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Intro: I’m not really a feminist, at least I don’t think I am. This piece, and the one posted just before it (Reflections, Women in History), were inspired during my tenure as Editor-in-Chief at RITRO.com, a volunteer Web community of writers based on Real Insight Through Raw Opinion. RITRO.com tried on many shapes and sizes, lots of styles and statements, and at one point, we focused on monthly themes as writing inspiration. March of 2005 featued the theme, “Women in History”, the theme responsible for this poem and other writngs.

Written by:
Wendi Friend
March 2005 

 

Women of history
Your voices are soft
Comforting, consoling
Regarding things lost

Though soft, Dear Women,
Your voices are powerful, vibrating
Demanding recognition
Garnering respect

It is your past untold stories
Your silent tears
Your meditative moments
Unwinding in the present for me to see

I see you baking Johnny bread muffins
In one room log cabins
With heavy cast iron pans
While the laundry soaks in the wash tub

Waiting to be wrung out
Until your fingers hurt
And then some
Before hanging on the line to dry

Women of history
I see you holding picket signs
Writing letters, and delivering speeches
To influence the masses

I see you weaving needle and thread
Through war time uniforms
And peace time crafting
Of quilts and clothing

You there, with your pinned back hair
Long skirts, your mild manners, and domestic dexterity –
You with your social cleverness, knowledge of fine arts
Your endurance, strength, courage, and will

I say you – you of the past
The silenced and the heard
The victorious and the defeated
I remember… Thank you.

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Written by:
Wendi Friend
March 2005

Women in history have made a powerful difference world wide –through their political movements, charitable causes, and inherent talents and traits for caring for others in need. Women have served society in countless ways – and in many ways, created history in the process. But women need not be historic heroines in order to have made a difference in the shaping of our world. In fact, many of the phenomenal energies contributing to the shaping of society as a whole will forever be nameless. There are endless numbers of women who offered words of support, encouragement, and strength to others – others who may have, in some way, played a “larger” role in history. Women have birthed world leaders, raised humanitarians, and mothered philosophers, scientists, and doctors.

As a woman, I’m honored and grateful for the rights established for me by my ancestors, but I’m not such a liberationist that I feel a need to compete with men. In fact, I don’t want to prove my equality to men. I appreciate the differences between masculine and feminine, and the ways in which they work together. I’m grateful for freedoms existing now that were causes to die for in times past, but not so removed from my femininity that I can’t appreciate a gentleman opening a door for a lady.

We’ve come a long way in history – and a lot of that is wonderful! But for all the changes and “equality” we’ve established, I still concern myself sometimes over whether or not equality has come at the cost of sensual femininity. Women have become too strong to cry, too cold to care, too aggressive to nurture, and too capable to accept help – even when it’s needed. We’ve gone from the repressed conditions of ankle-length dresses and no skin, to belly tops and mini skirts. We’ve gone from bold and determined to stubborn and brittle. Nonetheless, I’m still proud to be a woman and I’m still grateful for the roles of women in history.

I’m still not sure why we haven’t seen a woman president. I’m aware of the continuing struggles for women in the work place regarding equal rights and pay. I know there are still chauvinists out there who feel a woman’s place is to be at home taking care of the household duties – and this is what brings me to my next and final point.

Women – women of today – you, right there – we ARE women in history. Harriet Tubman, Abigail Adams, Dorthea Dix, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Helen Keller – they’ve done their parts!! They got us from the past to present, paving the way through blood, sweat, and tears for a better world for the women of today. Now, it is up to US, the women of today, to continue the cause for our daughters of tomorrow. It’s up to us to continue making notable history in regard to women.

Which of us will tomorrow’s daughters remember in history, and for what shall we be remembered?

 

Note: Read the poem that was written following the writing of this piece.  The poem is entitled, “To the Women of History

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Written by:
Wendi Friend
August 2005

A Writing Prompt

Writing letters is something some of us do, sometimes, as a way of making personal connections with friends and loved ones. More and more, however, with technology evolving and demands increasing, we’re much more likely to pop off a quick email or ring our loved ones up on the phone. In the past, though, letter writing was not only an art form, but was an intense recording of history in informal context. Letter writing was a form of communication, but was also a great pastime, as people weren’t afforded the luxuries of televisions, radios, computers, or video games. When one’s chores or daily tasks were done, there were a few choices for recreation: read, play music, or write.

One of the greatest examples with whom I personally connect is Abigail Adams, recognized for her artistic style, intelligence, and powerful presence in text. Mrs. Adams opened the majority of letters to her husband with the words, “My dearest friend.”

How nice would it feel to receive a letter today with that greeting in the header? Even in her first words of introduction, Abigail drew her reader into her grasp. Once captive to her attention, she’d then unleash an eloquent fury of opinions regarding everything from domestic issues to politics. Helping her case greatly was the fact that the recipient of her letters, for the most part, was her husband – John Adams, a powerful force in the political party establishing the United States of America. The letters written from Abigail Adams to her husband had a great part in shaping the US, particularly in regard to women and slaves.

Abigail Adams wasn’t the only person to write letters that would be remembered and/or cherished. In fact, there are volumes upon volumes of books created on Civil War letters, and other old letters of days past. For some reason, today’s people seem utterly fascinated and uplifted by the style, vocabulary, and living conditions of those who dared or cared to take the time to write down their thoughts and send them to a reader for consideration.

When is the last time you wrote a letter by hand to a good friend or family member? How did you begin that letter? If someone were to find that letter a hundred years from now, what do you think they’d learn about you and the time in which you lived?

When is the last time you received a hand written letter? How did you feel when you received it? Do you save your old letters?

Challenge yourself – as a writing prompt – to familiarize yourself with one or two treasures from yesteryear’s letters. They’re easy to find on the Internet or in libraries. Then, take an extra step and write a card or letter by hand to someone special to you. But don’t just write a letter; make it an art, make it a part of history.

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