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January 27, 1971 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-27

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Wednesday, January 27, 1971

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Five

Wednesday, January 27, 1971THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Liberated

women: Publishin

SISTERHOOD IS POWER-
FUL, editd by Robin Morgan,
Vintage, $?.45.
VOICES OF THE NEW FEM-
INISM, edited by Mary Lou
Thompson. Beacon, $5.95.
By MARCIA ABRAMSON
In the last few years book
publishers have capitalized on
radical politics, splitting profits
with the Hoffmans (or their
foundations) and James Simon
Kunens; some of the results
were good, most terrible.
Naturally, publishers event-
ually "discovered" the growing
women's movement. And with
interest in one kind of revolu-
tion apparently fading, publish-
ing houses are devoting increas-
ed attention to the perhaps even
more frightening phenomenon
of "what-do-those-damn-women
-want-anyway?"
It has taken a while, but the
publishers have finally come up
with a comprehensive anthol-
ogy of writings from the wo-
men's liberation movement.
Women who have been saving
yellowed clippings of "Notes of
a Radical Lesbian" and "T h e
Politics of Housework" f r o m
underground papers can safely
invest $2.45 in Sisterhood is
Powerful. All profits will go to
women's organizations, and the
4 collection is excellent. Most of
the classic radical essays on the
women's movement are includ-
ed. along with much more.
Publishin'g houses. according
to former editor Laura Furman

in Sisterhood is Powerful, a r e
bastions of male chauvinism.
It is remarkable that the Vint-
age anthology is as good as it
is.
This achievement was not so
easy. Editor Morgan writes: "I
had insisted on working w i t h
women at Random House, and it
was agre3d that my two edi-

tors (women) and myself would
have no interference from men.
Of course, what none of us fore-
saw was that neither of my edi-
tors had any real power in the
male dominated hierarchy of
the house, and so were forced
into a position of "interceding"
with those who could enforce
the decisions-men."

There were no doubt fewer
problems with the more moder-
ate Voices of the New Feminism,
a respectable looking hardback
put out by the Unitarian Uni-
versalist Women's Association.
Both books are collections of
essays on a wide-ranging group
of subjects, including women's
history, problems, goals, and life
styles. The Thompson anthol-
ogy leans heavily on the respect-
ability of a Martha Griffiths or
Shirley Chisholm; it is aimed
specifically at more moderate
members of the women's move-
ment, and contains a short piece
by Betty FI'iedan, organizer of
NOW.
These two collections repre-
sent the two divisions of t h e
women's movement, the moder-
ate and radical. The moderates
talk of reforming the present
system; never once would they
suggest abandoning the nuc-
lear family or heterosexual
norms. The radicals will not
stop at equality on the capital-
ist totem pole; they see t h e
falseness of male-female roles,
and remand a new kind of per-
son. It is not enough for a wo-
man to'make it by adopting
tough "masculine" behavior;
the definitions of male as dom-
inant-aggressive and femala as
passive-sensitive must be ended
because they are not based in
nature but in 'economic a n d
psychological needs to oppress.
So while the Thompson an-
thology contains an exhortation
from Chisholm that women
must bring a spirit of m o r a l
purpose to politics, it does not
investigate the alternative of
lesbianism as Sisterhood is
Powerful does. The Morgan an-
thology is much more far reach-
ing in its consideration of the
problem of sexism and possible
solutions.
Both books are strong on sta-
tistical evidence of women's op-
pression. Both begin with ex-
cellent historical essays which
correct misconceptions of long
standing about women. Connie

g the p
Brown and Jane Seitz in Sister-
hood is Powerful detail the mili-
tancy of the suffragist move-
ment and explain why it failed.
I, for one, did not know that
the National Guard had to be
called up in Washington in
1913 because of the uproar
created by the women's m o v e-
created by the women's move-
ment - not just for suffrage.
either, although the movement
bogged down after t hat objec-
tive was obtained.

