Thursday, September 3, 9-10 pm, A Consciousness-raising session on “femininity training”

WBAI is heard at 99.5 FM (EST) and streams at wbai.org Follow us on twitter at @joyofresistance Donate to WBAI at give2wbai.org

On Thursday, September 3, 9-10 PM, Joy of Resistance proudly presents a Consciousness Raising (CR) session. Five women, ranging in age from 22 through 70, and from family backgrounds as varied as Equadorian, Mexican, Colombian and East European/Jewish, answered, from their own experience, the question “How were you trained into “femininity” and “how to be a woman” in your familiy of origin?”

Recorded live at the studios of WBAI this past July, this presentation is part of JOR’s attempt to bring this critical practice in building the feminist movement, to a new generation.

About Consciousness Raising…

Consciousness-raising is a practice that built the feminist movement in the late 60’s and 70’s, when women formed CR groups throughout the country to share the truth of their lives, and often build actions on what they learned. Consciousnes- raising sessions were also broadcast live on the air on WBAI during this time.

Quoting Carol Hanisch, writing in On the Issues ( http://tinyurl.com/puzspmt ): “It (CR) has its roots in the 1930’s practice in China of “speak pains to recall pains” or speaking bitterness to get to the root of collective problems. This practice was used in Chinese movements including the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the 1960s. CR also takes off fro an adaptation of the Civil Rights Movement‘s “Tell it like it is,” a practice of Blacks testifying as to their specific experiences with racism, in churches or other organizing spots, to get sharper and deeper on the conditions they faced as well as the aim they should take in making change.

CR is a way to study our own lives as women, to use our experiences as data. We compare and contrast our experiences and draw conclusions so we can get closer to the truth about what is making us feel the way we do and act the way we do.”

The way it works…

According to Allison Guttu, who has led CR groups with the Women of Color Caucus of National Women’s Liberation: “The way it works is that participating women answer one question, each speaking from her own experience as a woman. After all who want to have a chance to speak, we draw conclusions, sum up and investigate what we’ve all testified about. Conclusions are the most important part – the scientific part. Often there will be commonalities between our experiences. We will think about those commonalities and ask “who benefits from this? Who is gaining? Who is suffering?” And in this way we use these conclusions to get a deeper understanding of our oppression as a group and in turn how best to fight this oppression.”

And from the Carol Hanisch article quoted above: “Consciousness-raising as a deliberate program was sparked in a New York Radical Women meeting early in 1968…In the autumn of 1968, Kathie Sarachild (a member of NYRW), wrote up A Program for Feminist Consciousness-Raising (which can be found at Redstockings.org) to distribute at the first national women’s liberation conference at Lake Villa near Chicago over Thanksgiving weekend. It initially received a mixed reception, but before long, even groups that had previously disparaged consciousness-raising as “therapy” or “navel-gazing” began to take it up. Consciousness-Raising swept the country, with groups in every major city and many smaller towns.

Conclusions drawn in these groups were used to write such insightful and influential papers as Pat Mainardi’s The Politics of Housework,Irene Peslikis’ Resistances to Consciousness, Shulamith Firestone’s Women Rap about Sex, Anne Koedt’s The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm, Ellen Willis’s Women and the Myth of Consumerism, and my article,The Personal Is Political—to mention only a very few. Such theory did not spring up in isolation. It came from months of weekly meetings where both strong feelings of unity from shared experience and lively, sometime heated, disagreements abounded. Actions—large and small—also resulted from these discussions. For example, I got the idea for the 1968 Miss America Protest in a consciousness-raising group.”

CR is not a thing of the past and is being practiced today by such groups as National Women’s Liberation, Women of Color Caucus (of National Women’s Liberation) and Gainesville Women’s Liberation. Most recently (2012-14) it was used by National Women’s Liberation in their fight to get the Morning After Pill (MAP) available over the counter and without a prescription, as women shared experiences of needing the morning after pill and not being able to easily access it. This led to many of the actions that contributed to the victory of MAP now being accessible without a prescription and over the counter in pharmacies n the U.S.

This program will also include a Feminist News Roundup.

