May 272014
 

After four years of performing solo – well, there are about forty women in the show  whose stories I tell, talk about, show pictures of (and I portray about eight of ‘em), SHE’S HISTORY! is now A PLAY WITH A FULL CAST!! This has always been my plan and I have been newly inspired by The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (http://lafpi.com). I am SO excited about it for SO many reasons. I think having a full cast will make it easier to get these stories out there. And we DEFINITELY need more plays with great parts for women! I have cast a load of fabulous females to play the fabulous females. It WILL BE fabulous! The first reading is Saturday June 21st at The famed Samuel French Bookshop in Los Angeles.

stagedreadingeflier

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MAY 2014

elizabeth

YES – this is ELIZABETH WARREN and ME!!!!!! She was in Los Angeles on her “A Fighting Chance” book tour. I am madly, deeply, politically and philosophically in love with this fantastic Senator! Her book is a page-turning MUST READ! Really!!! Here is one of her inspiring stores that she shared with us. When Elizabeth Warren was on the campaign trail in Massachusetts, there were many little girls at her rallies. They had prepared questions and one little asked her, “What events in your life led you to run for the Senate?” So Elizabeth would get down on one knee, and look the little girl in the eye and say: “My name is Elizabeth Warren and I am running for the Senate because that is what little girls do.”

Can you stand it?!

And this is Marianne Williamson who is running for Congress. We DESPERATELY need more women in Congress. But I am not voting for Marianne just because she is a woman. I am voting for her because she’s a fighter, knows her stuff, and she wants to make our lives better. http://www.marianneforcongress.com/endorsements

marianne williamson (1)

Bye Bye Barbara…!
Barbara Walters “resigned” after a million years on broadcast television. Quite the fanfare. A true trail-blazer for women, she goes “out” on top but here’s how she started. As the first FEMALE co-anchor, of the evening news, she was NOT welcomed by Harry (NO)Reasoner. Here’s what it was like for the trail-blazer. “I’d walk into the studio and they’d all crack jokes and ignore me. It was so lonely… “

Another trail-blazing fabulous female bids farewell to the airwaves. Randi Rhodes, the bitchinist, most informed, fact checking, knows her stuff inside out and backwards, passionate, pissed off, kind and classy progressive talk show host, ended the Randi Rhodes radio show on Friday May 17th, leaving the gapingest hole on the air. I have had the honor of being on her show with her permanent guest host my pal Nicole
Sandler many times. A true inspiration and political powerhouse, who has interviewed Presidents and politicians her millions of fans and will miss her…..

randy and nicola

RANDI AND NICOLE

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A LITTLE RECAP….

It has been a very busy, exciting, enlightening and heartbreaking few months for your favorite Cultural Herstorian. I ran around in March – Women’s History Month – and performed for: SENIORS, who loved the show and LOVED the story of how Alice Paul stole President Wilson’s Parade, (many could relate to World War ONE) but did NOT know who Kim Kardashian was. (Lucky for them) However, the 8th Grade students at Horace Mann Middle School in Beverly Hills……

Horace Mann Middle School, Beverly Hills

horacemann2

knew ALL about Kim Kardashian and did know a little about Malala Yousafzai but learned more and were blown away by her story. Read all about her in my BLOG – WOMEN OF 2013 here: http://sheshistory.com/site/year-end-wrap-up-women-of-2013/ 

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Malala is all over this horrific heartbreaking mind blowing story of Boko Haram, the Islamic barbaric men who kidnapped 270 (or more) Nigerian Schoolgirls on April 14th.

malala

Hear my segment on radioornot.com about this and the Feminist Majority Protest of the Beverly Hills Hotel whose owner – the Sultan of Brunei just enacted some new laws -including amputations, and stoning of gays and lesbians and women who have abortions or commit adultery.

Listen to the segment here:

Read about the protest and boycott here:
http://variety.com/2014/?lm/news/beverly-hills-hotel-sultan-brunei-gays-women-1201171923/

beverly hills hotel

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On the flip side, I had the joy of performing two shows for The Women’s Museum of California in San Diego.

Here is a little movie of the Museum – and please keep in mind I am much better in FRONT of the camera…but you can see a little of the inside of the Museum.

women’s museum3-23-14

sheshistory

I performed the shows and got my typical response: “Why isn’t this show in the schools?”

