Monday, February 07, 2011

Women's Lives, Women's Voices report

I'm back from my day trip! We drove down Friday night, stayed in the local cheap motel, and got up Saturday morning to drop me and Isaac off at Scripps College for the Women's Lives, Women's Voices conference. McKay and Margaret went over to Disneyland for the day while I got to spend the day listening to great talks and meeting great women.

Claudia Bushman, Mormon historian and author and professor at Claremont Graduate University, welcomed everyone there and explained the oral history project that CGU's religious studies department has been heading up. If I remember correctly, Bushman said that there have been 200 interviews done so far- and each are around 2 hours long and then typed up and used for research. For example, one of the papers presented at the conference used the oral histories to examine Mormon women's feelings around their children's decisions to go or not go on LDS missions. She discussed how some LDS women feel that their success as mothers and women is connected to that decision. I think the oral history project sounds like a great idea and could lead to a lot of great scholarship.

Aileen Clyde, former second counselor in the General Relief Society presidency also spoke, along with her granddaughter, Emily Clyde Curtis. Both of them had wonderful stories to share. It was interesting to get a little peak behind the scenes in the General Relief Society presidency in the 1990s from Aileen. She also spoke about being involved with the state-wide review of gender bias in the judiciary system in Utah in the 70s. Emily was also really interesting to listen to because of her experience as a chaplin and involvement in the Exponent II.

Because of the focus on the oral history project, a lot of the presentations (and subsequently my notes) are about sharing our stories and being authentic. I really enjoyed one talk that focused on how our stories can bind us together and facilitate reconciliation, forgiveness, and unity. We were also offered an opportunity to contribute to the oral history project with a 2-3 minute prompt "Discuss a moment in which you embraced your own selfhood, in which you saw yourself as the author and creator of your life."

Other excitement from the day included talking with lots of other women and turning some of my Internet heroes into real life friends, or at least acquaintances. I got to meet EmilyCC and Jessawhy from the Exponent blog and Tresa Edmunds (her link has links to all her blogs). I also got to talk with Maxine Hanks and if you consider saying hi to Claudia Bushman as "meeting her" then I met her as well. There were also a lot of other women that I got to talk with at lunch and in between presentations and I have a few more bloggers to follow on my list! Because we had to drive back home that night, I missed hanging out with the group who had dinner afterwards, but oh well. I had to get back in time to teach Sunbeams that Heavenly Father and Mother have bodies.

I left feeling like I should write more (because 4 blogs isn't enough, you know!) and maybe try sending in some well-worked pieces in for print publication. I could write a whole blog post about how I don't think I'm a particularly gifted writer, but I'll save that for another day; you all know I'm not based on this blog. And lest some readers think I no longer like talking about breastfeeding, don't worry: not a problem. I'm all about talking about breasts.


  1. Thank you for writing this up since I couldn't make it! Sounds like a lot of wonderful information and people to meet!

    And I really think you should write something to submit. I loved the piece you wrote about different types of parenting and outcomes with grown children. I think you could turn that into a piece for Exponent II.

  2. cc- Yeah. You and other have mentioned I should write and submit. I just get really intimidated by the talent of all the other women! And sometimes I'll write something up and then ask myself, "Now is this more of an fMh post or an Exponent post?" and by the time I finish it, one or both of those blogs published a similar essay and mine is just redundant! And I missed you! I thought of you and all the other people who couldn't make it.

  3. Sounds wonderful. I'm jealous. I wish I lived closer to California!


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