WBEZ | feminism http://www.wbez.org/tags/feminism Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en So, why did it take so long for it to be Mayor Jane Byrne's turn? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/so-why-did-it-take-so-long-it-be-mayor-jane-byrnes-turn-110556 <p><p>Shortly before Chicago&#39;s City Council officially honored former Mayor Jane Byrne by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/jane-byrne-closer-getting-memorial-110573" target="_blank">naming the Water Tower Plaza after her</a>, her name had been thrown about quite a bit. The political momentum required for July&#39;s up-or-down vote, as well as the effusive praise heaped on Byrne, grew exponentially in the previous months. But that came after decades-worth of radio silence concerning her, the city&#39;s first and only female mayor.</p><p>Perhaps that silence &mdash;&nbsp;which began almost as soon as Byrne left office in 1983 &mdash;&nbsp;contributed to lifelong Chicagoan Shana Jackson stepping forward with our Curious City question. Shana said before the recent hullabaloo over the former mayor, she&nbsp;had&nbsp;never even heard&nbsp;Jane Byrne&#39;s name. That is, until her father gave her a quick quiz one day.</p><p>&ldquo;My parents are former teachers, and so my dad is always quizzing me about things,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Out of the blue, he asked me about the first woman mayor of Chicago. And I said, &lsquo;What woman mayor of Chicago?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Shana said her father, and later her Facebook friends, told her she should be ashamed that she didn&rsquo;t know about Jane Byrne. So then she hit the Internet.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a <em>lot</em> to be learned about Jane Byrne: There&rsquo;s her <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/chi-chicagodays-byrne-story,0,7583194.story" target="_blank">landslide victory </a>in 1979 over incumbent Mayor Michael Bilandic (and thus the so-called Democratic machine) in an election held shortly after his administration <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/February-2011/Snowpocalypse-Then-How-the-Blizzard-of-1979-Cost-the-Election-for-Michael-Bilandic/" target="_blank">botched handling a massive blizzard</a>.</p><p>Byrne served only one term, but many credit her as the prime mover behind some of the most recognizably &ldquo;Chicago&rdquo; events: the Taste of Chicago, Jazz Fest and numerous neighborhood summer festivals. Ditto for the physical transformation of the city: O&rsquo;Hare&rsquo;s International Terminal, the redevelopment of Navy Pier and the museum campus, public transportation options to the airport and much more.</p><p>There&rsquo;s also her controversial decision (or PR stunt, depending upon your interpretation) to move into the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1981/04/02/us/chicago-s-mayor-spends-lovely-night-at-project.html?module=Search&amp;mabReward=relbias%3Ar" target="_blank">Cabrini-Green</a>&nbsp;public housing development,&nbsp;as well as the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DCLCX1cqAc" target="_blank">protest </a>that erupted when she held a public Easter celebration there.<a name="timeline"></a></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" frameborder="0" height="377" mozallowfullscreen="true" src="https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1gLzQq7ISqUuKt5ufNFfQOVXPTrjL_BBaImlnDBuSTc0/embed?start=false&amp;loop=false&amp;delayms=3000" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="620"></iframe></p><p>But what Shana <em>didn&rsquo;t</em> find is any structure or building or street around Chicago named for Mayor Byrne. That&#39;s despite the fact that she could have found <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/so-when-it-jane-byrnes-turn-110556#mayors">plenty named in honor of <em>other</em> Chicago mayors</a> &mdash; even some recent ones.</p><p>That led her to ask:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Why is there rare mention and no memorials, buildings or streets named after the only woman mayor of Chicago &mdash; Jane Byrne?</em></p><p>Shana&rsquo;s question arrived as Chicago newspapers, local bloggers and columnists, city officials &mdash; you name it &mdash; were debating whether Jane Byrne deserved to have her name affixed on something, and whether or not she&rsquo;s been ignored.</p><p><em>Chicago Sun-Times </em>columnist Neil Steinberg wrote what he called an <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/steinberg/27312474-452/an-open-letter-to-jane-byrne.html#.U8VW35RdV8E" target="_blank">&ldquo;open letter&rdquo;</a> to Byrne ahead of her 80th birthday, where he talked about her legacy, and how she may think she&rsquo;s been &ldquo;forgotten, erased from history.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Sun-Times</em> columnist Michael Sneed, press secretary for Byrne for a short time in 1979, had led the charge. She&#39;d written extensive <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/sneed/27773585-452/sneed-jane-byrnes-daughter-tells-of-fearless-mom-with-incredible-instincts.html" target="_blank">columns </a>about Byrne, listing her accomplishments and pushing for the city to honor its first woman mayor. Sneed wrote that Byrne&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/27761148-761/ex-mayor-jane-byrnes-trailblazing-legacy-unfairly-ignored-sneed.html#.U8VW4ZRdV8E" target="_blank">legacy has been ignored</a> by subsequent mayoral administrations, basically erased during Mayor Richard M. Daley&rsquo;s tenure in office, and long overdue for recognition.&rdquo;</p><p>Sneed&rsquo;s columns opened the floodgates for other <a href="http://abc7chicago.com/news/movement-pushes-for-recognition-of-former-mayor-jane-byrne/94032/" target="_blank">media outlets</a> to chase down the story, and for city <a href="http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/sneed-proposals-introduced-honor-ex-mayor-byrne/wed-06252014-1053am" target="_blank">officials</a> to weigh in.</p><p>To answer why it took so long for Byrne&rsquo;s name to grace any public assets, it helps to understand how something &mdash; anything &mdash; gets named by the city in the first place. And then, of course, there&rsquo;s the core of Shana&#39;s concern: <em>Why</em> hadn&#39;t Byrne had anything named after her?</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">The process: Naming something after a Chicago mayor</span></strong></p><p>The city of big shoulders has a penchant for slapping peoples&rsquo; names on things. (Just ask <a href="http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/4rc83p/signfeud" target="_blank">Donald Trump</a>). But regardless of who the honored may be (<a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/the-scene/food-drink/Charlie-Trotter-Honored-on-Eve-or-Retirement-168088876.html" target="_blank">Charlie Trotter</a>, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-03-08/news/0003080158_1_honor-sinatra-statue-city-of-big-shoulders" target="_blank">Frank Sinatra</a>, or a Chicago mayor), the process eventually involves Chicago&rsquo;s City Council.</p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with city streets. Up until 1984, official street names and the green signs that depict their directions were up for grabs. For example Cermak Road, formerly 22nd Street, was named after Mayor Anton Cermak, who was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-02/anton-cermak-chicagos-first-boss-105346" target="_blank">assassinated </a>while in office. Same goes for Hoyne Avenue, named after Mayor Thomas Hoyne. (Interestingly, Hoyne has a street named after him, despite the fact that he was <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/795.html" target="_blank">never allowed to take office</a>.)</p><p>But as one former alderman explained to the <em>Chicago Tribune</em> in <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-02-20/news/0002200122_1_street-signs-street-names-renaming" target="_blank">2000,</a> this street-naming process became onerous. It requires permanent changes to maps, surveys and other records. The Honorary Street Ordinance changed the game in 1984. After that, brown honorary street signs began popping up, directly underneath the green signs that identify Chicago&rsquo;s official street names.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size:22px;"><span style="font-size:18px;">What is named after Chicago&#39;s mayors?</span></span></strong></p><p style="text-align: center;">(Click the right margin or swipe to proceed through the slides.)<strong><span style="font-size:22px;"><a name="mayors"></a></span></strong></p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="700" src="http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ag9RbLc9jJ4QdG1fcnlrSUlWNlExc3dDR0lIdDVSX0E&amp;font=Bevan-PotanoSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza said, currently, the process begins with one of the city&rsquo;s 50 aldermen. Any of them can write a resolution or ordinance to name a stretch of street. It then goes before the full council.</p><p>These resolutions pass unless they&rsquo;re controversial. Mendoza says some aldermen in 2006 wanted to create Fred Hampton Way, after a <a href="http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/142.html" target="_blank">leader in the Black Panther Party</a>. Another time, an alderman wanted to name a portion of Michigan Avenue after Hugh Hefner, the <em>Playboy Magazine</em> magnate.</p><p>If an honorary street name ordinance passes City Council, the Chicago Department of Transportation creates the requisite brown sign and affixes it to the appropriate post.</p><p>The process works the same way for other structures, too: The council votes on a proposal to name a fountain, building or other public asset after someone. Mendoza says it&rsquo;s most common to wait until after a mayor (or anyone else) dies. For example: Richard J. Daley Center was rededicated and named after him just days after he passed away.</p><p>There are a few ways to name something for a former mayor without the council&rsquo;s purview. Private buildings, naturally, can be named without council approval. DePaul University&#39;s Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Building is one notable example.</p><p>As for public school buildings, the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education has a written policy that a school can only be named after someone who has been deceased for at least six months. A sitting mayor and the district&rsquo;s CEO can seek special exemptions, however. A CPS spokesman says this was the case for the naming of Barack Obama College Prep.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">So, why was there nothing for Jane Byrne?</span></strong></p><p>When it comes to political history, no single person (or opinion) can tell &quot;the whole story.&quot; That&#39;s especially the case when it comes to why a controversial, so-called &ldquo;machine-fighting,&rdquo; tough cookie such as Jane Byrne had taken so long to be memorialized.&nbsp;</p><p>As for asking the lady herself, she&rsquo;s now 80 years old and is not in great health, after reportedly suffering from a stroke last year. Her only daughter, Kathy Byrne, a lawyer at local personal injury and mesothelioma firm Cooney and Conway, said her mom is &ldquo;doing okay. She&rsquo;s holding her own, she&rsquo;s stable.&rdquo;</p><p>Kathy Byrne was along for the roller coaster ride of her mom&rsquo;s campaign and then election to the 5th floor office in 1979. Despite that, she&#39;s not sure how to answer Shana Jackson&rsquo;s &ldquo;why so long&rdquo; question.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, I think sometimes &mdash; what do they say? Politics isn&rsquo;t a beanbag?&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And people take their politics very seriously in Chicago, and I think whether or not anything was intentional, it may just be sort of an effect where if someone perceived that if someone doesn&rsquo;t like someone, they&rsquo;re not going to do anything for the person they don&rsquo;t like. ... I don&rsquo;t know that anything was intentional, I think it may have been a misperception.