-cheating on my colleagues who have affectionately become known as the WGLs. But when Ann Snitow calls, I jump. And so, I of course said YES to participating on a panel this Wednesday at The New School in celebration of Women's History Month.

Ann is coeditor of The Feminist Memoir Project and a founder of New York Radical Feminists (circa 1969), the group that brought us the Miss America Protest that put women's liberation on the map, and so much more. The panel, "Feminist Generations/Feminist Locations: The Continuing Vitality of Feminist Thought and Action," will take on the state of feminism across generations. Joining Ann and I on Thursday will be:

AI-JEN POO of Domestic Workers United
MEREDITH TAX of Women’s World
(a founder of Boston’s Bread & Roses – 1969)
CLEOPATRA LAMOTHE of Women of Color Collective, Lang
ERICA READE of Moxie, Lang College Feminist Club

When and where, you ask?

66 WEST 12TH ST., ROOM 407
6:30-8 PM

For more info, please contact Soraya Field Fiorio, fiors393@newschool.edu.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Bluest Eye

We had this amazing realization on our tour launch about the book The Bluest Eye by the always deep, complicated, and imaginative novelist Toni Morrison. It turns out that it had a huge impact on three out of the four of us (we've charged Gloria with reading it immediately) and our paths towards feminism(s). Here's a reflection I did on Morrison, her work, and its interaction with feminism over at feministing.
Our realization is complicated, as even Morrison herself doesn't identify with the feminist label and, in fact, loathes it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Student Newspaper Coverage of WGL

Thanks to Lindsay Knake of the Central Michigan Life newspaper who did a great piece on our recent panel at her school. The lede:
Writer Deborah Siegel and the other panelists of "WomenGirlsLadies" are looking to change the way people view feminism.

Notice this great pic, which captures the moment Gloria nailed me with the hardest question of the night about women's voting power. Gees, that lady knows her stuff.

I have to say that Knake's article was a great improvement over the pre-event coverage which lead with the cringe-worthy: "Students can take part in a university-sponsored 'girl talk' tonight." Pass the nail polish and don't you dare freeze my underwear girlies!

But seriously, thanks to everyone at CMU, especially Jill who made it all happen. It was an absolute pleasure!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Hello, Mt. Pleasant!

Well, Courtney pretty much summed up our travel adventures yesterday and I got nothin' to add. Except that I think I may soon be offering seminars in the Siegel Slip, as I am more than happy to share my line-busting, rule-breaking tips for the good of well-behavin women waiting unnecessarily in lines at airports across the land. Oh--one more thing. Miss Courtney, tomorrow, *I* call the cute black sweater dress and boots.

Thank goodness our travel misadventures nevertheless got us to Mt. Pleasant this morning, because I loved loved loved our visit to Central Michigan University. The students we spoke to today are amazing, and inspire me. During the day, Gloria and I talked to a group of Honors students about the pressures facing "academically gifted" women, while Kristal and Courtney spoke to a journalism class. After the big evening panel, we asked the audience to fill out forms telling us what they, as younger women, would like to say to older women, and vice versa. And we asked the men in the audience to tell us what they think about feminism, or what they'd like women to hear from them. We'll be posting some of the responses here, and my copanelists will be coposting at their various blogs as well. The responses are just too darn good not to coshare.

For more on today, here's the take from our resident young'un over at feministing. And do check out another intergenerational conversation Miss Courtney is participating in--about the election--over on Jewcy, along with Wendy Shanker and Bitch PhD.

(Heads up Kristal and Gloria: I think Courtney may be intergenerationally cheating on us over there!)

Adventures in Intergenerational Feminism!

Debbie and my insane travel adventure starts at 11am in Boston, ends at 6:30am in Lansing the next morning. In between:



Gut-busting laughter with two other writer ladies; convince train conductor Mr. Dickerson to find us a New York Times when we tell him how cute he is

Train to Newark

Airtrain to Terminal

Wildly understaffed pub-burgers, salad, and fries hit the spot

Flight delayed for totally unknown reasons-sky is a beautiful, clear blue

Sit at counter and argue/coddle/flatter Delta staff until they get us on a flight to Chicago on American; I learn the ways of the Siegel slip (rules do not apply to this woman); team up with Mary Ellen, our friend from Jersey who is also doomed in trying to get to Lansing

Go back to baggage claim to get bags

Convince grumpy American staff to give us tickets

Go through security again, this time we are marked as possible terrorists and asked to go through a special screening; we set off the special alarm and it says EXPLOSIVES in huge red letters; machine is broken; we are not terrorists

American flight is delayed

Receive call from Orbitz TLC that flight from Cincinnati to Lansing was also delayed so we could have just taken that

Fly with the violent taste of warm chocolate chip cookies wafting back from first class

Get to Chicago, see every other hotel shuttle but ours

Get to hotel, go to bed

Get up at 4:45 am, Debbie and I put on the exact same outfit (black dress, tights, black boots)

Barely make the shuttle, airport is mobbed; commence Siegel slip again

United staff spends twenty minutes trying to find us a staple for our tickets

Go through rigorous security again; this time the woman asks us if we would like a private room to be patted down; we consider it, but decide she’s not our type

Get on tiny plane; passengers are rearranged to balance out the aircraft (that tiny)

Get to Lansing and meet Kevin who drives us the hour to Mt. Pleasant

8 moving vehicles, 2 rigorous pat downs, 5 grumpy airline workers, and almost 24 hours later, we arrive

Lots O Intergenerational Political Talk Over at Jewcy

Check out this intergenerational conversation about the election that I'm having--blog style--over at Jewcy with the always gut-busting Wendy Shanker and the always brilliant Bitch Ph.D.

We're at Central Michigan University today, talking to journalism and honors students, lunching with brilliant comparative literature, sociology, and women's studies professors, and looking forward to a great panel tonight. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Generation Me

I wrote this column for the American Prospect Online on my generation and narcissism--a big topic of conversation among frustrated employers in the workplace, disillusioned young people, and everyone in between. It seems that despite the fact that some research confirms that we are more self-focused than previous generations, new research disputes that finding.