by Martha Allen
EXPANDING NETWORK OUTREACH THROUGH VARIOUS
FORMS OF MEDIA
With the possible exception of Ms. Magazine, none of
the women-owned and run periodicals for and about women that arose
between 1968 and 1983 approached mass audience outreach. Reaching
large audiences required not only expensive technology of distribution
but also the ability to withstand an often derogatory characterization
of women and the women's movement by the established mass media
seemingly intent to discourage the public from supporting or even
listening to them.
Nevertheless, women believed that their communication networks had the potential for mass outreach if they could work together in a conscious effort to expand to new audiences. The honeycomb-like structure of their communication networks, especially into single-issue areas and special identities, gave the movement great textural strength to survive attacks. But for increased unity in facing attacks, many women felt the need for yet another level of communication: a network of their periodicals. They sought to establish such a network of networks, and at the same time to expand their audience, by using other forms of communication with wider outreach, such as broadcasting, records, film, and videotapes.
Women had made some attempts from the outset both to combine their more limited print circulations into a larger network and to explore media other than print that could extend their communication to still more women. We now examine these two approaches, looking first at the efforts of periodicals to combine their forces through the formation of news services and distribution systems that they hoped would facilitate the exchange of information among them, and then later look at the concurrent use of other media forms.
A total of 15 women's news services appeared in the years up through 1983. One of the earliest of these news service efforts was the Associated Women's Press begun in 1973. It was formed by five California periodicals and included multi-issue, single-issue, and special identity periodicals: Sister, Womanspace Journal, Lesbian Tide, Momma, and Women & Film. "Distribution companies are less than enthusiastic to 'push' our women's publications," the Associated Women's Press wrote in Sister.
"The AWP is beginning to contact various
organizations, publications, and receptive retail outlets in other
cities. [H]opefully, we will all be able to create a distribution
network that will function in a reciprocating way -- sharing some
service and distribution power with each other nationally.
"As soon as some of our more immediate plans are facilitated, we will pursue developing some of the services and programs that women in publishing have anxiously thought about for years -- such as a women's news service -- an information service that would send pertinent news all over the country that will offer all women's publications a viable alternative to male operated distributing."
During this same year, 1973, eleven periodicals began meeting
in Columbus, Ohio to establish the Feminist News Exchange "to
fill an immediate need for timely national news," they said,
"until a more solid national feminist news service can be
formed." The eleven publications devised a system of paying
50 cents per story and $1.00 per photo used to any member sending
material as soon as it was written. "Members would exchange
subscriptions with other members," they stated, "and
freely permit the reprinting of already published material without
charge, as many of us are already doing." Membership was
open to all feminist newsletters, newspapers, journals and magazines,
and to feminist sections and caucuses on alternative publications.
A $5 fee covered a year's worth of mailings.
In early 1974 a graduate student at Stanford University organized the Stanford Women's News Service in reaction to the "treatment accorded women in the media [and] the nearly non-existent news," especially in the campus newspaper. "Women are in a state of transition, and," said one member of the volunteer five-woman staff of the News Service, "they need to know what other women are doing."
None of these three efforts survived, for lack of resources, but in August 1975 at the National Radical Feminist Conference, another attempt was made. One goal of the Conference was "the establishment of a national communications network in the form of the Feminist News Service."
"At that time a group of feminists began preliminary planning for a news service, talked to the women on the staff of Liberation News Service in New York City and women who had founded and run the Feminist News Service in Canada," reported the October 6, 1976 Feminist Newsservice Newsletter, in describing the background of the Feminist News Service.
Women faced the difficulty of how to obtain rapid exchange of news. Mass media was seen as unreliable but women's media could not provide news in a timely manner. The Feminist News Service could remedy this situation by facilitating the exchange of news and by reducing the time span involved in the exchange. Stories could be sent to the central office of the service where they would be compiled, duplicated, and mailed out in packet form to members. Print media would be used initially, because of its low cost, but the women hoped the service would evolve in the future into an exchange of radio and video tapes in addition to print.
At the1976 Women in Print Conference held in Omaha, Nebraska, the Conference participants formally established the Feminist News Service that had first been proposed and discussed at the National Radical Feminist Conference in Pennsylvania the previous year. The women at the Omaha meeting, in officially launching the Feminist News Service, formed12 task forces by subject matter to work on developing the News Service and to share the work in building it on a cooperative basis.
The women, facing the problem of how to make such a news service a functioning reality despite their very limited resources, wrote:
"The operating structure that we had on
paper was almost the same that the Canadian women were using and
discovering was ineffective. We were both relying on women who
were already working on a feminist publication to be the main
sources of news writers. We also realized that organizing an effective,
workable newsservice would require more time, energy and commitment
than we could give ourselves and therefore presented the idea
of spreading the work and the responsibility and hence the power
of a newsservice to a larger group of feminists."
This news service also did not succeed, but the attempt revealed not only how much women's periodicals felt the need for mutual assistance but also what the problems were that stood in the way of reaching a larger audience.
Specialized news services sometimes arose as periodicals, as noted in chapter five, served, for example, as legislative news services. Additionally, in chapter six we saw several news services formed by religious group efforts: the National Sisters Communication Service, "a national liaison and resource office in communication for 140,000 American Catholic sisters"; and the periodical A-CROSS that later began A-CROSS Syndication in 1978 to reach 4,000 Episcopal and Roman Catholic readers. The Information Center on the Mature Woman in New York established a syndicated service of feature stories and columns serving 1,600 newspapers in the United States and Canada utilizing materials relating to interests of over-forty women.
Alice Downey began a news service on women's health in New Hampshire in 1977 and a later news service, the Women's International Resource Exchange Service (WIRES), began to circulate information about the lives of women of color internationally. FarmWoman developed FarmScan, an "instant news service by telephone" in 1979.
In 1977, Feminists for Media Rights planned a news service, in settlement of their petition to deny a government license renewal to Lancaster, Pennsylvania's WGAL-TV, challenged on the grounds of discrimination and monopoly. They negotiated $50,000 seed money to explore the establishment of a women's news service. However, no ongoing news service resulted from the effort.
The most successful and still continuing news service has been the weekly HER SAY, founded in 1977 by Marlene Edmonds. She was then working for Zodiac, a news service for broadcasters, and was able to select out and develop its news stories relating to women. She and a group of other women in August 1980 then also founded the Women's News Institute, a nonprofit organization which became HER SAY's publisher. The service provided 20-30 general news stories each week, including a regular"Legal Update" page reporting on cases in the U.S. and other countries involving women's rights. The service was aimed primarily at broadcasters and established print media, but was widely used by women's periodicals.
Book publishing appeared to women as another possible way to extend their outreach. Books not only stayed in print longer, but they had the possibility of obtaining major media notice that would result in mass distribution.
Such was the case with the Boston Women's Health Collective's Our Bodies Ourselves. It began with a small discussion group on "women and their bodies" at a women's conference in Boston in the spring of 1969. The group planned as a summer project to research topics relating to their bodies, to write papers about what they could learn, and to present them in the fall as a course in women and their bodies. The women described these results:
"After the first teaching of the course, we decided to revise our initial papers and mimeograph them so that other women could have copies as the course expanded. Eventually we got them printed and bound together in an inexpensive edition published by the [nonprofit] New England Free Press. It was fascinating and very exciting for us to see what a constant demand there was for our book. It came out in several editions, a larger number being printed each time [final total: 250,000 copies], and the time from one printing to the next becoming shorter. The growing volume of requests began to strain the staff of the New England Free Press. Since our book was clearly speaking to many people, we wanted to reach beyond the audience who lived in the area or who were acquainted with the New England Free Press. For wider distribution it made sense to publish our book commercially."
The first Simon and Schuster edition published in 1973 sold
11,000 hardcover copies and 850,000 in paperback. A second edition,
revised and expanded, was issued in 1976. The women had sought
and finally found a publisher willing to accept a contract with
them that would reserve control over publishing decisions to the
Collective and that would provide for equal representation of
Collective members, a price low enough for ordinary people, unlimited
copies at cost for free distribution by health groups, and a special
discount price for clinics. By 1975, the book had been published
in Japan and Italy and was about to come out in six European countries.
A Spanish edition was out in 1977.