&rdquo;</p><p>Kathy Byrne was obliquely referring to Chicago lore &mdash; printed in the papers and spoken in bars &mdash; that Mayor Richard M. Daley was behind Jane Byrne&rsquo;s absence from Chicago streets and buildings.</p><p>Several people I spoke with for this story were quick to blame him.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s an old adage, young lady,&rdquo; said Paul Green, Director of the Institute for Politics at Roosevelt University. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s called Irish Alzheimer&#39;s: You forget everything but your grudges, and the Daley family and the Byrne family have been grudging themselves for a long time.&rdquo;</p><p>Green said he believes the battle between Jane Byrne and Daley was &ldquo;personal&rdquo; and that Daley didn&rsquo;t want her recognized for anything. But he said it&rsquo;s also true that there had not been any true grassroots support for Byrne.</p><p>&ldquo;She left not exactly in the blaze of glory,&rdquo; Green said. &ldquo;She needed to be calm about what she was about, because not only was she the first woman, but it was the first time in approximately 70 years that the Democratic organization lost the mayoral primary, so she had to go slow, and she didn&rsquo;t.</p><p>&ldquo;To her credit, she had an amazing number of ideas, but it was more subject with no predicate.&rdquo;</p><p>But others, like Byrne&rsquo;s first campaign manager, Don Rose, blame it all on Daley.</p><p>&ldquo;Richie Daley did everything possible to make the world forget she ever existed,&rdquo; Rose said. &ldquo;They were mortal enemies. He conceived it that way.&rdquo;</p><p>Rose said he and Byrne didn&rsquo;t part on the best of terms, but he stressed that doesn&rsquo;t influence his appraisal of her. He said Daley&rsquo;s should have been the administration that took on the task of honoring her. Since <a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2013/04/15/1983-mayoral-debate" target="_blank">Byrne had run against Harold Washington</a> in 1983, Washington was likely not in the mood to honor her in anyway during his time in office, according to Rose. By his recollection, a mayor will be honored posthumously, and perhaps one or two mayors down the road. Following this logic, Byrne would have been honored after Richard M. Daley took office in 1989.</p><p>&ldquo;[Daley] was, I have to say, very mean-spirited about Jane Byrne. Of course, I would say, she was mean-spirited about him too,&rdquo; Rose said. &ldquo;If the positions had been reversed, she might have tried to forget about naming anything after him.&rdquo;</p><p>But Ald. Burke &mdash; who served on the Council during Byrne&rsquo;s administration &mdash; said she originally eschewed recognition, and Daley isn&rsquo;t to blame.</p><p>&ldquo;He never, in my presence, expressed any reluctance to have Mayor Byrne honored in any way,&rdquo; he said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Listen: Jane Byrne on her legacy</strong></span><a name="byrne"></a></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/160299515&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Kathy Byrne said she&rsquo;s not certain Daley is to blame, either.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t explain anyone&rsquo;s motivation or even if they have motivation,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I would imagine if somebody&rsquo;s running Chicago, they ought to have bigger things on their minds than erasing or not erasing someone else&rsquo;s legacy.&rdquo;</p><p>But one thing is for sure: Kathy said she and her mom have been bothered by the whole thing. She recalled school girls would interview her mother during Women&rsquo;s History Month projects. Jane, she said, couldn&rsquo;t point the girls to anything named after her.</p><p>&ldquo;She could tell them things, like the [CTA] Orange Line, museum campus, but there was nothing that backed up her assertion, and I think that was kind of frustrating,&rdquo; Byrne said.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it was kind of disillusioning, or the worry that it would be disillusioning to little girls that they could do all this work, and have all these achievements and then it might be ignored, and other people would take credit for them.&rdquo;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Jane Byrne International Terminal?</span></strong></p><p>But now, just over 30 years since she left office, Byrne will soon have something to point to: the park plaza around the Water Tower. This was just one of the ideas pitched to the City Council by Ald. Burke.</p><p>The gesture was a far cry from one of the more infamous moments of Byrne and Burke&rsquo;s relationship. Byrne, while on the campaign trail, called out <a href="http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Why-Rahm-Cant-Get-Rid-Of-Ed-Burke-120609814.html" target="_blank">Ald. Burke as part of a &ldquo;cabal of evil men&rdquo;</a> who ran the City Council.</p><p>&ldquo;It was the legendary British statesman Edmund Burke who once said that, in politics, there are no permanent enemies, no permanent friends &mdash; only permanent interests,&rdquo; Burke said, referring to a quotation he often uses. &ldquo;I think it is in the municipal interest that a person who achieved what Jane Byrne achieved in our history should be accorded an appropriate honor.&rdquo;</p><p>Burke officially proposed renaming four structures to become Jane Byrne memorials: the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain in Grant Park; Navy Pier&rsquo;s grand ballroom; the plaza surrounding the Old Chicago Water Tower; and the O&rsquo;Hare International Terminal.&nbsp;</p><p>Kathy Byrne had predicted her mother would be happy with the selection of the Water Tower idea. It&rsquo;s right across the street from the Gold Coast apartment where she lived while mayor.</p><p>Byrne says a Water Tower memorial would be even better if the city could move her mom&rsquo;s beloved <a href="http://chicago-outdoor-sculptures.blogspot.com/2009/07/childrens-fountain.html" target="_blank">Children&rsquo;s Fountain</a> to that site. Jane Byrne, while mayor, originally dedicated the Children&rsquo;s Fountain on Wacker Drive. The fountain was later moved to Lincoln Park, where it sits today.</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know what that would entail, but the plumbing is all there,&rdquo; Byrne said. &ldquo;If they could do that, that would be ideal, &nbsp;if they could name that park Jane Byrne Plaza. It&rsquo;s her neighborhood, it&rsquo;s the Chicago historical landmark of the Water Tower, and it would be a really nice tribute.&rdquo;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:22px;">Our question comes from: Shana Jackson<a name="qa"></a></span></strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/shanaJacksonMed.jpg" style="height: 322px; width: 230px; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="Shana Jackson asked our question about former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne. (Photo courtesy of Shana Jackson)" />Shana Jackson calls herself a total South Side girl. She&rsquo;s been living in or around Chicago for her entire life, except when she pursued a degree from Hampton University in Virginia. She currently resides in the Ashburn/Wrightwood neighborhood.</p><p>And that&rsquo;s why she says she&rsquo;s embarrassed to admit the story behind her Curious City question. &nbsp;</p><p>Her parents are former teachers, and so her dad is always quizzing her on things. During a recent family night, Shana&rsquo;s dad shot her his latest pop quiz question:</p><p>&ldquo;So, what do you think about our only woman mayor in Chicago?&rdquo;</p><p>Shana&rsquo;s response?</p><p>&ldquo;&lsquo;What woman mayor?&rdquo; Shana recalls. &ldquo;And he gave me the weirdest stare ever, because I&rsquo;m super womanist, like &lsquo;yay woman power!&rsquo; And for me to not know there was a woman mayor in Chicago? I was so embarrassed.&rdquo;</p><p>Shana turned things around, though, by doing some Internet research. She said when she couldn&#39;t find any streets or buildings named after Byrne, she came to Curious City to find out why.&nbsp;</p><p>Even then, she couldn&#39;t let the issue go. As she kept up with the news about the proposals, she couldn&#39;t help but believe Jane Byrne deserved some recognition.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that is a travesty,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;How do we as Chicago &mdash; we put our names on everything &mdash; how did we let her down like this?&rdquo;</p><p>Shana is currently pursuing a dual degree in social work and law at Loyola University Chicago.</p><p><em><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian">Lauren Chooljian</a> is a WBEZ reporter. Digital producer <a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda">Tricia Bobeda</a> contributed to this story.</em></p></p> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/so-why-did-it-take-so-long-it-be-mayor-jane-byrnes-turn-110556 Former Weather Underground leader shares tips on raising feminist boys http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/former-weather-underground-leader-shares-tips-raising-feminist-boys-109701 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7425_chi000500_g2-scr (1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Bernardine Dohrn is perhaps best known for her role as a leader of a militant anti-war group in the &lsquo;60s and &lsquo;70s. After a decade in hiding, she turned herself in to face charges.</p><p>She went on to a career as a prominent legal advocate for children, founding Northwestern&rsquo;s Children and Family Justice Center.</p><p>Dohrn came to the Chicago StoryCorps booth with longtime friend, Julie Biehl, who now leads the justice center, to talk about the challenges they face in raising feminist sons, and dealing with some of the boys&#39; interest in guns.</p><p>BERNARDINE: I thought that I wasn&rsquo;t going to have children. I was kind of adamant that the only way to make it OK for women to grow up in a patriarchal society and fight that was that lots of women would choose not to have children.</p><p>She and Biehl each ended up raising three sons.&nbsp;</p><p>BERNARDINE: I&nbsp;kind of always joked about the feminist mothers of boys club.</p><p><em>To hear how they worked to raise socially aware young men (and Rosa Parks&#39; surprise visit!), check out the audio above.</em></p><p><em>Lynette Kalsnes is a reporter/producer at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/LynetteKalsnes">@LynetteKalsnes</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/former-weather-underground-leader-shares-tips-raising-feminist-boys-109701 Sisters struggle to reconcile feminist beliefs with Mormon faith http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sisters-struggle-reconcile-feminist-beliefs-mormon-faith-109355 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS7417_chi000411_g1-scr_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago sisters Shannon and Didi Mehner describe themselves as Mormon feminists.</p><p>In Mormonism, women cannot hold the priesthood or assume certain leadership roles in the church. The Chicago sisters are troubled by this, and say they&rsquo;re fighting to change it ... within their church.</p><p>They visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth to talk about the challenges of reconciling feminism and faith.</p><p><strong>Shannon</strong>: I think I always knew I was feminist. I always kept my feminism kind of separate from my identity as a member of the Mormon church. And so I think when I got married is when it all came crashing together. I obviously love Nick, and I&rsquo;m really glad I got married, but a lot of your identity starts to feel like it sinks into your husband&rsquo;s identity.</p><p>Shannon decided to keep her maiden name, rather than to take her husband&#39;s.</p><p><strong>Didi</strong>: Shannon and I grew up with a dad who kind of always told us we could do whatever we wanted.</p><p><strong>Shannon</strong>: He is also extremely conservative, so when he gets mad about us being feminists, I always tell him that he created us, and made us this way.