Tag Archive | women’s rights

Ain’t I a woman?


sojounre 2

From our family photo album


by Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.

Anger still seethes

I remember the girl who sat across from me in sewing class in 7th grade

I remember how she disappeared amid a flurry of rumour

I remember her reappearance to the next school year, a year later

We knew where she went.

It was 1967. And we knew she had been swallowed up with no choice

By St Mary’s Home for Unwed Mothers

When she returned no one ever said a thing.

I remember the ones whose parents in 1970 and 1971

Who were out of school for “medical procedures” because their

Parents had enough money to pay for something that was

Not yet legal

I remember my very straight arrow mother choosing a differnet doctor because the Catholic

doctor in 1969 didn’t believe in abortion and my mom wanted that option

open to her daughters, legal or not.

I remember the friend who later told me about almost bleeding to death

From a back alley practitioner

I remember not once did any one say anything about the boys

who changed a girl’s life and bore no consequences

I remember marching in the pouring rain in 1986

Dressed in white, the largest protest march ever in LA

I remember being elated to be with so many like-minded women and some men

And coming around the corner in Century City to be confronted

By angry screaming men covered in blood and waving bloody baby dolls

And being beyond angry.

How dare they scream at women

How dare they try dictate what I do with my body?

How dare they condemn little girls who were barely out of babyhood themselves?

To being mothers or having to pretend the new baby was their sister and not theirs

How dare this history be repeated?

How dare they???

I know you are but what am I?

There is always someone calling names. For some of us it started when we started school


My first memories of first grade are the boys calling me names. I was the only kid in glasses. I was the only kid with disabilities and the only non-Jew in my class. That area of North Hollywood was almost exclusively Jewish. Teachers that were Jewish made it clear that I wasn’t wanted too. I remember an older boy running up behind me while I was waiting in line to go into my first grade class and knocking me down and stepping on the back of my head and breaking my glasses. No one did anything about him or did anything to stop him. Thank you, Mrs Soloman!

Or the time in 3rd grade the teacher announced to the whole class after state testing that I was reading at 10th grade level. It took all of 30 seconds at recess for the pinches and punches to start because the teacher added that the rest of them shouldn’t let a Gentile do better than them. So Thank you Mrs Camp!


It’s no different now. Boys and men call names. They do it to hurt and to control. There are so many names they call women to hurt.


The problem with name calling is that eventually you get de-sensitized to it. When most people start getting called names in Junior Hi or now, middle school, they can’t handle it. This caused a weird problem for me when I was called names again in Junior Hi. I had been so bullied in my elementary school before we finally moved that I didn’t recognize it or pay attention. This lead to a weird sort of admiration on the part of some people because I didn’t react. They didn’t know that I by then had learned not to hear it.


Oh those were so original. Yeah, I knew I was skinny and flat chested but I’m smarter than you. So what! It went in one ear and out the other. Are the names supposed to tell me something I don’t already know? My dad was fond of teasing me at that point. He’d say “two peas of a washboard” but I could wear an undershirt and not one of those awful contraptions with stays like my gym partner who was a 40d in 7th grade and always had bandaids under her bra.

DYKE! LEZZIE! And from the really stupid, FAGGOT!

Words used by men again to shame and control but what if there is no shame? I’m not ashamed to be an out lesbian. I have been since 1979. There is nothing wrong with loving people who are like yourself and look like you do.


More words to control women, Heaven forbid we show that we are aging. We are all supposed to look 20 forever? Hell no! I wouldn’t go back to be 20 for anything. I like that I’m aging! I like that I have grey and white hair. Not so found of the things like arthritis but then I got that diagnosis when I was 9 and had already been in dance and gymnastics for 3 years. And yes, I’m a Witch, I have been for over 30 years. Tell me something I don’t know. Names again to control how a woman behaves and lives. Even the worst word a boy could be called in grade school made sure the other boys thought he was feminine. “Sissy!”


So now we have the latest words to come along and again they are being used on women by men to shame them into behaving. This kind of male, when they were six, were mean and evil and now when they are grown and claiming they have the non-existent “laydee brain” are still mean and evil and they need to grow up. It didn’t work then and it ain’t going to work now.

I’m rubber you’re glue, what you say bounces off me and sticks to you!