The answer is: other than budgets, time constraints, teaching to tests, curriculum pressures, and Women’s History being low on the priority list – I really don’t know. The SHE’S HISTORY EDUCATION PROJECT (a tax deductible 501C) is a collaboration with the Women’s Museum of California to bring performances, to low income schools at no cost. This is a donation based project. Problem is, there is no money on the fund. YOU CAN SPONSOR A SCHOOL. Stay tuned for my fundraising effort.

I was on-stage performing on March 25th – the 80th birthday of Gloria Steinem.

gloria

How fabulous that she was born in Women’s History Month! Check it out

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/opinion/sunday/collins-this-is-what-80-looks-like.html?_r=1

and here…

http://www.makers.com/blog/what-80-looks-gloria-steinem-through-years

Also in March… I have spoken and written so often about the crisis of sexual assault in the Military which I learned about from the Oscar nominated documentary “The Invisible War” produced by Amy Ziering. Well, she won a PEABODY Award for her work. How wonderful is that?! Congratulations and WELL DESERVED AMY ZIERING! Read about it and her here:

http://www.peabodyawards.com/award-profile/independent-lens-the-invisible-war-pbs

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Amy Simon
Cultural Herstorian
Playwright/Performer
AmySimon@ShesHistory.com
(310) 308-0947
SHE’S HISTORY!
The Most Dangerous Women In America…
Then And Now
is a play and school program about women
who
MAKE and MADE history

 

 

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Mar 102014
 

What is the woman’s movement?

A BOY asked this of his high school teacher in Los Angeles in 1972.  He was taking a U.S. History class and had seen the brand new Ms. Magazine.

ms magazine

THIS question led to what we now know, celebrate and honor as Women’s History Month!

Molly MacGregor, twenty-six year old history lover was this boy’s social studies teacher. Molly gave me, Cultural Herstorian Amy Simon, a good hour of her valuable time for an interview and I got the story.  And it is a GREAT story of passion, politics, persistence and triumph, proving once again what Cultural Anthropologist Margaret Mead said that was oh so right:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead

Molly said it was on a Friday when the boy asked the question, “what is the Women’s Movement,”  and she was glad, because, she said, “I needed the weekend to come up with the answer.”  So she says to the boy, “that’s a good question.”  She goes home and searches in her own personal extensive library of history books – looking for information and finds ONE BOOK called Freedom Ferment with ONE chapter on Seneca Falls (home of the first Women’s Convention) and that was it!

So a seed was planted.

freedom ferment

HERMONIOUS CONVERGENCE

In 1972, Congress FINALLY said yes to the Equal Rights Amendment (first brought to the House and the Senate by its author – the great Alice Paul –  way back in 1923).  It was on its way to ratification (thirty-five out of the necessary thirty-eight states passed) when Republican, lawyer, and anti-feminist mother Phyllis Schlafly, used her impressive organizational skills, personal passion, and powers of persuasion and got it stopped.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly

ERAalice paulera its about time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was smack in the middle of the birth of the whole women’s studies program (in Molly MacGregor’s home state of California), “which started as an informal program in 1970 at San Diego State University,” said Molly. It was made an official department in 1975 – the first of its kind – only after a a small group of thoughtful committed citizens – students, faculty and community women – got together and LOBBIED for it.

By this time, Molly MacGregor had created a weekend summer school course at Sonoma State College called SEXISM IN EDUCATION, inspired by a project she had assigned to her high school students.  “Go into the library and do an analysis on resources for women’s history.”  Molly says, “they found between three and seven books that had NOT BEEN checked out for five to fifteen years!  Why hadn’t they been checked out?  Because they had not been assigned.”  Molly’s SEXISM IN EDUCATION class, had thirty-six students.  “Eighteen girls and eighteen boys”, she said. The boys did a slideshow on Freedom Ferment’s one chapter on Women’s History – Seneca Falls – and the Declaration of Sentiments, an amazing, herstorical document which was drafted there.  A bunch of fabulous FIRST WAVE feminists – men and women – led by Elizabeth Cady Stanton – did the drafting of The Declaration of Sentiments WAY BACK in 1848 at The First Women’s Convention which was held in Seneca Falls, New York. It is based on the Declaration of Independence – our founding fathers list of eighteen grievances against King George.  They just substituted MEN for KING GEORGE.

womens rights conventiondeclaration of sentimentswe hold these truths quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Seneca Falls?  It was where Elizabeth Cady Stanton lived. She had three little boys and did not want to schlep them, so she made everyone come to her!