</p><p><em>To hear how Shannon plans to raise a &ldquo;raging feminist boy,&rdquo; and how she won a victory that both sisters say is a big deal in the Mormon church, click on the audio above.</em></p><p><em>Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/sisters-struggle-reconcile-feminist-beliefs-mormon-faith-109355 Marvel Comic's new female Muslim superhero http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/marvel-comics-new-female-muslim-superhero-109122 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Marvel AP.jpg" style="height: 376px; width: 620px;" title="The image released by Marvel Comics shows character Kamala Khan, second left, with her family Aamir, father Yusuf, mother Disha and friend Bruno, from the &quot;Ms. Marvel&quot; issue. (Marvel Comics/AP)" /></div></div><p>Marvel Comics&#39; newest superhero is more than just a symbol of diversity and a deviation from the white, male norm that Spiderman, Wolverine, Captain America, and countless other comic book heroes occupy.</p><p><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/06/showbiz/ms-marvel-muslim-superhero/" target="_blank">Kamala Khan</a>, a teenage Muslim girl living in Jersey City, also looks and sounds like a real person, albeit with extraordinary powers.</p><p>In a universe where most female superheroes are impossibly stacked and Barbie doll-proportioned (to draw ogling male eyes) Khan is a refreshing change of pace. She is pretty, yes, but rock-hard body &quot;hotness&quot; is not what defines her. &nbsp;</p><p>Writer G. Willow Wilson, a convert to Islam, says Khan was created as a true-to-life person teenagers could relate to.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s for all the geek girls out there, and everybody else who&#39;s ever looked at life on the fringe,&quot; Wilson said in a statement.</p><p>Khan, who will make her debut in January, is radically different from most of Marvel&#39;s most popular female superheroes, but also appealingly meta for a fanbase already attached to legacy characters. While she lives with conservative Pakistani parents, she fits the mold of an angsty teenager and an outsider in school.</p><p>She also is an avid reader of Marvel comic books.&nbsp;</p><p>So when she discovers her superhuman power as a polymorph &mdash; being able to lengthen her arms and legs and change shape &mdash; she takes on the name Ms. Marvel, a title which previously belonged to the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Carol Danvers. Now, Khan&#39;s story will be the one to inspire a new generation of girls and boys.</p><p>Series editor Sana Amanat, who also worked on Ultimate Spiderman and Ultimate X-Men comic books for Marvel, told <a href="http://www.deccanchronicle.com/131110/news-current-affairs/article/pow-zap-marvel-comics-present-teenage-female-muslim-superhero" target="_blank">Reuters</a> that a reflection of the Muslim-American experience through the eyes of a teenage girl creates a font of endless possibilities.</p><p>&quot;We are always trying to upend expectations to an extent, but our point is to always reflect the world outside our window, and we are looking through a lot more windows right now,&quot; she said.&nbsp;</p><p>In fact, the idea for this new kind of superhero came from a conversation that Amanat had with her senior editor, Steve Wacker, about her own experiences growing up as a Muslim-American.</p><p>&quot;He was interested in the dilemma I faced as a young girl and the next day he came in and said, &#39;Wouldn&#39;t it be great to have a superhero that was for all the little girls that grew up just like you, and who are growing up just like you are today, and to create a character they can be inspired by?&#39;&quot; said Amanat.&nbsp;</p><p>Of course, girls have been inspired by female superheroes from the moment Wonder Woman first appeared in All Star Comics #8 in 1941. But more than 70 years later, the endless parade of unbelievably bodacious babes in skin-tight bodysuits has begun to wear thin.</p><p>Female comic book fans need more than a strong, independent woman with superpowers and a slamming body to stay interested. We need diversity, in every sense of the word: racially, culturally, intellectually, and physically.</p><p>In my opinion, this is in part why so many comic book films and TV shows helmed by female superheroes (Elektra, Catwoman, and the Wonder Woman series that never made it to air) have fallen flat in recent years. The average woman or adolsecent girl has to fall in love with these characters too. If all she sees is plastic, how can she relate?</p><p>I&#39;m excited to see all of the new stories that the creators of Kamala Khan will bring to life, but I also long for more.</p><p>When will we see a mainstream superhero who is gender-queer or transgender? Why do the female characters continue to be drawn to serve the male gaze, with their supermodel sexiness and perfectly-chiseled abs? Isn&#39;t it about time we had a full-bodied female superhero, or at the very least, more&nbsp;<a href="http://geektyrant.com/news/2013/4/3/fully-clothed-female-superheroes-geek-art.html" target="_blank">fully-clothed</a>&nbsp;ones?&nbsp;</p><p>Still, the good news is that times are changing, and Kamala Khan has punched a hole through the glass ceiling with a resounding smash.</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett.</a></em></p></p> Tue, 12 Nov 2013 10:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-11/marvel-comics-new-female-muslim-superhero-109122 Standing up to street harassment http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/standing-street-harassment-108847 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/vonderauvisuals%20Flickr%202.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Woman walking near Dearborn during rush hour. (Flickr/Vonderauvisials)" />Harassment shows its ugly face in many forms: a bully at school, an abuser at home, an underminer in the workplace, or an army of trolls online.</p><p>However, perhaps no form of harassment is more overt or troublingly common than catcalling: the whistles and kiss noises, the staccato beeps of car horns, the whispered or shouted evaluations of someone&#39;s physical appearance on the sidewalk, and the many other forms of street harassment (stalking, groping, leering, etc.) that women continually receive in public spaces, <a href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/resources/statistics/statistics-academic-studies/" target="_blank">often on a daily basis</a>.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">I have experienced public objectification&mdash;whether it be whistle and a wink, a double tap of a car horn, or an unwelcome comment on my body that sends a tiny shiver down my spine&mdash;every single time that I go out walking in Chicago.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">It doesn&#39;t matter which neighborhood I&#39;m in, whether I have makeup on or not, if I&#39;m wearing a miniskirt or a baggy sweatshirt and jeans.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Without fail, a complete stranger (usually a man or group of men, although women in their company have occasionally joined in) will take the time out of their day to put me in my place as a woman magnified through the lens of rape culture: a female specimen to be ogled, disrespected, and dehumanized as nothing but an object of their gaze.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Most of the time, I ignore them and keep walking; because isn&#39;t that what you&#39;re supposed to do? Other instances break the straw holding together an already fragile day, and I want to hide or scream or cry. I want to yell back that my body is not theirs to claim, that I&#39;m more than just a piece of meat to be verbally chewed and torn apart for sport.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">My look is more skinny nerdgirl than glamazon; but even if I did choose to wear high heels and skintight dresses every day, I still wouldn&#39;t deserve the &quot;Hey, sexy&quot; and &quot;Mmm, lookin&#39; good&quot; whispers, smacking of lips, and anonymous shouts from rolled-down windows, often followed by nervous laughter from passersby.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>I am not alone in this. When I reached out to others on Twitter, asking if they would be willing to share their stories of street harassment, they responded with tweets of &quot;too many stories!&quot; and &quot;I feel like every woman in a city like Chicago has more than one experience to share.&quot;</p><p>One particularly frightening story that I received via email, from a woman in Chicago named Hannah, confirmed this for me. With her permission, snippets of one of Hannah&#39;s most harrowing experiences&mdash;in which a man harassed her outside of a bar in Wrigleyville, then followed her to a friend&#39;s apartment&mdash;are reposted with ellipses below:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;It wasn&#39;t the first time someone had shouted at me from a bar by any means, probably not even the first time that week, so I ignored it like I usually did. But he didn&#39;t go away. He kept following me, saying things like &#39;Come on, don&rsquo;t be like that,&#39; and walking faster so he was next to me... I kept shrugging him off, and saying I couldn&rsquo;t join him for drinks because I was meeting a friend. I&rsquo;d smile, and try to be&nbsp;apologetic&nbsp;about it, but he wouldn&rsquo;t stop asking, and getting more agitated ... Finally, I got to my friend&#39;s building and went into the little vestibule ... that&rsquo;s when he started screaming at me. Calling me a bitch for lying that I was meeting someone. Saying there was no one waiting for me upstairs, that I was just a lying whore who didn&rsquo;t know how to have fun.</p><div>It was one of the scariest moments of my life, fumbling with the keys ... I tried to think about what I&rsquo;d do if he did try to get closer to me&ndash;at this point, he was still standing inside the doorway to the foyer, not entirely off the street&ndash;but thankfully, the key slid into the lock and I was inside the stairwell, slamming the door behind me ... Once I got upstairs and related the story to my friend, all I kept thinking was that all down the four blocks, people were watching him follow me, and NO ONE said anything.&quot;&nbsp;</div></blockquote><p>Do we have to stand by and take this kind of harassment from strangers, watch it happen to others without saying a word, or &quot;just ignore it&quot; like many of us have often been told? The answer is <i>no</i>; you shouldn&#39;t have to shut up and take it. You deserve to walk down the street without being harassed by strangers. You deserve to stand your ground, and it&#39;s okay to ask for help.&nbsp;</p><p>Renee Davidson, Communications Director of the grassroots group <a href="http://www.collectiveactiondc.org" target="_blank">Collective Action for Safe Spaces </a>(CASS), says that she has received over 600 stories of street harassment in the D.C. metropolitan area.</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Our submissions are overwhelming from women, but men -- particularly LGBT and gender nonconforming men -- experience street harassment as well,&quot; says Davidson, &quot; Women and men can take a stand against this by speaking up when they&rsquo;re harassed, whether that means responding to the harasser, sharing their story with a group like CASS or Hollaback, or starting a conversation about street harassment with their friends and the men in their lives.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Street harassment is also intensely normalized, such that being told to &#39;brush it off&#39; has caused many women to accept it as just another part of moving in public. By speaking up about our experiences with street harassment, we are letting it be known that it&#39;s a problem.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>Yes, men also face sexual harassment from strangers on street corners, and their experiences matter just as much. But when stories of male-on-female aggression pop up again and again, like this piece from the Huffington Post about <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/street-harassment-is-runn_b_4004394.html" target="_blank">a man running over a 14-year-old girl for refusing to have sex with him</a>, it&#39;s time to dig deeper into what&#39;s perpetuating this chronic narrative. And then we should actually do something about it.