Celebrating feminist writers who changed the world

Friday, April 26, 2002 Barnard College

The Veterans Feminists of America Salute to Feminist Writers, in the words of Jacqui Ceballos, was another banner event planned by Muriel Fox and Sheila Tobias. "A once-in-a-lifetime assemblage of feminist writers gathered under VFA auspices at
Barnard College, New York on April 26, 2002 to be honored for their achievements".

Celebrating feminist authors who changed the world, the day's events started off with a Luncheon Discussion for Honor Roll writers in Sulzberger Hall. Two panel discussions, fiction and nonfiction, continued the celebration from
1 to 5 pm. The HONORS DINNER beginning at 6 pm opened with a warm welcome by Barnard President Judith Shapiro. Muriel and Sheila expressed the VFA's appreciation to the Barnard Center for Research on Women for their hospitality and cooperation. Then, as each honoree was called to the podium, Sheila read a tribute to the writer, presenting her with a Veteran Feminists Medal of Honor.

The first author's medal went to the First Author of the Second Wave. The citation for Betty Friedan, in the event's program, notes that The Feminine Mystique probably changed world history more than any other book ever written.

The Boston Women's Health Book Collective members were next to be honored, for taking the lead in educating women about their physical natures at a time when it was "unseemly" to note that we had special physical natures. Ruth Bell-Alexander, Joan Ditzion, Paula Doress-Waters, Nancy Miriam Hawley, Jane Pincus and Judy Norsigian, current Executive Editor, were medalled individually for the collective effort of writing Our Bodies Ourselves, which has sold more than 4 million copies in 20 languages.

Citations for all the feminist writers honored at the event are collected in the 4/26/02 Program's Honor Roll of Feminist Writers. This Program is a WONDER! By including a tribute to each author the Program's creators have collected an incredibly comprehensive account of the Second Wave's manifold efforts and accomplishments. Anyone who is researching the Second Wave's work to change our culture's grievous past sexist social practices can find the beginnings of all the trails to the institutional changes that ensued in this short Veteran Feminists of America historical document.

The many aspects of women's lives that the Honor Roll writers drew attention to - - health and reproduction, rape, psychology, homemaking, girls' education and math anxiety, law, lesbianism, language, woman's image in popular culture, women's exclusion from public sphere deliberations - - are evidence of the pervasiveness of the problem that Betty Friedan crystallized as The Feminist Mystique, and evidence that a multi-faceted social revolution was underway. Think of the living conditions of women in the 1960's that evoked all this revolutionary feminist writing work in response.


Sidney Abbott - Together with Barbara Love, she wrote the feminist movement's first article and first book by lesbians about lesbians. Co-chair of NOW's Lesbian Civil Rights Task Force.

Dolores Alexander - Wrote important documents and press materials while Executive Director of national
NOW from 1968 to 1970. In 1979 she became a force in Women Against Pornography and organized its successful March on Times Square.

Madeline Amgott
- Creator and executive producer of "
A Better Way" for King Features Entertainment and Lifetime cable, presenting 78 profiles of women.

Louise Armstrong - Her writings and lectures have been a major force in aroused awareness of child sexual abuse, incest and male violence.

Pauline Bart - Her feminist books include Portnoy's Mother's Complaint: Depression in Middle aged Women, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Office.

Mary Kay Blakely - A longtime activist, journalist and author, she has written three books. Wrote the Hers column for the New York Times. Now on the advisory board of WomensENews.

Susan Brownmiller - Changed the world's thinking about rape in Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape. A founder of New York Radical Feminists.

Paula Caplan - A feminist psychologist, actor and author of books and plays. Books include The Myth of Women's Masochism, and You're Smarter Than They Make You Feel.

Physllis Chesler - Her Women and Madness revolutionized the attitude of practitioners and lay people alike in appraising the mental health of women.

Cleveland - As editor of Columbia University magazine for 10 years she introduced numerous feminist issues. Founded the Cincinnati Women's press.

Eleanor Foa Dienstag - Her Whither Thou Goest: The Story of an Uprooted Wife was a best-selling feminist book. An award-winning journalist and columnist.

Muriel Fox - A co-founder of
NOW in 1966. She was national chair of NOW and president of the NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund and is Chair of Veteran Feminists of America.

Marilyn French
- Her 1977 novel, The Women's Room, dramatized movingly the plight of "middle-class women betrayed by men and society."

Carol Gilliga - Her In A Different Voice is must reading for experts on gender and on the raising of girls. Her other major feminist books include Women, Girls, and Psychotherapy, and Reframing Resistance.

Mary Gordon
- She has written five highly acclaimed feminist novels, including Final Payments and The Company of Women. Professor of English at Barnard.

Vivian Gornick - The author of eight books and several hundred articles, she co-edited the pioneering Women in a Sexist Society in 1972.

Signe Hammer
- With Susan Brownmiller and others, organized the sit-in at Ladies Home Journal that earned the historic feminist insert in the August 1970 issue.