rotests
men are not naturally childlike
and submissive by using only
studies of children who have
been socialized for years into
traditional sexual role-playing.
Martha Shelley's "Notes of a
Radical Lesbian" opens a new
(for many people) perspective
on lesbianism as a "sign of
mental health," a refusal to be
oppressed. Shelley is forthright
and proud, and recognizes much
of the reason why "lesbianism"
is not mentioned in books like
the Thompson anthology.
"Straikht women fear Lesbians
because of the Lesbian inside
them." she writes . . . "They are
angry at us because we have a
way out that they are afraid to
take."
Much has already been made
of Sexual Politics. Kate Millett's
treatment of literature from a
feminist perspective. The long
excerpt in the Morgan anthol-
ogy is a good introductiof to
Millett's ideas; her treatmAnts of
Mailer and Genet are included.
"Double Jeopardy: To Be Black
and Female" is another import-
ant essay because Frances Beal
refutes the arauments that the
black woman must build uo her
man's shattered spirit. This is
counter-revolutionary, she says;
"we must begin talking about7
the elimination of all kinds of
oppression . . . We need our
whole army out there dealing
with the enemy, not half an
army." Black liberation does not
come first: the black woman
must struggle twice to be free.
Marge Piercy's "The G r a n d
Coolie Dam" tears apart t h e
male chauvinism of the male-
dominated new left, and shows
how much the sexism of these
so-called revolutionaries has pro-
duced the impetus for the radi-
cal women's movement. Piercy
tempers her anger with recogni-
tion of the universal cause of
this sexism.
Capitalism and sexism are
linked in Karen Sacks' piece
which develops the need of the
profit system of private enter-
prise to exploit the cheap labor

;sbooksbook

Along with this essay, several
others are mandatory reading
for anyone who wants to begin
to understand the women's
m o v e m e n t. "'Kinde, Kuch
Kirche' as Scientific Law:
Psychology Constructs the Fe-
male," by Dr. Naomi Weisstein,
has been of tremendous impor-
tance in its rejection of stand-
ard psychological arguments for
female inferiority.
Dr. Weisstein thoroughly ex-
poses fallacies of modern psy-
chology, and reminds us that
one set of experiments h a s
shown that experimenters (gen-
erally men) tend to find what
they expect to find. She shows
how some men have simply fail-
ed to accept evidence that wo-

of women who work and the ab-
solutely free labor of the indis-
pensable wife and mother who
frees her husband to put in full
time.
Another fascinating piece is
the WITCH manifesto, "Witch-
es and gypsies were the original
guerrillas and resistance fighters
against oppression -- particu-
larly the oppression of women
. . . Witches have always been
women who dared to be . . . the
first friendly Heads and Deal-
ers, the first birth-control prac-
titioners and abortionists .,.
They bowed to no man."
There are many other excel-
lent essays in the Morgan an-
thology, especially one on the
status. of women in C h i n a,
which apparently is not very
different from anywhere else.
Others detail the sexism in var-
ied occupations, from the mili-
tary to the church. There a r e
also, as Morgan says, poems,
including some by Sylvia Plath,
drawings, and other personal
expressions.
The essays in the Thompson
anthology are fewer; several are

duplicates from the Morgan
book. Perhaps most interesting
is a report to the United Na-
tions on the staaus of women
in Sweden, the country where
the most progess has been
made but which still has a long
ways to go. There is some day
car , for example, but not
enough, and the sharing of
housework and outside-the-
home work between husband
and wife is only beginning.
Sisterhood Is Powerful is of
course the best buy with its
comprehensive view of Western
Culture, from advertising, which
channels women's aggression in-
to the crusade against germs,
to the myth of the vaginal or-
gasm or radical machismo. It
is the kind of book anyone who
aspires to be a human being
shoud read to understand why
women are beginning to believe
that, "this time we women must
seize control over our own lives
and try, in the process, to sal-
vage the planet from the ecol-
ogical disaster. and nuclear
threat created by male-oriented
power nations."

