Sunday, October 30, 2011

Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)


Marilyn Monroe was born as Norma Jean Mortenson (Baker) on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. Marilyn’s childhood consisted of her being passed around between countless family members, family friends and orphanages. She finally found a stable home with a family friend and stayed with them for a few years. But Doc (the husband) got a new job out East and couldn’t afford to take Marilyn, leaving her again living in foster care homes. To escape the life of bouncing around from place to place, she married her boyfriend Jimmy Dougherty in 1942 at the age of 16. Dougherty was a merchant marine and was sent to the South Pacific, leaving Marilyn behind. During this time, Marilyn worked in a factory and worked to become a model and an actress. Throughout her life Marilyn became a very successful model and actress and icon for the American society. But on August 5, 1962 she died of a drug overdose at the age of 36.

Her Claim to Fame
While working in that factory, a famous photographer snapped a picture of her. The photographer visited many factories to take pictures of women at work and he was mesmerized by Marilyn’s beauty and grace. Her picture circulated through the Hollywood scene and within months her modeling career took off and she was the face of many magazine covers. She divorced her husband in 1946 and changed her name from what she called, “the boring Norma Baker” to the more glamorous Marilyn Monroe, after her grandmother. She also changed her hair color from subtle brunette, to platinum blonde. While her modeling career was in motion, so was her acting career. She began taking drama lessons and got her first movie contract with Twentieth Century Fox. While most of her first films were low key, she was getting attention and was being exposed to the atmosphere of Hollywood. With more publicity, she landed roles in films called, All About Eve, Niagara, Gentleman Prefer Blonds and How to Marry a Millionaire. Audiences loved her breathy, blonde bombshell appeal and her the acting characteristics she displayed, which lead her to more high key roles, more important roles and made her even more famous.

Her Influence on American Society
People of the American society not only noticed and loved her strong and relatable acting characteristics, they were in love with her personal appearance and personal characteristics. As Marilyn made great strides on the film screen she also made great strides in her public appearance. She became an iconic figure of Hollywood glamour and fashion and was an epitome of sensuality, beauty and effervescence, and was also naturally photogenic. She became an icon for the women in the American society of that time and today. Her modeling tactics opened up many new doors in the modeling world and many young models are using her techniques today. She was portrayed as a sex symbol of that time, which has influenced America in many different ways. Even though she was sex symbol and a little edgier than many people of America of that time, she also displayed a sense of talent and class on film and on the runway.

“A Candle in the Wind”
By: Elton John

This song was written by Elton John after Marylin Monroe had passed away from a drug overdose. In the song, Elton sings about how Marylin had a certain grace about her, and even though she experienced hardships in her childhood as well as the pressures of being in the public eye, she held herself, while many other people would not have had that same ability. He also explains that while her career was booming, it was like the public was “putting her on a treadmill” and they made her change her name. As the song continues and it comes to the chorus, he is implying that she is like “a candle in the wind,” meaning she is just barely hanging on because she has really had no one to turn to in her life and she is just barely hanging on from all the public attention and criticisms she was getting. The last aspect of Elton John’s song that was very meaningful was when he states: “your candle burned out long before, your legend ever did” and this quote holds true to today. Marilyn Monroe died way before her legend ever did, because her legend and influence on the American society and the women of America still lives on today.

Allison Kanaman

Monday, October 17, 2011

Challenges for Black Women- Rosa Parks

Who is Rosa Parks?
A black women, who worked as a seamstress from Montgomery, Alabama and challenged women's rights as well as segregation laws in the South.

What did she do?
Rosa Parks challenged the laws of segregation two times, both with different situations involving the city bus system in which she refused to either get on the back of the bus, or refuse to give up her seat to someone else.

The First Challenge:
In 1943, Miss Parks was thrown off of a city bus because she refused to get on through the back door as black citizens were supposed to. After this incident some of the city bus drivers started refusing to let her on the buses all together. This story made headline news and citizens of Montgomery were shocked that someone would stand up for black rights, let alone, a women. Parks created a major uproar between black and white citizens of the city.

The Second Challenge:
In 1955, the bold and brave Rosa Parks was, once again, on a city bus when she refused to give up her seat to a white person, named James Blake, who just so happened to be the driver that had kicked her off of a bus 12 years prior. This stirred around the city and created a huge commotion, also making headlines in the newspapers. Many could not believe that she was acting out again against the law. How could a black women be so disrepectful to a white citizen seemed to be the most asked question. Parks sparked a major change with the black community, as well as women's rights in the city of Montgomery, Alabama challenging the laws of segregation.