So back to Molly MacGregor.  “Now it’s 1976 – 1977, and I’m in graduate school in Sonoma, California. I approach the all female committee of the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women and tell them they need to institute a Woman’s History Week – for obvious reasons – but I lay it all out and with me spearheading – we go to the Administrative Council for the whole COUNTY.  All the school districts – thirty-eight people.  ALL MEN with ONE WOMAN, who happened to be a Dean.  I present my proposal explaining why there should be a Woman’s History Week.”

Molly chooses March 8th to coincide with International Woman’s Day (an early 1900s movement inspired by ‘women’s oppression and inequality’).  She puts all of this into her proposal.  “I made it a multi-cultural perspective aimed at girls, emphasizing the need for math and science to improve their income,” says Molly.  A statistical report had been released in California that nine out of ten girls would be working outside of the home.  “It was an easy, easy sell,” Molly tells me and she joins the commission.  They invite community women to come in to the schools and present themselves as role models for a week and it really takes off big.  The next year (1979) it’s an even bigger event and they have this big parade.

sonoma county celebrates

And they take photos and get publicity and Molly MacGregor gets invited to this nineteen day big Summer Institute – at Sarah Lawrence College in New York organized by Gerda Lerner and the Women’s Action Alliance.  Gerda Lerner (who died January 2013) was a women’s studies pioneer.  She taught the very first women’s studies courses – a major major force behind Women’s Studies and Women’s History becoming a respected discipline.  “She cannot be given enough credit,” says Molly.

Gerda Lerner

Gerda Lerner

So Molly MacGregor shows Gerda Lerner this curriculum she developed – her Women’s History Week – and Gerda Lerner gets behind it.  “There were other major scholars there – Amy Swerdlow, Alice Kessler Harri,” (both historians and scholars), “and other very prominent scholars,” says Molly – all who were totally impressed with Molly’s efforts and success in Sonoma.  Some of these very prominent scholars were friends with – guess who?  President Carter!   They organize and start promoting Molly’s idea for Women’s History Week. Molly goes back home to Sonoma, drops out of Grad School and creates the National Women’s History Project in 1980.

national womens history proj

“I’ll never forget this,” Molly tells me, “it’s February, 1980 and I’m sitting at my desk and I get a call – FROM THE WHITE HOUSE!  It was the Special Assistant To President Carter – Sarah Weddington.”

Yes, THAT Sarah Weddington, of Roe v Wade fame. (Weddington was the twenty-six year old Texas lawyer who successfully represented Jane Roe).

PHOTO BY THE WEDDINGTON CENTER, COPYRIGHT 2008 SARAH WEDDINGTON A White House meeting on women's issues attended by Weddington (right) and President Jimmy Carter.

PHOTO BY THE WEDDINGTON CENTER, COPYRIGHT 2008 SARAH WEDDINGTON

A White House meeting on women’s issues attended by Weddington (right) and President Jimmy Carter.

 

“She told me President Carter is declaring the week of March 8th, 1980 as National Women’s History Week!”

“It took six years after that,” said Molly, “to make it Women’s History Month.”

Read about the rest of the Congressional journey here http://www.nwhp.org/whm/history.php  that ended in 1987 when Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women.

A student asks a question.  A teacher searches for an answer.  A Government steps up, women are celebrated and honored and there is actual Women’s Movement!

Putting life in perspective: National Women's History Project cofounders Molly Murphy MacGregor, left, Paula Hammet, Mary Ruthsdotter, and Maria Cuevas

Putting life in perspective: National Women’s History Project cofounders Molly Murphy MacGregor, left, Paula Hammet, Mary Ruthsdotter, and Maria Cuevas

Visit Molly’s website at The National Women’s History Project.  http://www.nwhp.org

molly murphy mcgregor

Today, the NWHP is known nationally as the only clearinghouse providing information and training in multicultural women’s history for educators, community organizations, and parents-for anyone wanting to expand their understanding of women contributions to U. S. history.

The enduring goal of the NWHP is to “make history” accurate by continuing to recognize and celebrate women’s authentic contributions through its current and future projects.

jimmy carter's letter

Amy Simon

SHE’S HISTORY!

amysimon@sheshistory.com

sheshistory.com

March 2014

 

 

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Jan 042014
 

 

BLOG – Women of 2013

“The main problem, is me being a female.”

“Women who drive cars could cause damage to their ovaries and pelvises and they are at risk of having children born with ‘clinical problems.'”

 

Looking back on 2013, here are just a FEW Fabulous Females who inspired, empowered and made a difference by standing up, speaking out, and ultimately making our lives better.