Thurs, March 26, 9-10pm: Terry O’Neill on the Republican budget & women–Kathie Sarachild on studying Women’s Liberation history to move forward

WBAI is heard at 99.5 FM in the tri-state area of the northeastern U.S. on Thursdays at 9-10PM (EST) and streams live here Follow JOR on Twitter at @joyofresistance Contribute to WBAI at give2wbai.org

Part 1: The Republican-controlled Congress is on a tear to tear up what little there is of the American safety net and their budget proposal directly attacks many of the programs on which women depend.

Terry O’Neill, President of the National Organization for Women will join us to talk about the Republican Budget and Women.

Part 2: Women’s History itself is the subject of the 2nd part of our last show during Women’s History Month: An interview with legendary feminist pioneer Kathie Sarachild. From her 1975 landmark essay The Power of History (Feminist Revolution), which focused on the erasure from history of the pioneers of the early-second-wave Women’s Liberation Movement and their replacement by liberal media-chosen ‘stars’–to current examples of how the knowledge of authentic women’s history and the strategies developed by early radical feminist groups are helping today’s young activists of National Women’s Liberation achieve important victories. A “DON’T MISS!” interview!

Wed., Jan. 15, 9-10 pm–Then and Now: New Hope for Childcare in New York City–plus: Reclaiming our Feminist History

Joy of Resistance airs on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month from 9-10 pm (EST) at 99.5 FM in the tri-state area & streams live at wbai.org. JOR tweets at @joyofresistance

We’ll start the show by touching on some of the major issues for women’s rights in 2013 and what we are facing in the new legislative session–as well as announcing events for the upcoming 41st Anniversary of Roe v.Wade on January 22.

There is new hope in New York City for progress on a longstanding feminist demandaffordable and accessible childcare (including Pre-K and After-school programs) for all–now that we have a new Mayor who has pledged to prioritize this issue.

Our first interview will be with Neal Tepel, who was an organizer with DC 1707 (the Union of daycare workers) which led the fight against former Mayor Bloomberg‘s decimation of the city’s daycare system. Neal will help us assess the state of these critical facilities today, catch us up on recent history and try to see the shape of daycare’s immediate future in NYC. We’ll also play a portion of our 2010 interview with Professor Rosalyn Baxandall, who was part of the original feminist direct action movement that won for New York City a daycare system that was a model for the rest of the country.

In the 2nd half of the show, we’ll speak with Jennifer Lee, director and creator of the new film Feminist Stories from Women’s Liberation–which just  won the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival as “Best in the Festival for Documentary”–but which, more importantly, has the approval of many of the movement pioneers–approval difficult to come by, as this group was actually there  and has had to see its history distorted many times over.The documentary chronicles the story of the women’s liberation movement from 1963 to 1970. Beginning in 2005, Lee traveled the country interviewing many of the women who created modern feminism.

Lee introduces the film by telling her audience that she was motivated to go on this quest because she couldn’t figure out why the word “feminist”, when it came up in the conversations of her generation, was whispered, as if it were a scary and somehow shameful word. She felt that being a feminist was a good thing–but didn’t have the information whe needed in order to convince the whisperers of why she felt that way. She wondered why her feminist history had been so hidden from her and became determined to go in search of it.  

Lee interviewed, among others, Betty Friedan (Lee holds the rights to her last video interview before she passed), Aileen Hernandez (first head of the EEOC), Kathie Sarachild, (a member of Redstockings and a SNCC worker), Frances Beal (SNCC Women’s Liberation Committee and author of Triple Jeopardy), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton–and many others. 

Punctuated by an astonishing amount of period footage and an energetic sound-track; the film touches on women in the U.S. before the feminist movement (starting with their having been ousted from well paying jobs after WWll); Betty Friedan‘s publication of the The Feminine Mystique; the President’s Council on the Status of Women; the struggles within the movement over lesbianism as well as class and race; the influence of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Civil Rights Movement; the fight to get women included in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, leading to the founding of the National Organization for Women (NOW); the Miss America Beauty Pageant Protest–and up to the Ladies Home Journal sit-in and the Women’s Strike for Equality. Many of the issues you see being raised in the film by are still being struggled for today–such as full access to reproductive rights and childcare–some 50 years later! Joy of Resistance hopes to offer DVD’s of this film as a premium during WBAI’s Winter Fund Drive in February.