U'

and

women: Battling the stereotype

A DANGEROUS EXPERI-
MENT - 100 Years of Women
at the University of Michigan,
by Dorothy 'Gies McGuigan,.
Patterson, $2.50.
By JEAN KING
Skim this book and its lav-
ender and old lace. Read it
slowly and it's Bread and Roses.
A paperback of 136 pages,
T he Dangerous Experiment was
published late last year by the
Center for the Continuing Edu-
cation of Women to mark the
centennial of the admission of
women to-the University. Doro-
thy Gies McGuigan, distinguish-
ed author and University gradu-
ate, has thoroughly researched
the records of women at the
University and .sets forth their
story in readable prose. Though
her style is placid and the illus-
trations quaint, McGuigan re-
wards the careful reader on al-
most every page with an allusion,
or a quote or a comment' of her
own that illuminates the condi-
tion of women in a gentle but
clear-eyed fashion.
In a subtle way this book
sends out the same kind of
double signal that women get
from society. Tq be feminine as
defined by the times and the
culture is safe; to step out of
that stereotype brings contro-
versy, danger or punishment.
The cover, for example, com-
bines these two kinds of sym-
bols. Front and back it shows
.*Mary Kay Oliver's drawing of a
feathered and furbelowed fe-
male, circa 1875, and four CEW
flower baskets. Yet there is dan-
ger in the title: the cover figure
is holding a Daily (though the
Daily did not begin publication
until 1890), and the background
,is yellow, a favorite color of the
suffragists.
Another message from the
book which suggests "It is now
as it was then" presses even
more strongly on the reader who
knows the University today. It
is difficult to believe that women
*are much closer to being recog-
nized as individuals with a wide
range of attributes and inclina-
tions than they were in 1858
when Sarah J. Burger of Ann
Arbor first notified the Board of
Regents that she was about to
apply for admission. One notes
that in the 1870's when Aman-
da Sanford walked forward in
commencement exercises to re-
ceive her diploma, with honors.
as the first woman in the history
of the University to be made a

Doctor of Medicine, she was
hooted and showered with abu -
sive notes from young men sit-
ting in the balcony.
And one recalls that only four
years ago in her senior year the
first. woman to become editor-
in-chief of the Michigan Law
Review found herself pictured
as a Playboy centerfold in a
publication distributed at the
spring law school dance. One
also notes that the most pres-

ed for men. Henry P. Tappan,
president of the University from
1852 to 1863, opposed the ad-
mission of women with all the
force he could muster. He found
it an unbearable threat to his
whole concept of what a univer-
sity should be. In 1867 he
brooded: "I sometimes fear we
shall have no more women in
America. If the Women's Rights
sect triumphs, women will try to
do the work of men- they will
cease to be women while they
will fail to become men-they
will be something mongrel, her-
maphroditic. The men will lose
as the women advance . . .'
And in what may be a time-
less reflex, the University looked
to leading educators all over the
country for support. Harvard
responded that there was an
"immense preponderance of en-
lightened public opinion against
this experiment," Yale predicted
such a plan would be met with
ridicule, and Horace Mann of
Antioch, where women had at-
tended for years, warned of the
"terrible" dangers of coeduca-
tion.
Even the positions of the
players are similar. As President
Tappan knew, his faculty, al-
most to a man, bitterly opposed
the admission of wonien. On the
other hand, elected state offic-
ials, including the governor and
legislators, favored their ad-
mission, though women were not
yet able to vote here. It may be
that male support for meaning-
ful participation of women in
any system increases as the de-
gree of personal involvement
with that system decreases.
Throughout the book the ech-
oes of the past seem very famil-
iar. The disparity between the
numbers of women trained and
the number utilized at the Uni-
versity was noted in 1896 by an
Iowa college president. Com-
menting of the absence of
women from the University fac-
ulty he said, "It does not seem
to me logical that women should
receive highest scholastic de-
grees and then be denied the
natural and legitimate use of
them."

