Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Harvard University Women's Organizations

Harvard University Women's Organizations

For background, see this article: Harvard Cracks Down on All-Male Clubs. But It’s Women’s Groups That Have Vanished, by Sarah Brown. 


Women at Harvard protested the administration's effort to discourage
membership on gender-exclusive student groups.

Here are the first few paragraphs from Brown's article: 

Just over a year ago, Harvard University's leaders made an announcement that they hoped would be the final word, for the time being, in a lengthy debate over the future of campus social life.

Starting with the freshman class in 2017, any student who joined a single-gender social group — like one of the university's exclusive final clubs, or a fraternity or sorority — would face restrictions. Members wouldn't be able to hold leadership positions on campus, serve as captains of athletic teams, or receive Harvard's endorsement for postgraduate scholarships like the Rhodes and the Marshall. The groups could avoid the sanctions only if they went coed.

Technically, the policy had been unveiled in May 2016. But after 18 months of contentious conversations, Harvard's governing board finally voted to approve the restrictions. The board's action would, in theory, institute the policy beyond the tenure of Drew Gilpin Faust, the president at the time, who stepped down this summer.

To some observers, the demise of exclusionary social groups on college campuses makes a lot of sense. As student populations diversify, administrators are growing more aware of the need to foster inclusive environments, not ones segregated by gender and class. At Harvard, the men's final clubs in particular seem like vestiges of a university from an earlier era, when the student body was whiter and wealthier than it is today.

So on the surface, it would be easy to dismiss the lawsuits filed against Harvard by Greek organizations last month as a last-gasp effort. Privileged people are digging in their heels in the face of threats to their privilege, the argument goes. The suits are accompanied by a national campaign and petition, with an extensive website that purports to tell "the Truth" about single-gender social organizations. Some sorority chapters at other colleges have encouraged members and alumni to sign on.

But the sorority members who have become the loudest voice in favor of the lawsuits argue that their fight isn't about protecting privilege at all. It's about protecting women.

Harvard officials have said their crackdown on social groups was designed to do just that. In their view, all-male final clubs encourage misogynistic behaviors and create problematic environments for women. The solution? To discourage the behavior at the source.

Since the university couldn't singlehandedly eliminate private, unrecognized, off-campus organizations, administrators put in place the strongest disincentives to joining that they could come up with — and that would, they hoped, pass legal muster.

The women, on the other hand, say that the administration's approach to halting gender discrimination has endangered gender-exclusive spaces that weren't part of the problem. In fact, those women say, such groups remain necessary on a campus where issues like sexual misconduct persist.


Since the policy took effect, it's the sororities and women's final clubs that have disappeared, while most of the men-only groups continue to operate. This fall, all four of Harvard's sororities shut down. One recently reopened, but with a small fraction of its former membership. The six female-only final clubs have all started the process of going coed. (EMPHASIS ADDED)

This is a phenomenon often seen with regard to women's space. When push comes to shove, liberal feminist efforts to allow women into centers of male power will be countered by a male backlash of the same. The end result: nodules of men's spatial power remains, while any remnant of female space, no matter how apparently innocuous (like a sorority) will be destroyed. 

Here are additional points brought out in the article that are worthy of note: 

* "The current social scene at the College revolves around deeply entrenched systems of power," reads the February 2017 report of a committee convened to figure out how to carry out the policy. "Men's final clubs in particular can leverage the historical dominance of gender, class, and race to preserve that power."

No kidding. And notice that efforts to help support the women within this unequal playing field were cancelled:

One committee suggested that Harvard have a five-year "bridge" period for women's groups, during which they could continue to "operate with gender-focused missions" and make the transition to an arrangement in which they were recognized by the university and yet "entirely unconnected from the typical Greek system." But last March, administrators canceled the "bridge" program.

Of course. Not surprised. 
Then we have the "you girls have to suck it up because that's the only way to achieve our feminist goals" argument. Never mind that the boys aren't sacrificing much of anything, while the women are asked to give up everything. 

* A November 2017 statement signed by 23 female students said Harvard's premise "has been that women must not be allowed to join groups without men — for their own good — because it is the only way to 'get at' men's final clubs." Women's protests of the policy, they wrote, "have been met with the response that women groups are unfortunate collateral damage for a more noble cause — this cause of protecting them. This is egregious."

