Reports are emerging from Toronto this afternoon regarding a prolific local knitter who used to really get sh*t done, but in recent weeks has finally come to realize that no matter what approach she takes, how many lists she writes, or how precisely her schedule is organized, there inexplicably remain only 24 hours in a day, and each of them only have the standard sixty minutes, no matter how many post-it notes she sticks to the wall above her desk.
Witnesses claim that the complete dissolution of a system that was barely working began two weeks ago when the knitter became a grandmother. “I don’t know what she was thinking” said a source close to the knitter. “I mean, you can’t just add a whole other person to your life and not take a couple of the post-it notes down, you know what I mean? She just kept saying it she could fix it with organization, but I think that she’s in over her head. The baby, the Bike Rally, the Retreats, The Knitter’s Frolic thing… She’s going to lose it.” The source went on to report that the knitter had snapped the evening prior while serving bagged salad and dry toast for dinner, claiming tersely that it still counted as a meal and mumbling that the source was lucky to get anything, and to hang up his towel after he uses it because they are (*&^%ing out of clean ones.
This trouble has spread to mostl areas of the knitter’s life. A “friend” of hers reports that yesterday she proudly turned up to an 11am appointment at 11:30, absolutely confident she was on time. “That’s just not like her.” He said. “Steph’s really not late often, she’s pretty together, you know? I know she put this in her calendar. I can’t figure out what’s going on. Plus she made me look at pictures of that baby again. The kid’s cute and all, but I think she’s already texted me all of them.” He reports that when confronted with the reality that she was 30 minutes late for their appointment, she took out her phone, looked at that day’s date, incredulously tapped on the calendar, then stared incomprehensibly at the booking for 11am. “That’s really not…. ” she stammered, and then was overcome by wave of apologies while simultaneously answering a text about a missing help number for a training ride this weekend and making a mental note to eat lunch at some point while writing a talk for The Frolic this weekend and composing a reply to Megan addressing her query about burping and if you should wake a baby up to do it. (For the record, no.)
As we have come to expect from previous encounters with this knitter under stress, housekeeping went first, and the knitting has been the last thing to go. While dust bison roam the knitters home, everyone is out of clean clothes and a smell that has gone past “weird” and into “disturbing” continues to emanate from the fridge, itty-bitty knitted things pour forth unabated.
This tiny hat followed the realization that the new baby was indeed too tiny to fit the things knit for him during his gestation, but that the weather had not yet turned, and he would need something on his head.
A pair of bootees followed immediately thereafter, because his feet looked cold, and he didn’t match, and despite the absolutely impossible level of chaos in the knitter’s inbox and on her desk, that seemed like a priority.
Pattern is Baby Moc-a-soc (downsized slightly, and knit in the round.) Yarn’s the Mad Tosh from the hat, along with a wee bit of the same yarn in “Antler”, and this reporter can attest that while we are all pretty damn sick of the baby pictures, these are only sweeter on his widdle feetsies. (Ahem.)
Despite all of these challenges, the knitter has so far, with the help of caffeine and crying alone in the bathtub, managed to meet all deadlines, spend lots of time cuddling the baby and continued to mostly do her job(s), as long as you take her at her word that she does not now, nor has she ever considered cleaning anything her “job”. She has appeared in public several times over the last few days and on the surface, appears to be holding up well. (There are sporadic reports that she texted a friend something like “oh man what was I thinking I’m not going to make it” but no actual proof.) The only outward crack in the facade has been a shocking tendency toward spelling errors in emails written in haste, the fact that she ate celery for breakfast twice because it was all that was in the house, and yesterday – left a freshly knit baby sweater outside to dry, immediately before a torrential downpour, where it stayed until it was completely sodden and in need of re-washing. Of this lapse, the knitter would only say “For (*$^%s sakes.”
(Photo procured after evidence was removed from the scene.)
When last heard from the knitter in question was typing frantically at her laptop, with her life in tatters all around her, softly mumbling “next week I’m going to get all this together” while her family stood nearby, shaking their heads gently. We attempted to reach the knitter for comment, but all we received was a reply was an email that read “Isn’t he the most darling thing ever?” and the attached baby picture.
