Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Phenomenal Women - Women's History Month 2017

Phenomenal Women - Today, marks the first day of Women's History Month. In the past, I've posted daily on Facebook for Women's History Month...and in fact, it's been a couple years since I have actively posted daily for Women's History Month at all. This year I choose to resume, but I do so in a different light and I'm moving it to my blog. With today's constant discourse, another voice is not needed in a sea of voices. I would rather provide the opportunity to see "ordinary" Phenomenal Women through period photos. Not much verbiage will go with the photos - instead I'll let the photos and the women in them speak for themselves. I will only add text where it may be needed. I have celebrated women who have made names for themselves, but these ladies names' may often be lost to history...yet phenomenal  they remain. My only apology is that the selection may not be as diverse as everyone may like, but the photos will come mainly from our personal collection. For several reasons, there is not much diversity in our collection - including funds at the time my husband and I were actively collecting as well as the fact most of them are from the Upper Midwest in the 19th century when diverse photos are scarce - but it is not because there was not any desire for diversity. I will try to supplement from other sources when I am able. Enjoy!

...and you may ask where I found my theme. Indeed I was inspired by the great lady Maya Angelou and her poem: Phenomenal Women...

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. 
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   
But when I start to tell them, 
They think I’m telling lies. 
I say, 
It’s in the reach of my arms, 
The span of my hips,   
The stride of my step,   
The curl of my lips.   
I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman,   
That’s me. 

I walk into a room 
Just as cool as you please,   
And to a man, 
The fellows stand or 
Fall down on their knees.   
Then they swarm around me, 
A hive of honey bees.   
I say, 
It’s the fire in my eyes,   
And the flash of my teeth,   
The swing in my waist,   
And the joy in my feet.   
I’m a woman 

Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me. 

Men themselves have wondered   
What they see in me. 
They try so much 
But they can’t touch 
My inner mystery. 
When I try to show them,   
They say they still can’t see.   
I say, 
It’s in the arch of my back,   
The sun of my smile, 
The ride of my breasts, 
The grace of my style. 
I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me. 

Now you understand 
Just why my head’s not bowed.   
I don’t shout or jump about 
Or have to talk real loud.   
When you see me passing, 
It ought to make you proud. 
I say, 
It’s in the click of my heels,   
The bend of my hair,   
the palm of my hand,   
The need for my care.   
’Cause I’m a woman 
Phenomenal woman, 
That’s me.

Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” from And Still I Rise. Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (Random House Inc., 1994)

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