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Look Us in the Eye, Part 1

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Morris County NOW presents NEW DIRECTIONS FOR WOMEN LOOK US IN THE EYE Welcome to New Directions for Women. A programme of the Morris County New Jersey Chapter of the National Organization for Women. Our programme today, is a departure from our usual interview format. We have an interesting video called [Rebecca Lubetking, Morris County NOW, NJ] "Look Us In the Eye" produced by the Old Women's Project and that's what they want to be called. While we've tried to reflect in our programmes the many faces of women, in all their diversity, we along with other media may have paid less attention to people of advanced age. This show gives us a fresh perspective. We will see the strength, energy and purpose of a group of old women, and how they have been able to make a difference. I hope you enjoy their story. "I think it is important to recognize the difference between aging, which is a physiological process, & ageism, which is a form of oppression" Barbara McDonald, writer/activist The Yale Women's Alliance protests Mory's, a male-only pub used for meetings & faculty recruitment, 1969 FREE OUR SISTERS, FREE OURSELVES Demonstration in support of the Black Panther Women on trial, 1969 March for Reproductive Rights, Washington DC, 1971 SISTER, feminist publication, 1971-1976 Action for 12 black women murdered in Boston, 1979 The National March in Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights - Washington DC, 1979 Nuclear Free World Protest, The Pentagon, 1980 Nevada test site, 1989 - We've been activists all along in our whole lives. [San Diego, CA, 2004] So that hasn't changed at all. What has changed is coming from the viewpoint of being old women. LOOK US IN THE EYE, a film by Jennifer Abod Old women were been segregated in so many ways. [Cynthia Rich, writer/ activist] Either we were a single block of issues, social security, medical care, prescription drugs, which are incredibly important survival issues for all women, but that's not ALL of who we are! Now, we are also involved in all issues of social justice. Personally involved. - Which was part of the reason that we actually formed our group. Was to do that kind of [Janice Keaffaber, writer/ artist/ activist] outreach. Show up! At the women's prisoners protests and say "hey!", you know, "we're here to represent all the old women who are in prison" and everybody went "Oh, my God! I never thought about that!" Not only that. Then we get to show our giant puppet and they can't [Mannie Garza, writer/ editor/ activist] miss us, so it's like "oooh!" - They can't make us invisible anyway. [laughs] Yeah! We used to invisible! Absolutely! ♪ [singing] ♫ - We call her P.O.W.E.R. and that name stands for Pissed Old Woman Engaged to the Revolution - That describes what we feel we're doing. ♪ [singing] ♫ Did you know of the Old Women's Project and their Puppet coming to the rally? [Everado Magana, Justice for Janitors] I didn't and I think they look great. You know? Nice, beautiful work. I've been out in a lot of rallies, where I have seen this big woman puppet looming above the crowd... strange-fairing to know that, like 40 years [Carly Delso-Saavedra, Code Pink & Coalition for Peace and Justice] from now I could still be listening them today... [Virginia Franco, Support Committee for Maquiladora Workers] Without the Old Women's Project, we would have been forgotten and they never left! NO DECENT WAGE = HOMELESS OLD AGE People tend to forget that many old women are still working, because of their lives of unpaid and low paid work. I think that one of the amazing things about the Old Women's Project is that they act like an old woman. [Lace Watkins, activist San Diego] It's funny, it's wise, it rocks, it's got gravitas, but it also got levity. And that's exactly what the movement is. We would as old women be protesters & it would be a significant factor within this protest & you would read about [WOMEN UNITE AGAINST WAR] in the paper the next day, and it would be the YOUNG people protesting. And we were invisible! And there was lots of old people! Women, as well as men, participating FULLY in all of this. And were never acknowledged, they remained completely invisible to the other protesters, as well as to the media. And it seemed really important to somehow target the fact that we were old and that was important. - Well, although our cause is clearly, obviously consciousness raising around ageism. And also, to get RID of this categorizations of "I am this kind of person" and "because I am a good person I will join the coalition with you and YOUR interests and you will do the same for me, when I need help" and instead saying "we're ALL, we're all involved in each other's issues"! - For example, there was a huuuge home