What were the consequences?
Rosa Parks was arrested immediately and now faced fines that were considered breaking the segregation laws which stated, "Black Americans must vacate their seats if there are white passengers left standing." She was a strong and independent woman who was going to stand up for herself and fight for her rights in order to make the world a little less corrupt. She stated "I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be other people would also be free." Although the consequences were minimal, Parks did not give up.

Impact on today:
Today, Rosa Parks is known all around the world. Her bravery and efforts will forever be remembered throughout the entire United States, and especially the South. She stood up for herself, her people, and her rights in order to change the ways of the world. If it was not for Parks simply standing up to a white man on a city bus, segregation laws and women's rights may not have ever sparked a change. The newspaper records show just how shocking and impacting Rosa Parks was in the city of Montgomery, and ultimately throughout the entire South. Parks, today, is seen as an extremely brave women who refused to let the laws forbidding colored people to do certain things make a difference in her life. Although consequences were given, she handled them all and kept on with her life and fighting for her rights as a colored women.

"Each person must live their life as a model for others." -Rosa Parks
This quote just goes to show that she was not just standing up for herself, but for all of the colored citizens who were treated just as unfair as she was. She was not going to stop until something was changed. Even though most changes happened after her lifetime, she will always be a brave symbol in the past that sparked a major change with segregation.

Erica Hendzel

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Working Women of the 1940’s

“Rosie the Riveter”

The picture displayed above is from the 1940’s and is still seen in schools, college, universities and work places today. Many people have seen this picture, but do they actually know what it means or symbolizes?

What is the picture about?

This picture is named “Rosie the Riveter” that symbolized the millions of women of the 1940’s that took over male jobs in factories, plants and shipyards during World War II. This picture in later years was not only known as an iconic American image, but it also was in the fight to broaden women’s civil rights.

What were women doing before World War II?

Leading up to World War II, only a few women had careers, besides minorities and lower class women that did work in factories and mills already. The most popular careers among them included nursing and secretarial jobs. If women did not have a career outside the home, she had one inside. Women who worked within the home did laundry, cooked, clean and tended to her husband and children.

Women recruited in the Work Force

When World War II began, many male soldiers were called to join in the ranks of the United States military, leaving women to fill their roles in (steel) factories, shipyards and lumber mills. The government wasn’t too thrilled with having women in the workforce, but they were needed and decided it would only be temporary. Women were recruited by the government into these roles by advertisers, who showed that women that worked in this roles were glamorous and fashionable; which is also when “Rosie the Riveter” was created. Women were called to work depending on their age, race, class, martial status and number of children. But since the demand was so high for workers, the government even recruited women just graduating from high school. More than 6 million women filled male work roles and from 1940-1945 the number of women in the workforce increases from 25-36 percent. But after the war ended and the men returned home, the way of life before the men left also returned.

Women’s Baseball

While women were making great strides in the work force by taking men’s positions and proving they were just as smart and strong as men, learning new skills and earning wages and benefits, they were also making great strides on the baseball field. As shown the in the film, “A League of Their Own,” women displayed their talents out on the baseball field while the men were off at war.

After men throughout the United States were being drafted to war, the game of baseball was put on hold because most of the players were off to war. But with the men off to war, this opened up a whole new world for women in the work force and on the field. At first people of America did not know what to think of women playing baseball, so in the first few games of the league, many people did not come or show any interest. But the women did not let that stop them. They showed their talents and strength out on the field for months, gaining the respect of fans and making an increased interest in women’s baseball. After the war ended many people of the United States were still interested, but in the following years the interest declined.

A New Future for Women

World War II was a horrible event that happened to the people of the United States but it was also a “foot-in-the-door” for women’s rights. During this time women displayed their strengths, smarts, talents, achievements and dedication in the workforce and on the baseball field. Even though women in the work force and on the baseball field were only temporary, it did change the road to the future.