This would have been more annoying, did this news outlet not agree that he is freakin’ adorable. We will continue to follow this story closely.
I just got to Sintra, Portugal to photograph Nazare Pinela and her husband Eduardo for my couple’s project. She is a lovey as can be, but I asked if she wouldn’t mind posing more fiercely for a few shots. If you have a chance visit their incredible shop in Sintra Bang Bang Tatoo.
Adam Smith observed in his Lectures on Jurisprudence (1762) — a series of talks that he gave at the University of Glasgow — that national character plays a significant role in economic transactions: the Dutch, he said, are “more faithful to their word” and better at “performing agreements” than the English, and the English more faithful than the Scots.
In the past few months, I’ve observed a similar kind of cultural variation in a much more prosaic setting: the panhandling interaction.
If you’re from North America, as I am, you’ve probably seen people on the street requesting money from strangers using appeals such as “Homeless—Please Help” or “Homeless Veteran.” There are a number of variations, but homelessness is the common theme in many cases.
Elsewhere in the world, panhandlers use quite different rationales—or what the great mid-century sociologist C. Wright Mills would call “vocabularies of motive.” Mills wasn’t interested in what actually motivated people—such as what psychologists would term “needs” or “drives”—but rather in the ideologically-charged terms they used to justify their actions to themselves and others. As he observed, some motives are more acceptable than others, and we can learn something about local cultures based on what passes for a “good reason.”
So it’s sociologically interesting that within the North American context, the concept of “home” has such resonance that the claim of “homelessness” is considered a compelling and sufficient motive for giving money to strangers. But while the need for shelter would seem universal, it’s rare to see a panhandler outside North America requesting a donation on the basis of homelessness.
In Germany, for example, one often finds people begging for trinkgeld—”drinking money.” And they’re not playing for laughs, as one sometimes finds in the US, when panhandlers give a wink and a nod to the stereotype that money given to beggars is only ever used to buy alcohol (or drugs). When a panhandler asks for “drinking money” in the US, it’s sort of an in-joke, or an attempt to appear disarmingly honest; based on the limited examples I’ve seen, this seems to jolly people up and get good results (i.e., quantities of cash).
But in Germany, drinking money is serious business. In the four years I lived in the Rhine Valley, I saw dozens of men (always men) on public transport and on the street, asking for “trinkgeld, bitte” in monotonous, dirge-like tones that seemed to express just how grim a fate it was to lack beer money. Equally surprising to me was the willingness of Germans to open their purses for this reason, as if it was a truth universally acknowledged that a man with empty pockets must be in want of a beer. In the interactions I witnessed, no one on either end of the transaction ever smiled.
Yet another vocabulary of motive can be found on the streets of Istanbul, where panhandlers often approach passers-by with a request for ekmek parası—Turkish for “bread money.” In perhaps 10 visits to Turkey in the last 3 years, I’ve never seen anyone on the street claiming to be homeless. Nor have I seen a cardboard sign of the kind so common in North America.
In all three settings, the vocabularies of motive among panhandlers have a common theme of need: for shelter, drink or food. What’s interesting is how each cultural setting changes the calculus about what kind of motive is most likely to bring in the cash. Perhaps it comes down to what each society views as among the basic human rights: in the US, shelter has a plausible claim to that status, but beer does not; whereas in Germany, it an appeal for trinkgeld succeeds as an appeal to common humanity and decency; in Turkey, hunger seems to trump all other claims.
Originally posted in 2010.
Brooke Harrington is Associate Professor of Economic Sociology at the Copenhagen Business School. She is the author of two books: Pop Finance: Investment Clubs and the New Investor Populism and Deception: From Ancient Empires to Internet Dating. She is currently doing research on offshore banking and blogs at our fellow Society Pages blog, Economic Sociology.
We've connected now on Facebook and I follow their posts and, on occasion we catch up by messaging each other. This is such a normalized behaviour for me now that I don't think about it much. There's a lot of people who I interact with in this way. I don't automatically break these connections down into categories of people ... they are people I know.
