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2001 Women’s Realities: A Series of Five Documentary Films in Celebration of Women’s History

BOONE — Women’s issues are highlighted in “Women’s Realties: A Series of Five Documentary Films in Celebration of Women’s History Month,” at Appalachian State University.

The five films address a variety of women’s issues and highlight the diversity in women’s lives.

The films will be shown Wednesdays in February and March at 7 p.m. in I.G. Greer Auditorium, and will be followed by a discussion with an invited guest.

All events are free and open to the public.

The series opens Feb. 21 with “Two Dollars and a Dream,” a biographical film about Madame C.J. Walker, the child of slaves, who became America’s first self-made female millionaire. The film features historic photos, interviews with those who worked for Madame Walker, and music by Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway.

Following the film, Dr. Trudier Harris, J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of English at UNC-Chapel Hill, will lead a discussion.

“Love, Women, and Flowers,” which will be shown Feb. 28, depicts the story of

Colombia’s third largest export–cut flowers.

But behind the beauty of carnations and chrysanthemums sold in the United States and Europe lies a horror story of hazardous labor conditions for the 60,000 women who work in the flower industry. Cyndi Mellon, from the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, will lead the discussion following the film. Mellon has traveled extensively in Colombia working with the women in the industry.

On March 7 the series will feature “Nu Shu: A Hidden Language of Women in China,” about the development of a secret female writing system in China that was a way for women to resist the social constrictions of Chinese Society. Dr. Cathy Silber, a professor of Chinese Studies at Williams College and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College, will lead a discussion following the film. Silber spent time in China interviewing women who still practiced Nu Shu writing. She is currently writing a book about her findings.

“Beauty and the Beach” will be shown on March 21.

Fun and social comment combine in this lively documentary on the history of women through the evolution of women’s swimwear styles. Joanne Arbuckle and Ellen Dobrovier, from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology will lead discussion and offer insight after the film.

The series closes March 28 with “Step by Step: Building a Feminist Movement, 1941-1977.”

Proving beyond a doubt that feminism began well before the 1960s, and that its players were not just the white middle class, this inspiring film follows the lives of eight Wisconsin women, six of whom became founders of the National Organization for Women (NOW). A panel discussion with women who have been active in Watauga County’s feminist movement and Appalachian’s Women’s Studies program will follow. Following the panel discussion will be a reception kicking off the 25th anniversary celebration of ASU’s Women’s Studies Program.

The series is partially funded by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, a state-based program of the National Endowment of the Humanities. Other sponsors include: Appalachian’s Women’s Studies Program, Humanities Council, Department of History, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, School of Music, College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Fine and Applied Arts, The Multicultural Center, Women’s Center, Belk Library, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Sustainable Development, Asian Studies Committee, Asian Student Association, and Latin American Studies Program.

For more information, contact Dr. Neva J. Specht at (828) 262-6879 or call the Office of Women’s Studies at (828) 262-7603.