And then the result. We kill off women's groups, a few men's institutions go coed, and the rest of the men's organizations thrive. Because they are men, and they don't have to obey any rules made by freaking liberals or feminists. Right?

* In the spring, interest in sorority recruitment dropped by 60 percent, according to the Crimson. By August, the newspaper reported, there were no longer any women-only social organizations. One, Alpha Phi, has since reopened; the sorority is part of one of the lawsuits against Harvard. The chapter's membership peaked at 160 women in 2017, according to the suit. Now there are eleven women who "have rejoined or expressed interest in rejoining." Four men-only groups have gone coed over the last couple of years. But nine others, mostly final clubs, continue to operate.

At least some sort of get it, though they kind of tip toe around the central issues. 

Why was the impact on women's groups so much greater? Women's groups weren't as well established in Cambridge, said Emma Quinn-Judge, a Boston lawyer who is lead counsel for one of the lawsuits against Harvard. Men's final clubs have been around for centuries and have large alumni networks and resources that can help them survive in challenging circumstances.

But still the central problem remains. Integrating a few women within male power centers without a strategy for dealing with, diffusing, or eliminating male power generally results in a backlash/mess. The result: the boys still have their exclusive power clubs where they can be groomed for entry into the elite halls of governmental/corporate power. Whereas women can't even have a little A Capella singing group. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Church of the New Ideal

Image result for Liscard concert hall
Wallasey
Church of the New Ideal

Location: Wallasey, Cheshire, England


Opened: March 1914


Closed: Before end of World War I (1918)





I found this news item while reading a newspaper from April 1914: 






There's more at this blog: Making a Track

In early 1914, adverts began to appear in women’s suffrage and local papers for the start of a Women’s Church in Wallasey, Cheshire.  Entitled the Church of the New Ideal, it was formally launched at its first service on 29 March 1914.  Held at the Liscard Concert hall,  this offered both mixed-gender and women-only services, but was organised and officered by women alone.  A proto-ecumenical adventure, women from seven different Christian denominations (including Anglican and Quaker) were represented in its management and it sought to include those who felt no place in any church: those women who, finding the Church


like a cage… (had) come away in sheer disgust at the attitude of the clergy towards the things which to women are dearer than life.


(Miss M.Hoy, letter to the Wallasey & Wirral Chronicle, 14 March 1914).
The Church of the New Ideal flourished initially but did not survive through to the end of the first world war, for by this time ministry opportunities for women were slowly beginning to open up.  Yet the Wallasey Women’s Church thus not only created unprecedented space for women but also attempted to offer a more feminine aspect of God, adding to the impetus building up within mainstream religious circles.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Hershee Bar

Hershee Bar
Hershee Bar
The closing of Hershee Bar

Location: 1083 W 37th Street, Norfolk, Virginia, USA 

Opened: 1983

Closed: 2018

From the Virginian-Pilot:

"We're losing our home": The last lesbian bar in Hampton Roads closes its doors
By Saleen Martin and Amy Poulter
Staff writers
Nov 1, 2018 Updated 5 hrs ago

NORFOLK
Outside of the Hershee Bar's main entrance, two lit candles sat on a bench Wednesday night. Sandwiched between them was a sign.

"Thank you Hershee Bar for 'being there' for me when no one else was," it read.

Inside, flashing lights lit up the dance floor. A 1990s R&B mix blared through the speakers as people dressed as Run DMC, Minnie Mouse and pharaohs flashed their driver's licenses to get in.

It was their last night to grab drinks and feast on shrimp and french fries at the bar on Sewells Point Road before the building is torn down and the property is sold to the city. At 1:45 a.m., supporters said on social media, police arrived and watched the doors from the parking lot.

Bernie Gerlach was there with her two friends, Christi Hogge and Rene Hayes.

She met them at Hershee in 1998, she said.

For the past 20 years, the trio has gone there to remember lost loved ones, attend wedding receptions and unwind, they said. The bar was a safe haven for lesbians when it first opened, said Gerlach, who's from Newport News.

"We're losing our home," she said.