But sometimes, when things happen fast, I do notice. I notice not the disability in particular but the life the person with the disability is living. I notice the engagement that people have in their world or with others in their community. I notice that they are caught up in life, in the best way possible. I think this is noticeable to me because I grew up in a world without disabled people in it. I began work in an institution because community services didn't exist or if they did they were in their infancy. No one could have imagined what was coming down the pike, no one knew that freedom was on its way.
I notice casual comments about going off to choir.
I notice pictures of quilts made that are on display in an exhibit.
I notice the announcement of being in a new relationship.
I notice countdowns to vacations to Spain.
I notice pictures, very funny pictures, from pub nights.
I notice pictures taken at family events.
As life is what life is, not all the posts are about things being done or people being met, there are also posts that speak of the human condition and of what it is to be living a real life, no longer under the forced protection of us, the others.
I notice painful breakups, love betrayed.
I notice jobs lost or jobs not got.
I notice loneliness.
I notice sad comments about being bullied.
I notice grief at family who aren't family.
I read through these, comment or like when necessary, chat when appropriate, but mostly I am bear witness to the fact that people with intellectual disabilities, who given freedom, live it. Freedom has it's joys and freedom has it painful moments, but freedom's opposite is captivity. And while captivity would have all the pain of freedom but none of it's joys.
There are people with disabilities who still live captive. Who still hear keys jingle in every pocket but their own. I am reminded, when I notice the lives lived by those with intellectual disabilities that I am connected with, that not everyone yet has the opportunity for freedom.
Our work isn't done.
Because there's someone, somewhere, captive who, given freedom would make a chocolate cake for the bake table at their community bazaar. Someone, somewhere in captivity isn't meeting a new boyfriend today at the chippy shop. Someone, somewhere, waits, to experience the highs and lows of freedom.
Our work isn't done.
The lives that people with intellectual disabilities claim, when free, shouldn't fill us with a kind of desultory sense of satisfaction and a sense that we're done now.
This weekend, April 28-30, people coming to Penguicon in Southfield, Michigan can catch a number of sessions of interest to Geek Feminism readers.
Coraline Ada Ehmke is one of the Guests of Honor (her Penguicon schedule). Ehmke “is a speaker, writer, open source advocate and technologist with over 20 years of experience in developing apps for the web. She works diligently to promote diversity and inclusivity in open source and the tech industry.” She and others are participating in a Women in Tech panel and Q&A on Saturday.
Perhaps I’ll see you at the con! Feel free to comment if you’re going to be there and mention any parties or sessions you’re particularly looking forward to.
Another digital commission for the Year Two Kickstarter! Bitty and Jack enjoying a rainy day at Jack’s place. They are very happy (sleepy?) boys. Thanks for the awesome request, VG!!
This month sociologist Matthew Desmond won the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond’s book documents, in rich and depressing detail, what it’s like to try to pay rent as a low income earner and how easy it is to end up on the street. Eviction is not caused by personal “irresponsibility,” Desmond insists, it’s essentially “inevitable.”
Eviction is psychologically scarring, but it also throws families further into poverty, destabilizing their work and family lives, often stripping them of their few possessions, and costing money — all while enriching landlords.
Here’s 7 minutes from Desmond about his experience living among low income families and the lessons he learned:Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
We are in a small city in the middle of Wisconsin where we arrived after a several hour drive from Minneapolis. When we checked in, I had to set up to do a webinar for Vita and for The National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals. I'm always nervous before one of these and was glad of the time I had to prepare for the hour long 'conversationar' which is really what it is. Once a month we go on air and chat with the author of the most recent article of The' International Journal for Direct Support Professionals. The conversation, as always we engrossing and the hour up quickly. They make me nervous, these things, but I love what I learn while doing them.
Afterwards I told Joe that I'd like to get out and go to the grocery store to pick up supper. Our hotel room has a fridge and a microwave so we can cook our own supper. We headed to a store not far from the hotel and went in. Now this is a small city, everyone seemed to know everyone, and then in we come. Me, with my weight and my chair, arriving anywhere new is like throwing a massive boulder into a pond. People look, they stare, they make comments. I know I'm facing that going in so I can prepare.