&nbsp;</p><p>Just as we should be educating men to not rape (instead of simply teaching women how to avoid rapey situations), we should also teach boys from a very young age that catcalling is degrading, hurtful, and harmful to the fabric of our society. Street harassment fuels rape culture, &quot;blurring lines&quot; to the point that many women can no longer tell the difference between a compliment and objectification. Leering at women on the street and hollering pointed comments about their bodies is the furthest thing from respectable behavior; it&#39;s blatant misogyny and patriarchy incarnate.</p><p>&quot;Learning tips on bystander intervention is also a great way to help prevent sexual harassment,&quot; adds Davidson, &quot;If you encounter someone street harassing another person, you can tell them to &#39;respect women&#39; or any other interjection that feels natural for you.&quot;</p><p>We don&#39;t have to keep our mouths shut. We don&#39;t have to grin and bear it. No one deserves to be harassed on the way to the grocery store or while walking home at night, and it&#39;s time for us to start talking back.</p><p><strong>Resources for education, inspiration and support:</strong> <a href="http://www.stopstreetharassment.org/resources/male-allies/educating-boys-men/" target="_blank">StopStreetHarassment.org</a>, <a href="http://www.collectiveactiondc.org" target="_blank">CollectiveActionDC.org</a>, <a href="http://catcalled.org" target="_blank">Catcalled.org</a>, this <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/09/an-app-to-help-women-avoid-street-harassment/279642/" target="_blank">Atlantic article</a> on a new app to help women and members of the LGBTQ community report street harassment, the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/03/stop-telling-women-to-smile-tatyana-fazlalizadeh" target="_blank">&quot;Stop Telling Woman to Smile&quot;</a> project, and <a href="http://chicago.ihollaback.org/about/" target="_blank">HollabackChicago!</a>,&nbsp;an anti-harassment forum for Chicagoans.&nbsp;</p><p>If you have a street harassment story to share, please sound off in the comment section below. Let&#39;s start talking.</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. You can find her on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 04 Oct 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/standing-street-harassment-108847 Making Chicago a better place for women http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/making-chicago-better-place-women-108747 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Stephanie%20Valentina.jpg" title="(Flickr/Stephanie Valentina)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">A recent article in <em>The Atlantic</em>&#39;s <a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/09/how-design-city-women/6739/" target="_blank">Cities</a> section, &quot;How to Design a City for Women,&quot; described how officials in Vienna, Austria began taking gender into account in public policy, specifically in urban planning.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">This process of &quot;gender mainstreaming&quot; began in the early 1990s, after administrators surveyed residents of the city&#39;s ninth district and discovered that women were using public transportation more frequently than men, and for more varied reasons. Since then, over 60 pilot projects have been carried out to give men and women equal access to city resources.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The ultimate goal of Vienna&#39;s gender mainstreaming project, which remains in effect today, is to ensure that all women are given the same opportunities to succeed in an urban environment as their male counterparts. According to Eva Kail, a <a href="http://www.difu.de/node/5949#1">gender expert</a> in the city&#39;s urban planning group, &quot;It&#39;s about bringing people into spaces where they didn&#39;t exist before, or felt they had no right to exist.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But would such a gender-specific plan work in a city like Chicago?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/how-growing-disney-shapes-gender-roles-107575" target="_top">gender role-eschewing</a> feminist with vivid memories of the &quot;For Her&quot; <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/bic-pen-for-her-amazon-reviews_n_1842991.html" target="_blank">Bic Pen fiasco</a>, I can see the criticism coming from a mile away. Shouldn&#39;t we design a city for <em>people</em>, not men and women? Wouldn&#39;t such a plan just reinforce steoreotypes of how men and women use public space? Or, to quote one frustrated Austrian opposed to the capitol&#39;s exhibit of Who Owns Public Space, &quot;Does this mean that we should paint the streets pink?&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">To distance themselves from the idea that the project is about dividing people by gender, not bringing them together into spaces of equal opportunity, Viennese officials have begun to shy away from the term gender mainstreaming. Instead, they have opted for the label <a href="http://www.ashgate.com/isbn/9781409410249" target="_blank">&quot;Fair Shared City,&quot;</a> to reflect their goal of equality for all.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Obviously, Chicago is a drastically different city than Vienna. Also, certain discrepencies in lifestyle between Viennese men and women (for example, women using public transit more often and making more foot trips than men, mostly to run errands, take their children to school, and tend to their elders) do not directly align with the commutes of typical Chicago urbanites, many of whom are students or single and living independently.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Still, if Chicago officials did choose to implement a similar plan, what changes would we see?</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Ideally, the city would showcase more art and installations by female designers, artists and architects. Perhaps we could also design parks and children&#39;s spaces to be more gender-inclusive with a wider range of activities, or create more innovative housing to aid working mothers and families, like Vienna&#39;s <a href="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2013/09/how-design-city-women/6739/" target="_blank">Women-Work-City</a>.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Designing&nbsp;a city with women in mind is not about building more shopping malls, planting more flowers or erecting a bizarre Marilyn Monroe statue for tourist <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-02/entertainment/ct-ent-0502-marilyn-appreciation-20120501_1_marilyn-monroe-statue-sculpture-foundation-melissa-farrell" target="_blank">upskirt shots</a>.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The key to understanding what women want is not rocket science: just&nbsp;<em>ask</em>. If city officials surveyed the women of Chicago, asking them about the struggles they face on a daily basis and what the city could do to better meet their needs, the answers might surprise them.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-09/making-chicago-better-place-women-108747 Should we use the 'L word' for Jane Addams? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/JABE%20ADDAMS%20TOPPER.jpg" title="" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F109020582&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Note: we also aired a segment about Jane Addams&#39; work and the Hull-House legacy on<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2013-09-06/afternoon-shift-jane-addams-columbia-college-creative-writing">&nbsp;the Afternoon Shift</a>. You can listen to that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619#Afternoonshift">segment here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>In the early 20th century, <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_learn/_aboutjane/aboutjane.html">Jane Addams</a> was among the most famous women in America. The Chicagoan worked, lived and <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=aAnLrCOHRQ8C&amp;pg=PA181&amp;lpg=PA181&amp;dq=love+on+halsted+street,+louise+knight&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=RWB0IeyMbw&amp;sig=JT3I6ZKzYfEY2sNnG9AKxHffSrI&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=6rknUpXxEIaayQHLiIDQDQ&amp;ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=love%20on%20halsted%20street%2C%20louise%20knight&amp;f=false">loved </a>on Halsted Street in the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_learn/_abouthullhouse/abouthullhouse.html">Hull-House settlement</a> she co-founded with <a href="http://asteria.fivecolleges.edu/findaids/sophiasmith/mnsss64_bioghist.html">Ellen Gates Starr</a>. Her career was one of struggle and triumph as she organized, fought for social services on behalf of immigrants, children, women and other disenfranchised groups. At one point the FBI considered her &ldquo;<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/_museum/_museum/historyoncall/fbifile.html">the most dangerous woman in America</a>.&rdquo; In 1931 she became the first American woman to earn the <a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1931/addams-bio.html">Nobel Peace Prize</a>. Addams passed away in 1935.</p><p>The only two remaining buildings of Addams&rsquo;s once 13-building Hull-House settlement are easy to miss on the vast campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago, which overtook the area. And recent UIC graduate Adam Peterson used to pass by them when he was a student on his way to an American feminist history class. It was in this class that he learned about Jane Addams, but he says the class didn&rsquo;t touch on her private life.</p><p>&ldquo;We did touch on her background as a white, middle class, well-educated woman who just didn&rsquo;t want to be married and be a housewife,&rdquo; Adam says. &ldquo;But then there were just these ambiguities that were said in passing [about her sexuality], but not fully discussed.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>This glossing-over prompted him to ask us this carefully worded question:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Could Jane Addams be considered a lesbian with the current use of that terminology?</em></p><p>If you&rsquo;re looking for a quick &ldquo;Yes, she was&rdquo; or &ldquo;No, she was not&rdquo; answer, you&rsquo;re out of luck. People most involved in Jane Addams&rsquo; history and legacy showed me and Adam that it&rsquo;s worth asking about the lesbian label, but it can be a problem. And, if you do apply it, it&rsquo;s best not to do it so quickly.</p><p><strong>The brunette in a yellow confection dress</strong></p><p>Let&rsquo;s start with an art history mystery. In 2006, a lifetime after Jane Addams passed away, <a href="http://arthistory.aa.uic.edu/faculty.php?profile=lisalee&amp;subj=5">Lisa Yun Lee</a> took up the position of Director of the<a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html"> Jane Addams Hull-House Museum</a>. One day she came across a fetching painting of a brunette in the museum&#39;s back offices.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%204.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; height: 400px;" title="Jane-Addams Hull-House Director Lisa Yun Lee discovered this painting in 2006, which sparked some discussion into Jane Addams' relationship with Mary rozet Smith. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>Lee says the painting was initially described to her as being a great example of the work of <a href="http://schwartzcollection.com/artists/alice-kellogg-tyler">Alice Kellogg Tyler</a>, an accomplished painter who taught at the Art Institute of Chicago. She also taught at Jane Addams&rsquo; Hull-House settlement.