However, most publishers in these years had not yet discovered the saleability of women's books, and 136 women's publishers arose in the years up through 1983 to meet the demand for a wider exchange among them of information for and about women. Describing women's publishers who attended the first Women in Print conference held in 1976 in Nebraska, Kay Ann Cassell wrote:
"They publish books on controversial subjects
before the large publishers are ready to tackle them. And they
publish works with a feminist point of view. Some of the issues
first dealt with by the feminist press include women's sexuality,
lesbiansim, rape, abortion, and sexism in printed materials. The
feminist publishers have also contributed to the history of women
by reprinting older works by women that have been out of print
or never published."
In 1970, the Women's Press Collective in Oakland, California emerged as perhaps the earliest of the women's presses, printing and publishing original work that wouldn't be printed elsewhere. Financing each new book with the profits of the last, the Press slowly expanded its capacity with new equipment, paying minimal wages and maintaining a collective structure.
Another of the earliest women's presses, and one which has survived to the present, was the Feminist Press, begun in 1970 by Florence Howe with a group of feminists in Baltimore. "We began with the idea of producing pamphlets about women, individuals in groups, famous and unknown," they stated. "The Feminist Press has been organized also to support and encourage women to write, to edit, to design and produce pamphlets." In their 1973 catalogue they wrote:
"One of the most profound and exciting
changes produced by the American feminist renaissance has been
a new style of vision. Individually, and together in small groups
and large organizations, we have realized that in the past we've
been seeing only half a world, and doing our looking through others'
eyes. Feminism, for all of us, at some point became an eye-opening
"When we began looking at the world in this new way, a great deal needed changing. All the books in the libraries that distorted our new discoveries would have to be contested, ultimately transformed. And books that had never seen light of day (women's silences!) would have to be written. What we needed, really, was no less than a full-scale feminist cultural revolution, generating a new literature to incorporate our new vision.
"That revolution is now underway."
Their 1976 catalogue stated: "The Feminist Press is unique
among publishing houses in that we and you form a growing
network of people all over the country concerned with educational
change." According to its 1977 catalogue, their publishing
list had grown to 40 books by that year, their staff to 24, and
mailing list to 40,000. In addition to publishing books, the Feminist
Press engaged in a variety of networking and educational activities
such as consulting with school systems, publishers and librarians;
speaking to audiences of students, teachers and parents; providing
a clearinghouse on women's education; and teaching courses in
publishing and children's literature.
Another early press was Daughters, Inc., organized in 1972 by two women who published five books in their first year. All of Us Press, a collective in the Northwest, began in 1973 with five books. "After sales cover the cost of a given publication," they stated, "the collective will see that the author or artist gets part of the profit." Wollstonecraft, Inc., began in 1973 in Los Angeles with three books. "One of us supervises the editorial side, another is responsible for design and production and our lawyer covers the contractual and business functions. But all three of us form the editorial board, share equally in the basic decisions."
Diana Press, another early press that focused on writings by black, working class and lesbian women, was founded in Baltimore in 1972: "Diana Press sees itself as part of the growing women's communications network of periodicals, presses and bookstores." In 1977, having moved out to California, Diana Press met disaster after five years of successful publishing. Vandals destroyed thousands of copies of its books and poured paint, ink, chemicals and solvent into their machines, presses, and typesetting composers, making it impossible to do commercial work to obtain money. Two years later, the press suspended publishing.
"We must control our means of communication and support each other as we do it," said Deborah Snow, one of the founders in 1976 of Persephone Press. "I dare say that if the first wave feminists had created their own publishing houses, feminism would have been much further along." Persephone books -- more than a dozen -- sold in large numbers, for example 12,000 copies of Wanderground, 5,000 copies of reprinting of Matilda Joselyn Gage's 1893 Woman, Church and State, and 8,000 of the Coming Out Stories with a 20,000 second printing. However, Persephone was unable to survive the economic demands for investment capital and closed eight years later.
The most successful presses were those which, as in the case of periodicals, served as a communication network for women concerned about a single issue and for special identity women. Besides the Feminist Press, which served an educational need for women's studies courses, there were, for example, the Chicago Women's Graphics Collective, which began in the late 1960's to publish feminist posters; Naiad Press publishing lesbian fiction; the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press, publishing materials on women and media beginning in 1972; Cassandra, publishing books and tapes in the area of feminist philosophy, spirituality, and creativity; The Temple of the Goddess Within, publishing Goddess-oriented books; Coalition on Women and Religion, which published The Woman's Bible and other materials; Nanny Goat Publications, publishing women's comic books with sexual humor; Helaine Victoria Press, publishing history-oriented postcards and materials; Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, founded in September 1980; the Womyn's Braille Press; and the National Clearinghouse on Marital Rape. Each of these filled a specialized need for the exchange of women's information, and they have been successful presses.
There were numerous other women's publishers through these years, some which lasted and some, usually for lack of money, which did not, but most of them also filled specialized needs, and in doing so they further strengthened the movement in the same way that the specialized periodicals had done. "An independent publishing network is crucial to feminist power and survival, "Celeste West of Booklegger Press stressed. "It is a 'research and development' garden, where we test and refine radical, system-shaking ideas -- for example: pornography, harassment, rape and abuse as male tools of social control; housework as exploited labor; lesbian bonding." Just as periodicals had been a place where women could share experiences and information in order to formulate a strategy of action to overcome the challenges facing women, book publishing served a similar invaluable role. "Most well-known feminist writers gratefully acknowledge their debt to being first published in women's media and/or being vitally encouraged by the audience which women's media built," West stated. "Women must continue to support our own media so they will still be here when the commercial publishers lose interest or become too threatened."
The most serious problem always was distribution. Distribution was particularly difficult when the intended readership was the entire population but easier when books were aimed at a well-defined group with a specialized periodical press to help the word reach a book's most likely purchasers.
The distribution problem had also been apparent to periodicals. Ragwomen Distributors, in fact, was founded in order to get feminist periodicals, such as the multi-issue Majority Report, on the newsstands in New York City. Ragwomen Distributors serviced nearly 300 newsstands, bookstores and record stores. All women's media felt distribution to be a particularly acute problem but book publishers saw periodicals as part of the solution. Diana Press wrote to women's periodicals: "We at Diana Press are terribly dependent on women's periodicals for spreading the word about us. We are still in the slow and painful process of building up a women's distribution network which can get the word out. Women's periodicals are a crucial link in that distribution network. Reviews, notices and short descriptions in your periodical are often the only way thousands of women outside the large cities ever know that we exist. Last year through this network, 30,000 women bought The Liberated Woman's Appointment Calendar."
In 1974 three women formed Women in Distribution (WIND) to meet women publishers' distribution problems because, they said, "there has been such an upsurge of woman-produced and woman-oriented products such as books, calendars, periodicals, records and posters. It will be our job to get your book (or other work), sell it to the bookstore, watch sales, and reorder from you when it is time."
WIND distributed to commercial retail outlets as well as within the women's movement. Their preview catalog exhibited 28 products ranging from books to history postcards, posters, quarterly journals and record albums. Writing in their first full catalog, WIND included a message to their retail outlets noting the uniqueness of the products:
"A very small percentage of what these
women write is published by the established press, art shown in
established galleries, or records produced by established record
companies. Many of these women would not go to the established
houses in the first place. And the establishment press is not
known for its ability or desire to reflect what is happening with
women in the world today although there is certainly a market
for such material.
"But women still publish and still record. They go to small independent presses and record companies. And 99% of the time they put out products of equal if not better quality than the large publishers. It is a fact that more tears, more sweat, and more care is placed in the production of these works. Women in Distribution was created to distribute those products. "
The 1977 WIND catalog said, "At the present time we handle over 400 titles -- books, records, and cards by women."
In July 1979, five years after it had begun, WIND had to close its doors. This action by the first and then still the only women's wholesale distributors of books and records by and about women was due to the financial effects of recent publishing practices of big publishers on small industry, said WIND, and to the financial position of WIND. "In many ways we were successful," the women stated. "Each year between 1975 and 1978 our sales doubled. Our list of titles increased from 30 in 1975 to 600 in 1979. The number of bookstores and libraries that regularly order from us rose steadily from 25 in 1975 to 600 in 1979." The big publishers were part of the problem, they said.
"Three years ago, many chain bookstores
and non-counter-culture bookstores started to acknowledge the
demand for books by, for and/or about women. Their usual suppliers
(trade publishers and distributors) did not have much to offer
in this area, so they were eager to find sources. Many of them
came to Women in Distribution. Since then, the large publishers
have recognized the market that exists for 'women's books,' and
have published many books to sell to that market. Some of these
books, covering everything from lesbian sexuality to women in
corporations, have been good, and some have been terrible. The
important point (from our point of view) is that in the eyes of
most buyers for 'straight' bookstores, the area of 'women's books'
and 'alternative lifestyle books' is now being covered by the
trade publishers. It is also true that less and less shelf space
is being given to small press books in women's bookstores."
