The February business/program
meeting was the last of its kind.
After some discussion, the membership agreed to separate business
and program meetings with the hope
that program meetings would attract
outsiders (potential new members)
and business meetings would include more thorough discussion.
Program meetings will be the first
Wednesday of the month and business,
the third Wednesday; both will meet
at UH Student Center.
In other business, Ann McClung
was asked to report to the organization regularly. Gently retaliating, she asked members to pay
their dues for 1973 (and 1972!)
Funds for the Feminist Film Festival were appropriated, to be reimbursed through contributors.
Bonnie Burnett announced the beginning of the Day Care Task Force.
If you wish to give blood for the
nationwide ERA ratification fund,
contact Helen Cassidy.
For the program, Carol Weiner,
Ph. D. historian, spoke on the Victorian woman. Although we think of
the Victorian woman as a very unlib-
rated woman, she was actually quite
liberated as compared to her grandmother. The Victorian era saw the
elevation of the woman's job in the
home to a science — home economics.
Woman became the "angef'in the' House"
or the "queen of the home." The
Victorians made the woman's, job in
the home respectable and with this
respectability came new plateaus
of responsibility. Among the Victorian victories for women were
higher education, property rights,
guardianship of children, and finally the right to vote.
Until the 19th century, the father retained legal (and moral)
guardianship of the children. Women
were not considered wise or moral
enough to rear children past infancy.
When guardianship switched to women,
more education, both mental and spiritual, was required for them. Woman
came to embody all moral principles.
The change to "angel" caused an
about-face in the meaning of womanhood. Before the 19th century, women
were considered to be Eves, fallen
temptresses ~ lusty and insatiable
in bed. (This negative association
may be a product of the superstitious
views of menstruation and childbirth
as unclean.) To the Victorians, however, women were too pure for carnal
interests. The pricetag for becoming
the "angel in the house" was giving
up a good time in bed and frigidity.
Even feminists of the time felt themselves superior to men because women
were thought to be basically asexual.
The most important result of the
emerging Victorian woman was the
growth of female class consciousness
as a result of the newly-defined tasks
of the homemaker. To carry out their
roles as homemakers and childrearers,
women needed power — the vote.
Weiner confidently concluded that
feminism could never have existed
without the Victorian vision of womanhood.
NOW ACTIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
The San Diego chapter of NOW has
compiled a documented study of sex
discrimination 1n the community
college facilities of that area,
and has called for a class investigation of the discriminatory
policies and hiring practices of
all the San Diego community
colleges. One college has already
been Investigated by the Cali-
fornia Fair Employment Practices
Chicago Women 1n Broadcasting, a group of some 100 women
working in that Industry, recently
completed a study of television
station personnel in Chicago.~
(Figures are incomplete in some
cases because- NBC stated that it
is against network policy to disclose statistics other than their
Of the total number of.employees, 1,287 are men, 388 are women;
total executives: 152 men, 39
women; engineers and technicians:
309 men, 5 women; and, sales persons: 30 men, 3 women.
Members of Baton Rouge NOW are
meeting with representatives of
local TV and radio stations in
view of the fact that all FCC
radio and TV licenses in
Louisiana come up for renewal
March 1. NOW has presented station management personnel with
guidelines for the treatment of
women in terms of image, programming and employment.
The first step toward gaining control of our own bodies must come by
tearing down the walls of ignorance.
Women have been raised in our sexist
society to look at our bodies
through men's definitions. What
we wear and how we look is programmed
into us by male controlled media,
men friends, husbands, fathers,
brothers, and often unintentially
by sisters. We have gross misinformation given to us by the male
medical profession who have been
the sole repositors of gynecological knowledge. Women are anesthetized from the navel to the
knees beginning in our early years
with, "Don't touch", "Don't look".
In order to improve our health
care services, we need to know what
good health care is for our bodies.
In order to challenge the existing
relations of power, we must learn
basic health care skills and help
one another to this knowledge.
From this philosophy came the Self
Help Clinic Concept.
Self Help Clinics are small
groups of women who meet to learn
more about their bodies through
self examination. The group
observes cervical changes, common
infections, ranges of normality,
effects of birth control methods,
and thoroughly discusses the myths,
misconceptions and hang ups we as
women are all prey to. It compares what "authorities" say
about our women's bodies to what
is really going on.
In these ways women come to know
the workings of their bodies in
a matter-of-fact common sense
The Reproduction Task Force is
currently in the process of organizing a Self Help Clinic for
Houston. Volunteers are needed
to help set up facilities in the
Women's Center. The Task Force
is seeking to find sympathetic
gynecologists and gynecological
nurses to assist in instructing
those who will participate in
This clinic is not a substitute for for medical care. It is
an adjunct to such care. It is
hoped that through a better
familiarity with a woman's own
body, she may be better able to
decide for herself the necessity and nature of her gynecological needs.