Here at the Lit Ladies blog, we range in age from a senior in high school to a baby boomer. We love the idea of the anthology Times They Were A-Changing, and we are honored to have a guest post from editor Kate Farrell about using this book with a younger generation, like our own Little Lady! Thank you to WOW! Women On Writing for sponsoring the blog tour! We are also excited to offer a giveaway! We have either a print copy or e-book for US/Canada mailing addresses or an e-book for international mailing addresses. Enter to win on the Rafflecopter form below!
How Times They Were A-Changing Can Engage Discussions with Younger Generations
by Kate Farrell
Times They Were A-Changing is a dynamic collection of diverse personal stories and poems of the ‘60s & ‘70s. Stories beget more stories while poems evoke imagery and emotion, all stimulating discussion. For women who experienced those times, this book brings back memories they want to share. For younger women who came of age in other decades, the anthology becomes a point of comparison.
Born and reared in decades following the ‘60s & ‘70s, young women today confront the same questions we began to ask about ourselves then. We were the generation that dared to ask and demand answers about feminine identity, self-image, opportunity, and our place in society.
Because of the choices we insisted on making, women today can, if they choose, pursue personal and unique identities based on their innate skills and achievements. They can explore an ever-increasing array of opportunities, and become socially active in their communities, local and global. However, the manner of their exploration and self-discovery appear to be different.
Points for discussion:
Identity: Self Definition
In the book, there are personal stories that seek to redefine who a woman is and to break away from the traditional social expectations of housewife and mother. In reading these stories and appreciating their individual circumstances, consider these questions about how women today create their own identities beyond conventional expectations.
• Do today’s young women have to leave their hometowns, separate completely from family, and establish roots on their own to dare claim the status of an unmarried woman? “Proud Spinster” [title of story in the anthology]
• Do they still need to battle against the social norms and divorce their husbands in order to express themselves and find value in their own convictions? “Fast Forwarding Evolution”
• Must they rebel against their fathers to support their own and their mother’s personal ambitions? “Dispatches from the Heartland.”
• Can they survive with dignity in the military and other long-standing institutions? “Mrs. Lieutenant”
• Are the issues for identity the same in some cases today or entirely different?
Fifty years ago, career opportunities for a young woman were quite limited: teacher, secretary, nurse. Among this limited range were the options of joining a convent to become trained as a teacher or nurse or go to college for that training. She was expected to go to college until she married, or she could have a “second job” in these careers once she was married. Being a co-ed on a college campus was seen as an opportunity to find a good husband or to qualify oneself as educated enough to attract a good husband. In some of the stories in Times They Were A-Changing, we find young women who sought their own career independence within the convent, on campus, within training programs, and even dangling from a high-rise windowsill! Some of these stories show the length to which young women took to reach for new opportunities. Consider these questions:
• Do young women today take on a religious role to step outside the social norm and find new career choices within the apparent confinement of a convent? “On Being A Marxist Nun from Kansas”
• On college campuses, do female students feel a need to assert equal rights? “The September Wind”
• Do women today need specialized training in communication and other skills to take their place in their chosen careers? “The Assertive Woman”
• For some, is there a need to take on “man’s work” to prove a point? “A Clean Glass Ceiling”
So much of the ‘60s & ‘70s decades was about social activism, mass marches, and movements that filled city streets and college campuses. The civil rights, peace, and women’s liberation movements, all carried risks as collective, grass roots stands against the establishment. The idealism and exhilaration of participating in these movements are captured in some of the anthology stories. Are women today willing to take risks to create social change?
• What are the social issues today that galvanize young women to take group action? What form does it take? “Revolution and Egg Salad Sandwiches”
• How do young women today celebrate and communicate their power? “To Change the World, London, 1972”
• What is the social legacy of first wave and second wave feminism? “Marching with Kay Boyle”
• How do young women translate social needs into individual action? “Catch the Wind”
There are so many ways a woman can express herself now, and many young women are curious about the era that helped to make it all possible. This book tells how it happened, one woman’s story at a time.
If you are interested in purchasing Times They Were A-Changing, please see: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1938314042/?tag=wowwomenonwri-20
Don’t forget to visit the holiday book sale page–authors have personalized books and provided packages (with gift-wrapping and s/h) all under $15.75! http://www.thelitladies.com/holiday-book-sale/