During the month of March, Women’s History Month is celebrated across the nation and here at Simpson College.
According to www.womenshistorymonth.com, Women’s History Month started originally as women’s history week back in 1981. Eventually, Congress passed resolutions that requested and authorized presidents each year to proclaim March as women’s history month. Since 1995, all the presidents have designated March as Women’s History Month.
At Simpson, many of the Women’s History Month events are put on by the Women and Gender Study faculty, which is an interdisciplinary program.
This year, the theme of Women’s History Month is creativity.
“I have spent a lot of time thinking about the way in which women’s cultural production, their art, at least historically, is defined as craft,” said St. Clair, Professor of English. “That definition is necessarily a pejorative one. It’s negative, and I hope we can look at the ways in which the women create and how the material conditions of their lives shape what they are able to create.”
Overview of events for Women’s History Month:
Novelist and memoir writer, Fern Kupfer read from her most recent book during a forum on March 11.
Professor Joan Gordon was the lecturer for the Women in America Lecture on March 13. Her lecture was titled “Women in Science Fiction: ‘The Chink in the World Machine’.” This gave a look into women and their role in the genre of science fiction.
Farnham Galleries currently is showing the fiber art of novelist and poet Mary Louge. On March 20-21, Louge will be in Farnham reading her poetry and discussing her art.
On Monday, March 25 there will be a panel of students and local women, all of whom participate in some form of art, will be exploring the relationship of gender and creativity.
To wrap up Women’s History Month, on Thursday, March 28, there will be a Women’s History film Artemisa. This film is a look at the life and art of Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi.
Along with the events put on by the Women and Gender Studies faculty, other groups throughout Simpson are putting on an event called the V-Day Campaign, a national campaign.
This year, the Clothesline Project and the production of “A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant and a Prayer,” will be apart of the V-Day Campaign.
The Clothesline project started as a way to have those who have been affected by sexual violence tell their stories and raise awareness by painting t-shirts. The t-shirts are then hung up around campus.
“It’s for both male and female victims and survivors. At Simpson, we’ve kind of twisted it to raise awareness, not just asking people who have been affected by it to come tell their story but have people who care about the issue to come out,” said senior, Kristina Kelehan.
The production, “A Memory, Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer,” will be put on this year instead of the Vagina Monologues.
“That’s what Simpson’s doing instead of the Vagina monologues because they want men to be able to participate too,” said sophomore, Erica Barz.
“It’s a subject I feel passionately about. Violence against women is unacceptable, and I feel that in our modern day society, women aren’t given the respect they deserve, and the V-Day campaign is something that draws attention to that,” said Barz.
St. Clair said that in recent years she has seen a decline of attendance in the events hosted for Women’s History Month. St. Clair used the attendance of the Women in America Lecture as an example.
“For years it (Women in America Lecture) was as big of an event as the Carver Lecture, the McBride Lecture, people all across campus who didn’t teach in women’s studies did attend, and in recent years it’s fallen off.”
St. Clair believes this decline in people’s participation of these events is due to an intellectual apathy.
“People don’t feel an obligation to explore fields that are outside of their own areas of expertise,” said St. Clair. “That’s sad because one of the things that a school like Simpson should do is push you to try new things and enter into new conversations,” said St. Clair.
St. Clair feels that Women’s History Month is something that all the Simpson community should take part in.
“I think it’s important that people get involved because there’s no way that you’re not impacted by what occurs in women’s lives,” said St. Clair. “The talks are all interdisciplinary. There is something for everybody.”