In February, the City Council voted unanimously to spend $1.5 million on the property in the Five Points neighborhood. Hershee was told to leave after Oct. 31.

Charles Cooper, who owns the property, asked the city to buy the lot in 2017 after his family removes the buildings, The Pilot reported. Cooper's son has said the bar was not targeted and other nearby businesses would also be affected by the sale.

Most recently, a spokesperson for Gov. Ralph Northam said they had received four calls by Wednesday afternoon about the bar, but an application to designate the location as historic had not been filed.

Bar owner Annette Stone hugged customers as she walked in Wednesday night. Over 200 people showed up, she said.

"It's overwhelming," she said. "But I expected that because that's how great these people are. That's how much this bar means to them."

Stone and a group of her supporters both posted on Facebook in the early hours Thursday that several Norfolk police officers showed up about 1:45 a.m., minutes before the bar shut down for good.

Michael Carney also came to celebrate one last time.

He has been visiting the bar since it opened in 1983, and he was one of the few men allowed into the bar back then, he said.

"There were maybe four or five of us who could get past the door person," Carney said. "Men would come in and harass the girls."

When his partner died, he went to Hershee to find solace. He went through a three-day depression when he found out the fate of the bar, he said.

"Today was also a very emotional day," said Carney. "The reality of it. I've dealt with it, but a lot of people haven't."

Lakela Fuller, who has been going to Hershee since she was 18, showed up, too. The bar's staff has seen her at her best and her worst, she said, grinning and pointing toward Burt McManus, a bartender at Hershee for 34 years.

McManus and other staff at Hershee have taken care of her and helped her accept who she is, she said.

If the bar ever opens in another location, she said, she'll be there.

"Whatever place they tell me they're going, I will go," she said. "It's like a family."

Pilot writer Amy Poulter contributed to this story.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Women's Beer Forum

A group of women in a brewery.
Women's Beer Forum
Women's Beer Forum

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Opened: 2011

Closed: 2018

It's true. The boys are even afraid of you sharing a brew with your gal pals. God only knows what you're talking about or you're planning. They need to be there to monitor!

By Beth Demmon

Oct 19 2018, 2:34pm

Women-Only Craft Beer Forum Shut Down By Men’s Rights Activist
Ting Su, co-founder of Eagle Rock Brewery and host of the event, now finds herself needing to raise money for a legal defense fund.

The Women’s Beer Forum, hosted by Los Angeles-based Eagle Rock Brewery, is the latest victim in a long line of so-called “gender-based discrimination” lawsuits initiated by various men’s rights activists (MRAs), who are lashing out events and promotions designed for women.

According to its GoFundMe page, the monthly meetup—started by Eagle Rock co-founder Ting Su—was created in March 2011 after Su witnessed women get “pigeonholed by their male counterparts into drinking only specific beer styles. And when women asked me (a fellow woman behind the bar) about beer-style recommendations," Su continues, "some men would interject by sharing what they thought women should drink. After seeing this so frequently I felt compelled to create an environment that was less male-dominated than anything else in the beer world.”

The group’s overall goal was “to serve as an educational platform for more women interested in learning about beer, tasting through different beer styles, and being with a community of other women who enjoy good beer.” In short, it was a group created to serve as a counterbalance to a culture in which roughly 70 percent of craft beer drinkers are men.

It's far from the only group with this goal; the national women’s organization Pink Boots Society, with over a thousand members across North America, was also designed to “assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.”

Aggressive exclusionary tactics to keep men out were never used, Su says. In fact, men often participated and even presented at the meetups in the past. But in November 2017, a self-described MRA contacted Eagle Rock Brewery regarding the upcoming forum and was told it was for women only. That’s when the threats began.

“He then proceeded to demand thousands of dollars from us, while also threatening a discrimination complaint through the government if we refused to pay. Since he had never purchased admission through our online sales portal, we were unaware about his request to attend the Women’s Beer Forum. We apologized about the miscommunication and offered him an opportunity to learn about the same flight of beers provided at the event for the same ticket price. He declined the educational opportunity and instead filed a claim through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH),” explains Su on the GoFundMe page.