</p><p>But, Lee says, &ldquo;As soon as I started asking &lsquo;Who is <em>that</em> person in the painting,&rsquo; there were hushed tones and confusion. And people said, &lsquo;Well, some people say that it&rsquo;s Jane Addams&rsquo; partner.&rsquo; Other people say it&rsquo;s her biggest business supporter. Other people said, &lsquo;Well, of course. It&rsquo;s her lesbian lover.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>The more Lee prodded, the more she realized the depth of debate surrounding the woman in the painting and her relationship with Addams. Lee says Hull-House started to dig through the historical record and &ldquo;ask different kinds of questions.&rdquo; At this point the staff realized this woman was indeed Jane Addams&rsquo; chosen partner in life.</p><p><strong>Mary and Jane</strong></p><p>This woman was Mary Rozet Smith. Lee says until people debated the painting, Smith had pretty much been written out of the historical record. But as more surfaced about her relationship with Jane Addams, Smith&rsquo;s fuzzy place in the Hull-House settlement&rsquo;s history became clearer.</p><p><a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/lib/specialcoll/services/rjd/findingaids/MSmithf.html">Smith came from a wealthy Chicago family</a> that made a fortune through manufacturing. She was drawn to the work of the Hull-House settlement, taking on several roles: philanthropist, benefactor (some might say a sugar mamma), and Jane Addams&rsquo; lifelong companion.</p><p>Addams sums up an early encounter with Smith in this unfinished poem dating from 1895:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEB%20poem.jpg" title="" /></p><p>Scholarship suggests Smith and Addams&rsquo; lives became deeply entwined. Over 40 years they wrote letters and love poems to one another. Addams requested that most of her letters be burned upon her death; she had felt they were too intimate. (Note: <a href="http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/jowh/summary/v009/9.4.freedman.html">Burning letters was not uncommon</a> at the time.)</p><p>The pair also vacationed together and traveled around the world, sometimes calling ahead to request a double bed, which was not unusual for women friends to do. Addams had Smith listed as an emergency contact on her passport. They also made major financial decisions, such as co-owning a home in Maine. At one point they considered adopting a child together.</p><p>As for that large painting of Smith in the yellow dress? Addams sometimes traveled with it &mdash; wrapping it up and schlepping it with her across country.</p><p>Historians say that when Rozet Smith passed away in 1934 (a year before Addams), Jane received condolences from far and wide, not unlike a widow in heterosexual relationship.</p><p>But what does this all mean? Does this kind of evidence equate to proof that the pair were lesbians?</p><p><strong>Women who love women</strong></p><p>What does the word <em>lesbian </em>mean? Well, if you use an expansive definition that does not by necessity have to include sex, then many people agree that, yes, Addams and Smith were lesbians. (After all, even married couples can have little or no sex, yet their heterosexuality is not called into question.)</p><p>Several sources tell me the most important thing to consider is what, exactly, having a relationship like this meant<em> in Jane Addams&rsquo; time.</em></p><p>One good person to ask is <a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/wsweb/people/faculty/demilio/demilio.html">John D&rsquo;Emilio</a>, a professor of Gender and Women&rsquo;s Studies and History at the University of Illinois. And conveniently, his office is a few short blocks from the Hull-House museum.</p><p>He defines a lesbian as &ldquo;a woman who turns to other women for the love, and emotional support and intimacy that most human beings like to have in their personal lives.&rdquo;</p><p>With this definition in hand D&rsquo;Emilio feels comfortable assigning the lesbian label to Addams and Smith, even though he says it&rsquo;s impossible to know whether Smith and Addams had sexual contact. And even if we were to find out, he says, he wouldn&rsquo;t change where he lands on the use of &quot;lesbian.&rdquo;</p><p>But how does D&rsquo;Emilio take those letters that were burned and deemed &ldquo;too intimate&rdquo; by Jane Addams? Could those have contained &ldquo;smoking gun&rdquo; evidence for those bent on equating sexual contact with the term lesbian? &nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/web%202.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 400px;" title="A photograph of Jane Addams and Mary Rozet Smith inside the Hull-House Museum. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>&ldquo;They just wouldn&rsquo;t have been writing about that,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s just no way. This is not the world of Hugh Hefner and <em>Playboy</em>. So that&rsquo;s not what they were writing about. But what they were writing about was the open expression of how much the other person meant and how much I need you!&rdquo;</p><p>Even though D&rsquo;Emilio is confident in saying Jane Addams was a lesbian, he can understand why others might not feel comfortable using the term. And, he says, he prefers using the term &ldquo;woman-loving woman.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>A decoder ring for history</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/wsweb/people/faculty/brier/brier.html">Jennifer Brier</a> is an Associate Professor of Gender and Women&rsquo;s Studies and History at UIC. Her take on the question?</p><p>&ldquo;I would say no,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;As a historian I would say no. As a lesbian who exists under the current definition &mdash; sometimes I&rsquo;d like to say yes. But in the end, I say no.&rdquo;</p><p>She says &ldquo;lesbian&rdquo; <em>was </em>a term used in Addams&rsquo; time, but Brier says Addams wouldn&rsquo;t have used it to describe herself and that &ldquo;it wasn&rsquo;t a phrase that had meaning for her.&rdquo;</p><p>Brier argues this point matters. She says it&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ahistorical">ahistorical </a>to assign the term to Addams retroactively, and that can be dangerous; shorthand terminology can bypass context and you can lose the richness and diversity of human behavior. We can also mistakenly believe that we understand what being a lesbian meant at the time. And Addams&rsquo; era indeed had very different relationship cultures. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;You need a decoder ring,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;And the decoder ring has to be adjusted to each historical period to actually function. It has to be tuned to the right frequency to understand what&rsquo;s happening at a particular moment in time.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Platonic love</strong></p><p>Since sex is so ingrained in our current culture&rsquo;s notions of what being a lesbian entails, it&rsquo;s worth noting that this was not the case in Jane Addams&#39; time; romantic relationships did not necessarily entail sex. On the question of whether Addams may have even been celibate, several experts tell me the general feeling is: &#39;Maybe, but it&#39;s impossible to know.&#39;&nbsp;</p><p>What historians do know is during the Victorian era <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/platonic%20love">platonic love</a> was in the air. It described a meeting of souls, not necessarily bodies, and was viewed as a pure kind of love that same-sex couples could enjoy. Men could share a Platonic love with men, and women with women. The intimacy in these relationships could be as deep as any hetersexual relationship, but they were not framed in terms of sex.</p><p>Lisa Junkin, the interim director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, says that Addams&rsquo; early writing expresses belief in platonic love and &ldquo;wanting to channel sexual impulses, believing that people should channel them essentially toward social justice &mdash; doing good in the world.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/WEB%201.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Newspaper clippings about Jane Addams as a social reformer are on display at the Hull-House Museum. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" />This idea of diverting sexual energy to more high-minded pursuits was present for men and women, and in the era&rsquo;s lexicon, too. John D&rsquo;Emilio says instead of using the phrase &ldquo;to come&rdquo; for male ejaculation, the phrase used at the time was &ldquo;to spend.&rdquo;</p><p>As D&rsquo;Emilio tells me about this facet of history, he breaks into a mock conversation that may have actually taken place in the Victorian era: &ldquo;Did you <em>spend</em> your seed? Well, I sure hope not because we&rsquo;re a people who believe in saving!&rdquo;</p><p>D&rsquo;Emilio says the ethic among the middle class at the time was to be prudent and industrious, and that too much sex was the opposite of that. Sex exhausts your resources.</p><p><strong>Boston marriages</strong></p><p>Addams and Smith referred to their relationship as a marriage in some writings, and this era enjoyed another kind of sanctioned love that came with a term: Boston marriages. D&rsquo;Emilio characterizes Boston marriages as deep relationships and commitments between two middle-class, college educated women.</p><p>Etymologically speaking, he says, the word &ldquo;Boston&rdquo; refers to the preponderance of women&rsquo;s colleges in Boston, while &quot;marriage&rdquo; is used because many of these women never married and lived a lifetime with another woman. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Think about it this way,&rdquo; D&rsquo;Emilio says. &ldquo;This is a generation in which sex is not out there in the public. Sex is supposed to be quiet and private and behind closed doors. And so Boston marriage becomes a very neutral and acceptable way of describing something, that if described in other terms might be scandalous.&rdquo;</p><p>It can be argued that Boston marriages could be considered a corollary of lesbian relationships today, but it&rsquo;s not clear whether sex was included in these setups.</p><p>D&rsquo;Emilio says &ldquo;Boston marriage&rdquo; was a term that acknowledged a relationship and intimacy &ldquo;without getting into the stuff we&rsquo;re not supposed to talk about.&rdquo; Ironically, D&rsquo;Emilio says in part because there were taboos against openly discussing sex, there was a kind of flexibility in what happened behind closed doors; it just wouldn&rsquo;t end up in polite conversation.</p><p>Professor Jennifer Brier adds it&rsquo;s important to remember Jane Addams was part of a subset of women who were of the class and means to be able to pioneer new ways to be a woman. There weren&rsquo;t many outlets for women at the time to be in non-traditional roles (especially leadership roles). The same goes for becoming trailblazers who open up new opportunities and jobs for women, immigrants, adolescents and new ways of existing in society &mdash; the basic work of Addams and Smith at Hull-House.</p><p>&ldquo;She [Addams] didn&rsquo;t rely on patriarchy in the way we think of today,&rdquo; Brier says. &ldquo;She didn&rsquo;t rely on men for her economic or emotional support. She made her life with women at the Hull-House.&rdquo;</p><p>And Addams was not the only woman at the Hull-House to buck gender norms. Other examples include Dr. Cornelia de Bey, who was a homeopathic doctor affiliated with the settlement and who lived with a woman and dressed in tailored, masculine garb. Hull-House co-founder <a href="http://books.google.com/books?id=aAnLrCOHRQ8C&amp;pg=PA181&amp;lpg=PA181&amp;dq=love+on+halsted+street,+louise+knight&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=RWB0IeyMbw&amp;sig=JT3I6ZKzYfEY2sNnG9AKxHffSrI&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=6rknUpXxEIaayQHLiIDQDQ&amp;ved=0CC4Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=love%20on%20halsted%20street%2C%20louise%20knight&amp;f=false">Ellen Gates Starr was also Addams&rsquo;s partner at one time</a>.