Musing on gender restrictions and not being restricted – Throwback Thursday


These were some of my favourite books as a kid. I had almost all of them and I’m very grateful that not one of my family ever told me girls couldn’t do science. So I did. The best present I got for the Christmas when I was 6 was my Lionel microscope. I loved that thing. I had to inspect everything. The same year mom enrolled me in summer science classes up at Descanso Gardens where we spent many happy hours watching birds on the lake, walking around the gardens, observing water life under their microscopes. The only bad memory I have was of having to be slave labour when someone decided that the iris beds needed to be divided and the iris beds were immense. I still don’t like bearded irises. It took days to do it and it was horrid and hot.


We also went on trips to the Arboretum and the Natural History Museum and as I’ve said before the Museum of Science and Industry. Dad took me whale watching, I have no idea why my brother didn’t come but I got to be with my dad. He took us to Cabrillo Marine Museum and the Southwest Indian Museum. He took us to Scripps Oceanographic Institute. We went prowling through the backyard and spent hours outside all summer long making volcanoes and hanging out in Cam’s tree house or in the garden or under the redwood or in the bamboo grove. We walked to the park to hike all over the mountains behind our house. Following streams and chasing lizards and horned toads. We spent spring capturing tadpoles and watching them grow in the fishbowl in the dining room where mom could keep an eye on us.

We had to go to summer school when we got older. Dad was a 6th grade teacher and he said kids lost too much over the summer so between that and frequent excursions to the library every week, I don’t think we lost a thing over the summer. I wasn’t allowed to join the kid’s reading clubs because I read too much and the librarians thought it wasn’t fair to the other kids because I was reading in the adult section by the time I was 10. I was still reading every Danny Dunn (http://www.amazon.com/Danny-Dunn-Homework-Machine-williams/dp/0590468901/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1428012196&sr=1-1&keywords=danny+dunn) book as they came out and anything about the Mad Scientist Club which I loved, loved loved, (http://www.amazon.com/The-Mad-Scientists-Club-Scientist/dp/1930900538)

I also read every one of the Childhood of Famous Americans series that were in print when I was a kid, now there are a lot more.

And no one ever told me, not once that I couldn’t do something I was interested in until I was in high school when I wanted to be an archeologist and had already taken 4 years of Latin when a woman archeologist from UCLA told me unless I was rich, not to bother. I kept going for awhile but eventually quit college burned out and broken hearted until I went back 10 years later to get my degree as a Naturalist.

So I really don’t understand the emphasis on gender and science, have we socialized little girls so completely that they are more dependent on male opinion than a little girl in the 1950’s and 60’s? It’s why I don’t think there is any such thing as “laydee brain” it’s all socialization. Or was I just lucky that my parents were gender blind or had given up trying to socialize me into being girly? Goddess knows mom wanted a girly girl and never got it. My sister and I were the least girly girls you could ever find.

The only really big battle I can remember was over having to wear a shirt in summer. I ran around topless like my brother until I was around 8 and he was 6 or 7. And one day mom told me I had to grow up and put a shirt on and I wouldn’t because Cam didn’t have to so I wouldn’t. The only way she got me to put a shirt on was to make Cam wear one because there was no way I was wearing one if he didn’t. So she made him wear a shirt. And boy was he mad but as far as I was concerned I had won.


So It never occurred to me that I couldn’t do anything scientific that I was interested in doing. It also explains having way too many minors because my magpie brain took anything I was interested in AND anything I had to take as a Naturalist so I took classes in biology, ecology, ornithology, astronomy, botany, horticulture, anthropology, geomorphology, (that one pissed off the professor when I told him I was taking it for fun), and tons of photography, art and history and art history. I ended up having way more credits than I needed to graduate but I loved learning all kinds of cool stuff.

Unfortunately, this has infuriated people ever since because I get “how do you know that?” which  leads to people being mad when they go look up something I’ve said up and I’m right and pointing out sometimes where Wikipedia is wrong. But it also  explains the fact that my coven is mostly scientists and the fact that one of the reasons I rarely hang out with Dianic witches is that they often are anti-science and militant about the fact that they know nothing about how science works including how seasons and the planets cause the Wheel of the Year. And why our equinoxes and solstices over the years have often featured a globe circling the sun as part of the ritual.

So I thank my parents and grandparents for raising me to do what I wanted and was interested in and not what society thought I should do.