Brumberg, Joan Jacobs: An Intimate History of American Girls

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The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls

Advertising has had a major effect on how we view our bodies and on our individual self-image. The history of how this advertising has come to affect American girls as they pass through menarche and adolescence is presented in a book called “The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls.” This book describes the historical roots of acute societal and psychological pressures that girls feel today. It shows how the female adolescent experience has changed since 1895. The author, Joan Jacobs Brumberg, is a Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Cornell University in New York. In this two-part program, I spoke Professor Brumberg in October of 1997 and asked her what drew her to write “The Body Project.”

Joan Jacobs Brumberg recommends “Learning to Bow,” by Bruce Feiler & “The Grass Link,” by May Vinchi.

Originally Broadcast: October 14, 1997 & October 21, 1997

Boyd, Blanche: Self-Styled Outlaw Lesbians

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Terminal Velocity

The concept of memoir versus fiction leads many authors to transform their personal experiences and life to fiction. Blanche Boyd is a native of South Carolina and a Professor of Literature at Connecticut College. She is also the author of the book entitled, “Terminal Velocity.” This is a book about a group of self-styled lesbian outlaws in the 1970s. We discussed the relationship of memoir and fiction, and how it applies to her work.

Blanche Boyd recommends “Cathedral” & “To the Waterfall,” both by Raymond Carver.

Originally Broadcast: August 19, 1997

Grealy, Lucy: What is Ugly

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The Autobiography of a Face

Lucy Grealy, a victim of Ewing’s Sarcoma, beginning when was nine years old suffered from a cancer of the jaw that is 90% fatal in the first few years. In Lucy’s case, it was not fatal. Rather it brought about many intense and emotional experiences that most of us could not imagine. She had a large part of her lower jaw removed when she was about nine and half and for two and a half years had weekly chemotherapy treatments. Throughout her teenage years, she had multiple surgeries to reshape her jaw. Her book, “Autobiography of a Face,” reveals her experiences, her mistaken conflation of beauty and love, and what she learned about emotions, both her own and other people’s.

Lucy Grealy recommends “100 Years of Solitude,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Originally Broadcast: December 5, 1994

Gilbert, Ronnie, as “Mother Jones”: ‘The Most Dangerous Woman in America’

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Mary Harris Jones, Mother Jones, was born in 1830. She lived a quiet, non-public life until she was approximately 47 years old and then, for almost the next fifty years, she was a fiery union organizer, strike leader, and fighter for safe and humane working conditions, the eight hour day, and child labor laws. Around the turn of the century, she was called the most dangerous woman in America. Her legacy has lived on in the form of a magazine that bears the name, Mother Jones; and in the form of a one-woman play about her life, produced, acted and written by singer and songwriter Ronnie Gilbert.

Mother Jones recommends any books by Leo Tolstoy. Ronnie Gilbert recommends “Hawaii,” by James Mechiner.

Originally Broadcast: March 12, 1997

Freedman, Dr. Estelle: History of Feminism

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The place of women in the world and in the American society has changed in many aspects in the recent past.  Many people say this is due to the politics of feminism, and some inquire where it will lead.
I spoke with Professor Estelle B. Freedman by phone in April 2002 and asked her to talk about why feminism did not evolve as people evolved and civilization developed.

The books Professor Freedman recommends are “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, and “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler.

Hollenbeck, Holly: Sex Lives of Wives

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How to ignite sexual passion from a woman’s perspective is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious, as we talk with Holly Hollenbeck, a former attorney from Omaha, Nebraska, and author of, “Sex Lives of Wives, Reigniting the Passion, True Confessions and Provocative Advice from Real Women.” Holly Hollenbeck says her book is not so much directed at how to please your mate, but how to please yourself by pleasing your mate. Take a look at www.passionseekers.com, her website devoted to helping women find passion and inspiration in their long-term relationships. I spoke with Holly Hollenbeck from her home in Nebraska, in mid September 2006, and asked her to describe what motivated her to write, “Sex Lives of Wives.”

The book Holly Hollenbeck recommends is “Adults Only Travel: The Ultimate Guide to Romantic and Erotic Destination,” by David West and Louis James.

Originally Broadcast: September 20, 2006.