</p><p><strong>An alternative label</strong></p><p>These questions around both labeling Jane Addams and the painting of Mary Rozet Smith never left former <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>director Lisa Lee&rsquo;s mind. Instead, she felt the museum needed to represent the complex information around the painting and the era. And it wouldn&rsquo;t do to simply call Addams a lesbian.</p><p>So she and staff created an &ldquo;alternative labeling project&rdquo; to foster dialogue around the painting labels. The museum staff offered three labels (&ldquo;tombstones&rdquo; in museum lingo) to sum up the painting of Mary Rozet Smith and invited visitors to weigh in. They were:<object height="520" width="620"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;set_id=72157635410603458&amp;jump_to=9684980861" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fshow%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157635410603458%2Fwith%2F9684980861%2F&amp;set_id=72157635410603458&amp;jump_to=9684980861" height="520" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="620"></embed></object></p><p>Interim director for the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>Lisa Junkin was on staff for the alternative labeling project. She says they received many responses to the labels, ranging from hate mail to fan mail, and everything in between.</p><p>&ldquo;Occasionally there&rsquo;s also a sense of fear or anger that we&rsquo;d be telling that story, especially around young people,&rdquo; Junkin says. &ldquo;There have been teachers who have cut off the educators from telling the story of the relationship or who have covered over the label when students walk by &mdash; even though both the educators and the label don&rsquo;t use the term lesbian with younger groups.&rdquo;</p><p>Beyond the celebration and hatred for bringing Addams&rsquo; sexuality into history, the public provided useful suggestions, too. One person pointed out that none of the labels gave information about Mary Rozet Smith beyond her relationship to Jane Addams.</p><p>Which, from Junkin&rsquo;s vantage, was a problem.</p><p>&ldquo;For us as feminist historians, as a feminist site, that&rsquo;s really problematic, right?&rdquo; Junkin says. &ldquo;We essentially gave her the &lsquo;wife treatment,&rsquo; which should be avoided.&rdquo;</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the label the museum settled on:</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5537/9685555669_1f36ecd159_b.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/slide%204%20web.jpg" title="" /></a></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><em>Click the above image to see a larger view.</em></span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The museum staff culled through the inboxes crammed with email and the drawers filled with Post-it notes. After that, they reconceived their permanent exhibit. In 2010 the museum curated a new presentation of their permanent collection, including the display of photographs made of Addams and Smith together.</div><p>But that once-mysterious painting of Mary Rozet Smith? It now hangs prominently in the former bedroom of Addams.</p><p>Junkin says &ldquo;the goal was to show instead of tell, and let the audience come up with their own understanding based on the evidence we can provide.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>A new look at old sex</strong></p><p>Junkin says after the alternative labeling project of Mary Rozet Smith, the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>has made conversation about sexuality more prominent. It&rsquo;s also created new programming, including a four-year film series around the sex positive movement and contemporary issues of sexuality. It also built new displays mention Hull-House&rsquo;s role in progressive sex education. (Junkin says one of Chicago&rsquo;s first birth control centers was at the Hull-House). She adds that staff have made their displays and tours more inclusive.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LENA FOR WEB.jpg" style="float: left; width: 338px; height: 450px;" title="The Hull-House Museum's Lena Reynolds will be a tour guide for the museum's new Gender and Sexuality Tour. She stands next to a painting of Cornelia de Bey, a physician, activist and educational reformer once affiliated with the Settlement. She was known to dress in tailored, masculine garb. (WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)" /></p><p>In the first week of September, the museum debuts a new tour that directly places the Hull-House in queer history. The working title: the &ldquo;Gender and Sexuality Tour.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>The tour&rsquo;s mastermind, Christian Alfaro, is a UIC student and <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>educator. Appropriately enough, he learned about Jane Addams&rsquo;s non-conformity by taking a tour led by Lisa Junkin, who talked about the painting of Mary Rozet Smith.</p><p>&ldquo;Representation like this is important,&rdquo; Alfaro says. &ldquo;It actually helped with my own self-identity.&rdquo; The sentiment prompted him to learn more about Addams and ultimately start the tour Hull-House residents&rsquo; challenge to gender conformity.</p><p><strong>Closing the circle</strong></p><p>I phone Adam Peterson, the curious fellow who prompted this conceptual odyssey in the first place, to let him know whom I&rsquo;d talked to and how they came down on Addams and the use of the &ldquo;L word.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;Well it sounds like this is opening a whole can of worms,&rdquo; he says. (I agree)</p><p>But he finds it all fascinating, he says, and in the end more interesting than a simple yes or no.</p><p>It&rsquo;s reminiscent of what I hear from Lena Reynolds, a <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/hull_house.html">JAHHM </a>educator.</p><p>Reynolds says when she gives tours she doesn&rsquo;t use the term lesbian per se, but she does say that modern-day members of the LGBT community embrace Addams as one of their own.</p><p>&ldquo;She&rsquo;s part of this bigger movement even if it was a time before the movement existed,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Whether or not we want to put the word on it &hellip; that she was fighting for equality and acceptance and human rights is undeniable. And that she valued love is also undeniable.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Correction: This article initially misstated details concerning Jane Addams&#39; Nobel Peace Prize. She was the first American woman to receive that honor.&nbsp;</em></p><div>To learn more about the work of Jane Addams and the Hull-House settlement and how it continues today, listen to WBEZ&#39;s segment from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift">The Afternoon Shift</a> below.<a name="Afternoonshift"></a></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F109175414" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/jbrandel-0" rel="author">Jennifer Brandel</a> is Senior Producer of Curious City and Interactive at WBEZ. You can follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/JnnBrndl"> Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/117289484797285268506" rel="me">Google+</a></em></p></p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 17:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/should-we-use-l-word-jane-addams-108619 Short hair, don't care: the unnecessary value placed on women's locks http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/short-hair-dont-care-unnecessary-value-placed-womens-locks-108344 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Instagram.jpg" title="Beyonce debuts her new hairstyle on Instagram. (Instagram)" /></p><p>Shortly after finishing the first American leg of her Mrs. Carter World Tour at Barclays Center in Brooklyn late Wednesday night, Beyoncé took to Instagram to post three pictures of her new <a href="http://www.today.com/entertainment/beyonce-chops-her-hair-reveals-new-pixie-cut-instagram-6C10874595" target="_blank">blonde pixie cut</a>.</p><p>Subsequent fan reaction, particularly on <a href="http://hollywoodlife.com/2013/08/08/beyonce-new-hair-tweets-short-haircut-reactions/" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, was swift and divisive. News outlets from&nbsp;<a href="http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/08/08/pixie-dream-girls-beyonce-joins-the-short-hair-club/" target="_blank">Time</a>&nbsp;to <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/08/08/beyonce-haircut-twitter/2633197/" target="_blank">USA Today </a>ran stories describing Beyoncé&#39;s new &#39;do as &quot;shocking&quot; and &quot;dramatic,&quot; as if the simple act of a woman changing her hairstyle was really so unbelievably groundbreaking that it deserved national attention. Seriously, why all of the hullabaloo? It&#39;s just hair.</p><p>Beyoncé probably abandoned her signature long, flowing tresses (<em>not</em> a <a href="http://www.justjared.com/2013/08/08/beyonce-didnt-wear-a-weave-stylist-talks-haircut/" target="_blank">weave</a>, according to her stylist) as a direct result of her hair getting<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/watch-beyonce-hair-stuck-fan-concert-article-1.1406468" target="_blank"> caught in a fan</a> during a Mrs. Carter show in Montreal just a few weeks ago. Still, why do people care so much about whether Beyoncé&#39;s hair is long or short, real or fake? And why is the societal judgment of a woman&#39;s beauty so often dependent on the length of her locks?</p><p>In 2009, Chris Rock made a brilliant documentary about this very subject.&nbsp;<em>Good Hair&nbsp;</em>delved deep into the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Hair_(film)" target="_blank">$9 billion</a> black hair industry, and examined why so many&nbsp;African American women are raised believing that the quality of their hair is inextricably tied to their self-worth.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Miley.jpg" style="float: left; " title="In May, Miley Cyrus unveiled a surprising new 'do via Twitter. (Twitter)" /></p><p>Of course, the desire for luxuriant hair is not an issue isolated to black women, nor to women of any one particular race or ethnic background. In fact, the notion of long hair as the ideal &quot;feminine&quot; standard of beauty extends all the way back to evolution and the process of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection" target="_blank">natural selection</a> among species, as thick and healthy hair or fur is frequently a sign of youth and fertility.</p><p>So, an inherent biological desire for males to spread their seed may &nbsp;be the ultimate reason why men typically prefer their female partners with long hair as opposed to short. This natural proclivity could also be attributed to the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisherian_runaway" target="_blank">Fisherian runaway </a>theory of sexual selection, i.e. long lustrous hair indicates a healthy, fertile person with an active sex drive. &nbsp;</p><p>Obviously, the world does not lack for gorgeous, short-haired women who also happen to have very healthy bodies and sex lives, thank you very much. And yet, I have learned through my own experiences and general cultural observations that there is a marked difference between &quot;guy pretty&quot; and &quot;girl pretty.&quot;</p><p>For example, I&#39;ve noticed that&nbsp;<a href="http://jezebel.com/5857858/in-defense-of-the-short+haired-woman" target="_blank">women</a>&nbsp;are more likely&nbsp;to perceive another woman with an Audrey Hepburn-style pixie as beautiful and chic, while men are traditionally more attracted to the long, windswept hair of say, a Victoria Secret model.</p><p>Certainly, not <em>all&nbsp;</em>men feel this way. In fact, many men actually prefer the super-short look popularized by starlets like Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams, successfully bucking the status quo. But for every man or woman gushing over Emma Watson&#39;s pixie &#39;do, there&#39;s a thousand more calling Miley Cyrus a boy or a <a href="http://metro.co.uk/2013/07/18/miley-cyrus-im-happy-to-be-called-a-lesbian-3888648/">lesbian</a>&nbsp;just because she made the totally radical decision to cut her hair short.