Yet during these years up through 1983, over 22 smaller distributors of women's media arose, including not only books but also films, videos, albums, cassettes and artwork, moving these items into the hands of other women in the movement as well as into the hands of women who had not previously known of the existence of these materials. For instance, Pomegranate Productions in New York distributed books, albums, notecards, posters and buttons. Women's Resources Distribution Company in Philadelphia published and distributed artwork by women in the form of calendars, posters and greeting cards. Calliope Distribution in Atlanta distributed women's records and songbooks throughout Georgia. Serious Business Company in Oakland, California, was a distributor for independent women filmmakers. Amazon Reality, located in Oregon, distributed feminist books, posters, comic books, poetry, pamphlets, periodicals and other products, specializing in Northwest and West coast distribution. Genevieve Productions in Seattle distributed women's records, cassettes, songbooks and local-area books in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Vancouver, B.C. Many of these items were distributed to women's bookstores.
Women's bookstores and mail order firms played an important role in the overall successful operation of the communication networks. They carried both print media -- books and periodicals -- and other forms of media -- records and tapes, audio and video -- by and about women. Bookstores also were part of each Women and Print Conference. The 1981 Women in Print Conference was attended by representatives of 24 of the, in most instances, collectively-run 69 feminist bookstores in the country. More than 120 women's bookstores came into existence in the years up through 1983.
But bookstores, too, were sometimes confronted with insurmountable obstacles. The Small Business Administration denied Donna Loercher a loan to expand The Feminist Book Mart, her mail order business in non-sexist books, to include a book store outlet. She sued SBA on First and Fifth Amendment grounds, saying in her suit, "Mr. Elbaum [the district counsel for SBA] by telephone said he was concerned over the Book Marts' use of the word 'non-sexist.' He said this could be interpreted as 'political.' On July 2, 1975, the Central State Bank received SBA's final rejection letter. The only stated reason for determining that I was ineligible was that I sell books directed to the female or the so-called Feminist Movement." Although the District Court ruled on June 1, 1977 against the SBA, Donna Lercher by this time, over two years after she had applied for a Small Business loan, had gone out of business for lack of the loan.
Another important part of the distribution network was the library and numerous archives, such as the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women, the National Council of Negro Women's National Archives for Black Women's History, the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and the Third World Women's Archives. More than fifty special collections on women appeared in these years.
In the newly-formed National Council for Research on Women, 28 women's research and resource centers and libraries had begun cooperation by the end of this period for the development of a thesaurus of women's terms and an on-line data base, subsequently published in 1987, for making the communication networks accessible to women and to the general public.
In seeking to expand communication with other women, it was natural that women should turn to the use of radio. More than 33 women's radio groups were producing programs throughout the seventies and up through 1983. Among the earliest uses of radio were broadcasts devoted entirely to women's programming on special days -- usually International Women's Day, March 8, or Equality Day, August 26 commemorating the winning of the right to vote in 1920.
For example, in Trenton, New Jersey, on August 26, 1972, some 20 feminists handled all programming on radio station WPST-FM for 18 hours, from 6 a.m. until midnight. Five women took turns announcing, other women worked as sound technicians and coordinated commercials. Roving reporters interviewed people in Palmer Square. An evening panel discussed abortion, sex stereotyping, discrimination, the ERA, women in history, and other topics. The general manager admitted to Joan Bartl, who had first proposed the idea to him and had sold the sponsors on it, that he had been worried about the caliber of the programming. Afterwards he wrote the women, "After listening for practically the entire day, I not only found the caliber up to WPST standard, but actually better than we are in some times of the day and night. I hope that we may be able to put a similar program on the air in 1973." And they did.
Women at WBFO, public radio station in Buffalo, New York, devoted 20 hours March 8, 1974 to programming by women in celebration of International Women's Day and WUHY-FM Philadelphia scheduled 12 hours on March 8, 1973 and 18 hours of programming by women the next year.
More common were ongoing weekly or monthly programs, usually on public radio stations, produced and aired by women, such as Phyllis Sander's long-running "The Changing World of Women" in New York. WMFO's "Something About the Women," in Medford, Massachusetts, the largest time slot of any women's radio show in the Boston area, included both music, news, and public affairs, being careful "to find music that is non-sexist, non-racist, and non-homophobic," the women producers said. They also helped to get the word out to women, explaining:
"If there is an upcoming women's event
in Boston, such as a 'Take Back the Night' rally, topical songs
reflecting this event might be played in order to promote greater
awareness of these issues. Despite the diversity of issues covered,
the coordinators of 'Something About the Women' aim to make every
interview informational rather than adversarial."
Women across the country were producing programs. Airwave Women in Rhode Island produced a weekly show called "Women Face the Music," exploring women's perspective and culture through music, news and features. Women's Radio Collective in Connecticut produced a three-hour program once a week covering women's issues, historical and current, and women's music. The Ithaca Feminist Radio Collective in New York, a collective of women produced a feminist, anti-racist, anti-imperialist weekly radio program entitled, "Being Ourselves." Radio Free Women in Philadelphia, a women's collective, produced several programs, including one called, "Learning to Fly."
Sophie's Parlor Media Collective, a feminist radio collective in Washington, D.C., produced a program on WGTB-FM, and later on WPFW. Radio Free Feminists in Atlanta produced three shows per week. The Women's Broadcasting Group in Columbus, Ohio put together a weekly two-hour feminist program, learning and sharing broadcast skills. In Detroit, the Women's Radio Workshop produced a show about women and liberation. In Colorado the Women's Radio Collective produced a weekly one hour program of women's music, politics, and poetry. Starting in 1974, women at KOPN in Columbia, Missouri broadcast a half hour nightly news show and a two hour show on Sunday afternoons. Crystal Set Feminists called themselves a group of feminists "channeling womanings throught the airwaves." In 1979 "Breakthrough on the Air" was a weekly radio program on KPFT-FM in Houston, Texas, produced by the Texas women's newspaper, Breakthrough where women are news, which presented stories reported in the newspaper and featured interviews with reporters and news makers so that listeners would have an opportunity to find how news assignments and decisions are made. The Austin Feminist Radio Collective in Texas produced "Women on the Airwaves" and distributed it "to create a voice for the ideas, creations and concerns of women."
On the West Coast, five women produced programs of anarcho-feminists, socialist feminists, and lesbian-feminists in Venice, California. In Berkeley, the Women's News Collective at KPFA not only produced radio programming but organized to produce a cable television news program to begin in 1975. Also at KPFA Lesbian Sisters Radio Collective produced programming. The following year the same station aired the program "Unlearning To Not Speak" by a feminist collective which utilized interviews, documentaries, drama and music. In Seattle, a women's collective produced programming and affiliated themselves with the Great Western Radio Conspiracy, another women's radio collective in Seattle involved in the socialist and feminist movements. Seattle was also the home of the Lesbian Feminist Radio Collective which aired programs for KRAB-FM and exchanged or sold tapes at non-profit prices with others.
Ethnic women were able to not only be part of general women's programs, but in some cases to produce their own entire programs. In Detroit area, Adelante Mujer, Project: Latino, Directed by Dr. Palma Martinez-Knoll, was a Latino women-owned and operated media arts corporation which produced "bi-lingual, bi-cultural radio-TV programs of feminist ideology for Spanish-speaking women."
The Women's News Service was formed in Los Angeles to make news about women available for radio in half hour weekly or five minute daily segments. Two Los Angeles area stations broadcast the half hour show. "We feel that there are many informative, important and positive things happening in the community/nation that no one hears about -- that is what we report," the women said. "We are also directing our energies toward syndicating this program, and have made national contacts with several radio stations across the country.women's groups send us information from all over the country. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of WNS has been the enormous interest which we have encountered," they said.
WBAI-FM in New York City began at this same time soliciting information from women's groups across the country to provide women's news coverage in emphasizing political, social and cultural activists, including demonstrations, conferences and specialized data from working class groups, women of color, lesbian and heterosexual, and other women's movement groups with news.
Some of the radio programs produced by women locally across the country were distributed to other women seeking programming. The Kansas City Women's Liberation Union Radio Collective, for example, produced programs and distributed them through the Feminist Radio Network which had been formed in 1974. The five women of the Feminist Radio Network, who had been producing a weekly feminist radio program for two years, realized the importance of distributing women's radio programs and had as their basic goal not only to produce but to collect and distribute feminist radio programming nationwide.
