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And then man are the John Wayne sensitive to this. Worried about your Chick Channing but there they should be because that's a very feminine thing to do. It is indeed it really is that is to for a woman to inform her husband of what goes on is done in America. You're saying As a matter of fact it seems to me that there's power behind the throne image is very very again very calm in the picture and it's one of the things a wife can do for my husband while he is busy earning a living with the drudgery of business or being a big American businessman and whatever. One of the things he can do is go and pay attention. And I may say I was very much on to tame that by my African neighbors. Their definition of infidelity has nothing to do with with adultery. I mean adultery is just one of the things people do when you don't put up with it. But as she is considered unfaithful if she fails to report the local gossip that goes around at the Chiefs court if when there are visitors and someone suggests that her husband's interests are not safe if she fails to tell him then he just sends her back home and takes his call back.
Yes but why do this only to go to meetings to the city and are interested and bored and so on I I didn't think about it but it just occurs to me now because it is connected to is woman and instinctual impulses of the woman. She is taking care of her family and it is interesting that we are discussing women for 45 minutes now. The word Biological was mentioned only by you and we did not mention their role of the mother. Which means I made it. What to me seems to be the most important thing in the role of the woman. And I regret that she has given our all so much priority in shaping the character of her children. I mean it was this but the holistic society and they're out and there is a God but that is a
different question. I think that for women the creativeness is most where it centers around children giving best which child is the woman's creation. So it's no use which I am announcing. Q Jeffrey was Dr. McGinn Lattimer's book Great so much that the American culture even have a quote here that the main drives in American culture creatively less assessable and congenial to women than to men one could conceive of an American woman who might be another and James but not a one who would be another or Hemingway or Faulkner. We're going to like to say there's only been a hundred years or so that women can do anything. Yeah. Get an education All right. When Jane Austen wrote she just hit her writing on her knitting and people came in because that was not considered a feminine occupation but knitting was
and naturally women would have had 20 wonderful composers be to one one can compose a symphony while cooking a dinner and still we don't have a well I don't know because I don't think Dr. Minkin statement opened up the question of women and creativity and there was considerable discussion centering around this problem. Dr Oda gard for example reminded the panel that women for the most part have only recently been accorded educational opportunities. Roughly comparable with that of men. Now this may be because the problem of equality for women in education in the professions is still a problem that is a long way for internal that's what I mean we're in a transitional stage we can't really say what women can do creatively until we still choose freed from some of the other things that I agree that what she has to do with the manpower. On education just recently published a book in which they said that. I
think it is one quarter of the women who are capable of taking degrees in college take them and one 300 apart who are capable of taking a Ph.D. take them. Certainly even worse if you go into the professional schools which is yes I'm doing this. Yes there's prejudice right there all along the line in education. Girls are discouraged from taking heavy mathematics we've learned that in our recent surveys on education they're discouraged and they they what do they take when they go to the university they take up English or teaching or something that is considered traditional where you know they are pretty I mean in large numbers and they take it because they don't know them beyond that. But the discussion of creativity continued. Virginia Maynard offered the following observation. Statistically certainly the number of women as of that didn't have an education is so small in comparison with that of men that is really remarkable.
You had great scientists or great writers among women although I think I think there is this tendency to say that women could not do anything creative as man but I don't think they've ever had a chance to prove whether they can or not I don't think they will for a long time until until the traditional education changes in childhood so that they are not already ended. So many of them are oriented completely to doing well. Its great function to become a mother but after all is something a man doesn't have to contend with if you can have a woman to take care of the children in the family and look at the women that make their career. It was an area before I was married. It isn't just a question of education as you say. It isn't part of the waste that you mention the woman who could be doing some of the Who could be getting these degrees could be doing this kind of work is because of our social mores which stilt to too
great an extent say when a girl marries she gives up her life and becomes an adjunct. She is not she is now someplace something that creates babies and attends to a man. While I well we will never know what women are capable of we will never know whether our not everything in them goes back to a maternal impulse until it is customary Orthodox and conventional for every adult healthy human being to have two kinds of life to have a personal and personal life to have a work life and a personal relationship wife. In other words there's no more reason why a girl should give up her work when she gets married than a man should give up his when he gets marry what a man does that we call him a gigolo. And I'm. They want Sure housing has to have her and if she walks up and does her job in the last few hours she's doing in the law as a matter of fact you know that there are already a great many places and a great many industries where you get maternity leave.