</p><p>I&#39;ve always had long hair; and until recently, I had never purposefully examined the reason why. All I knew was that I had a &quot;fear&quot; of stylists cutting my hair too short, and that I&#39;ve always preferred the way that I look with long hair flowing about my shoulders. But was this fear born of my own personal predilections, or rather as a result of subconsciously-driven, deeply ingrained societal messages that longer hair is prettier, sexier, more feminine and more socially acceptable than shorter styles?&nbsp;</p><p>In a world where short hair on women is usually perceived as either &quot;edgy&quot; or <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/fashion/24Mirror.html?pagewanted=all&amp;loadDynamically=false&amp;commentsPosition=right&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">showing one&#39;s age</a>, and long hair still reigns as the ultimate feminine standard of youth and beauty, the choice to step outside the norm is not always an easy one to make. But regardless of how I or any woman might choose to present a personal style, I sincerely hope that those people with differing opinions of how woman <em>should</em> look would kindly leave their judgment at the door.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774" target="_blank">Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. You can also follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 09 Aug 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/short-hair-dont-care-unnecessary-value-placed-womens-locks-108344 11 inspiring Chicago women you should know http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/11-inspiring-chicago-women-you-should-know-108293 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/%28WBEZ%3ABill%20Healy%29.jpg" title="Leonetta Sanders, principal of W.R. Harper High School in Englewood. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></p><p>A recurring theme in my work as a feminist writer has been the search for positive female role models and mentors. What qualities do they possess? How does one seek them out? And, in a world where high-profile women are consistently <a href="http://jezebel.com/if-comedy-has-no-lady-problem-why-am-i-getting-so-many-511214385">threatened</a> and <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/04/technology/twitter-abuse-report/index.html">attacked</a> on the basis of their femininity, where can the next generation of female leaders look to find reassurance, solidarity, and above all, hope?</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Thankfully, Chicago is filled to the brim with strong, innovative and endlessly compassionate women who have dedicated their lives to helping others and shattering the glass ceiling one crack at a time. But while some are prominently featured in the news, (like Illinois Attorney General&nbsp;<a href="http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov" target="_blank">Lisa Madigan</a>, Chicago Teacher&#39;s Union President <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Lewis_(labor_leader)" target="_blank">Karen Lewis</a> and philanthropist <a href="http://www.annlurie.com" target="_blank">Ann Lurie</a>)&nbsp;many others remain virtually anonymous to the public, despite being regarded as heroes in their own communities.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">So, in no particular order, here is my short-list of 11 admirable women making a difference in the Chicagoland area and beyond:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">1.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/blog/2013/03/ira-glass-alex-kotlowitz-leonetta-sanders-on-msnbc" target="_blank">Leonetta C. Sanders</a>,&nbsp;principal, Harper High School</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div>This spring, Sanders was featured in a special two-part episode of <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/488/harper-high-school-part-two" target="_blank">This American Life</a>&nbsp;that focused on the epidemic of violence surrounding Englewood&#39;s Harper High School, where last year alone, 29 present and former students were shot. The broadcast shone a spotlight on Sanders&#39; impassioned efforts as principal to hold the school together, keep her students safe and inspire them to acheive their full potential.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; "><strong>2.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.timberlineknolls.com/information/about/staff/medical-director-kim-dennis" target="_blank">Dr. Kimberly Dennis</a>, chief executive officer&nbsp;and medical director, Timberline Knolls</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/-PZ2Q89iYds" width="560"></iframe></span></p><p>Dr. Dennis is a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in eating disorder treatment, addictions recovery, trauma/PTSD and co-occurring disorders.&nbsp;As CEO and medical director at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.timberlineknolls.com/information/about" target="_blank">Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center</a> in Lemont, Il., Dennis supervises the medical staff and sets the overall vision and direction of the program. Her holistic approach to psychiatry, in addition to her unique expertise in treating individuals with dual diagnoses, has made Timberline Knolls one of the nation&#39;s leading treatment centers for adult women and adolescent girls seeking long-lasting recovery.&nbsp;</p><p><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">3.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.yasminnair.net" target="_blank">Yasmin Nair</a>,&nbsp;writer, academic, activist, commentator</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Yasmin Nair.jpg" style="float: left; " title="Yasmin Nair. (YasminNair.net)" /></p><p>As the Chicago-based &quot;bastard child of queer theory and deconstruction,&quot; Nair has made quite a name for herself in the <a href="http://www.yasminnair.net/content/about" target="_blank">literary world</a>. As an investigative reporter, photographer, and critical essayist, her writing has examined complex issues such as neoliberalism and inequality, queer politics and theory, the politics of rescue and affect, sex trafficking, the art world, gentrification and the immigration crisis.&nbsp;</p><p>An archive of Nair&#39;s published work, including a compendium on gay marriage (Gay Marriage Hurts My Breasts)&nbsp;and a blog focused on political and cultural commentary (We Don&#39;t Live Here Anymore) can be found at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.yasminnair.net" target="_blank">YasminNair.net</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">4.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/407605/february-01-2012/ameena-matthews" target="_blank">Ameena Matthews</a>,&nbsp;</strong><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">violence interrupter, CeaseFire Illinois&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Matthews is a violence interrupter with CeaseFire Illinois, an anti-violence group that works directly with gang members to curb shootings in the Chicago area. In 2011, she also made a starring turn in the Steve James-directed, Kartemquin Films-produced documentary <a href="http://interrupters.kartemquin.com" target="_blank">The Interrupters</a>, which prompted the city to give CeaseFire a $1 million contract to send violence interrupters, or mediators, into two crime-plagued Chicago neighborhoods over the past year.&nbsp;</p><p>Today, the self-professed &quot;peace maker, peace keeper and community builder&quot; continues her work of youth outreach and violence prevention in Chicago, maintaining an active <a href="https://twitter.com/AmeenaMatthews" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;account to broadcast her efforts. In February, WBEZ reporter Lauren Chooljan featured Matthews as part of her <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/year-25/year-25-ameena-matthews-105541" target="_blank">Year 25</a> series.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; "><strong>5.&nbsp;<a href="http://rookiemag.com/author/jessicah/" target="_blank">Jessica Hopper</a>,&nbsp;music journalist, Rookie Mag</strong></span></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Jessica Hopper.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; float: right; " title="Jessica Hopper. (Twitter)" /></p><p>Hopper is a music and culture critic based in Chicago. She got her start writing for the Minneapolis&nbsp;<a href="http://www.citypages.com" target="_blank">City Pages </a>and Spin magazine, before becoming a columnist for the Chicago punk zine Punk Planet and editor of the famed Riot-Grrrl affiliated zine Hit It or Quit. From 1995 to 2004, Hopper also worked as a publicist for dozens of indie, electronic and punk bands, including At the Drive In, The Promise Ring and The Gossip.&nbsp;</p><p>In addition to her current position as music editor of <a href="http://rookiemag.com/author/jessicah/" target="_blank">Rookie Mag</a>, Hopper writes the&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/columns/fan_landers/" target="_blank">Fan Landers</a> advice column for the Village Voice and regularly contributes music criticism to Spin, Pitchfork and Rolling Stone. Her book, &quot;The&nbsp;Girl&#39;s Guide to Rocking,&quot; was named one of 2009&#39;s Notable Books for Young Readers by the American Library Association.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px; "><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; "><strong>6.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vivalafeminista.com/p/about-contact-info.html" target="_blank">Veronica Arreola</a>,&nbsp;director, Women in Science and Engineering at UIC</strong></span></span><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">&nbsp;</strong></p><p>As the assistant director for the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/crwg/" target="_blank">Center for Research on Women and Gender</a> at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Arreola also directs the department&#39;s Women in Science and Engineering program (WISE). The mission of WISE is to recruit, retain and advance women, majority and minority, in science, technology, math and engineering.&nbsp;</p><p>Arreola is an established writer and public speaker as well. Her work has appeared in&nbsp;Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture,&nbsp;Ms. Magazine&nbsp;and Women&#39;s Review of Books. As a long-time feminist blogger, Arreola also has contributed to a number of online publications, including The Frisky, Chicagonista and her own award-winning blog, <a href="http://www.vivalafeminista.com" target="_blank">Viva La Feminista</a>. Currently, she&nbsp;is working towards her doctorate in Public Administration, with specializations in public management and gender.&nbsp;</p><p><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">7.&nbsp;<a href="http://chicagoheights.patch.com/groups/around-town/p/rescue-takes-pittie-on-pit-bulls-that-need-homes" target="_blank">Tracy Garcia</a>,&nbsp;founder, It&#39;s a Pittie Rescue</strong></p><p>In 2012, Chicago Heights resident and &quot;pittie&quot; advocate Tracy Garcia started a nonprofit organization called <a href="http://rescueapittie.org" target="_blank">It&#39;s a Pittie Rescue</a>&nbsp;in the South suburbs to match pit bulls with loving homes. Garcia began working for South Animal Hospital when she was 15, and has acquired numerous certifications in her years of training with animal control. Now she works to eliminate the stigma surrounding pit bulls and to provide this misunderstood breed with the care and quality of life that they deserve. In the past year alone,&nbsp;Garcia&#39;s organization has saved more than 250 pit bulls and facilitated more than 100 adoptions.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; "><strong>8.