Transcript for the Piece Audio version of The Feminist and Her Daughter
NINA ROSSI VISITS HER MOTHER ALICE -- A RAIL THIN BUT STILL COGENT WOMAN -- EVERY SUNDAY FOR TEA, BUT THEIR RELATIONSHIP HASN'T ALWAYS BEEN CLOSE. IN THE SIXTIES AND SEVENTIES, ALICE WAS A NATIONALLY-RENOWNED FEMINIST AND SCHOLAR ? HEAD OF THE AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, FOUNDING MEMBER OF NOW, AUTHOR OF A SEMINAL BOOK CALLED THE FEMINIST PAPERS. LOOKING BACK, ALICE ADMITS THAT AS SHE WAS TRYING TO SAVE THE WORLD?S WOMEN, SHE MAY WELL HAVE LET HER OWN DAUGHTER SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS.
Title: rossi ax - critical years
Out-cue: shortcuts in parenting]
[there was a period of nina's life that i felt that i was critical, where i was a neglectful parent. bc of the busy-ness of my life, and i took shortcuts in parenting]
SITTING TODAY IN ALICE?S AMHERST HOME, AS HER MOTHER?S MEDICAL TUBES CRISS-CROSS THE LIVING ROOM -- NINA REMEMBERS THOSE PRE-TEEN YEARS.
Title: rossi ax - typewriter
[N: i would have been happy with a mother who was making rice krispie treats, I'm sure. ?0:16:29.4
i think i resented all of her activities. i can remember actually just sitting outside your study door, 0:19:16.4 crying, and not being able to break in ... and just that steady drumming, thumping, of the selectric IBM typewriter..unceasing]
WHILE ALICE ROSSI WAS WRITING PAPERS ON GENDER STEREOTYPES, JOB DISCRIMINATION, AND CO-PARENTING..... NINA WAS FALLING APART.
Title: rossi ax - dropping out
[N: i actually ended up dropping out of high school, ?, worked on a wharf for five years, ? i was very alcoholic at the time and had been since i was fifteen, 0:17:15.9 was involved in a nine year abusive relationship?. But I sobered up. I turned around.]
for DECADES, NINA ? NOW AN ARTIST LIVING IN TURNERS FALLS -- DIDN'T TALK TO HER MOTHER ABOUT HER RESENTMENTS. THEN A FEW YEARS AGO, ALICE WAS WRITING HER MEMOIRS, AND ASKED NINA TO COMMENT ON THE GALLEYS.
Title: rossi ax - alice the heroine
Description: nina and alice
Out-cue: to your family?] [FADE DOWN AFTER THAT]
[:12:51.1 i felt they were too much of alice the heroine, too much success in every endeavor, not enough darkness and humanity. ?-- what was your reaction to that feedback?
A: oh, i thought deep and hard about it, and it hit a very vital point?... 0:14:02.1 and i had some responsiblity for future historians, or future women who read my work but don't know the person there has a dark side?.
*N: why did you just phrase it as your responsiblity to future women and blah, blah, blah, instead of your responsiblity to me? or to your family? (fade under)]
ALICE AND NINA OFTEN TUG AT EACH OTHER LIKE THIS, FROM OPPOSING SIDES OF THE PERSONAL VERSUS THE POLITICAL. NINA WORKS PART TIME SO THAT SHE CAN BE HOME MORE FOR HER TEENAGE BOYS, WITH WHOM SHE'S VERY CLOSE. ALICE CONSIDERS NINA A GREAT MOTHER.... BUT SHE WONDERS IF NINA REALIZES THE PRESSURES ON PROFESSIONAL WOMEN IN THOSE YEARS BEFORE THE WORK-FAMILY CONFLICT BECAME REGULAR TALK-SHOW FODDER.
