The invitation to participate introduced me to the world of women running and the amazing history of the Boston Marathon. At the bottom of this post you will find a number of books that I read while preparing for this show, and which I found really interesting!
Thank you Mim Fawcett, the musuem director, and the wonderful staff at the Attleboro Arts Museum for including my work in this provacative and inspiring show.
|'she rns ...' organic embroidery, beads and wire (2016)|
At this year's Golden Globe, Oprah Winfrey told how life-changing it was to watch Sidney Poitier accept the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Award. To see a black man celebrated on TV enlarged what this young black girl believed that she could accomplish in the world. Many minorities speak of the importance of seeing themselves represented in successful and significant roles. This was true for women's running. As recent as the mid1960's, it was socially unaccepted for women to run. It was widely believed that it was dangerous for women to run, especially long distances; women didn't have the physical endurance, their uterus would be dislodged and fall out, running would prevent healthy pregnancies, women who ran would become unattractive, develop muscles and extensive body hair.
Men were making these assumptions and rules and many women believed them and repeated them. In 1983 I was jogging in my hometown and I was flagged down by a neighbor, a younger woman whom I admired and who I believed was openminded about women's roles. However she stopped me to warn me that running was dangerous, "women's organs are held up by spider webs and running can rip these webs." I didn't stop jogging, however, her words haunted me. My family was not athletic and I didn't know of many women athletes.
But fortunately there were many trailblazers in women running who were challegning these untruths; Julia Chase who in 1961 at the age of 19 challenged the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)'s ban on women from competing officially in all U.S. road races; Arlene Pieper, who in 1959, became the first American woman to run the 26.2 mile distance, finishing the Pike’s Peak Marathon in 9:16; Roberta 'Bobbi' Gibb, the first women to run the Boston Marathon in 1966 and Kathrine Switzer who brought much attention to women's running in 1967 as the press witnessed and photographed Switzer being physically accosted by marathon officials because she was running with an official number. These are just a small number of women who courageously challenged societal norms and broke rules. Because of these trailblazers any woman, young or old, fast or slow, competitive or not, can lace up their running shoes and run.
"I hadn't intended to make a feminist statement," said Gibb. "I was running against the distance [not the men] and I was measuring myself with my own potential." http://www.marathonguide.com/history/olympicmarathons/chapter25.cfm
I wanted to share some of the wonderful reads that I discovered while doing research for my pieces for #alongdistancerelationship exhibit at @theattleboroartsmuseum. I truly fell down the rabbit hole of research & loved every page!! I started reading about the Boston Marathon & then moved to women running! If I was asked to recommend one I would say ‘the long run’ by Catriona Menzies-Pike, but all of these were informative & enjoyable. #bookrecommendations#bostonmarathon #researchjunkie #rabbithole#womenrunning #womenwhorun #kvswitzer#catrionamenziespike #thelongeun #ambyburfoot#billrodgers #rebekahgregory #survivor#bobbigibb #goodreads #ilovelibraries #
thank you & peace,