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once more on roles of gender and the 70’ties and wondering if overalls can make a difference

August 15, 2009

familiebilleder5_0001yesterday one of my overalls friends, Mayaand I began to think of the 70’ties and here I am on the Red Square in January 76 in Moscow with my fur coat made by my mother out of 4 lambs. 7 years before in 69, I was on the first summer camp made by a hippie organization where the principle was completely anarchy ! every one had the right to do what she/he thought was best, well it turned quite traditional out into men sitting with their pipes and women running around making food and taking care of kids and I felt it quite bizarre and not that cozy even if you were supposed to enjoy it ! and when it started to rain, well, it didn’t make it better and Maya, we did not have Hendrix etc. to make it better, so I left the camp quite frustrated on what to do; later in 74, I worked together with feminists, but sometimes in a strange way, since they were very tough in debates and running a hard core theory agenda and then sitting at home in their studio, they were not in a very good shape, in some cases stomach ulcer !, at that time I didn’t understand and neither now ! As I said in my previous post some of the feminists of the 70’ties have now returned to a very traditional position with very traditional division of labor between men and women ! and when you make posts like I did a few days ago about this, I got this comment in Norwegian from one of my students, living in the Norwegian countryside with the heading saying: I have it fixed it:
” Now in the summer, we can see countless men in work clothes, with plaster on
fingers, and attempts at hernia and lumbago, busy with the
diverse challenges in the home front.

Household’s feminine representatives often keeps a safe distance to drill
and over the green line, which gives a certain safety margin, and a
humorous successful distance to the scenes which necessarily must be express.”

well, ha, ha, I am of course supposed to laugh and see how funny and crazy men are doing things ! I might severely be lacking sense of humor, but to be honest I don’t think my student got my point around roles of gender ! and this leads to my very big surprise of finding so much positive response and accept from Susan, Maya, Laury, Ms. Moon etc. Until I met you overalls sisters, if I may call you that, my wife and dear life partner since 76 !, has been the only one who really understands me, perhaps since she is also somehow in-between traditional roles and happens to wear 95 % of the time what you could call half-overalls, carpenter-jeans, and before Susan contacted me, I still thought of being more or less alone, but now I know that there are people around the world, funny enough especially in the Southern States, who are living and thinking the same way, so there are still hope and when we have human minded politicians like Obama, yes, there are still hope for making good life, right here, with overalls, a good cup of coffee, have a nice weekend, and again thanks a lot to you overalls sisters for being friends, hope to see you all some time some place ! but blogs are a very good beginning for sure !

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Laury A. Bourgeois permalink
    August 15, 2009 11:51 am

    I say we start this year with International Overalls Day in our respective locations…wherever that may be-and next year-we have our 2nd annual International Overalls Day in our respective locations-BUT and add in an event where we try to get everyone who participated in both International Overalls Days to meet at one designated location for a big party! Could be fun!

  2. August 15, 2009 1:03 pm


    Another insightful post! I wore bibs my whole life. When I was a teenager, we cut them to knee length and called them “hog washers,” a name my mother used (in disgust) because the shortened version reminded her of growing up on the farm.

    Perhaps, the bibs are a link to my earlier bohemian lifestyle. When I was younger and in one of the first freshman classes of women at University of North Carolina, the other women dressed to impress the men, pearls with nice little sweaters and fitted skirts. They went to university to get a “Mrs. Degree” but I was there to get degrees in chemistry and physics. Maybe it was my first statement, so to speak. But, for so long I was unaware. I was focused on my goals.

    By 1969, I was stereotyped as a hippie. I never thought of myself as such because labels meant nothing to me. I was on the path to become a chemist and a physicist. Then, one summer day in June as a group of us were hitchhiking from L.A. to San Francisco I was asked to leave a gas station in Big Sur, because I was dressed in bibs and the owner designated me as a hippie. There was a hand painted sign on the front of the building “No Hippies Allowed.” Again, it was a perception.

    You are so right about the feminist movement, as it were. I left it as quickly as I burned my bra. It was too traditional. In our little groups of “anarchists” men assumed a male role and the women were supposed to look after the cooking, etc. It was the basic hunter and gathers roles. There was little equality within the groups.

    But, I kept my bibs. “Above all else, to thine own self be true.” As far as traditional roles, I must say Niels that my role is defined by my tradition now and it is to live my life [with an emphasis on live] in the manner that satisfies my inner needs. I have been blessed to find the man who loves me for more than cooking and cleaning. We share an ongoing love of science… even as it applies to my metal sculptures.

    As you know, I have heard people talking behind me or whispering about my attire, but you see, they don’t pay my bills and I owe them nothing.

    Perhaps Frederick Perls said it best:

    “I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped.”

    Now, I am off to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Woodstock! Cheers!

  3. bibprofessor permalink*
    August 15, 2009 1:38 pm

    Laury, yes, lets do that, why not an overalls festival !:) in New Orleans ?? I’m just dreaming, but dreams are the starting point for making it !
    Maya, thank you so much for your comments, it is such a support for me to hear your story in order to tell myself that I’m okay, even on campus next week when semester starts and when I’m wearing bibs ! and why not follow the tradition of Woodstock with an overalls festival next year !
    lol niels

    • August 15, 2009 2:04 pm

      I’m all for a party in New Orleans! Whoo – Hooo!
      And, almost everyone will be wearing overalls to the party this afternoon in celebration of Woodstock.

      On a more serious note, if such exists, Niels, I’m okay, you’re okay, Laury is okay… Perhaps, it is as a neighbor once said about my husband and me “They don’t march to the beat of a different drummer. They have their own symphony!” I said, “Thank you” upon hearing the comment.

  4. bibprofessor permalink*
    August 15, 2009 2:11 pm

    yes, you are so right, (btw actually my son is composer and composing his own symphony literally !), and have a nice party, and if you are not already gone and if possible it could be fantastic with some photos from your Woodstock party !

  5. Laury A. Bourgeois permalink
    August 17, 2009 4:45 am

    Okay, okay…sounds like we’re going to have to work on this New Orleans thing! It could happen-so much dangling for me but you never know where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing. But the wheels are turning, and regardless of whether it’s at my house on Columbus Street or at one of the homes of my many friends who would love to host such an event…we can make it happen! Do you hear that symphony playing? I’m not sure about the tune, I think mine would be Moon River!

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