MALALA YOUSAFZAI

This Pakastani sixteen year old, addressed the United Nations in July, is the youngest person to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, has a book and campaign “I Am Malala”, and might end up running her country.  Her journey began at eleven years old when she began blogging for the BBC about life under the Taliban (the religious militant group of men from Afghanistan and Pakistan who do not believe girls or women should be educated or have rights).  When she was fourteen years old, the Taliban shot her in the head while on her school van.  She was taken to England where she MIRACULOUSLY recovered.  Her whole family moved there as well (her father is an educator and great inspiration and supporter) and Malala returned to school, continuing her education.  This year she went on a tour of sorts, which included charming John Stewart on The Daily Show so much he wanted to adopt her.  On a visit to The Oval Office, she also told President Obama to STOP using drones (one of her causes), and was up for Time Magazine Person Of The Year but lost to the Pope.  “Let us pick up our books and our pens.  They are our most powerful weapons.”  http://www.malala-yousafzai.com

ELIZABETH WARREN

The Senior Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, former Harvard Law Professor, mom and author is a true representative of the people.  She called out and told off corporate America, the banks, (including introducing legislation to make student loan rates the same as the banks; “Let’s give students the same great deal the banks get”) fights for income equality, minimum wage, expanding social security, cutting the military budget (using that money for education) increase taxing the rich, and a ton of other causes that will improve the lives of everyday Americans. “I’m really concerned that too big to fail has become too big to jail. That just seems wrong to me.”  http://elizabethwarren.com

WENDY DAVIS

The Texas Trail-Blazing Fifty Year Old Senator (who was a nineteen year old Single Mom) stood on her feet for almost almost eleven hours, filibustering to defeat a bill that would close a load of abortion clinics (leaving only FIVE OPEN!) in that giant state.  She couldn’t and didn’t use a bathroom, eat, drink, talk off-topic or lean against furniture.  This Harvard Law School graduate is now running for Governor.  “People are hungry for leadership that’s not afraid of political consequence.”  Watch it and her here…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kcjfv2BF9f0

http://www.wendydavistexas.com

KIRSTIN GILLIBRAND AND JACKIE SPEIER

New York Senator and Democrat Gillibrand and California Congresswoman and Democrat Speier went to bat for the twenty-five year long despicable untenable and UNBELIEVABLE crisis of sexual assault in the military.  Said Gillibrand  “…sexual violence is reported to be the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder among women veterans”.  Once you watch this and learn what’s been going you will become incredulous and outraged. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqM6-Upn2V4

AMY ZIERING

And speaking of Sexual Assault In The Military – it was this Fabulous Female who brought so much attention to the crisis by producing the Oscar nominated documentary “The Invisible War”. http://invisiblewarmovie.com

SHERYL SANDBERG

Women in Corporate America….disgraceful with only 4.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEO jobs going to the gals!!!  Absolutely unacceptable. Ms. Sandberg is trying to change it.  This Mom and Harvard Graduate with many male mentors is the COO of Facebook.  She published her book Lean In and created her campaign Leanin.org which inspires and empowers girls and women to be more assertive and LEAN IN to their ambitions and goals and not let anyone or anything hold them back. She is controversial for saying things such as: “Until women are as ambitious as men, they’re not gong to achieve as much as men.”  But I am a big fan of her message: “Believe in yourself and negotiate for yourself. Own your own success.  I’d like to see where boys and girls end up if they get equal encouragement – I think we might have some differences in how leadership is done.”   http://leanin.org

MARISSA MAYER

Another Female Corporate (and controversial) Trailblazer, she is President and CEO of Yahoo.  Our young girls NEED to see women in these roles.

MARY BARA

DROVE right through the automotive industry’s glass ceiling as the first female CEO of General Motors.  Major Trail-Blazing! 

JANET YELLEN

ChairPERSON of the United States Federal Reserve – First Female for the big job.