The Feminist Radio Network, like most women's media, exhibited the characteristics described in detail in early chapters. The first characteristic, for instance, where women's media encourage other women to speak for themselves, directly to the public, was evident in the philosophy of the Feminist Radio Network and was reflected in the pages of their newsletter, Calliope.
"By eliminating the barrier of an intellectually aloof commentator who distorts and explains, feminists must demonstrate that we cannot act as interpreters for other women," they stated. "We need their voices telling of their own experiences, for it is not enough to do a show 'on' prostitution or office workers." This approach improved the actual radio programs, they stressed. "The best shows are the products of collaboration with the people who are directly involved." The Feminist Radio Network saw that the medium of "radio gives us a chance to speak directly to each other."
The second characteristic of women's media -- that of a collective structure -- was true of the Feminist Radio Network. "New members came into a collective, not just a job, and joined in the whole work effort," the Network women stated. "They were not simply assigned tasks. Their input was considered in decision-making, and each was trained in office management, equipment handling, and recording techniques." The third characteristic of most women's media, the analysis of mass media and understanding of its role relative to women, was also here in women's experience in radio: "The present political/cultural system uses its media to portray feminism as a series of unrelated, isolated issues. FRN feels strongly that feminists can reverse this confusing and manipulative process." Change could come through their own efforts, widening the characteristic activist role of women's media. "Feminist programming can replace the passive media-audience relationship with one in which the audience and participants are synonymous, and in which we can see the strength of our own lives reflected in our programming. Thus, to broaden the focus of feminist programming and analysis would be to redefine the effect of media on women's lives."
The sharing, noncompetitive approach and the "open forum" characteristic where all women were encouraged to participate, were also characteristics of women's work in this medium of radio. "We need to share our access to media technology and skills with many and diverse women so that programming focuses on the actual lives of women." Feminist Radio Network stated further:
"Feminist programming should appeal to
more than one segment of women. If we focus on wife abuse, for
instance, we must not assume that the problems are the same for
all women. A middle class woman may have more options in terms
of hiring a lawyer; her motivation for remaining in a bad situation
may be different from that of a lower class woman. A black woman
will probably encounter racism in her dealings with police and
social services, and may be better equipped psychologically to
make an independent life for herself if she leaves her husband.
Feminist programming must reflect the total spectrum of all women's
Feminist Radio Network women said they were excited to find the medium of radio conducive to the "open forum" characteristic of women's media, inclusive of all women. The Feminist Radio Network recognized that in the distribution of women's radio programs lay a significant new potential in forming communication networks among women. "More than any other media," they wrote, "feminist radio can reach an incredibly diverse cross-section of women, from farm house to urban housing project, including in its reach women who might never have any other contact with the ideas and activities and creations of the women's movement than what the straight media chose to give them."
Feminist Radio Network commented on some of the effects of radio programming:
"Programs on rape, housing, work, among
many others, can give women information and present a perspective
that is radical without being rhetorical. Such programs can introduce
the feminist women who work on an issue without the controlled
barriers set up by the straight media to monitor the message.
At the other end, a community women's radio program can be a real
and cohesive force in the feminist community, sharing news and
analysis, providing outlets for music and writing. This broadness
is one of the very exciting things about working in radio."
While work in the medium of radio was very exciting, the women producing their programs were isolated from others doing similar work and often noted a lack of support in their work environments. After writing to women producers, the Network reported the responses. "The results of your efforts reveal women in radio who exist on a day to day level of groping with hostile station administration, lack of money, knowledge, resources, power, and not least -- isolation from other women in radio." Building networks among women producing radio programs across the country became increasingly vital if women were to benefit from each others' experiences and ideas. The Feminist Radio Network stated:
"Our isolation from each other as feminists
in radio is a key problem which must be solved before we can really
begin to deal with these issues on more than a localized, sporadic
level. At best, feminists in radio are in committed collectives
supported by a feminist community but isolated from women doing
the same work elsewhere. Women working in other media, such as
film or print, have active networks and conferences for support
and sharing. At a real basic level, our work in radio is largely
inaccessible to each other, unlike newspapers, journals, or films
which circulate from community to community. This prevents us
from hearing each other's work on anything but a local level."
Working in a medium owned by others often imposed serious limitations on women's efforts to communicate. Feminist Radio Network raised the issue of male ownership and male control in radio:
"Perhaps the central problem that emerges
when women in radio analyze our situation is that the technology
and ownership of radio belongs totally to men (who may have differing
levels of hostility to or awareness of feminist issues). While
women in print media are able to attain a certain amount of autonomy,
for instance, publishing a newspaper or journal, women in radio
can only aspire, at the present time, to being granted a period
of time on either a male-owned or male-dominated station. Even
a progressive station will usually exercise certain controls on
the content of a women's show."
In Denver, the "Women Everywhere" Collective, with a weekly show on KFML, had continued difficulties, even after having reached an agreement with Station Manager Don Zucker that harassment of the show would cease. For example, one time the show was an hour late because the disc jockey claimed he couldn't find it, although it was always put in the same place; and another time it was not aired at all because it had "inadvertently" been used as a doorstop propping open the back door to the station. On still another occasion, the final song and the credits were left off; the disc jockey said he thought the show was over. Because of these and other acts, the Collective decided they needed to work on gaining control over their own on-the-air engineering.
Facing such limitations and frustrations, women in other parts of the country attempted to begin radio stations of their own. In 1974 a group of women in North Carolina formed Triangle Women's Radio and applied to the Federal Communications Commission for a permit to construct a 50-watt station "to meet the changing needs of the area's women." They explained their goals as follows:
"Because women have had minimal input into
broadcasting, the broadcasting media have had a narrow view of
"Among the goals of our public affairs programming for women are --
"-- To inform women of services in the area i.e., child care centers, family planning clinics, pregnancy and childbirth care, psychotherapy and crisis center, employment and educational services, women's centers.
"-- To provide women who are housewives and mothers with media which take the concerns of this occupation seriously.
"-- To provide women, especially growing girls, with role models
"-- To provide public exposure to women artists and entertainers, and reflection on women's experiences through the arts."
The FM frequency the women were applying for had been licensed to the University of North Carolina but the University had not operated it for over three years. However, when the women made their application, the University sought to re-operate the station and the FCC rejected the women's competing application.
A similar situation existed in television. There were a few programs on local TV stations such as "A Woman Is" on WRC-TV in Washington, DC, and "Your Place and Mine" on WCVB-TV, Boston, produced by Eunice West beginning in 1973. Network television had an occasional one-time show, such as Marlene Sanders' 1973 ABC documentary, "A Woman's Place," and in 1976, the first national network show on women's health produced by her with a nearly all-women crew. Starting in 1974 Joan Shigekawa produced "Women Alive," a national one-hour special produced monthly for public broadcasting. "WOMAN" was a regular TV show by Sandra Elkin in Buffalo in the mid-70's, also seen nationally. A regular three to six minute TV weekly news show by Phyllis Sanders was seen on WNYC-TV. In Chicago, the Women's News Service Project, which sought to expand TV coverage of individual events to stations not normally covering women's news, released their first regular evening news feminist show, "Women's News" in early 1974. Mesa Communications Group in Albuquerque produced "Women: Looking at Ourselves" in 1975, using film, videotape and still photography.
The limitations put on these shows, which were usually not replaced when ended, demonstrated to women that commercial television was not a feasible communication network for them. These shows served a valuable purpose in providing needed information to millions of women, and they "legitimized" the women's movement by making it an accepted subject for public discussion. But it did not provide a means for women to connect with each other, to communicate back and forth, or to exchange experiences, information, and ideas.
In 1978 three black and seven white women sold 30,000 shares of stock in three months -- 75% of it bought by women -- and applied to the FCC for a license to build and operate a television station in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as Bridgeways Communications Corporation. Outlining a programming responsibility to the entire community, "a meeting house of the air," with participatory broadcasting by the community, they also described to the FCC their planned daily live women's program "Women's Week Daily" which would establish communication among the women of Fairfield County. The originator of the idea was Laurel Vlock, television producer/moderator at WTNH-TV in New Haven and host of its weekly public affairs program. She had arrived home from the National Women's Conference in Houston in November 1977 to work on the idea that she had had for some time. "Houston showed me what women can do," she told friends whom she gathered to pool ideas and resources.