One of the reasons I wanted to go to the store was because I'd felt cooped up, I'd spent the day in the car or our new hotel room working. I wanted a bit of a 'run' in my chair. So I started whipping up and down the aisles getting in as much speed and distance as I could. The exercise made my shoulder feel good, my back stretched out, it was all great.
But what was awesome was ... though there were people in the store, none took much notice of me. It was like they saw big men on wheels zipping around their local grocery store on a regular basis. Several figured out what I was doing, this never happens, and made sure that I had a clear pathway to get up speed and race down the aisle. It was strange just to be in a place and just doing what I needed and wanted to do, and have it not be remarkable.
Not one stare.
Not one silly, or rude, comment.
Nothing, not even, thank heavens, encouragement.
No one was inspired!!
I don't get to go out and just be out. I don't get to take off the coat of armour that I wear to keep me safe.
But after about 20 minutes, I did, I took it off, I felt safe. It's been years since I've dared to do this and I couldn't believe how much the protection I carry weighed. I felt free for a moment. I noticed a long pathway, with no one in it, right near the end of my run. I decided to hit it and hit it hard to see if I could really make the chair fly.
Because I was free.
It's hard to be disabled and feel free.
It shouldn't be.
But it is.
We've closed institutions but not opened minds.
Except for today.
And it was good.
If trying to avoid dying of dehydration is a daily challenge for you, this might just save your life
Dot (£9, josephjoseph.com) is a drink receptacle with sprung ratchet cap. When rotated, cap locks into five consecutive positions, marked with a rising series of glyphs to track refills.Continue reading...
The rivers are all flooding, of course, but I'm on high ground, so it's just soggy. The thing of interest to me is how my growbag + water reservoir systems are holding up. All of them are as saturated as it is possible to be now and the tubs of water are overflowing. So far, they've done fine staying consistently moist during sunny days--now we see if they drown in the rain!
So far, most of them are holding up apparently fine. One bag, which is too shallow for the tub it's in, is definitely waterlogged (but that's one out of over a dozen, so not too shabby!) The two big chiapas-inspired growbag + barrel tubs are hard to tell, because the rain also pummeled a bunch of stuff flat, so I can't tell if the tomato starts are dying from drowning or just hammered down by hard rain. The peppers in the same tubs are okay. I guess we'll know in a day or two.
We close on Dogskull Patch next week. I am trying not to think about it for fear of jinxing everything and becoming a whimpering wreck.
So, we spent the weekend between gigs here in Minneapolis in a hotel that has a small gym. I noticed someone using the treadmill and holding on to it as if it were a giant walker. I got an idea. I told Joe that I would like to try using the treadmill as long as he was there with me, as long as I could step up on it, as long as it didn't go fast and as long as I could grab on to something sturdy that would keep me from falling over. Joe looked a bit fearful at the idea, having been there for a couple of nasty falls in the past, but agreed.
We set out.
The room was empty and I rolled my chair right up beside the walker. I got out and stepped up on it and then we had to figure out the controls. I got off the treadmill and back in the chair as we tried to suss out what all the buttons were for, I didn't want to go flying off and I admit that I didn't want to embarrass myself. Finally we understood how to work it and I got on again.
With great fear we started it up and it went really slowly, just perfect for me. It was sturdily built and I was able to lean down on it hard, holding myself in position as my feet moved below me. It wasn't comfortable and my arms tired more quickly than my legs did, and I have strong arms. But I managed seven whole minutes. Over the weekend I got that up to ten minutes at a slightly quicker pace.
Getting back in my wheelchair felt like the most welcoming thing. I felt stable and in control and the fear of falling was, of course, gone.
I know that the idea of me on a treadmill is comic to some and, oddly, a betrayal to others, but it was just me trying something new, trying something I didn't think I could do. Do I imagine myself one day running on a treadmill? No, of course not, I'm good with that not being in the cards. Do I imagine using it again? Yeah, I do. Why not? I'm a wall walker, I'm simply using an electronic walker.
