Ms. at 40

Yesterday, I received a call of congratulations from someone at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. Back in October, I submitted an essay to the “Ms. at 40″ contest. Writers were provided with 40 sample covers from the magazine’s 40-year history and prompted to write about one of them explaining what that particular image/message of feminism meant to them.

Here’s a link to information about the contest and other Ms. celebratory events at Stanford during the Spring semester: http://gender.stanford.edu/msat40

I chose to write about the first cover from 1972, an image of a multi-armed woman weeping as she holds onto numerous items representing her wifely duties: iron, telephone, duster, frying pan, etc. Immediately, I thought of the Nataraja, the dancing Shiva, whose outstretched arms hold up far more powerful symbols of creation and destruction as “he” stands upon the dwarf of ignorance. I figure if Shiva can wield such forces, so can women representing a “new” movement of self-recognition and self-empowerment. I suggested in my 150-word essay (yep, 150 was the limit!) that a more accurate reflection of where women stood then and now would incorporate emblems from a much wider sphere. I’ll post the essay on my blog soon!

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