“When One Woman Cries. . .”

Hi Kimberly, We seem to have come full circle, having begun this blog three and a half years ago with a discussion of Betty Friedan and The Feminine Mystique, and now we are ending it with another discussion of the same book … Continue reading

1 Comment

More on Friedan: Marketing of Desire and What Language Hides

Hi Letha, Thanks so much for your last post on Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, in which you helpfully outlined the historical realities that many women were facing during the time of the book’s publishing. You are so right—it is always important to … Continue reading

Leave a comment

What Betty Friedan Did and Didn’t Do

Dear Kimberly, You and I are so much on the same wave length and such good friends that I can’t recall our ever disagreeing, even though we’ve discussed innumerable topics by phone, letter, email, in person, and on this blog.  … Continue reading

3 Comments

Feminine Mystique–Revisited

Hi Letha, I appreciated so much your discussion of the many forms of violence–especially verbal violence. I know a lot of women (and men) have been in relationships with verbal shaming and abuse, and I think it is incredibly important … Continue reading

2 Comments

Verbal Violence Is No Joke!

Dear Kimberly, I had many thoughts as I read your last letter (December 31) about the fraternity hazing at Yale that required new pledges to march through the section of the campus where first-year women students lived, and then on to … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Connections Between Feminism, Religion, and the Greek System

Dear Letha, I hope you are enjoying the festivities of the holidays. I finished up a rather grueling semester (120 pages written just the last month alone!) and now I am spending time resting up with my family in Washington … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Stepping over Boundaries and Finding New Metaphors

Dear Kimberly, Since you’re inundated with your Yale studies and deadlines for papers at this busy time of year, I’m happy to help out by writing this month’s post, even though it will mean two posts by “72” in a … Continue reading

2 Comments

“Paradigm Lost” and Slippery Slope Panic

Dear Kimberly, After reading your September 14 post, I purchased Elisabeth Elliot’s Passion and Purity. I didn’t want to discuss something that I hadn’t even read! As you know, I had read all of Elliot’s books about her missionary work and many … Continue reading

1 Comment

More Thoughts on the Writings of Elisabeth Elliot

Hi Letha, As you know, I’ve just returned to school, after spending a summer working in the Pacific Northwest. It feels good to be back at the academic tasks. I love the possibilities of the month of September—ever since I … Continue reading

3 Comments

Relationships: Complementing and Complimenting

Dear Kim, It was wonderful to see you at the EEWC-Christian Feminism Today Gathering in Indianapolis a few weeks ago and to continue these intergenerational conversations before a live audience! I know that we were both disappointed that Erin Lane Beam, the advertised … Continue reading

1 Comment

Experiments with Pedagogy: More Thoughts on Approaches to Learning

Dear Letha,  Thanks so much for engaging my thoughts and struggles regarding the process of learning. Your articulations about what it means to be a lifelong learner, which you raised so well in your last letter, beautifully describe what I … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Think Critically, Question Constantly, Learn Continuously, See Connections

Dear Kimberly, I was moved by your March 30 post as you continued our discussion of empathy and othering.  Our conversation seems especially timely in view of  a number of events that have occurred since you wrote that letter: the … Continue reading

2 Comments

More Thoughts on Othering and Empathy

Letha, Your last post, in which you illustrated so well the harm of “othering,” named a topic that is more and more becoming a core theme in my studies at Yale. As you know, I’ve been studying U.S. history quite … Continue reading

4 Comments

Empathy: An Antidote to “Othering”

Dear Kimberly, I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy lately, and it ties in with something you referred to in your December 1 letter — the concept of “othering.” I guess I’ve been thinking about empathy (or the lack of … Continue reading

9 Comments

Normative Restrictions: From 19th Century Victorian “Ideals” to Twilight

Dear Letha, I appreciated how in your last letter you nuanced the different patterns through which cultures control women. In this letter, I’d like to continue discussing the normative restrictions that come frominternalized belief patterns specifically. And while we often discuss … Continue reading

3 Comments

Dreams without Boundaries

Dear Kimberly, Last weekend, the film discussion group that I attend regularly viewed an advance screening of Amelia,the story of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, who was the first woman (and first person after Charles Lindbergh) to fly solo across the Atlantic.  … Continue reading

Leave a comment

What is the Role of Religious Feminists?