See the things you get up to when away from home for a weekend. I would never have predicted this, and, my friends, that's what made it fun.
I drew a lot of bookplates for the Year Two Kickstarter.
- Jack and Parse as kids in the Q
- Lardo and George talking about their dumb boys
- There’s a huge S in the Samwell hockey locker room for this purpose
- Parse, at home, probably on insta
- Bow before Lardo, Flipper of Cups, Ruler of Bros
- A swim (◡‿◡)
This issue contains essays by Anya DeNiro and L. Timmel Duchamp, poetry by Mark Rich, Sonya Taaffe, and Bogi Takács, art work by Janet Essley, and reviews by Nancy Jane Moore, Maria Velazquez, Joanne Rixon, Steven Shaviro, and Bogi Takács. You can purchase a single issue or subscription, electronic or print, at http://thecsz.com/.
- After the Election: An ever-present emotional weight
by Anya DeNiro
- The Second Annual James Tiptree Jr. Symposium: Celebrating Ursula K. Le Guin
by L. Timmel Duchamp
- Before Helicopter-Heads Arrived
by Mark Rich
- Continuity Imperative
by Bogi Takács
- The Firebird’s Revenge
by Sonya Taaffe
- Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society, by Cordelia Fine
reviewed by Nancy Jane Moore
Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity,
by Alexis Pauline Gumb
reviewed by Maria Velazquez
The Island of Lost Girls, by Manjula Padmanabhan
reviewed by Joanne Rixon
Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction, edited by Lisa Yaszek and Patrick B. Sharp, with a Conclusion by Kathleen Ann Goonan
reviewed by Steven Shaviro
Judenstaat , by Simone Zelitch
reviewed by Bogi Takács
- Featured Artist
- Janet Essley
Mary Efron was one of the first women I ever photographed for Advanced Style. I met her while walking around New York and then she came to visit me at my job at The New Museum a few days later. She has always had the chicest style and sharpest wit. I asked Mary to share some of her life and style advice for my latest book . Check out her essay below:
Big Girl Time
My life is the story of a woman and her wardrobe. No doubt an x ray of my brain would primarily show closets and racks containing my current wardrobe. Yes, this is the confession of an obsessive clothes piggy, but it’s also my way of coping with the world as I age and shrink. To paraphrase Audrey Hepburn– enchanting universal icon– looking my best is my way of dealing with the world; I interpret this to mean the better one looks the more one is treated respectfully and taken seriously. We who begin with diminutive stature and are over 70 years old have a special problem in obtaining Presence in an ageist society, and by Presence I mean conveying a sophisticated intelligent adult persona. While not presuming “to give advice” I am happy to share my strategies and tactics for coping with the transformations of the aging process, and making a happier and easier time of it.
What follows are my personal formulae for makeup, shapewear and wardrobe for my petite antique state, along with brief sketches of some famous personalities.
So many surprisingly tiny women have achieved colossal Presence with their personalities, brains and modes of dress: for instance, Gloria Swanson‘s character Norma Desmond so aptly said in SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950), “I’m still big. It’s the pictures that got small.” Ms. Swanson was, in fact, 4’11”. In real life Hollywood’s exotic glamour queen of the 1920’s did not have a problem with her age: “I don’t let age bother me. Whenever I am a year older, everyone else is too.”
“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. de Mille”, Norma Desmond announces in that classic heartbreaking moment in SUNSET BOULEVARD; I get ready for my close-up every time I leave my apartment. At 75 nature needs a lot of help, and I have no problem with artifice over nature. Developing the skill of makeup application has been close to a lifelong practice; I’ always tried to assess needed changes as time advances. Obviously, the cosmetics industry gives us more than enough options. I’ve found an effective way to discover appropriate products is to visit a multi brand cosmetics store like Sephora and ask one sales associate to show me the various brands. Of course, I buy a few items and subsequently make purchases at stores that give discounts or have a points system of cash rewards, like Bloomingdales.
I celebrate the freedom to improve my appearance with a variety of products. While I can’t look younger I can look better and fresher. Madame Helena Rubinstein used to say, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.”