You'll come back and you go on with your work and you don't know as another point it seems to me that my friend would be a lot healthier for most of the American men if they had had mothers who had some other interests on them when they were babies. I'm healthier for having a great time with my straight I'm a nurse and I want to have a father and saying that it probably won't be better for many of the children much better do you see me a striking thing for example that we expect in our image of the woman I'm not talking about what women are or what the leisure class women are. But the image of the American woman has her tending the children loving them tending her husband cooking meals cleaning the house making beds and doing this sort of thing on the theory that this is the kind of house woman irritating instinct this is the women's work sort of business no. How much more efficient it might be if we apply the principle of division of labor.
For example we had people to take care of children who knew how to take care of herion this terrible thing to say over the air. Have you ever met may bring or rather the studies of children who are left you know with some truth instead of with a personal affection and devoted affection. All assuming the right my God through your daughter not from me and we have a concept of have an American mother as being the devoted creature that looks after her children and her family and we know a great many of them that do. We also know a great many women who have had no feeling for motherhood who have children just like animals when I have them and who leave them to their own devices some of them for trauma some years ago a good many years ago I have or I have an article in a magazine which circulates mostly to Middle Western farm and small town women and the subject of the article the title was do women want children. And my thesis was that there are a great many normal women and women who certainly are not solid or wish to be celibate who nevertheless have no none of the so-called.
Factitious maternal instinct who do not want children who have never wanted them and who if they have them subconsciously or consciously resent them. The article was as you may imagine very badly pruned and softened down the way always taper is going to be cut. Overall but it was published and they did put that point where with illustrations and I got a very large mail I wouldn't say if I am mailing it was divided into two part. It contained anonymous letters most of which began with things like you creature in the form of Warman. It contained a great many letters which were signed with the names and addresses of women and you would probably be shocked horrified know credulous if I told you how many of these agricultural and small town women of the Middle West wrote. Almost hysteric like liking me for saying much they had never dared to say. And I remember one woman who said I had eight children I never want any of them I never liked any of them.
I feel that my life has made a complete tragedy. There is a romantic American myth about motherhood and somehow it's holy and it's something that that you're naturally fitted for and it is a myth. I rather approve the nice present attitude of the children or what you have when you get married that they take a lot of care and hard work and heartbreak and that there's nothing nothing is guaranteed in this vast I'm going to be easy to have to bring them up. And I would disagree with the notion that it doesn't make any difference whether a woman has a family or a career I think that it's a terrible problem and one that has to be faced and the choice that has to be made and I think that that's part of what the may have been meant by Mr. Warner when he said that the second quarter after the passage of the law enabling women to vote for the second quarter of this century is devoted to wondering about it. And there's a good deal of talk among those of us who are professional women as to whether you can indeed be a professional or a person or a mother.
And I like what the wife of a Harvard professor has said about it she's not a married woman can have a job. She can't have a career. And I want to dollars you mark whether in your opinion creativity among your own sex is something that happens so frequently that just anybody at all can become creative. And I ask because I wonder whether just anybody at all and among the females can become creative. There is a need for devotion and time and psychological energy not just hours a day to do something creative and this is what is not allowed just right. Well like I said I certainly don't have the babies and I necessarily have used them. I suppose a long time since developing any attention to will I find a mate which I think women have to do if they want to get married at all. They put an awful lot of energy that I'm trying to I think just what a woman has to do that a man doesn't have to do that takes up her time a few years ago I interviewed for
a magazine article a woman whose name I've forgotten I write here and I was just going to charming it not a brilliant young woman who. Was. An engineer I know very little about engineering as she was a civil engineer I think she was at the time working on a water system for summer in county town and while I interviewed her in her apartment here she was an officer of the Society of America side of women engineers. Her 6 month old baby was sitting on a swing perfectly happy and comfortable with him and I said What do you do with him when you do go on a job should I take them along. Indian culture. Well I mean I think I GET IT solution. I think it's a I think it's one solution yes. And I don't see why it shouldn't be a much more you widely used solution I think it was you know a lot of the court has ordered you to do what I think would be a wonderful thing that people stop having so many babies.