Dear Letha, In your last letter, you discussed the sad reality that the oppression of women has been intimately interwoven with religious dogma. I would like to continue that discussion, because I have been recently trying to parse out what ought … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Religion, Women’s Status, and Self-image

Dear Kimberly, As you pointed out so well in your last letter, girls and women have had access to education for a relatively short time in the span of history.  And in some places, they’re still denied such access.  So … Continue reading

2 Comments

Women, Education, and Expectations

Hi Letha, Thanks so much for your last letter about “great and not so great expectations” for women.” Right now, I am thinking about how much I expect of myself, wondering if I am trying to do too much! The … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Great and Not-So-Great Expectations

Dear Kimberly, While listening to NPR’s Morning Edition earlier this week, I was struck by a phrase that reminded me of some of our discussions on this blog.  The phrase? “Expectations of how a woman judge should act.” It occurred during a … Continue reading

2 Comments

From Images of Women in Western Pop Culture to the State of Girls in Swat Valley, Pakistan

Dear Letha, I loved your last letter, especially how you juxtaposed the situation in Swat Valley, Pakistan with the situation of Susan Boyle in the western media. I always like seeing the world through the lens of “inter-text”—putting seemingly non … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Dreaming a Dream, Lighting a Light

Dear Kimberly, Your further thoughts about pride, lookism, racism, and anti-feminist religious teachings were right on the mark! I want to pick up on that discussion by sharing some thoughts I’ve had after viewing some seemingly unrelated television programs this … Continue reading

1 Comment

More Thoughts on Women and Pride, also the Interplay of Lookism and Racism

Dear Letha, Now it is my turn to apologize for my slow reply to your last letter! As you know, this past month has been eventful for me. I moved to a new apartment in Seattle, and I also have … Continue reading

3 Comments

More about “Lookism,” also Are Sins “Gender-specific”?

Dear Kimberly, So many things in the news have recently reminded me of your last letter about how women are judged by their appearance, causing some women to believe they must be slaves to fashion.  And I also want to … Continue reading

1 Comment

The 1968 Beauty Pageant, Women’s History, and “Lookism”

Dear Letha, Now it’s my turn to apologize for a late response to your last letter! As you know, my life has been rather busy the past month with my applications for graduate school. However, I did want to take … Continue reading

2 Comments

They Didn’t Burn Their Bras!

Dear Kimberly, I apologize for taking so long to respond to your November 22 letter; but as you know, I had some health issues come up and then was swamped with the editing and layout for the latest issue of Christian … Continue reading

3 Comments

Feminism Has an Image Problem

Letha, I really appreciated what you touched on in your last letter, especially your explanation of the typology Yates uses to understand second-wave feminism. The “women over against men” category—which describes the more extremist segment of the movement—struck a chord with … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Some Thoughts on Fundamentalism and Feminism

Dear Kimberly, I appreciated your honest sharing in your last letter.  Your struggles during your teenage and college years are struggles that many of us have experienced.  But I wonder how many other bright young women have not chosen the … Continue reading

2 Comments

Faith, Rebellion, and a Larger Story

Hi Letha, Thank you for such a rich letter filled with both fascinating insight and personal stories of your growing up. I appreciated your words on current events (the complexities of gender in the election) and I also thoroughly enjoyed … Continue reading

1 Comment

Why Should Difference Make Any Difference?

Dear Kimberly, Thanks for your thoughtful response to my October 11 letter about how gender roles become straitjackets. I’m glad you watched the trailers of the films I mentioned. And I was delighted to hear that you are also familiar … Continue reading

2 Comments

P.S. Women, Politics, and a Day of Remembering

Hi Letha, I know this is sort of unusual for our exchange of letters, but I realized that I wanted to let you and our readers know about a “day of remembering” happening the weekend before the election throughout cities … Continue reading

1 Comment

Remembering, Grieving, and the Pursuit of Wholeness

Hi Letha, I just finished watching the trailers of the movies you mentioned in your last letter, and I look forward to watching the actual films. Just the short excerpts were haunting. The image of that little girl on the … Continue reading

1 Comment

When Gender Roles Become Straitjackets

Dear Kimberly, I’ve been concerned that some of our recent conversations might strike our readers as irrelevant during this current economic crisis.  It’s one thing for us to talk theoretically about whether or not women should make a career of … Continue reading

2 Comments

More on Mothers…But Where are the Dads?