In January, 1870 Lucinda
Stone brought the news of the
Regents' resolution admitting
women to her pupil, Madelon
Stockwell. An outstanding stu-
dent at Kalamazoo College,
Stockwell soon became the first
woman admittedsto the Univer-
sity. Twenty years later Stone
began a drive to raise money to
endow a chair for a woman pro-
fessor. arguing the importance
of women on the faculty as
t

years, arrived in Ann Arbor a
year after women were first ad-
mitted. A staunch defender of
higher education for women, he
was, as McGuigan notes, "in all
ways an extraordinary man."
Throughout his presidency An-
gell and his wife set an example
of personal kindness and inter-
est in the women on campus. He
wrote of the value to a woman
of the "consciousness she has
that her education is identical
in scope and thoroughness with
that of her brother," a circum-
stance which he believed would
give women "confidence, self-
reliance and strength."
In addition to judging women
as individuals, Angell was sen-
sitive to an aspect of coeduca-
tion that few men of his day-
or this-were even aware of:
"that most women had been con-
ditioned from childhood to a
sense of intellectual inferiority
very difficult to overcome." It
remained for another University
scholar, Martina Horner, to de-
scribe this insight more accu-
rately in the 1960's as the
"motive to avoid success." Found
in many women, perhaps in
most, and especially in those
who are gifted, it appears to be
one of the profound effects of
our culture's present mode of
socializing females.
In her final chapter, "The
View from the Bell Tower," Mc-
Guigan says she finds hopeful
signs for the 1970's that the "old
feudal structure of the univer-
sity" has changed and is con-
tinuing to change. She believes
it will be comparatively easy to
banish overt discrimination in

admissions, in hiring practice,
and in salaries.
If such a change is easy to
achieve then why has the strug-
gle been so prolonged and the
opposition so fierce? Because, I
would suggest, the value of an
activity, in prestige or in money,
is in general lowered in our cul-
ture by the participation of
women, regardless of the quality
of that participation. A univer-
sity with a substantial portion
of women on the faculty is by
that very fact less distinguished.
As Henry Wade Rogers of
Northwestern pointed out in the
last century, to make the ap-
pointment of women to faculty
positions at all general "would
be to lower the tone and stand-
ing of the institution which
should enter on such a policy."
It is for this reason that tech-
niques for fighting bias which
penalize discriminators finan-
cially have more likelihood of
success than "education" or
moralizing.
Today's writers ...
Marcia Abramson is a grad-
uate student in comparative
literature and a constant advis-
or and counselor to the Daily
staff.
Jean King, a local attorney,
is co-spokesman for FOCUS on
Equal Employment for Women,
the organization that filed a
complaint with the Labor Dept.
last May which resulted in the
recent HEW investigation of
sex discrimination at the Uni-
versity.

MACROBIOTIC, VEGETARIAN

and
HEALTH FOOD COOKBOOKS

Circle Bookshop
215 S. STATE STREET
769-1583 2n

".,.,feudal'

," , .extraordinary"
tigious honorary society of the
medical school, Galens, has
never since its founding in 1915
had a woman member. Yet it
often sponsors the major annual
social event of the medical
school year in the Lydia Men-
delssohn Theater of the Michi-
gan League, a building whose
construction was made possible
by contributions of University
alumnae over a long period of
years. Women are not admitted.
The arguments and fears and
some of the administrative tech-
niques we now encounter in at-
tempts to give women more than
minimal access to the academic
guild differ only in degree from
those used when the University
community agonized over the
decision to admit women or stu-
dents. The exclusion of women,
it was pointed out more than
100 years ago, is accepted by so-
ciety; the inclusion of women
would lower the prestige of the
University and would result in
women usurping places reserv-

d Floor

models for women students. Her
idea did not become a reality
for another 50 years. In the
1950's two chairs for women
were finally funded. The initial
gifts for these chairs had been
received at the turn of the cen-
tury. They are now held by psy-
chology Prof. Elizabeth Douvan
and history Prof. Sylvia Thrupp,
two of the very few women who
are full professors on the faculty.
Encouraging alumnae to ear-
mark their contributions for the
use of women students and wo-
men faculty is an idea that has
not yet outlived its usefulness.
James Burrill Angell, presi-
dent of the University for 38

11

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All students interested in cozcen
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