Madame Rubenstein was another diminutive (4’10”) force of nature whose accomplishments are astonishing, especially considering her background: born in a small Jewish town near Krakow in 1872 to an Orthodox Jewish family, Madame created a huge cosmetics empire, amassed a magnificent eclectic art collection, had palatial homes in Paris, London and New York, and was remarkably progressive, culturally and politically. In spite of her small size she wore masses of large jewelry, which looked stunning. The recent exhibition, BEAUTY IS POWER (Helena Rubinstein’s slogan since 1904), organized by the Jewish Museum, New York, was a revelation of Madame’s extraordinary biography. The frontispiece of the excellent catalogue for the exhibition, distributed by Yale University Press, has the image of Picasso’s tapestry CONFIDENCE, which was in Madame’s posthumously dispersed art collection.
Now let’s consider underpinnings. “Flatter-U corsets do what you wish Nature would do—that is , a scientific equalization of the flesh,” proclaims a girdle ad, ca. 1930. Modern shapewear has even improved on the corsets that had formerly conquered Nature, but experience has taught me I need help to find the right garment. Bloomingdales has a large inventory and, wonder of wonders, still offers the free services of knowledgeable bra fit specialists, who can also help with compressors, formerly known as girdles. Uniqlo has serviceable low cost compressors for everyday wear. Modern shapewear, if properly fitted, is comfortable, confidence building and yes, rights the wrongs of nature.
Wandering past various come-and-get-it-boys lingerie boutiques at Bloomingdales, I think of blond bombshell Mae West, who was Confidence personified. Her outrageous character seduces with her brains and humor, lusty smirk and rolling hips, never doubting the power of her beauty to rule the male human animal. Ms.West is so smart and sexy, her ample curves squeezed into embroidered and beaded satin gowns, happily slithering toward the camera or her male prey on six inch platform shoes, which are always hidden by a long dress. Five foot tall with a giant personality, she would say things like, “When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.” Way before the feminist movement, Mae West turned the tables on men, treating them the way they were mistreating women. In the early 1930’s Ms. West once spotted an extremely attractive young man on the Paramount lot and said, “If that boy can talk he’s in my next picture. “ The picture was I’M NO ANGEL, the “boy” was Cary Grant, and she told him to “Come up and see me some time. Any time.” Playwright, screen writer, actress (on the stage since age 7 and 40 years old in her first movie), aka The Statue of Libido, Mae West had—and still gives us—a wonderful time, always beautifully and fully dressed, and under all she no doubt wears the very best foundations to be had.
At last we come to the final stages of our “armor to face the world”, more flattering and confidence boosting with just the right clothing and, most important, accessories. Style is eternal and fashion is ephemeral: I look for pieces that will be wearable for many years and span multiple generations, since I have a lovely daughter-in-law and glamorous granddaughters. My wardrobe consists primarily of items devised during the 1920’s—skirts, sweaters and trousers—and the 1930’s—shirtdresses, fitted sheath dresses, fitted jackets and swing or straight skirts. In other words, what used to be called All American Sportswear that can go anywhere, depending upon accessories. By keeping lines simple and colors on the dark side, either monochrome or harmonious, a longer illusion is created. Baby Jane moments are to be avoided, so all hem lengths must at least cover my knees.
From the bottom of my heart, as stated by a slogan contest winning window dresser I used to know, “Accessories are your Successories”. Not only are they that idiosyncratic touch which set one apart, there is also The Halo Effect, known in retail display as the charm exceptional pieces can have of enhancing the beauty of surrounding items.
Hollywood studio designers and stylists of the past seem to have known everything about making under-sized women look like normal mid-height adults. Apparel for Judy Garland (4’11) and Natalie Wood (5’) exemplify this skill: outfits designed for these megastars made the eye travel vertically; eye catching details such as jewelry or embellishments were up near their heads, proportions were never exaggerated and fit was always perfect. Practical, timeless and flattering, the styling devised for Judy Garland and Natalie Wood is the mode I’ve followed for many years.
How we put ourselves together sends a message about Presence in this ageist superficial world, so why not use some artifice to advantage? Of course, take it or leave it, it’s just personal– and we are in “Big Girl Time. – From the book Advanced Style: Older and Wiser available HERE.