MAKERS.COM

Super cool on line digital platform filled with inspiring, empowering and IMPORTANT true stories of Fabulous Females who make America, developed by PBS and AOL.

http://www.makers.com

KRISTI JACOBSON and LORI SILVERBUSH

Two Fabulous Females who produced and directed this heartbreaking documentary about hunger in America…. http://www.catalyst-films.com/film-tv/place-table/

JENNIFER LEE

Is a Fabulous Female Filmmaker, mom and feminist who wrote and produced Feminist Stories From Women’s Liberation,  a documentary covering the women’s movement from 1963-1970.  Why?  “One day in 2004 I watched a segment of “Meet the Press” where five men were discussing how to overturn Roe v. Wade. I thought, ‘Where are the women?’  The next day I talked about it with a co-worker and she leaned over and whispered, “Are you a feminist?”  http://www.feministstories.com

MELANIE KLEIN and WAM

WOMEN, ACTION MEDIA is an organization that fights for gender justice in America.  They led the fight to successfully campaign to remove all misogyny, hate speak and violence against women from Facebook.  Just one of their campaigns.  Melanie Klein is a writer, speaker and Associate Faculty member at Santa Monica College, teaching Sociology and Women’s Studies.  And she is my SHESOURCE sister!

http://www.womenactionmedia.org  (http://www.shesource.org)

ARAYANA SAYEED

A singer/songwriter who made headlines by refusing to wear a veil.  In Afghanistan.  On National Television – as a judge on their version of The Voice.  Receiving death threats did not stop this Fabulous Female from making a statement and risking her life. “The main problem, is me being a female.  For a woman, anything she does in Afghanistan is a problem.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC-hjI0xRQY

SAUDI ARABIAN WOMEN

“Women who drive cars could cause damage to their ovaries and pelvises and they are at risk of having children born with ‘clinical problems,'”  said a leading Saudi cleric.  Of course!  THAT explains MY two teenage daughters’ behavior!  Oy!!!!  But a bunch of incredibly courageous Fabulous Saudi Females drove anyway on October 26th. Five were arrested and “dealt with accordingly”  (what does THAT mean???). Saudi Arabia is the only country in the whole wide world that does not allow women to drive.

Like I said, just a few fab females doing what they can for equality and social justice.

Happy 2014 Everyone.  Get out and vote!  The Midterm Elections are really important this year.

UPCOMING SHOWS:  March is Women’s History Month!

MALIBU

Sunday March 16th at 7:00PM

Presented by Carla and Leigh McCloskey, whose beautiful private home called OLANDAR is an event venue, filled with amazing art. Come a little early and enjoy the exhibit before the show.
Donation: $20.00
Location: Olandar, home of Carla and Leigh McCloskey in Malibu, CA
RSVP as space is limited.
For address, more information and RSVP: Please email carlamccloskey@aol.com or call, 310-457-5398

SAN DIEGO

THE WOMEN’S MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA

http://womensmuseumca.org

2730 Historic Decatur Rd. Barracks 16

San Diego, CA 92106

(619) 233-7963

Saturday March 15th at 7:00PM
BUY TICKETS

 Sunday March 16th at 3:00PM
BUY TICKETS

Don’t forget to listen to my Fabulous Female Facts every Thursday on Nicole Sandler’s http://radioornot.com/.  I am on at 8:20AM Thursday mornings.  (You can listen to the podcasts which are archived) and  – as always – get your Women’s History on with http://sheshistory.com/.  Here are a few photos of my year highlights.  (I’m better in front of the camera than behind it….)

sonia

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in Los Angeles at a
Writer’s Bloc event for her book “My Beloved World”

A SHE’S HISTORY! performance for El Rodeo Middle School, Beverly Hills

A SHE’S HISTORY! performance for El Rodeo Middle School, Beverly Hills

 

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CATW Read-thru

New York City read through for the Coalition Against Trafficking In Women
with Alberto Bonillo (Frederick Douglass) and Stacey Robertson, Author
“Hearts Beating For Liberty”

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nicole & amy

florida

Working AND playing in Florida with Nicole Sandler

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sandra

West Hollywood Women’s Leadership Conference with Attorney/Activist Sandra Fluke

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Mother's Day

Venice, California – Mother’s Day at the theater.
Left to right: My twenty year old daughter Rose (Journalism Major), my long time friend Donna Walker of KPFK Pacifica Radio and my Uber Fab Playwright/Author/Columnist/Actor/Self Defense Advocate friend Ellen Snortland.

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girl scouts

GIRL SCOUTS Teen Summit performance, Los Angeles

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I Love A Good Story

Performing in Fab Female Lauri Frazer’s show at The Los Angeles Story Telling Festival

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hollywood stag

The Lounge Theater, Los Angeles Solo Show Festival
Fabulous Solo Show Sisters left to right:
Wendy Hammers of RIPE andTASTY WORDS, Jonna Tamases of THE GISELE SHOW and JONNA’S BODY, PLEASE HOLD and Rozie Bacchi of CAREER DAY

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