Mon Oct 25 2004 15:24 PST:
Why must random people post mean comments on my weblog? Why?
It is one thing if it is someone I know and are teasing, but quite another if it is someone I don't know. Especially if it is someone I don't know parading as someone I know. For heaven's sake, get a life, you mean people, and stop trying to put me down! This weblog is not about you, it is about me. Thank you. Goodbye.
(8) Mon Oct 25 2004 22:35 PST Righteous Indignation:
I went to the Kern County library today to get an audio book (I got Angela’s Ashes, but the pickings were pretty slim. I have Sense and Sensibility and then a bunch of books I don’t want to listen to/have already read…what I really want is Shopaholic and Sister, the new Sophie Kinsella book, so I’ll check out the LA County library which I hope has better offerings.) and also to see if they have any WWI books of interest. I found a neat looking love story based on truth about a British guy who gets caught behind enemy lines, is disguised as part of a French village, falls in love with a local girl, they have a baby, he is betrayed &c &c, so I got that for mom to read since I probably won’t have time until the new year, and a Flora Sandes biography which we may have already… I was reminded of my lovely summers in high school where my time was occupied with either summer school or work, and reading. I dug deep into Mom’s book of the month club literary classics—the Bronte Sister, Austen—widely expanded my own Nora Roberts collection, and went to the library to hunt for random fiction books to read which I usually enjoyed quite thoroughly. I think most of the books I have read, aside from the school reading that most people do such a Brave New World and Macbeth, are from that era. Oh for the days when I had so much time for reading that wasn’t all about British Women in World War I! (Which is of course very interesting but one does like to read about other things as well.) I’m hoping the audio books will solve some of that for me. But the fact remains that I have a reading list of about a dozen books people have lent to me, and at the rate I am going, about 2 non-work books per month, I’ll never finish! Audio books while driving!! Oh I bet I can get them through ILL, too. Hurrah.
Anyway, the point of this post is that while I was in the library I picked up a random, generic (Illustrated) history of WWI to see what is says about women. I looked up Scottish Women’s Hospitals, Elsie Inglis, Women in the index and… nothing. I randomly stumbled across a two page spread that had pictures of ammunitions factories and mentioned the WAAC and the WRNS, both of which were formed rather late in the war. That was it.
This just reinforced the fact that history is the story of those that tell it, and the male view has for a long time dominated. Dr Kanner said that one of the most respected (male) British historians got up at a conference one year and said that the only thing women contributed to the war was in their capacity a camp followers… which is ridiculous. It wasn’t even the nursing and the cooking and the driving and the signaling, though that was enough in itself, and I’m beginning to see, even, hardly recognized for the worth of that alone. But these women did amazing things. Flora Sandes joined the Serbian Army and fought with them, becoming a Sergeant. The Scottish Women’s Hospital alone practically saved Serbia, certainly more than the Allied armies did to help: retreating with them, and being taken prisoner in order to stay with the wounded and care for them. Gertrude Bell was the reason for the success of T E Lawrence’s campaign—she gave him the maps to get to Baghdad! But of course she wasn’t allowed to go along because she was a woman. Most of the women’s organizations, especially the ones formed at the beginning of the war, worked for foreign armies, because they were refused by the British War Office. Most of the women in these organizations—fully trained doctors and nurses—had offered their services to help their own countrymen first, but had been told to “Go home and sit still.” Gah.
I must stop now, it just upsets me so that the contributions of these women to history have been so widely ignored by those who write it. But I guess that gives me something to change