-Allison Kanaman

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

1950’s Women in the Workplace

            Women in the past are known for just being housewives for families. That is their typical role. The society has their own set of norms for what women are allowed to do and what they are restricted from doing by the law. The role of a housewife was very important the norms I was describing, and to provide an excellent service to her husband she was to follow a set of guidelines. The guidelines are first gone into detail about having dinner ready when husband is home, be dressed appropriately and well pampered, and be upbeat and cheerful to bring the husband out of a rough day at work. In the terms of the children she is supposed to wash their hands, comb their hair, and seemed to be perfect because they are God’s creatures and must play the part. One of the most important things which most people in today’s society don’t follow anymore is that when you see your husband; do not start off with complaints or problems in your day. These are just a few of the many guidelines women have established to have a happy, successful and proper household to run. Time throughout of 50’s has changed what women have been allowed to do dramatically.
I am going to provide a brief timeline with some historical advancement women have received. In the year 1950, women were first allowed to be drafted in the Korean War, over the course of 5 years 120,000 were in the military serving their country as a marine and nurse. In the year 1951, women were seeking bigger employment other than the home, so a new peak of women’s employment reached 19 million. In the year 1953, Pauline Friedrich is hired by NBC reporting news. That is a provided a very big mark for women and introducing more culture/diversity. In 1955, the number of illegitimate births increases greatly, which boosts the adoption percentage by 80%. In the year 1956, the annual salary of a woman is $2,179 dollars, and a male’s salary is $4,466.
Women throughout the 1950’s had been following a picture or role model for the factory or military working class. This figure was formed because the United States were at WWII and needed a work force quick. The person they have established is known as Rosie the Riveter. She is supposed to represent this strong independent working class woman that is doing the tasks of a man and having no trouble in the process. Rosie the Riveter is the person most historians or teachers first talk about when the 1950’s are brought up for lecture. Rosie was established because women were needed to be working for the armed forces and make ammunition, weld metal for tanks, work on ships so they can transport materials. These women that have enrolled themselves in the factory style life loved every single minute of it and would love to pursue that task for the rest of their lives but that did not happen because by the end of the war, women were told to go back to the household tasks. This hit women and their workplace in a whole new way.   
-Henry Piatek

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jackie Kennedy-1960’s

A woman not only known for being a first lady, but also a woman remembered for her intelligence, hard work ethic, elegant style and as an icon for American society.

Who was Jackie Kennedy?

Jackie Bouvier Kennedy was married to John Fitzgerald Kennedy and became the First Lady of the United States on January 20, 1961. Not only was she famous for being the wife of one of the most popular presidents of the United States, she was remembered for her passion of history and the arts, her work in restoring the White House, her style and fashion and her impact on the American society.

Her Passion for the History and the Arts.

One of her most famous contributions as the first lady of the United States was her promotion of History and the Arts. Jackie made serious efforts to have the American culture except the artistic scene. So she would invite artists, writers, poets and other people of the Arts to the White House so they could mingle with politicians and other political figures. Jackie embraced these meetings to promote these intellectual and creative groups and educate the American society about these groups. These efforts by Jackie were her first steps to beginning of her legacy.

Her work in restoring the White House.

Another contribution of Jackie’s was her work in restoring the White House. She first wanted to make the White House a home for her family and then continued to make it a historical masterpiece to share with the public. She made a kindergarten school, and put in a pool, a swing set and a tree house for her kids. She wanted to restore the White House so the people of America would have a greater appreciation for the White House itself and the hard working people in it. Her hard work during her years as the first lady won her an Emmy award.

Her style and fashion sense.

Not only was Jackie intelligent, hard working and famous, she a woman that was praised for her beauty and fashion sense and also became a trend setter for many women of the United States. Jackie had natural beauty that she dressed up with her sense of fashion. Jackie wore A-line dresses, white jeans, belts, scarves, designers such as Valentino and Givenchy, dark sunglasses and pearl necklaces. Today we see this type of style re-emerging, meaning her time as the first lady still has an effect on women today.

Her impact on the American society.

During her time as first lady she made many contributions to the American society and left a strong legacy that still lives on today. Her promotion of the Arts and History has given America a greater appreciation for those subjects that are becoming more popular today. Her restoration of the White House gave the public and is still giving the public a chance to be apart of the President’s life. And her beauty and fashion sense has given women of America a lady to look up to and be inspired by, and her fashion sense still lives on today. Even though she was an intelligent, hard working woman who made many great contributions and created a legacy for herself, what I believe that she is most remembered for is being an powerful woman in America’s history. She stood out and did things other first ladies did not. She gave women of America a leader to follow and someone to act like. She was a positive influence for that time period and for the woman of America. She was courageous and because of her courage, many women after her and today are following in her foot steps making positive and needed contributions to the United States.

-Allison Kanaman