My baby-boomer friend wrote an e-mail recently about how she was raised to be a ‘good girl’, that is, to be quiet and not make waves. Many women of my generation remember being admonished for speaking up and were counseled into having narrow career expectations, such as nurse or teacher. My generation also had limited access to female role models of courage and accomplishment.
Clara Barton and Nellie Bly come to mind as the only biographies of women available to me as a child. Of the two, it was Nellie Bly’s travel and daring undercover journalism that resonated with me.
Women’s voices have been underrepresented in the historical record before the 20th century efforts of a new wave of female historians. Now there is a virtual avalanche of books and other media shining a light on the impact women have made in history. A lot of the credit for this trend goes to Gerda Lerner, a renowned academic who basically created the field of women’s studies in the 1960s to 1990s. I am currently taking a deep dive into her writings, and found this reflection she made significant:
“Women’s self-perceptions were diminished by a centuries-old tradition that put them outside of history… Women’s ambitions were lowered by the absence of heroines.”
Today, the stories of many heroines are now available to us and the generations that follow.
My friend shared in her email that she did not spend her adulthood as a ‘good girl’, but instead spoke up, secured advanced degrees, ran in a marathon, and now coaches men and women to be their most authentic selves.
Heroines make a difference. Voices of American HERstory intends to bring more of these heroines to life for new audiences. Our in-person and virtual performances bring history alive.
We have a public performance coming up at Shrewsbury City Center, 5200 Shrewsbury Avenue, 63119 on February 3 at 7 p.m. Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton will appear in costume, and share the actual speeches that marked their pioneering activism in the 19th century. The trio will answer questions, in character, from the audience after their performance.
“It’s as if they stepped out of the pages of history and spoke to us!” according to a previous attendee.
For tickets, please visit https://www.ticketsignup.io/TicketEvent/HERstoryComesAlive
We have set aside some complimentary tickets for Girl Scouts in Junior or Senior high schools. Contact me for availability from the website.
Please visit our website www.VoicesofAmericanHERstory.com or the Voices of American HERstory Facebook page to learn more about our initiative.