Originally posted at Family Inequality.
It looks like the phrase “start a family” started to mean “have children” (after marriage) sometime in the 1930s and didn’t catch on till the 1940s or 1950s, which happens to be the most pro-natal period in U.S. history. Here’s the Google ngrams trend for the phrase as percentage of all three-word phrases in American English:
Searching the New York Times, I found the earliest uses applied to fish (1931) and plants (1936).
Twitter reader Daniel Parmer relayed a use from the Boston Globe on 8/9/1937, in which actress Merle Oberon said, “I hope to be married within the next two years and start a family. If not, I shall adopt a baby.”
Next appearance in the NYT was 11/22/1942, in a book review in which a man marries a woman and “brings her home to start a family.” After that it was 1948, in this 5/6/1948 description of those who would become baby boom families, describing a speech by Ewan Clague, the Commissioner of Labor Statistics, who is remembered for introducing statistics on women and families into Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. From NYT:
That NYT reference is interesting because it came shortly after the first use of “start a family” in the JSTOR database that unambiguously refers to having children, in a report published by Clague’s BLS:
Trends of Employment and Labor Turn-Over: Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 63, No. 2 (AUGUST 1946): …Of the 584,000 decline in the number of full-time Federal employees between June 1, 1945 and June 1, 1946, almost 75 percent has been in the women’s group. On June 1, 1946, there were only 60 percent as many women employed full time as on June 1, 1945. Men now constitute 70 percent of the total number of full-time workers, as compared with 61 percent a year previously. Although voluntary quits among women for personal reasons, such as to join a veteran husband or to start a family, have been numerous, information on the relative importance of these reasons as compared with involuntary lay-offs is not available…
It’s interesting that, although this appears to be a pro-natal shift, insisting on children before the definition of family is met, it also may have had a work-and-family implication of leaving the labor force. Maybe it reinforced the naturalness of women dropping out of paid work when they had children, something that was soon to emerge as a key battle ground in the gender revolution.
Philip N. Cohen, PhD is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He writes the blog Family Inequality and is the author of The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
Note: Rose Malinowski Weingartner, a student in Cohen’s graduate seminar last year, wrote a paper about this concept, which helped him think about this.
By Pamela D. Toler (Regular Contributor)
Forty-nine year old British nurse Edith Cavell was the director of the first nurses’ training school in Belgium. When Germany occupied Brussels in the first month of the war, Cavell refused to leave. She turned her clinic into a Red Cross hospital and cared for wounded soldiers from both armies.
On November 1, 1914, Cavell took her heroism to a new level when a Belgian resistance worker brought two British soldiers to her door. Hiding Allied soldiers was punishable by death, but Cavell took the soldiers in without question. She hid them for two weeks while plans were made to take them across the border into the Netherlands, which remained neutral throughout the war.
These two soldiers were the first of more than 200 Allied soldiers whom Cavell helped escape from German-occupied Belgium during the first year of the war. Working with a resistance network, she provided medical care for wounded soldiers, hid the healthy until a guide could escort them over the border, and made sure they had money in their pockets for the journey.
Catching Cavell in the act became a priority for the German political police, who assigned an officer to the task full-time. Searches of the clinic became more frequent. (On one occasion she hid a wounded soldier in an apple barrel, covered with apples.)
On August 5,1915, the Germans arrested Cavell. Told that the other prisoners had confessed, she admitted during interrogation that she had used the clinic to hide Allied soldiers. Ten weeks later, Cavell and 34 other resisters were tried for assisting the enemy. Five, including Cavell, received the death penalty.
American and Spanish diplomats tried to get her sentence commuted without success; her execution was scheduled to be carried out the next day at dawn. When an English chaplain visited her that night to offer her comfort, he was surprised to find her calm and collected. She told him, “I realize that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.” As he left, Rev. Gahan said “We will always remember you as a heroine and a martyr.” Cavell answered “Don’t think of me like that. Think of me only as a nurse who tried to do her duty.”