Overpopulation has probably the greatest problem facing the world today. Other Jenny you had something. While Dr Albert said that she did not think that woman could have both a career and be a mother. I just like to mention here that if women married at say 20 had their children in the next 10 years or so over two or three with normal family they would lose say 10 years from their life it seems to me a little ridiculous a woman to be specialized completely for motherhood when the actual use of it when the actual necessity is mother my dear I don't so you know I have a job I'm making the distinction that I think is so wise between a creative career for which you have to have certain natural talents as well as a great deal of time and devotion and a job I don't see any reason in the world why a woman shouldn't go back to teaching or nursing or engineering or anything she pleases when she is having a family well my point is what you say just the opposite.
I'm wondering. It's an interesting idea. Like to play with the opposite. Namely that a woman can have a career but not a job because creative activity is what you refer to your career. This can go on like shoes changing diapers why she's doing anything OK. Oh yeah I think it's ridiculous I don't dance. Regards do you think you'll be a writer painter or compose music just out of the corner of your mind. Or designing words or anything any creative. It's very distressing for a woman who's in the middle of writing a script or a story or something to have to stop suddenly and attend all these household duties it's quite an upset in your mind if you're if you're just getting to a place where you can work and go and would like to continue for hours and hours and you have to stop every few hours for formula. I know a great many writers naturally a great many of them are women a great many of those women are mothers and some of them who have more energy than some
others have managed. Yes sorry. I don't know wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin last year with with one eye while she was stirring the pudding with the other. Well here's a few of us have that much energy and it's a rare thing and this is probably one of the very important things about why women are I mean in the history of creative activity I don't. But equal and then they have to take out that 10 years that you mention village and have a very crude hand out those are the 10 years in which I think it is all very much not to talk about yours as I know it is when you know I truly can't think of a mechanical way to look at it we don't think our sport of minutes or years spend if you sing off creativeness and just this aspect that a woman Suckley far as this 10 years of her precious life for her children is to me a very strange idea. Which means again he does all the chores where gadgets should be found to relieve the woman of this chore and not the life experience.
Don't you know them with your mates not being charged. Gadget I'm not really but then you got your chores you didn't write I didn't I don't know. But certainly this group would have been a what about the great creative women have they been childless have they been people who who were Dr. Albert were freed from this boat I think that the bulk of them but they're the ones of them for a time about the great exception with them and sort of suss out what got Mark haven't they been exceptions not because of this sexual problem of motherhood. Haven't there been exceptions because women historically have not been given educational opportunities opportunity to participate in this kind of now and I think they've been exceptions and I don't think you know that I want I would have been dismissed that it had. Terrible handicap his foot and take 10 years out of your life to have your children but you will admit that if you've been if you've
been a scientist or some sort of an artist or a mathematician that ten years off for either a man or woman in which they did work at home and paid no attention to the profession would be a handicap in terms that are going to go without it's no use yes and that the notice is 10 years below last years of her life. Oh absolutely not sure if she could write during that period uninterrupted leave she leaves during this period and not just does an expert job which you can write you I was thinking before it came about. American women in fiction I'm trying to remember in minor and 20th century fiction in them and there are ones. And I thought I couldn't at first. I mean 50 heroes of 19th century fiction leave in the mind all of Jane Austen's hero George Eliot's The Brontes you know on Zachary's anyone away on them you remember their names and then I began and then when I overlooked
in Robert March 20th century now was the 19th century that was the trying to remember a single woman's name from fiction. I remember Marjorie Morningstar a book I can read you would say that it was only because of how other reasons thoughtfully I didn't listen to you. And Amber of never ever looked and there was rather and Scout her underwear a bit. Those are that's all because of the felicity not because a character a really memorable woman's character was created as funny dogs were you know the first one that I finally heard my own name was no it was actually Carol Kennicott like oh yeah you know it's 10 man Street and them friend. It's worth bad they're not very good novels but you know all those women are memorable. Well if I was my actual name that's right and then I remembered Ladybird Ashley but then she was British so that doesn't count. And then I try to remember the name of the girl that Gatsby dies for in The Great Gatsby and I couldn't I could remember the name of the narrator a very unimportant
character. What is the point the point is on site service I have a point is that I was thinking really him about this man it's a series of women in fact and fiction is that they seem to me to be fading out of fiction but that's significant I mean Hester Prynne him. I mean one archetype really that was her name doing with me and we have no longer got 90 minutes and you have all kinds of material that not only made great women characters but discuss them as women you know that and their and their problems. When I came to the 20th century there was nothing Is there anything else since you really want to like Yeah there always. Well there's there's one more point I'd like to quote here from Lerner again he says there are as you have no signs of a clear direction in which the American woman is moving. But as she used to discover her identity she might start by basing her belief in herself on her womanliness rather than on the movement from feminism.