After being granted the construction permit in November 1980, the women began to raise the balance of the minimum $1.5 million needed to get on the air. Nearly ten years later, they still did not have their station sufficiently financed to begin broadcasting.
Frustrations also came in other media areas as women attempted, lured by the possible mass audiences, to use these other forms to build communication networks. The most promising of these other forms was cable television and the possibility of a cable television channel. In Memphis, Tennessee, a group of women saw the possibilities for women that lay in a cable TV channel. It appeared to them to be particularly well suited to the special characteristics of women's communications, and in 1972, before mass media corporations moved into cable ownership, obtaining a women's channel was entirely feasible.
By January 1973, Memphis women had organized the city across race, educational and economic barriers and submitted to the city a joint application by 69 women's (and a few mixed) organizations for a cable TV channel for women. Each participating group was excited by the chance to have a regular time for communication among their members and to the public. The organization was able to obtain commitments from the city and from each of the competing applicants for the city's cable franchise to lease to the women one of the many channels they each expected to have.
The women wished to provide Memphis viewers, they stated, "'alternative' women's programming of the sort not regularly available through existing TV outlets -- programming for and by women but not exclusively about women; programming which would express women's own perceptions of society today and examine the growing awareness of women's contributions to society; programming which, in sum would not trivialize the message nor patronize the viewer."
A network of women's cable channels was seen as the goal for the future. "Then it will be possible for a group of women's channels to cooperate in the creation, exchange, and syndication of programs; and in the marketing, on a multi-channel basis, of program and spot advertisements," the Memphis women explained. "That this is an idea whose time has come seems undeniable"
Three black women, one Hispanic, and a white woman, reflecting the racial makeup of Washington, D.C., followed the lead of the Memphis women and formed a Women in Cable group in that city. They began organizing on the same wide and cross cultural basis to obtain a women's channel in the city's then current plans to build a cable system.
"The notion of a women's channel boggled our minds," said one of the women. "Here, finally, would be a medium uniquely suited for us to communicate with each other." Five women incorporated to obtain legal status when it actually came time to lease a channel, and to apply for tax exempt status to qualify for foundation grants. In June 1973, Women in Cable was officially born. They formed a coalition of women's organizations throughout the city to promote a women's channel, making contact with over 100 organizations and holding workshops.
Similar efforts were begun by women in Baltimore, Maryland, Louisville, Kentucky, Albany and Rochester, New York, and Madison, Wisconsin. But none of the plans for a women's cable channel came to pass. The City of Memphis decided not to go forward with a cable TV system at that time, and the City of Washington, still then governed by Congress, decided to wait for the elected home rule government that was expected shortly before exploring the idea of building a cable system and cancelled its prospective hearings for which the women had been preparing.
A cable television channel would have allowed women within a geographical area to speak for themselves. It would have allowed women to communicate with each other. It would have provided the open forum women favored, and would have permitted the non-attack approach and collective structure for working together as equals with mutual respect. But the system as a whole was not in the hands of women; city councils were not interested. Nor were the cable companies holding the franchises for cable systems. Therefore women were forced to settle for less: individual programs on public access channels.
While it was not possible to obtain an entire cable channel, just as women had been unsuccessful at obtaining radio or television stations, women did succeed in producing regular cable programs across the country. In Memphis, women put several shows on the cable system in the early 1980's. In Capitola, California the Women's Video Express produced a weekly cable program "Women Around Us" and trained women in video production. They made their tapes available and requested tapes for networking. New York City obtained several cable programs, including the Feminist Party's "Feminist News & Analysis in NYC," a 30-minute interview show produced by Flo Kennedy and Irene Duvall in the late 1970's; and in the early 1980's "The Flo Kennedy Show" aired on Manhattan Cable TV as an interview program, with Lena Meyers of Black Women United for Political Action and women from the Feminist Party and the Coalition Against Racism and Sexism as associate producers. New York City also obtained a half-hour weekly cable program entitled "Womanland" in the late 1970's. The first television news show by, for and about women in business showed on cable TV in New York City to help businesswomen communicate with each other. The program, called "Women's Business," was produced in the mid-1970's by Dr. Sandra Brown, publisher of The Executive Woman. The program "Woman in Her Own Write" appeared as a weekly series of interviews with noted women in the arts and related professions on Teleprompter and Manhattan Cable TV, produced and moderated by Lenore Hildebrand.
Women's Video Productions produced videotapes by and about women for Syracuse University Cable TV and expressed interest in exchanging videotapes with other women doing similar work. In Ithaca, New York, Alternative Currents, utilizing interviews with feminist writers and artists, programmed feminist issues for cable TV. They produced the videotape "Women's Encampment for a World of Peace and Justice." In Madison, a cable TV series focused on issues, concerns, ideas, and talents of women. The weekly half-hour programs, "Portrait of Women," were produced and hosted by women of various organizations. Jean Rice of the National Organization for Women coordinated the series. Houston also had a twice monthly talk show on women's issues in the early 1980's. The Santa Cruz Women's Media Collective produced women's programming for cable TV since the mid-1970's, continuing into the 1980's. Sensor, in California, produced a weekly program on cable, syndicated nationally via satellite. Shows included "Chicana Artists" and "Self Defense."
The Women's Access Coalition was formed in the early 1980's as a greater Boston group of women's organizations and individuals. They lobbied for local cable women's programs produced by local women and for equal employment opportunities.
Although women media producers were characteristically aware that male-owned media had at best a disinterest in their communication needs, they learned again that even in the new technology, women seeking to expand their communication networks would be allowed by the male mass media owners only limited outreach.
Video, on the face of it, appeared to women to be a more accessible medium. It offered many of the characteristics women preferred in their communications media. It could be used in conjunction with cable or broadcast television or in the classroom or community. It was highly transportable and reproducible.
In 1971 women in Rochester, New York organized the Women's Television Project which "brings women together in a common desire to gather skills for personal expression, to produce information about and for women, and to create new images of women. Our programs evolve from the experiences of the participants."
The Women's Video Project was organized in 1973 in New York City. Its director Rochelle Shulman said: "The male media provided neither positive images of women nor adequate coverage of issues relevant to us. We have concluded that only when women are producers, directors, camerapeople, editors and so on, will the situation change." She explained:
"At present we are about twenty women working
together on issues as diverse as rape, sex education curricula
for the public schools, barmaids, and domestic workers. We have
a twice-weekly program on the public access channels in Manhattan.Women
who had never before come in contact with videoare now independently
producing.We are particularly interested in hearing from our sisters
working with video as a tool for social change."
A conference of feminist film and video organizations was called for February 1, 1975 in New York City by the organization Women Make Movies, which had been founded in 1972 "to increase our awareness of one another so we may develop strategies that will strengthen the influence of feminist media and better insure our common survival."
At the same time a call came for women filmmakers and video creators to meet March 29 and 30, 1975 in the Feminist Eye Conference to be held at the Woman's Building in Los Angeles " to challenge some of the traditional Hollywood notions such as hierarchical pay scales and alienating and sexist workstyles," to share videotapes and films, discuss strategy for changing the content of features and TV programs, and hold workshops on topics such as funding, the industry, independent and collective work, and distribution.
Out of the New York Conference came a plan for a network of "Videoletters" with the first presentation to coincide with the opening of the Los Angeles Feminist Eye Conference and to connect California, New York City, Chicago, Rochester, New York, and Tucson, Arizona, by exhanges of bi-monthly videoletters "to increase awareness of what is happening throughout the country, develop a feeling of closeness among women in different cities, encourage the growth and participation of an interested audience."
The New York Conference also produced this "Ongoing Manifesto":
"As feminists working collectively in film
and video we see our media as an ongoing process both in terms
of the way it is made and the way it's distributed and shown.
We are committed to feminist control of that entire process. We
do not accept the existing power structure and we are committed
to changing it by the content and structure of our images and
by the ways we relate to each other in our work and with our audience.
Making and showing our work is an ongoing cyclical process, and
we are responsible for changing and developing our approaches
as we learn from this experience.
"We see ourselves as part of the larger movement of women dedicated to changing society by struggling against oppression as it manifests itself in sexism, heterosexism, classism, racism, ageism, and imperialism. Questioning and deepening our understanding of words and of how language itself can be oppressive is part of the ongoing struggle. Within this struggle we want to affirm and share the positive aspects of our experience as women in celebration."