Cavell’s hope to be remembered “only as a nurse” was idealistic–and unrealistic. The British propaganda office at Wellington House used her story both to increase enlistment in Britain (the number of volunteers doubled in the weeks after her death) and to increase anti-German sentiment in the United States.
Pamela D. Toler is a freelance writer with a PhD in history and a large bump of curiosity. She is the author of Heroines of Mercy Street: The Real Nurses of the Civil War and is currently working on a global history of women warriors, with the imaginative working title of Women Warriors.
Once in the store I saw that there was a mom there with a boy, maybe 8, with an intellectual disability. He saw the other kids come into the store and made a bee line for the back of the store. His mother called to him, and called to him, and called to him to come to the cash register and pay for his purchase. I'm sure that she heard the kids chatting amongst themselves loudly about 'special needs' and though they didn't say the 'r word' they communicated their view of him as other and as different and as less.
In their chat, they mentioned having been dropped off at the mall after church. I would not normally mention this however if you are going to be loud about your church attendance then you need to realize that you have chosen to represent your faith and your god, their casual and nearly joyful cruelty was terrible to see.
Mom wanted out of the store, her son didn't want to leave the back of the store. Joe comes in at this point and I have an opportunity to do something. I could see that mom didn't want a scene, she didn't want to confront the kids, she just wanted to make the purchase and get the hell out of the store. It had become toxic at the entry of the freshly churched children.
I rolled over by them and began telling Joe, loud enough for them to hear, what was going on. That these kids were mocking a disabled boy and, of course, me too, by how they spoke about disability with such disrespect. They heard me. I thought they'd care. They didn't. I had thought that I could shame them. I couldn't. They didn't care what someone like me said, what someone like me thought.
They also didn't stop. They began, under their breath, mimicking mom's desperate plea for her son to come to the cash register. I rolled over by him and then rolled back towards where his mother stood. He followed me, head down, like he was hiding behind me. There are times I am so freaking thankful to be tall and fat and in a wheelchair. This was one of those times.
Item is bought, mom and son are gone.
I'm in line with my purchase behind these kids. The clerk serves them and then wishes them a good day. I didn't understand why the clerk hadn't done something, he's the one in charge of the space, he's the one with the obvious power. So, I asked. I asked him if he'd heard the kids making fun of the young boy with Down Syndrome. He said that he had. He said that it disgusted him and that behaviour like that makes him want to vomit.
There was a truth and a vehemence in his words that surprised me. He went on to say that he was in the special needs class in his school for many years, he told me of his own diagnosis and a bit of his journey. He said that he got teased daily, but that it wasn't at all like his classmates got. He said that when it happens in the store he just freezes, like he's 11 again, and alone and not knowing what to do. I immediately felt sorry for having, in my mind judged him for his inaction. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a journey.
I made my purchase and wished him a good day.
He looked at me and said, "I should have done something shouldn't I?"
I said, "You served the mom and her child with respect and with care, you were the only person in this store who modelled for those kids what dignity looks like. I think that's good, don't you?"
He nodded, but he didn't believe me.
At the end of the day we went to a very large grocery store that, miraculously, wasn't busy. I set to doing a very long push, up and down every aisle and back and forth across the store. I needed to exercise but I also needed to feel in control again. It was great. I knew I'd done a long distance, I had tired myself out, and I knew sleep would come easily.
There was a moment though that I wanted to tell you about. We've forgotten our blue badge so we can't park in wheelchair parking. It had been raining so Joe let me off at the door and, though there was quite a up slope into the store, I knew that I could do it easily. I was pushing up when a customer coming in ran at me, arms out, ready to inflict help upon me. I didn't see her coming.
I did hear a voice saying, "Don't, he didn't ask!" When I got to the top I looked back to see a young woman with Down Syndrome, standing watching me. She stayed and waited until I was up the slope and in the store. I thanked her.
She said, "I hate it when people just help me. It's just another way to call me stupid and helpless." I told her that she was right. I didn't like the message behind unasked for help.
Ban the 'R' word in speech and in action.
Ban the helpless image in speech and in action.
Speak with respect, act with respect, it's all that anyone really wants.