Dear Letha, Two things strike me after listening to the NPR segment you mentioned between Alice and Nina Rossi, as well as the humorous song you referenced (“Daughters of Feminists”), and the grievous story of Rebecca and Alice Walker’s estrangement. … Continue reading

1 Comment

Being a Feminist, Being a Mom (or Not!)

Dear Kimberly, In this letter and my next one, I’d like to comment on two topics you brought up in your Sept. 24 letter. One topic  is the parent-child relationship  — especially your questions about the stereotypical image of feminists … Continue reading

3 Comments

Developing Wholeness in Both Men and Women

Dear Letha, When I go back and read our letters these past few weeks about parenting and gender roles, I realize again how difficult these topics are. This afternoon, I was researching well-known feminist Alice Walker and reading up on … Continue reading

1 Comment

More about Gender-Based Division of Labor in the Home

Dear Kimberly, It was great reading your personal “observational study” of fathers and children delighting in their time together!   And thank you for sharing your honest inner struggles as you’ve been noticing how these warm, happy scenes contradict the more … Continue reading

1 Comment

Who Can Nurture? More Thoughts on Parenting

Dear Letha, It is a very curious thing for me to sit back and try to look with a “beginner’s mind” at all these notions our society has about division of labor based on gender. Thank you for offering such … Continue reading

Leave a comment

Work-Family Balance: 1950s and Now

Dear Kimberly, In my post last week, I promised to tell more of my own story and continue where I left off on July 30 when we began the discussion of our reading Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique from our different generational … Continue reading

1 Comment

Election Woes

Letha, I know this is a new direction from our letters this past week, but I need to talk to you about the election! Specifically, about sexism.  My good friend Stacy came storming into my kitchen last night ready to explode … Continue reading

2 Comments

"Nothing New Under the Sun"

Dear Kimberly, It’s hard to know where to begin in responding to your last letter — and especially the link to the video in which the pastor labeled sensitive, gentle, kind, caring, men as “chickified.” What is it about these … Continue reading

2 Comments

Quakers, Gender Roles, and “Chickified Men”

Dear Letha, As I sit down to write this letter, I find myself sipping tea, listening to Rachmaninoff, and surrounded by many piles of books and articles! I have been delighted this evening to have several hours to read, and … Continue reading

3 Comments

Why Is Feminism Resisted?

Dear Kimberly, I loved your “Mr. and Mrs. Christian” wordplay on the “Mr. and Mrs. Human” heading that I used as part of my previous post. Yes. sadly, many churches still teach that a woman finds her true identity in … Continue reading

4 Comments

Christian and Mrs. Christian

Dear Letha, Thanks for recommending the essays of Dorothy Sayers. I have not yet read them, but it’s time! I love the distinction her editor makes about male and female being adjectives to describe human, and that the “substantive governs … Continue reading

4 Comments

Human Being, Being Human

Dear Kimberly, I thought I’d continue our dialogue about our respective readings of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique as we became familiar with it during two different time periods. I liked the way you summed up the basic message of Friedan’s book … Continue reading

2 Comments

“The Feminine Mystique”– Then and Now, Part 2

Dear Letha, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what your world was like when you first held The Feminine Mystique in your hands. You are right that it can be hard for me to understand the kind of blatant sexism my … Continue reading

2 Comments

The “Feminine Mystique”–Then and Now, Part 1

Since you’ve set the stage with the story of how we met and began corresponding, Kimberly, I’d like to begin our dialogue with an excerpt from your May 11, 2008 email to me. You wrote: I have been reading The Feminine … Continue reading

3 Comments

How It All Began

This past April, I was up late in my Seattle apartment looking at the lights of the city and the glow of the Space Needle. I love the view from my living room. I still have a crush on my … Continue reading

2 Comments