Numerous women's video groups emerged in the 1970's and 1980's throughout the country. Hermedia, for instance, was a multi-racial collective of women formed to document events and produce videotapes on issues of concern to women in New York City. Feminist Video Collective, formed in Madison, Wisconsin, in the mid-1970's, committed to offering alternative media by and about women. They were interested in exchanging tapes and information with other feminist media groups. Iris Video in Minneapolis was a production and distribution collective of independent videomakers, focusing on tapes about violence against women and women's responses, as well as other issues such as Native American women artists. The Women's News Project in Lake Forest, Illinois developed videotape prototypes of women's news shows in the mid-1970's. In Norman, Oklahoma, WDL Productions (Women's Defense League), a multi-ethnic women's video collective interested in fighting racism and homophobia, was available for travel and documentation of women's events. They also taught video workshops. Videographics in Denver produced documentaries about what women were doing and thinking. Radical Feminist Video Collective in Venice, California, produced videotapes on women's issues and events, both collectively and individually to encourage and facilitate women's media. Just Us Women's Video Collective in Berkeley was a nonprofit women's collective in the mid-1970's. It focused on producing videotapes of interest to women, participating in the International Women's Videoletters, and organizing video workshops.
Closely related to women's efforts to build communication networks through video were the efforts that women made in film. But there was a major difference. While the potential audience might be larger, the costs were so much greater as to limit any broad participation in this medium. And the opportunities for disaster and destructive harassment were also much more serious. Women filmmakers found it difficult, expensive and time-consuming to defend their work against giant corporations with great financial resources. They also found the distribution problems to be more serious than in the case of video or other media forms.
For example, Liane Brandon's "Anything You Want To Be," a film on sex stereotyping made in 1970-1971, was pirated by Extension Media Center, University of California, which sold and rented some 3,000 films. "In response to a growing demand for films about women," declared the Court in Brandon's suit against the Extension Media Center (EMC), the EMC "screened approximately fifty-five films, recommending that EMC purchase a dozen of them, including plaintiff's film." Ms. Brandon declined to sell them a print for rental purposes in October 1972. EMC then in 1974 obtained a film that had been made nearly identical, even to having the similar title "Anything They Want To Be" and marketed it. Liane Brandon's suit was a long and costly battle but resulted in an injunction against further sales by EMC of its imitation and a judgment of approximately $13,000 for Ms. Brandon, plus her legal costs. A.T. & T. had made a similar film, with the very same title, "Anything You Want to Be," but would not settle. Brandon then also had to sue A.T. & T. After nearly two more years, A.T. & T. agreed to pay damages and cease using her title.
"Ten years ago no large commercial distributor had a category that included women's films, nor were they willing to handle them," wrote Freude Barlett, a film director, in Camera Obscura, A Journal of Feminism and Film Theory.
"As a result, small specialty companies
were formed to fill the gap and to insure that the films were
promoted in a manner in keeping with the ideological spirit of
the content. In recent years its become much more typical to find
filmmakers going into distribution themselves.
"Most distribution companies handle films for which there is a ready market and immediately recognizable need for the subject matter contained in the film. Though the Women's Movement has brought about changes in the last 10 years -- some significant, some merely attitudinal -- it remains difficult to convince the public and university libraries that more than one or two titles are necessary for their collections to significantly represent the many issues to which feminist filmmaking addresses itself."
Despite difficulties in film production and distribution, more than 53 women's film groups came into existence during the years up through 1983. One of the earliest, and one still in existence, was the aforementioned Women Make Movies, founded in 1972 by Ariel Dougherty and Sheila Page to teach women production and script writing skills, produce films, and distribute women's films. In 1975 Women Make Movies, with several other women's media groups in New York, coordinated a national conference of women media organizations. "That [the Conference] is how we started to document that there were so many women's media organizations," stated Ariel Dougherty. "The focus was on organizational development more than individual artists and their development." The strengthening of the media organizations and the networking among them were seen as vital needs in the mid-1970's.
Women Make Movies was fortunate in obtaining funding grants and was able to pay its founders, who were the organization's key activists, as well as a woman who taught filmmaking classes and workshops. The need for training women and producing films relevant to women was constantly evident. Women Make Movies, for instance, received this letter illustrating the need for communication networks in film:
"I am a medical social worker for a Health
Department in the rural Mississippi delta area and work extensively
with poor, Black, unmarried pregnant women. I also counsel with
teens (in schools and family planning clinics) concerning sex
education, birth control and adolescent relationship issues.
"The films we have available through the Health Department are out of date, sexist, and boring. They depict white middle-class husband and wife gleefully awaiting the birth of their much-wanted child, and responsible and conscious white middle-class adolescents discussing sexuality and birth control in scientific terms. They never attack the real issues involved or present viable alternatives.
"... I need realistic, down-to-earth films with which the women in this area can identify: films on parenting, pregnancy, breast-feeding, birth control, sex education, relationships, education, identity, self-esteem, etc. They need to be about poor women, Black women -- films that reach the core of pride that all women possess."
New women's film groups continued to arise to answer this kind of need for women's communication. Michigan Women Film Makers, for example, produced an award-winning film in 1981 for the hearing-impaired to be able to enjoy a music festival. "See What I Say" featured feminist folk-singer Holly Near sharing the stage with interpreter Susan Freundlich. "This synchronized performance heightens the impact of her vision of a better world," explain the filmmakers. "As the film closes, Holly, Susan, and the concert audience sing and sign 'Harbor Me,' a ballad about women supporting one another. Holly then asks the audience to sign without singing. With the last piano refrain and an audience applause, See What I Say ends with a sense of shared communication between hearing and deaf cultures."
Artemisia, working with Women Make Movies, produced, in 1981, a film Surviva about rural women artists by Carol Clement and Ariel Dougherty. "This group of women, playing themselves in the film, share and support each other's artwork [and] organize the first women's show. Surviva reveals the evolution of [one artist's] life and her work from an isolated artist to one collaborating on projects in the community."
In order to make it possible for more people to see the films being produced by women, a National Women's Film Circuit organized in 1977. The nonprofit collective of five women based in Washington, D.C. dedicated themselves "to building a strong, self sustained feminist media." The National Women's Film Circuit was a project of Moonforce Media, a non-profit company formed to promote, distribute and produce films by and about women. They selected films for the First Circuit packages from over 100 entries and were seen in 40 different cities from New York to Los Angeles and from Maui, Hawaii to Athens, Georgia.
Becoming increasingly aware of the need for networking for survival, women's film groups continued to arise during the 1970's. The Women's Film Co-op (Women's Image Takeover, Inc.) in Northampton, Massachusetts distributed women's films and a catalog of all films relevant to women, which included a bibliography of articles on media and film festivals. Filmwomen of Boston in Cambridge was a resource center/clearinghouse for women involved in all aspects of film and video production. Eggplant Productions in Hartford, Connecticut offered creative production of film, video and still photography, communicating women's history, issues and interests. In New York City alone numerous film groups emerged, including Women's Film Collective, Herstory Films, Women/Artist/Filmmakers, On the March Productions, Pandora Films, Texture Films, Climbing Irons, Cinema Femina, and Women's Independent Film Exchange.
In Washington, D.C., the International Women's Film Project focused on films on the role of women in Latin America. Women in Film and Video, a professional organization committed to increasing opportunities for and recognition of women working in film and videotape, affiliated with chapters in New York City, Los Angeles and Atlanta. In Minnesota, a collective that was organized in 1970 for women to learn filmmaking and share ideas was incorporated in 1976 as Femme Films for the purpose of distributing their own and other Minnesota women's films. The New Mexico Feminist Filmmakers Collective in Santa Fe produced films, including pre-production work, about women and by women of all ages. Their apprentice program was designed especially for Chicano and Indian women.
In Hollywood, the Women's Film Educational Project, later called Myth America in the Movies, disseminated information in the 1970's on women's contributions to film, both in front of and behind the camera. The women produced a slide/lecture presentation on stereotypes, as well as a monthly film bulletin. A women's film production company called Big Time Film Productions arose in the San Francisco Bay area to produce progressive films about women. Femedia III (Feminist Media Third-World), directed by producer Marta Segovia Ashley, was a feminist film/video collective that programmed dramas on rape, mental health and women's issues for educational television. IRIS Films, first operating in Los Angeles, and by 1979 out of Berkeley, produced and distributed women's films. Also in Berkeley, Godmother Productions was a women's company making feature films, as well as films for television. The Santa Cruz Women's Media Collective was a group of filmmakers and video creators producing films and video programs on cable television.