Well this implies that there's some clear direction in which American males and madness must go. There may be some even Richard may sound ridiculous but he said a man who is discovering his identity must base his belief and himself on his manliness. Well that's sensible. Or should that be ridiculous and go flying ridiculous move your things to me to be the other song as it is right now when a lot of emotional rich men wanting to discover their manliness I'm not succeeding. Well it seems to me that anybody should know if they base their belief in their humanity and their relations with a human being rather than on their sexual function over the things you know are worthwhile to go that way. Agree with you. What does a man don't think is men serve me by buying him a daisy in her identity on her womanliness. You can see this as a solution. How or how would the American woman move to base her identity on her brains and how do you get Rochelle the other woman when this law was recently
banned she was but she must not try to be a man joining She is trying to be a man. Don't you think it's like oh are you married seemed excited you dated this competitiveness of American woman. Unfortunately a lot of who they are I think part of the general aggressive. Might be connected. Why is there still was a big great expanding country of the 19th century that I remember lands of the pioneer times and their ideals to better oneself and do better when it's children you know there is a live element in it. But I would agree with his last point and obviously were used as an example that unfortunately the woman has to do something else and are more and more and more and be an expert in doing job and my point was that in doing so many x better jobs she lives less experiences less is less of a woman and therefore I would agree with
this last point that if she from this diffuse idea indeed she finds her identity is obviously will be based on the identity of a woman who is a creator of life in the family are in her community and it is more than the household chores. Oh I see you've been listening to sections from an informal panel discussion held in connection with the series the American woman in fact and fiction presented recently by the station. The quotation right at the outset of the discussion was from the chapter entitled The ordeal of the American woman which may be found in the book America as a civilization by Max Lerner. Simon and Schuster publication. Participating in the program were Mark Schorer writer and professor of English literature at the University of California Ethel Elbert professor of anthropology and recent fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the behavioral sciences
Stanford University doctor and a monk and Berkeley psychiatrist Peter O'Dowd guarde professor of political science University of California and former president of Reed College Miriam Allen the Ford writer of San Francisco and Virginia Maynard writer and director of the series the American woman in fact in fiction. The program was produced and recorded in the studios of KPFA Berkley California under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and is being distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the ne e Radio Network.
American woman in fact and fiction
Roundtable, part two
Producing Organization
pacifica radio
KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Conclusion to one-hour panel discussion. See previous entry for list of participants. Also participating in this portion of the discussion are psychiatrist Anna Maenchen and series writer Virginia Maynard.
Series Description
Thirteen half-hour programs illustrating with dramatization the changing status of women in America from colonial times to the present day, plus a one-hour panel discussion on modern-day problems.
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Director: Maynard, Virginia
Panelist: Levy, Charles
Panelist: Schorer, Mark, 1908-1977
Panelist: Maenchen, Anna
Panelist: Odegard, Peter H., 1901-1966
Panelist: Albert, Ethel Evans, 1915-
Panelist: De Ford, Miriam Allen, 1888-1975
Producing Organization: pacifica radio
Producing Organization: KPFA (Radio station : Berkeley, Calif.)
Writer: Maynard, Virginia
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-19-14 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:24:42
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Chicago: “American woman in fact and fiction; Roundtable, part two,” 1959-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 12, 2024,
MLA: “American woman in fact and fiction; Roundtable, part two.” 1959-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 12, 2024. <>.
APA: American woman in fact and fiction; Roundtable, part two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from