health care demonstration in San Diego. We brought out puppet POWER to the demonstration and so there it is and we also spoke there. "Whether as home health care providers or as health care recipients, all women's lives depend on stopping THESE BUDGET CUTS!" - Old women are both recipients of health care, which is everybody's perception of us, but we are also PROVIDERS of home health care. These connections are there just all the time, but nobody sees us. - Yeah... As being part of their issue. - Childcare is an old woman's issue, there are old women in their 60s, 70s & older who are the primary caregivers for their children's children. Old women are performing unpaid work in the home, for heavens, yes. Just over the place. - Yes, yes. - Not only old women taking care of their great grandchildren, but they're taking care of other old women, they're taking care of old men... - Homelessness! Is a major issue for old women. [WOMEN'S MOBILIZATION FOR LOW COST HOUSING IN SAN DIEGO] First action organized by the Old Women's Project, March 8th, 2001. - There are old women who ride the bus every night to have a safe place to sleep. [This rally launched the low-cost housing movement in San Diego] And the ranks of the old women who are homeless are growing every day. - Old men, you know, if they have social security - they not only have social security, they generally have more than women and they often have pensions and so forth - but lot of old women fit all their lives working inside the homes for no pay and have no social security of their own and so when they get the minimum social security, won't even pay for a single room in San Diego. - Being old does not protect you from being raped, old women are battered by... spouses, partners, children... - We are connecting our issues with everybody else's issues. "Last night hundreds of women marched around the federal building around down-town San Diego. And their message support for Iraqi and American women and against the war. The protest was organized by the Old Women's Project." WOMEN WILL NOT BE SILENCED "Women argue that constable war on Iraq will severely slush funding the programmes women depend on. Like health care, low income housing and education. At one point the rally, enough women have gathered to form a human chain around the federal building. The sound of those here that a great number of Americans want to stop war before it starts. [NO WAR!] [Rebecca Margolis, anti-war protestor] This is a pivotal point, I believe in our United States history, where people are saying before a war started "we are the people, you need to listen to us". ♪ [singing "Give Peace a Chance"] ♫ By the very essence of our group, were able to reach-out to other old women, [WOMEN DON'T BUY THIS WAR] to come and join us. "Come down to the federal building and raise hell about the war". [DOWNTOWN BECOMES DELUGED WITH ANTI-WAR DEMONSTRATORS] And they come! And they're also making it desirable to be old! - Yeah! - Because for example when we invite people to our actions, we're saying old women are especially welcome, they are especially... hmm... encouraged to come, but... uhhh... but women of all ages are welcomed. [laughs] Yeah. Right. So, we create a little bit of... hierarchy there. A little plus to be involved. - We have people say to us "that's a terrible thing, to call a woman old!" [Feminist author Betty Friedan] I mean... - Yeah! - To call... To call ourselves old or to call... say that about women. "Oh, that's just terrible! That's rude!" I mean, even people who are our supporters, they can't say that word without an '-er' in the end. It's always the Older Women's Project. "No, it's the OLD Women's Project!" "Oh, oh, ok!" They just wanna put 'older' in there all the time, like if they're insulting us to say I mean it's like a dirty word, it really is! - It's also like when old women were called ladies. Now only old women are called ladies. [laughs] [lady: a female head of the household, a woman of refinement & gentle manners] And, and women in sports! [laughs] But basically, the respect you get, when you know you don't have respect. When you don't have REAL equality. When you don't have REAL respect. It's like when I go to a store with one of my daughters - and this happens often - and there will be a young male clerk there, who will say "well, you two must be sisters!" [Jan's daughters, Heather & Stacey, with activist Jo Friedman] Well I find that so offensive and I usually end up getting not...

Video Details

Duration: 9 minutes and 58 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Old Women's Project
Director: Jennifer Abod
Views: 224
Posted by: tinaki on Dec 13, 2012

A program examining how old women are seen in our society in Morris County NOW "New Directions for Women" Cable TV series Program #155.
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