Title: rossi ax - not backing up1
Description: rossi ax - not backing up
[what i was really trying to do, and not doing very well, was being feminist in my politics, and in my professional writing , but in my home, i was trying to hold onto as much of the traditional female role as possible, partly bc my husband was so work obsessed. 23:56 that he wasn?t there for the children?. He wasn?t backing me up in terms of picking up the slack in our family relationships.
from nina's point of view, it's me. you don't hear her saying the same thing about her father.*0:26:28.0]
NINA?S FATHER, PETER ROSSI, WAS A UMASS SOCIOLOGOY PROFESSOR KNOWN FOR HIS WORK ON RACE RELATIONS . AFTER HE DIED IN 2006, NINA REGRETTED HAVING NO RECORDINGS OF HIM, AND THAT?S WHY SHE ASKED HER MOTHER TO MAKE A VIDEO MEMOIR TOGETHER. THEY HIRED TURNERS FALLS VIDEOGRAPHER CARLYN SALTMAN, AND SINCE AUGUST, THEY?VE BEEN TRYING TO MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME -- EXPOSING THINGS PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL FOR THE FIRST TIME. FOR EXAMPLE, ALICE TOLD HER DAUGHTER OF THE EVENT THAT FIRST MADE HER A FEMINIST ? WHEN SHE LOST AN ACADEMIC JOB TO A LESS QUALIFIED MAN.
Title: rossi ax - job discrimination
Description: rossi ax - job discrimination
and that totally changed my perspective, in my identity as a feminist, and in my poltical activity, and in what i wrote -- first thing i wrote was, job discrimination and what you can do about it.0:08:03.0 and for the atlantic monthly.
ALICE WORKED HARD TO BREED OUT GENDER STEREOTYPES IN HER OWN FAMILY. SHE FORBID HER DAUGHTERS FROM PLAYING WITH BARBIE DOLLS -- WHICH MAY EXPLAIN WHY NINA BOUGHT BARBIES FOR HER OWN SONS, WHO WEREN'T ACTUALLY ALL THAT INTERESTED.
Title: rossi ax - barbie feet
Description: rossi ax - barbie feet
[because i had this unfulfilled barbie desire ?.
... i got to put those tiny shoes on those totally deformed feet. that was fun.
a: (laughing) i wasn't aware of this!]]
STILL, NINA SAYS SHE MUST HAVE ABSORBED SOME OF HER MOTHER?S FEMINIST SENSIBILITY. NINA WAS A LONGSHOREMAN ON CAPE COD?.. SHE USED TO MANAGE AN AUTO-PARTS STORE ?..SHE NOW BUILDS WHEELCHAIRS?. ALL TRADITIONAL MALE DOMAINS? BUT SHE HAS NEVER CALLED HERSELF A FEMINIST.
Title: rossi ax - feminist - nina
Description: rossi ax - feminist - nina
[n: ? it's accumlated some connotations over time that it didn't have when my mother first called herself a feminist. 0:45:37.3 now it has this strident connotation, a little man-hating or whatever. ]
BUT WHILE NINA MAY NOT GO TO THE KIND OF MARCHES HER MOTHER'S GENERATION MADE FAMOUS..... SHE DOES USE HER ART TO EXPRESS HER POLITICS. ONE SHOW WAS ALL ABOUT THE SOCIAL COSTS OF GAMBLING. ALICE SAYS SHE NOT ONLY ADMIRES HER DAUGHTER'S ARTISTIC SPIRIT -- SHE'S LONG HARBORED A DECIDEDLY UNFEMINIST WISH FOR NINA.
Title: rossi ax - rich husband1
Description: rossi ax - rich husband
[* i always thought that this daughter should marry a very wealthy man?she could spend her life time, aside from her deep investment in parenting, if she wanted just in front of a canvas. ?. sometimes i would think this and then laugh at myself!]
OVER THE COURSE OF THEIR RECENT CONVERSATIONS, THOUGH, NINA SAYS SHE'S DEVELOPED A GREATER APPRECIATION FOR WHAT FEMINISTS LIKE HER MOTHER -- BEFORE AND SINCE -- ACHIEVED. AND IT'S HELPED HER UNDERSTAND THE COSTS SHE HAD TO BEAR AS THE DAUGHTER OF AN ACTIVIST.
Title: rossi ax - astounding, diff choice
Description: rossi ax - diff choices
[it's rather astounding how things have changed, that not so long in the scope of history that women were prevented from owning property and voting and other things we take for granted now. i guess in my own life i've made difference choices regarding that balance between family and professional life, ?. ? but -- i'm not sure, if i was in the position to make as much of a difference as my mother was, maybe i'd choose the other way. i don't know.]
NINA AND ALICE PLAN TO DISTRIBUTE THEIR VIDEO MEMOIR TO THREE GENERATIONS OF ROSSI WOMEN. FOR WFCR AND WNNZ, I?M KAREN BROWN.Back