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Celebrating the Feminine: HerStories: Skyline Community HerStories

Poems (Text)

My Cultural Femininity- One Perspective

By Luciana Castro, Skyline College Coordinator of World languages/ Professor of Spanish

Many women cultivate womanhood

Culturally this is appreciated by all

Feminine women were expected and glorified all the time

One woman was always the symbol of it all: the Mother

Perspectives varied but they were not shared by all

Moms, mamás, mommies, mas, mothers married and unmarried

Cooking, cleaning, controlling, communicating, captivating it all

Fastly, festive, frazzled, fantastic feminine females

Operating ornaments only on one part of their oracles

Pondering, possessive, poetic, and prophetic powers for their paths

My mastery of motherhood as the major manner to matter

Created in my core a culturally feminine female passionate person

Feeling feelings in a festive and fancy form

Only in one organization of occupied parts of petrified persons

Powerful places and cultural masters perpetuating the femininity all in one perspective that could not be the only proper one.

Poems & Perspectives (Video)

Legacy by Aileen Cassinetto

Poet Laureate of San Mateo County and Commissioner on San Mateo County's Commission on the Status of Women

Narrative

HerStory

By Chris Woo, Program Services Coordinator, Social Sciences/Creative Arts 

Grand stories of larger than life women who fought for rights in places from which they were left out and survived in unwelcoming and inhospitable spaces. But also, the simple brave stories of those who just didn’t give up, kept taking the next step, found a way.

To see her story, envision two women (one each shift as a test) working in a factory larger than a football field. Joined by the occasional college student, like me, who worked in the summer; and hundreds who want you to fail, to prove them right – “you don’t belong”.  

I heard she was alone, except for her children. No partner, no family, not much time for friends or college kids – the only one to provide for her family. They started her on instrument panels, not so bad, and she excelled – even I could put together instrument panels . . . I stayed but they moved her on to something harder, building radiators, heavier and dirtier but at least they sat on a table and you could build them piece by piece standing up. More and more difficult jobs followed, she figured out ways to successfully complete them all.

They thought they would break her with brakes (pun intended). Brakes were installed on the assembly line, “keep up or get out” they said. Brakes meant you rolled under the machine on a creeper, pushed the brakes up to the machine, and bolted them in place. Lift with one hand, bolt with the other. The guy who installed them before her was a foot taller and a 100 lbs. heavier, they thought she was done.

Herstory is one of cleverness, stubbornness, and perseverance – holding brakes in place with her two feet and bolting them in with her two hands. I heard she lasted there more than 20 years, until her kids were all grown. I think of her whenever I have a tough problem and I wonder what would the brake lady do?

She already knew - "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair." – Shirley Chisholm