30 May 2008

more feminism, more thesis. yes, that's all there is for me right now.

Per the usual, I have about eight different things on my mind at once and feel like I'm kind of drowning in all the feelings that have piled up over the course of the day. The highlight of my day was meeting with the woman who now completes my advisory committee-- finally the form that's been on my desk since January can be submitted and this whole thesis operation can assume legitimacy. But she is hardly just a name on a form-- I got to experience the rare privilege of being in the presence of someone I connected with almost immediately. I love it when you find those people-- people who share your interests, people who just seem to get what you're doing and where you're coming from-- I was really impressed. Not only did she give me some great archival leads but she gave me some helpful perspective as to how I might approach my work.

I try to divorce myself from what I do as much as possible; I try not to impose my own feminism on the ladies I study and to strive for the futile objectivity that every post-modernist is supposed to pursue and I don't really think to feel anything about it or really to even form any opinions about the subject. My new committee woman pointed out the emotiveness of the whole ERA struggle and urged me to think about, as I work, how what I read effects me. So of course when I headed down to Special Collections at the library later in the day and noticed that I was slogging through a bunch of documents from NOW and court depositions and the like with my usual air of detachment, I caught myself and really started to look at what was in front of me-- which seemed so apparently irrelevant to what I was supposed to be pursuing. It was this huge moment of clarity-- it was like I finally got a sense of what it was like to be there, on the ground, and what a crushing disappointment the whole business of the ERA must've been for women who spent years fighting for it-- it hit me like thousands of little pinpricks as all their dashed hopes seemed laid out before me. Obviously, it wasn't all done in vain, but still it still made me sad. It made me want to work harder to understand the opposition. Anyways, interesting experience for my first day in the archives.

But the more uplifting part of my day-- the meeting I was in-- had another really awesome component, which is this: being in the presence of really powerful women just sends me into a feminist euphoria. I forget how much I need face time with those kind of examples! I pity my poor co-worker who had to listen to me babble incoherently about it afterwards, so for once I'll spare you, but trust me, it was awesome.

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