Women's multi-issue periodicals, as well as the film and media periodicals, promoted the efforts of filmmakers to show and distribute their films. Women's film festivals, such as the First Women's International Film Festival held in 1973 in Washington, D.C., were reported in detail. The purpose of a two-week local festival held in Washington, D.C., was to "show the reality of women in a male-dominated world and through the camera lens to find reflections of ourselves." The periodical off our backs printed the experiences of the festival producers for the benefit of other women who might wish to undertake similar projects.
The continued existence of women's film groups became more difficult as funding to the arts was cut in the 1980's. For example, from 1982 to 1983 the National Endowment on the Arts funding of women's arts organizations, which included film, dropped by 35 percent. The decline in support for filmmaking by women, so important in such an expensive medium, affected the survival of numerous groups.
Women's most successful area for building communication networks to expand their outreach by using non-print media forms came in the medium of music. The potential for linking women and conveying their messages to each other and to other women was apparent from the early success of "Virgo Rising," a collection of songs about women, produced by filmmaker Mollie Gregory, and perhaps the first major album to be produced, directed, engineered, composed and sung, as well as distributed by women.
The album had begun as an idea for a film. Mollie Gregory, who had produced and/or directed five 16 mm color films after creating Thunderbird Film Enterprises in 1969, wanted to create a film that communicated at least in part what women were trying to say about the discrimination against them and to show that the women's movement had humor, that women could look at their situation and still smile or even sing. When she realized that the idea was "more verbal than visual," she and other women turned it into a record.
It became the model for women's efforts thereafter, steadily moving toward producing and distributing their own records and thus, by controlling the medium, to use music to communicate with one another.
Ten women planned Olivia Records, the largest women's recording company, in 1972. Two years later Olivia Records released their first record, Meg Christian of Washington, D.C. singing "Lady" on one side and Cris Williamson of San Francisco singing "If It Weren't for the Music" on the other, resulting in over 5,000 copies sold. A later album by Cris Williamson sold over 150,000 copies. "It was obvious that traditional distribution could not effectively reach Olivia's audience, so Olivia set up its own system consisting exclusively of women distributors, this network carrying the music to both record outlets and alternative women's stores," the Olivia women stated. "Founded for the express purpose of creating opportunities for women in music, Olivia has helped expand the opportunities available to women as engineers, producers, distributors and musicians." Olivia celebrated its tenth anniversary with sales nearing one million records.
Lima Bean Records produced the Willie Tyson album, "Full Count," women's songs written and played by her, with the photographic and layout work on the album done by women.
In setting up Women's Sound Publishing in 1974, Dorothy Dean set forth goals similar to the characteristics found in print media:
"Response to feminist music has been tremendous
as travelling musician and new recording companies can tell. Women
are becoming more visible in playing music, as well as branching
out into some of the more technical aspects -- producing concerts,
recording, publishing. This knowledge needs many outlets.
"We are forming a network of communication, setting up contacts between interested women's centers and women musicians. This way musicians can have access to larger audiences and women's centers or groups in one city can have access to more diversified talent. This is one way to assure that our culture keeps spreading and means that we will have to rely less and less on the patriarchal culture. we will have greater access to the strength of other women.
"We must avoid falling into the same traps men have used to divide us. If we start competing with each other instead of sharing and learning from each other we will lose our strength. We must encourage and support each other. What we are saying and how we say it are important to each and every woman both inside and outside the movement."
In New York, women began the Women's Music Network to compile a list of women composers, performers, ensembles, musicologists, concert producers, music publishers, record companies, and other women who want to know where others involved in music can be located.
The year, 1974, also marked the year in which the great music festivals began. The National Women's Music Festival Collective held the first in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, which then continued annually. "Women's music in this country has taken a Great Leap Forward," the Collective said when it planned the Second Festival in 1975. "A plethora of records, regional conferences, radio shows, magazines, jams and musical unions by women have sprouted all over the country. We are dedicated to bringing women together, bringing out the music in women and building a solidarity free from the marketplace culture."
Music festivals were the scene of music communication network building, and they recognized this function. The Fourth National Women's Music Festival June 28-July 3, 1977 planned "daytime workshops in musical skill acquisition and discussion of our growing feminist music network, and evening concerts will showcase both prominent and unknown musicians, including both veteran and newcomers to music and to feminism, that we are humbled by the task of having to choose at all." Three years later, at the 7th National Womens' Music Festival, the Collective stated in their flier: "This year as in the past we are working to provide the much needed stage space for the presentation of positive statements and images of women. The multitude of musical styles and artistry clearly displays the wide ranging diversity of women's music."
The Second Michigan Women's Music Festival held in August, 1977 on 100 acres of partially wooded land, was run cooperatively. "Everyone brings her own camping and other equipment for the three days and shares in the food preparation, clean-up, and child care." They recognized the open forum approach added communication. "We intend the festival to be a place where all the factions of feminist politics can co-exist -- sharing, learning and growing in awareness of what we as women can do for ourselves, each other and this planet. We feel it essential that women can come together to learn through music and through collective sharing of our cultures, skills and energies."
By the early 1980's the music festival Sisterfire, sponsored by Roadwork in Washington, D.C., began to grow. The 1982 concert, Roadwork said, "was a cross cultural, multi-racial festival which drew over 3000 people from Washington and across the nation." Organizers worked hard to provide access to the physically challenged so they could enjoy the festival of women's music. The Sisterfire festival was open to male attendance, unlike some of the other annual women's music festivals, although all scheduled only women musicians.
Musician Margie Adam set forth the rationale behind such events: "There is a need to do concerts where there is a space for women to be together and to feel confident strength and support: the solidarity that women feel when they're together. On the other hand, it's real important that we take the music in its beauty and its strength ouside our communities and communicate it to other people," interviewed in Plexus, women's newspaper in California, Adam explained:
"The purpose of me doing the mixed nights
as well as the women's night is that it's important for me to
offer space where people, and women specifically, who can still
come and hear the music. I also feel that there are men who can
hear, who want to hear the music, who need to hear it and will
carry it out into the world also. I did a concert in my home town
that included mom and the grocer and the druggist and fifty radical
feminists from across the state, and the local NOW chapter and
my mother's church congregation. Some of the kids I taught in
junior high school were there..."
Dorothy Dean described holding the music network in these words: "In my wildest, most cosmic fantasies three years ago," she wrote in the last issue of Paid My Dues, March 1976, "I dreamed of stores full of albums recorded by women, women's voices over the air waves, singing, and d.j.ing -- concerts every weekend featuring feminist bands and individual feminist performers. Women's music washing over all of us, waves of anger sing together, waves of joy, waves of peace and healing." She told of how she began her music network:
"I had to find the feminist musicians.
I knew they were there.
"I started advertising in feminist papers. The idea was to compile a list of feminist musicians and bands for individuals and groups interested in sponsoring concerts, and as a link for the musicians with each other. The creative spark needs the rich environment that other musicians provide.
"I produced one concert with musicians from Chicago and Milwaukee and before long the idea of a directory seemed too static. Eight months later the first issue of Paid My Dues appeared in February, 1974."
On the occasion of the dissolution in 1976 of the New Haven Women's Liberation Rock Band, which very early recognized the need to expand communication networks through music and the radical potential for such communication, one of its original members expressed the Band's views, saying:
"What was momentous about August 26, 1970
was that, musical skill or not, original songs or not, the band
had somehow momentarily succeeded in creating an event that incorporated
our vision of a better society because it changed the way performers
and audiences behaved with each other. It changed the function
of music from spectator sport to a real participatory celebration.
It changed the function of dancing from mating ritual to communal
exuberance, and it buoyed us with a sense of our collective power.
"...[N]ot only would we play feminist music for feminists but we would go out there into the world of teenie-boppers and groupies and gang rapes and take them by surprise. We would, by playing rock music, try to utilize the technology of mass culture to our own ends. By analyzing rock and youth culture we would try to intervene in the cultural forms of our society. Musical organizing you could call it. Every 14-year-old-girl in America listens to rock, we reasoned, a music dedicated to convincing her of the necessity of her own oppression. We could change what she listened to..."
The need for women who wanted to communicate through music, to have their own forms, suitable to their message and their need to communicate their culture, was recognized by the Boston Women's Music Collective which said,
"Women have always turned to music for
comfort in times of hardship and joy, as a link to culture and
community, and as a way to reach out to others -- children, sisters,
loved ones. Music is a natural expression of our experiences as
women, yet we have been actively discouraged from developing music
that would validate our experiences. The popular music we hear
all around us today does not deal realistically with the struggles,
triumphs and complexities of what it means to be a woman and we
seek to encourage the creation of space in each of our lives for
the development of our music.