Carolyn Heilbrun - A feminist critic, writer and educator for more than 25 years. On the English faculty of
Columbia University. (Editor's note: Carolyn Heilbrun died in October 2003.)

Shere Hite
- It began with The Hite Report: A Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality, published in 1976 in cooperation with the
New York chapter of NOW. Five studies have followed so far.

Ruth Hershberger - She wrote about sex discrimination in Adam's Rib ten years before Simone deBeauvoir and Betty Friedan. She is also a widely respected poet.

Beverly Jones - She and the late Judith Brown, both
SDS southern activists and University of Florida students at the time, wrote the first major paper about women's liberation that inspired feminist theorists and activists. Called "Toward a Female Liberation Movement," it was presented in Sandy Spring, MD in August 1968 at a meeting of women involved with SDS and other civil rights organizations.

Merle Hoffman
- Founded and edited "On the Issues," an intellectual feminist magazine, for 17 years. In 1982 she produced the documentary "Abortion: A Different Light." She has founded several women's health centers.

Erica Jong - Her first novel, the best-selling Fear of Flying, championed the right of women to proud, unabashed sexuality and self-expression. She has published six volumes of poetry, all feminist, funny and empowering.

Jurate Kazickas - She and Lynn Sherr created "The Liberated Woman's Appointment Calendar and Survival Handbook," now known as "The Women's Calendar."

Mim Kelber - A journalist and activist for nearly five decades, she co-founded Women Strike for Peace and was a speechwriter and policy advisor for Bella Abzug from1971.

Suzanne Braun Levine - She edited Ms. Magazine from its 1972 inception until 1988. She recently edited its 30th anniversary issue, "The Best of Ms."

Harriet Lyons - A member of Ms. Magazine's original editorial staff. She co-edited "Decade of Women: a Ms. History in Words and Pictures."

Catherine MacKinnon - Mackinnon's writings in feminist law have produced major legal changes throughout the world. Her book, The Sexual Harassment of Working Women (1979), awakened victims and opinion leaders to this long-overlooked form of sex discrimination.

Rosalie Maggio
- Her book NonSexist Word Finder, Bias-Free Word Finder promotes language that doesn't discriminate against women and other groups.

Kate Millett
- Wrote Sexual Politics, which was hailed as a manifesto on sexism in Western culture. In other books she explored feminism and homosexuality from personal, scholarly and artistic perspectives.



Letty Cottin Pogrebin
- Her eight books include Growing Up Free, and Deborah, Golda, and Me, a memoir about reconciling feminism and Judaism. A founder and co-editor of Ms.

Rosetta Reitz
- Her book, Menopause: A Positive Approach, has received 13 printings over 20 years. She organized "Menopause Workshops" to bring information to women.

Judith Rossner - In her numerous stories and articles and her lectures on psychotherapy, she has brilliantly advanced the perspective of a realistic feminist.


Marlene Sanders
- More than any other newswoman, Marlene Sanders has fought for feminist causes while also earning top jobs in radio and TV. She chairs the board of WomensENews.




Barbara Seaman - Her 1969 book, The Doctor's Case Against the Pill, led to Congressional hearings, the birth of the women's health movement, and ultimately a safer birth-control pill with only one-tenth the hormone dose of the original version.



Alix Kates Shulman
- Her book, Memoirs of and ex-Prom Queen, (1979) sold more than a million copies and was the first major novel of the women's liberation movement.

Catharine R. Stimpson - Founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, considered to be the most widely recognized feminist academic journal in the field. Her selection of essays on literature, culture and education, Where the Meanings Are, appeared in 1988.



Kate Swift - Swift and the late Casey Miller pioneered in feminist analysis of the English language. Their Handbook of NonSexist Writing suggested ways to change English usage to treat women fairly.

Sheila Tobias - Her 11 books and many articles instruct women on ways to understand and survive the Patriarchy. Her 1997 book, Second Wave, Faces of Feminism: An Activist's Reflection on the Women's Movement clarifies the "why" as well as the "how" of our movement.

Joan Tobin - Since 1973 she has been publishing fiction and articles that appeared in leading newspapers as well as various
NOW publications. She chaired the "Feminists Special Interest Group of American Mensa" and edited its newsletter, "The Feminists Special."

Ellen Willis - A free-lance writer since 1966 and an early radical feminist leader. Willis wrote countless articles and books. Now director of Cultural Reporting and Criticism Concentration in the NYU graduate program.
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Videos Available - The two videos are wonderful and historical. To order please make out checks to VFA and mail to VFA,
P.O. Box 60112, Lafayette, LA 70596. Order by names, Tape 1, the Panel Discussions, or Tape 2, Reception and Award Dinner.

VFA members can get a copy of this once-in-history gathering, this once-in-a-lifetime event PROGRAM, Salute to Feminist Authors, by sending a self-addressed 9X12 envelope to:

E-Mail Joan Tobin:

Joan Tobin
232 Lorenzo Circle
Lake Ronkonkoma, NY 11779-2283