Gerda Lerner: "In my courses, the teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist. I asked myself how this checked against my own life experience. ‘This is garbage; this is not the world in which I have lived,’ I said."
Feminist historian Gerda Lerner has passed away at 92. An original member of the National Organization for Women, Lerner was a pioneer in the field of women's history, teaching what is thought to be the first women’s history course in the world and later establishing the first women's history graduate program in the United States. She led a fascinating life. [more inside]
"I said that I wasn't a sex symbol and that if anybody tried to make me one I'd shave my head tomorrow". The rumors have been swirling all day, but sadly appear to be confirmed - Marianne Joan Elliot-Said aka punk legend Poly Styrene has passed away after battling breast cancer. Her new album , Generation Indigo is scheduled to be released today. [more inside]
Ellen Willis was a writer and critic who wrote for the Voice, the Nation, and Dissent, among many others; her NYU homepage and Wikipedia entry link to a number of essays and reviews, all of which are worth your time. She didn't make me a feminist, but her writing gave me much of the intellectual framework of my feminism and throughout the depressing retreat of the '80s reminded me there was still humor and hope. (From her Wikiquote page: "My deepest impulses are optimistic; an attitude that seems to me as spiritually necessary and proper as it is intellectually suspect.") She died yesterday, of lung cancer, at the absurdly early age of 64. I'd like to quote from her "Escape from New York" (Village Voice, July 29-Aug. 4, 1981), an account of a bus trip across the country that shows her inextricable mix of the personal, the political, and the just plain human: [more inside]