“Eight thousand women descended upon the wooded expanse of Hesperia, Michigan for the 6th Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF) on Auqust 13-16. Although the festival eschews “star” billings, the performers most familiar were Meg Christian, Alix Dobkin, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Terry Garthwaithe, and Alive! In all, 16 groups performed. Face the Music, who handled interpretation for the hearing-impaired, gave a graceful and sensitive performance that enhanced the
The festival, which has grown steadily in attendance since its inception in 1976, was characterized by a spirit of cooperation
and respect for the property and its temporary inhabitants. A great deal of credit is due the eighty or more organizers for their smooth coordination of an undertaking of this magnitude.
To the uninitiated MWMF spectator (which I was)…”
Author(s): nancy fithian
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 11, No. 9 (October 1981), p. 15
“This year’s coverage is a collection of women from around the country describing the profound ways the festival impacts their lives. The women’s words show the truth in Audrey’s words, “Michigan is a dream reality. It’s ancient, futuristic, and present-tense real all at the same time. ‘Every woman should experience this!'”
Author(s): audrey wells, karla mantilla, jennie ruby, carol comerford, janel brooks, susan dunn, madeline davidson, jenn smith, sherri umanski, kelly, anonymous and laura butterbaugh
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 30, No. 9 (october 2000), pp. 10-12
“As I was saying, the phrase,
‘This may be politically incorrect, but…’, makes me reach for the “delete” key. Why? Because it almost always precedes, a mindless bit of racism or a snotty put-down of women. The cutesy idiom masquerades as disobedience but in fact dismisses consciousness and justifies meanspirited conformity. So-called “political correctness” didn’t weaken feminism, but fear of that label did. Excusing the perpetrator from taking on tough issues, this phobic umbrella shelters a multitude of retreats…”
Author(s): alix dobkin
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 29, No. 8 (august-september 1999), p. 15
“On June 25, over 20,000 lesbians marched down Fifth Avenue in the International Dyke March in New York City according to the Lesbian Avengers, the organizers of the event. The police estimated that between 5,000 and 6,000 people attended. On June 26, nine lines about the event appeared in the New York Times. Nothing was mentioned in the W ashington Post…or the Chicago Tribune…or the Los Angeles Times…”
Author(s): Amy C. Branner, Laura Butterbaugh, and April Jackson
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 24, No. 8 (august/september 1994), pp. 1-2, 16-17, 20
Lesbian Avengers Handbook cover – designed by Amy Walker, photograph by Caroline Kroon. Further designs created by Carrie Moyer.
INTRODUCTION: “There are small changes afoot in laws referring to asylum for gays. But it remains inordinately difficult to find examples that apply to lesbians. Four years ago, I began researching the literature on the torture of lesbians. I was confounded by a severe lack of research. The countries in which the torture of lesbians takes place adhere to very different political forms ranging from socialist to fascist, from secular to fundamentalist. Lesbians are tortured in families, in prisons and in mental asylums…”
Author(s): Susan Hawthorne
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 36, No. 3 (2006), pp. 77-78
INTRODUCTION: “I began my reading of The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male with a full deck of unexamined liberal assumptions: that the concept of a woman trapped in a man’s body was not absurd; that transsexualism was at least consistent with feminism if not essential to it; that alleviation of an individual’s pain took precedence over all else. Jan Raymond’s book prompted the questioning of all these assumptions and raised many fundamental points that I had not considered.”
Author(s): Susanna J. Sturgis and Jan Raymond
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 9, No. 9 (october, 1979), pp. 14-15
“The day of my release, Sue picked me up at the hospital in her ’85 tan Volvo. I felt shame: psych ward, raped, welfare, waiting to get on disability shame. I’d flunked a class. But I had one thing to hold onto: I was alive. That’s it: a breathing, heart-beating animal. As bad as I felt, I still had hope. I was alive, and if I got on disability, I wouldn’t be homeless. Sue drove me to the house I shared with another survivor. I was afraid that nothing would ever be okay. I was afraid I could never overcome what I’d been through. The shrink had told me I would be in and out of the psych ward the rest of my life.
Sue dropped me off; she had to go to work. It was hot, mid-June, sunny. I walked into the entryway; my cat, Cleo, sat curled on the wooden staircase. I was alone. What would happen to me? Would I live or die? I sat down on the stairs, petted Cleo, leafed through my stack of mail piled in a mound on the bottom stair. Bills from the hospital, letters of dropped classes from the university, notifications of bounced checks, bulk mail from a real estate agent, and a Monet postcard. I turned it over.
It was from Andrea. I had written her from the hospital, sent her a poem. And she wrote back. You are a terrific writer, she said. I hope you are back from the hospital and doing okay. Best, Andrea.
I held it against my chest. She believed in me. I could make it.”
Author: Christine Stark
Source: Feminist Studies, Vol. 34, No. 3, The 1970s Issue (Fall, 2008), pp. 584-590
“Beth Richie spent some time listening to battered black women incarcerated at Rikers Island and has written a remarkable book rooted in their life experiences. This book is a departure from much of what is written about women in prison because it takes into account the totality of their life experience and it examines the social forces that act to structure them in a way that women end up incarcerated.”
Author(s): karla mantilla
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 13-14
“I am a woman. I am a battered woman. I am a battered woman incarcerated with a life sentence, no possibility of parole. In our society, being a battered woman is a life sentence anyway. I don’t see the point of underscoring it by the courts.
A battered woman is sometimes faced with the choice of kill or be killed.
If she gives up a life of physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse by her partner by killing him, she dooms herself to the same treatment by the “system.”
A battered woman is isolated from family and friends by her abuser; the system does the same thing. An abuser strips a woman of her identity and dignity; the system does the same thing…”
Author(s): Darcy K. War Bonnett, Deborah Bounds, Karen R. Paese and Shannon R. Houser
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 9-12
“The Festival is womon-born-womon space. That means it is an event intended for womyn who were born and who have lived their entire life experience as female and who currently identify as a womon.
We ask the transsexual community to respect and support this intention…”
Author(s): Karla mantilla and Lisa Vogel
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 30, No. 9 (October 2000), pp. 8-9