At the advice of her attorney, Su declined to name the activist. However, public court records and other media reports identify the man as Steve Frye, who once sued Donald Trump for being sexist against men.

See the rest here

Monday, October 15, 2018

Stouffer's Ladies Restaurant

Stouffer's Ladies Restaurant

Location: 4 North Court Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Opened/Closed: c. 1916

Here's an ad for a ladies restaurant that appeared in the Harrisburg Daily Independent, June 16, 1916:


Stouffer's at least appeared to have a strict code about admitting men, even relative to other local restaurants: "It is the only one of its kind in the city where a Gentleman must be accompanied by a Lady to be admitted. It is, therefore, practically a private Ladies' Restaurant...." 

Wonder what was on the menu? 

And, most importantly, do you take reservations???


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Mr. M. M'Ginley's Ladies Restaurant

Mr. M. M'Ginley's Ladies' Restaurant

Location: Fifth Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Opened/Closed: c. 1858

I wasn't even trying to do research on ladies restaurants when I happened to stumble across this little item. It's from the Pittsburgh Daily Post, Oct. 29, 1858:

Ladies Restaurant.--Mr. M. M'Ginley's Ladies' Restaurant, on Fifth Street, opposite the Exchange Bank, is a great public convenience. He has fitted up his rooms in elegant style, and the ladies can enjoy a dish of "stewed, fried or roasted" in the most complete privacy. When at a distance from their residences at meal time, the ladies will find this establishment fully prepared to furnish them with good things.




Saturday, August 11, 2018

Page Three

Buddy Kent and friends at Page Three
(Lesbian Herstory Archives)
Page Three

Location: Greenwich Village, New York

Opened: 1940s?

Closed: 1965

Martin Duberman identifies Page Three as "one of the few lesbian bars in the village" back in the 1940s and 50s. The others he mentions are The Seven Steps, Bagatelle, Swing Rendezvous, Pony Stable, and Laurel's "(famous for its free Chinese food on Sunday afternoons)." This was also an era in which Greenwich Village lesbian bars were still considered "white women's bars" where Black women were "ignored or treated like an oddity."

Buddy Kent (aka Bubbles Kent), a lesbian club entertainer from that era, shared memories of Page Three (and other gay and lesbian bars of her youth) with Lisa Davis back in 2006:

She turned to another photo. “Here’s Kicky with me and Jacquie Howe and a couple of kids. Everybody in the Village back then knew Jacquie Howe.”

She paused. “We owned this place in the photo called the Page Three. You can see it had a nice little intimate room where we had some good acts. Tiny Tim got his start at the Page Three.”

“Jacquie looks like FDR with that cigarette-holder,” I said.

“Oh, she was a real character.” Buddy smiled a loving smile. “If somebody had told me that Jacquie went to bed with Queen Elizabeth, I wouldn’t have been surprised! She’d been to bed with everybody else!”

“So you always felt safe in the Village?” I asked.

“It was home,” Buddy replied, “and we had the best protection in the world from the Mafia. They ran everything.”

Buddy is also reported as saying the following about Page Three in this article:

Then Kicky and Jackie decided to get this little place that was doing nothing, The Page Three. We struck a deal with the owners and bought into the place. So finally we were working for ourselves and getting a little bit of the gravy. A lot of very big people used to come down there, like Jimmy Donahue. And the crowd followed us, the hookers and the madams and the kinky guys with money. Our show was a success from the first week.

Regarding Tiny Tim, we're told the following: 

In 1962, calling himself Larry Love, he [Tiny Tim] landed his first paying jobs, on the Greenwich Village lesbian bar circuit, and shortly the big vampire scarecrow - a singularly striking figure even amid the emerging period weirdness - began to develop a cult following. At this point, a manager took hold of Larry Love and sought to rename him Sir Timothy Thames. Herbie didn't like that much. Eventually, the two settled on Tiny Tim. IN 1965, following the shutdown of his chief Village venue, a bar called Page Three, Tiny Tim wandered up to midtown and got himself installed as a house regular at a happening disco called The Scene, which is where Mo Ostin of Reprise Records heard him in late 1967 and, there at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, signed him to a recording contract on the spot.

Stage Three is also mentioned in Ruby, a novel by Cynthia Bond.