Caleen Sisk-Franco & Christina Aanestad: Puberty Rights of the Winnemem Wintu

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In this edition of Radio Curious, our assistant producer Christina Aanestad is the guest host in a conversation about puberty rights for young women within the Winnemem-Wintu tribe in Northern California. This visit with Caleen Sisk-Franco, the Spiritual Leader and Chief of the Winnemem-Wintu was recorded near Mt. Shasta, California in August 2010. In the last few years, the tribe has revived an ancient ritual, the Puberty Ceremony-which honors and celebrates a girls transition into womanhood.

The “Middle Water People” are a small tribe near Mount Shasta, in Northern California. During World War 2, they were relocated and their homeland was flooded to make the Shasta dam. Nearly 80 years later, the tribe has reinvigorated one of its ceremonies, there, called the Puberty Ceremony, which honors a girls transition into womanhood. For 3 days and nights, men sing and dance on one side of a river, while the women, pass on traditions to girls on the other side.

But holding a ceremony on stolen land can be a challenge. The forest service refuses to grant the tribe private access to their ancestral land along the McCloud river, because they are an “unrecognized” tribe. Their ceremony is held with recreational boaters driving by, and camping as the tribe holds it’s right of passage. Under the guidance of their Chief and Spiritual Leader, Caleen Sisk Franco, the Winnemem-Wintu have sued the federal government to protect their rights and their ancestral land. She describes the puberty ceremony and it’s importance to their way of life.

Basta, Michael: Relationship Warning Signs

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Why some couples get along and others don’t, sometimes to the extent of terminating their relationship, is a curious question, the answer to which is likely to bring both pleasure and unhappiness to each of us. Michael Basta has been a licensed clinical social worker based in Sonoma, County California, since 1988. He is trained and certified as a Gottman Couples’ Therapist. This training identifies the traits and behaviors of couples that are useful to predict how long their relationship will last. Michael Basta visited Radio Curious on May 21, 2010, and began by describing the negative traits and behaviors that indicate a dark future for the relationship.

The book Michael Basta recommends is “The Female Brain,” by Dr. Louann Brizendine.

Kate Magruder as Dame Shirley: Women and the Gold Rush Part Two

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When word that California had gold in its creeks and streams reached the United States of America in 1848, fortune seekers from all over the world soon began to arrive by boat, covered wagon, and on foot. Some people made their fortunes by selling provisions or services and very few actually found enough gold to take home. Louise Smith Clapp of Amherst, Massachusetts, using the name of Dame Shirley, wrote detailed and vivid descriptions of the life and ways of the gold seekers and of mid 19th century California. In this two-part program, we will talk to Dame Shirley in the person of Kate Magruder, a Chautauqua performer and participant with the California Council for the Humanities Sesquicentennial Project, Rediscovering California at 150.

In part one, Kate Magruder portrays Dame Shirley. In part two, Kate Magruder talks more about Dame Shirley’s life and times.

The book Dame Shirley recommends is “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.” The books Kate Magruder recommends are “Days of Gold,” by Malcolm Rhorbough and “The Shirley Letters,” by Dame Shirley.

This interview was originally broadcast on March 16, 1999.

Kate Magruder as Dame Shirley: Women and the Gold Rush Part One

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When word that California had gold in its creeks and streams reached the United States of America in 1848, fortune seekers from all over the world soon began to arrive by boat, covered wagon, and on foot. Some people made their fortunes by selling provisions or services and very few actually found enough gold to take home. Louise Smith Clapp of Amherst, Massachusetts, using the name of Dame Shirley, wrote detailed and vivid descriptions of the life and ways of the gold seekers and of mid 19th century California. In this two-part program, we will talk to Dame Shirley in the person of Kate Magruder, a Chautauqua performer and participant with the California Council for the Humanities Sesquicentennial Project, Rediscovering California at 150.

In part one, Kate Magruder portrays Dame Shirley. In part two, Kate Magruder discusses about Dame Shirley’s life and times.

The book Dame Shirley recommends is “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.” Kate Magruder recommends “Days of Gold,” by Malcolm Rhorbough and “The Shirley Letters,” by Dame Shirley.

This interview was originally Broadcast: on March 16, 1999.