</strong> <strong><a href="http://theeverygirl.com/feature/lindsay-avner-of-bright-pink/" target="_blank">Lin</a></strong></span><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lindsay%20Avner.jpg" style="float: left; " title="Lindsay Avner. (Bright Pink/Facebook)" /><span style="font-size: 14px; font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; "><strong><a href="http://theeverygirl.com/feature/lindsay-avner-of-bright-pink/" target="_blank">dsay Av</a></strong></span><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; "><a href="http://theeverygirl.com/feature/lindsay-avner-of-bright-pink/" target="_blank">ner</a>,&nbsp;founder and chief executive officer, Bright Pink</strong></p><p>At 23, Avner became the<a href="http://www.cnn.com/exchange/blogs/ypwr/2007/09/lindsay-avner.html" target="_blank"> youngest patient</a> in the country to opt for a risk-reducing double mastectomy with reconstruction. After losing her grandmother and great-grandmother to breast cancer before she was born, and watching her mother fight both breast and ovarian cancer when she was only 12, Avner discovered through genetic testing that she was high-risk and made the courageous decision to have preemptive surgery.&nbsp;It was also during this time that she became aware of the lack of resources for women in her specific situation&mdash;those who didn&#39;t have breast or ovarian cancer, but wanted to take a proactive approach to their health.</p><p>In 2007, Avner founded&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brightpink.org" target="_blank">Bright Pink</a>,&nbsp;the only national nonprofit focusing on the prevention and early detection of ovarian and breast cancer in young woman, while also providing support for high-risk individuals. Today, Bright Pink has become one the fastest growing nonprofits in the nation, impacting and saving thousands of lives each day.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; "><strong>9.&nbsp;<a href="http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2013/04/08/holocaust-survivor-remembers" target="_blank">Estelle Glaser Laughlin</a>,&nbsp;Holocaust survivor, author</strong></span></span></p><p>83-year-old Laughlin is a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto, the ghetto uprising and three concentration camps (Majdanek, Skarzysko and Czestochowa) in WWII Poland. Soviet forces liberated her from Czestochowa in January 1945; in 1947, she moved to the United States to live with family in New York City.&nbsp;</p><p>For many years, Laughlin worked as a survivor volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Now she&nbsp;resides in a Chicago suburb, where she holds book signings for her powerful 2012 memoir &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&amp;field-author=Estelle%20Glaser%20Laughlin&amp;page=1&amp;rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3AEstelle%20Glaser%20Laughlin" target="_blank">Transcending Darkness: A Girl&#39;s Journey out of the Holocaust</a>,&quot; and speaks about her experiences to inspire hope in others.</p><p><strong style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; ">10.&nbsp;<a href="http://smartassjen.tumblr.com/post/49141801112/trans100-this-moving-informative-and" target="_blank">Trisha Lee Holloway</a>,&nbsp;medical case worker for trans women, Howard Brown Health Center&nbsp;</strong></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/uW6iIqaY2ww" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Recently honored as one of <em>Windy City Times</em>&#39; <a href="http://chicago.gopride.com/news/article.cfm/articleid/43176096" target="_blank">30 under 30</a> in 2013, Holloway is a shining example of LGBTQ advocacy in the Chicago area. Prior to her current position as a medical case manager for trans women at Howard Brown Health Center, Holloway served as an outreach worker at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children&#39;s Hospital, where she provided HIV testing and counseling.&nbsp;</p><p>To further her goal of bringing awareness to the needs of trans women in her community, Holloway recently helped open the first trans housing program in Chicago,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/16/translife-center-chicago_n_3606681.html" target="_blank">TransLife Center</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; "><strong>11.&nbsp;<a href="http://butterfliesforchange.org/Bridget_Brown.html" target="_blank">Bridget Brown</a>,&nbsp;founder, Butterflies for Change</strong></span></span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bridget Brown:Butterflies for Change.jpg" style="height: 199px; width: 300px; float: right; " title="Bridget Brown. (ButterfliesforChange.org)" />Brown, a national public speaker and workshop presenter, redefines the term &quot;inclusion&quot; by being the <a href="http://www.butterfly4change.org/Who_am_I_.html" target="_blank">first person</a> with Down syndrome to be included in her school district. Brown graduated in 2005, and now works as a person-centered planning coach to help young adults with disabilities.</p><p>In addition to being a keynote speaker for&nbsp;<a href="http://butterfliesforchange.org/Butterflies_for_Change.php" target="_blank">Butterflies for Change</a>&nbsp;and a graduate of the Stars advocacy program through The Arc of Illinois, Brown is also an Action Club member, actress, dental assistant and health educator at the College of Dentisry at UIC.&nbsp;</p><p>Who else would you add to this list?&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; "><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774" target="_blank">Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television.</em> <em>Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>,<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank"> Facebook</a> and <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></span></span></p></p> Wed, 07 Aug 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/11-inspiring-chicago-women-you-should-know-108293 Groupies, past and present: the muses behind the music http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/groupies-past-and-present-muses-behind-music-108266 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Kate%20Hudson.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 649px; " title="Promo still: the tour bus of rock stars and Band Aids in &quot;Almost Famous.&quot; (Almost Famous/Cameron Crowe)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">In a pivotal early scene from Cameron Crowe&#39;s autobiographical &#39;70s rock film <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0181875/?ref_=sr_1" target="_blank"><em>Almost Famous</em></a>, Crowe&#39;s teenage alter-ego William (Patrick Fugit) is approached by a group of nubile young women lingering outside of a concert venue.&nbsp;Their leader is Penny Lane, played by the free-spirited, gold-ringleted Kate Hudson as the original Manic Pixie Dream Girl.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;We are not groupies,&quot; she assures young William, just in case he had the wrong idea, &quot;Groupies sleep with rockstars because they want to be near someone famous. We are here because of the music, we inspire the music. We are Band Aids.&quot;&nbsp;</div></blockquote><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Indeed, this was the mindset of many rock &#39;n&#39; roll groupies throughout the &#39;60s and &#39;70s; allegiance to their favorite bands was more about giving themselves completely to the music&mdash;mind, heart and soul&mdash; rather than just exploiting their bodies for sex. And although&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rocksquare.com/community/musicnews/2364" target="_blank">Bill Wyman</a> of the Rolling Stones is credited with coining the term &quot;groupie&quot; in 1965 to describe the tally of female fans he ravished while on tour, the <a href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/groupie" target="_blank">general definiton</a> is not overtly sexual: just &quot;a fan of a rock group, who usually follows the group around on concert tours.&quot; A superfan, if you will, who by this token could also be a man or a woman.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">So, when did &quot;groupie&quot; become such a dirty word? Plenty of young people follow their favorite bands around the country in hopes of meeting them (and yes, possibly sleeping with them as well) but refuse to call themselves groupies or even Penny Lane-esque &quot;Band Aids&quot; for fear of slut-shaming. No groupie girl wants to end up like <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Spungen">Nancy Spungen</a>, but the insatiable desire to fall in love with the music <em>and</em> the musician at once is certainly tempting, and practically universal.&nbsp;</div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chrisodell_1558554c.jpg" style="float: right; height: 219px; width: 350px; " title="File: '60s super-groupie Chris O'Dell with Keith Richards. She also counts Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and Ringo Starr among her lovers. (AP Photo)" /><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In her provocative 1987 memoir <em>I&#39;m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie</em>, former groupie Pamela Des Barres recounts a life full of glamour and fun (she even started a &quot;groupie group&quot; called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_GTOs" target="_blank">the GTOs</a>&nbsp;in the 1960s), while also acknowledging the darker side. For example: the emergence of <a href="http://www.rachelrabbitwhite.com/rock-groupies-and-feminism/" target="_blank">&quot;groupie babies&quot;</a> in the 1970s, as rock stars like David Bowie and Mick Jagger began regularly bedding girls as young as 13.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course, promiscious and often illegal sexual encounters still run troubingly rampant in rock star culture today; but in the Internet age, groupies actually have more power to protect themselves than ever before. Superfans can share their experiences via online forums, cautioning others about STDs or specific jerks/abusers/predators to avoid. A level-headed approach to the groupie lifestyle is also key: being a free spirit is one thing, expecting a famous musician to leave his girlfriend for you is another.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">If a devoted superfan is of age, confident in herself, sex-positive yet also cautious and aware of all the potential consequences of a one night stand, then she should feel no shame in sleeping with anyone, let alone her favorite singer or guitarist. Instead of slut-shaming these women, modern day groupies (or whatever label or non-label they may choose to describe themselves) should support one another in owning their desires, since the decision to sleep with a rock star does not automatically cancel one&#39;s membership as a card-carrying feminist, nor is it always in direct opposition to feminist ideals.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;Free love&quot; is now &quot;Y.O.L.O,&quot; but the sentiment remains the same. Obviously, safety and self-care come first; but if the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity arises to rub shoulders with your favorite band or artist, why not allow yourself to experience it? The encounter&nbsp;may only last for one night&mdash;or, a la <em>Almost Famous</em>, an entire unforgettable summer&mdash;but at least you&#39;ll be able to tell your grandchildren some amazing stories one day; and, best case scenario, look back on your life with no regrets.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p><em style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 22px; ">Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer for WBEZ and co-host of&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D2" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; font: inherit; " target="_blank">Changing Channels</a>, a podcast about the future of television. Follow her on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; font: inherit; " target="_blank">Twitter</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; font: inherit; " target="_blank">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); outline: 0px; font: inherit; " target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 02 Aug 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/groupies-past-and-present-muses-behind-music-108266