"Women who excel in music have been isolated, ignored and usually forgotten. Professional musicians working in a hostile, difficult and commercial world seek the support of their sisters. Classical musicians find few models of success female musicians and composers. Women beginning to play instruments lose interest because they can't see themselves ever getting "good enough." Women playing rock music have not been recognized as serious musicians. We have heard the voices of these women, and endless others singing out for change. "
Margie Adam described the nature of women's music as two-way communication. She considered herself a "true product of the women's movement" in that other women in her audiences influenced her awakening in 1970 and her songs and introductions "because they've been up-front about what they want to hear." She told a Houston Breakthrough interviewer that her lyrics had changed as she had been educated about the reality of women's lives. "That's why I make it my responsibility to communicate with audiences, it is just so important. There is a circle of community that can occur in women's music that really gets me off and I want to pass that feeling on."
This communication phenomenon was felt whatever the kind of music. For example, having held a successful concert in New York City in May 1977, Roberta Kosse, composer of the oratorio Return of the Great Mother used Women Like Me, the performing and supporting group she had formed in 1972, to expand communication with other women through music. "We have doubled and tripled and quadrupled," she said, "all of us starting from very different places. Some of us come from a profession in music where our longing to work with other women was largely disappointed. Some from singing children's rhymes on the lap of our mothers and never after. We are a group of feminists, brought together and strengthened by the women's movement. We have realized that in our songs and our love for each other we have a unique gift to share with our sisters."
The message conveyed in much of women's music involved struggles women confront in their lives and achievements attained. The Boston-based New Harmony Sisterhood Band, releasing its first record on the Paredon Records label in 1977, entitled "And Ain't I a Woman?," included songs "about the frame-up of Ella Ellison in Boston, the Joan Little prison rape case in North Carolina, the pioneer pilot Amelia Earhart, songs about women involved in working class struggles, about the strip-mining destruction of Mountain America, and about the process of self-discovery and 'coming out' for lesbians" The CPB-funded a one-hour video documentary by Michelle Parkerson entitled "Gotta Make This Journey, A Profile of Sweet Honey In The Rock" about the acapella musical ensemble of black women whose voices serve the cause of social activism. Their music relates to the lives of women and to social justice issues throughout the world. Sweet Honey celebrated its tenth anniversary in 1983 and still performs together.
The Coalition of Labor Union Women also used music to communicate in their organizational campaigns and issued an album Bread and Raises -- Songs for Working Women by Bobbie McGee, saying "Listen to these songs, share them with your friends and colleagues and join with CLUW to help build a better day for working women throughout the land." Bobbie McGee, a working woman herself, performed the "music of working women and other songs of social commentary at union meetings and rallies, colleges and universities, folk clubs and folk festivals, and at demonstrations for the women's movement, farm workers, and other good causes."
Therese Edell issued her new album in 1979, From Women's Faces, saying she hoped to share her experiences particularly with the young women so they can hear that they have choices. Her records included lyrics such as: "Take back the guns / From women's faces / Take back the guns / From your hands / There's too much killing / In too many places / Take back the guns / From our land." Through their music, as in so many other media forms, women expressed their concern about the violence that permeates our society, and in particular violence against women.
While many independent musicians and bands were operating by the 1980's, showing the same characteristics as did other women's media, they felt a clear need to bring them together to increase the outreach of their message. Forming networks among these independent and separate communicators of women's music became increasingly important in their minds. In addition to the music festivals, efforts were made to coordinate concerts across the country. Amy Horowitz described this effort in the formation of Roadwork. She had begun working with Holly Near on tour coordinating in 1976 and learned that it encompassed much more than setting up tours. Exploring how to share resources with other performing groups, she began working with a few other women's groups, such as Lucha in Washington, D.C. She set up a California tour for Lucha, then worked with the Wallflower Order Dance Collective in planning a nationwide two-month-long driving tour. A tour with the filmmakers of Iris Films Collective and a three-week tour in California of Sweet Honey in the Rock followed. Amy Horowitz noted that even when a tour was not focused on a particular issue, issues were communicated. The growing network made possible an increasingly sophisticated and dynamic medium of communicating. "We producers, performers, technicians, political theoreticians, record companies, graphic artists, and audience participants are growing a network that can and is producing, performing, presenting, receiving, coordinating, and recording women's culture," Horowitz stated, "and we are constantly finding ways to do it better and to be more responsible in putting women's many expressions on the road." By making musical and cultural tours possible as a form of communication, these women were providing more diversity of women's voices. As Horowitz expressed it:
"Culture (music, dance, poetry, film) can
speak to the gut of us and is a way for developing understanding
between women, a way of expressing the diversity of women, celebrating
the samenesses of women, discovering how to be more sensitive
to each other, more supportive, how to make space for each other.
Something about the vital and alive dynamic of a tour makes it
a growing ground of potential sharing."
New production companies were being formed around the country -- and even a network of women's music producers and tour coordinators, as, for example, the Eastern Regional Producers Network. In Milwaukee, Hurricane Productions was founded by a group of women to present musicians from across the North American continent as well as local musicians. "The desire to hear good, woman-made music and share it with others is the main reason for the formation of this non-profit company," they said. "Hurricane Productions Inc. is also anxious to reach out to audiences who may not have heard 'feminist' music." The formation of Hurricane also led to a network of midwest women's production companies, including companies in Chicago and Minneapolis.
Redwood Records, formed by Holly Near in 1973 when she recorded her first album, prepared a 100-page guidebook to concert production, "Making a Show of It! A Guide to Concert Production" by Ginny Berson. Another group of women compiled and issued an annual catalog and resource guide of records and tapes by women, Ladyslipper Catalog, which they make available "to heighten public awareness of the achievements of women artists and musicians and to expand the scope and availability of musical and literary recordings by women." Ladyslipper, an organization involved in many facets of women's music since 1976, became a part of the Women's Independent Label Distributors (WILD) network, promoting and distributing recordings by women on independent labels. "We are building a catalog of records & tapes by women," they wrote in their 1980 catalog. "We want it to represent music by women of all ages, races & classes."
The annual music festivals also had begun to include workshops on booking/tours planning as well as on production and publicity distribution. The 25 women producers at the Eastern Regional Producers Network (ERPN) annual meeting in 1983 described how they realized their influence on the women's music communication networks. The Network had emerged from women producing women's music events in their own communities along the east coast. Performers who sang of women's issues with women's words attracted women's recording companies and distributors, media and booking agencies, and, the women said, "the women's music industry was going full speed ahead." Women were producing events in large and small locations, from coffee houses to national music festivals. Women worked at every level of skill and in multiple capacities, from ticket sellers to sound technicians and sign language interpreters to musicians. The network benefited all the women involved in music production: producers shared the training and job opportunities with local women on technical and production crews, the performer whose career included a commitment to women's issues enjoyed a caring environment, and funds raised were shared with local causes.
In many cases the musicians were communicating about political causes of concern to women, as well as other feminist perspectives. Holly Near had decided "to devote her creative time to the advancement of the anti-nuclear struggles," wrote Diana Goldfarb in a 1979 interview of Holly Near for the October 1979 issue of Sojourner. "The connection between feminism and nukes is that it's totally counter-feminist to have a nuclear society because it is so destructive to life."
By 1983 Holly Near had made the tie-up with Ronnie Gilbert to expand the women's communication network to mass outreach for women's social consciousness message. Near had been inspired by Ronnie Gilbert of the Weavers as she was growing up. Ronnie Gilbert, Holly Near recalled, "threw her head back and sang as if there was no limit to her sound." Although she had not yet met her, Holly Near dedicated her 1974 album to Ronnie Gilbert, "a woman who knew how to sing and what to sing about." Gilbert's daughter brought the dedication to the attention of her mother who then got in touch with Near. They've been friends ever since.
In 1980 when the Weavers were planning their reunion concert at Carnegie Hall, she chose to sing two of Near's songs. In the Weavers reunion film, Wasn't That A Time!, Near and Gilbert are seen together as Near is teaching Gilbert her song, "Hay Una Mujer," a lament for the women who disappeared in Chile after the military coup against the socialist Allende government. Near and Gilbert spoke about their mutual inspiration as they practiced the song. The scene culminated in a duet that received wide audience acclaim and which prompted further work together. Hundreds of letters were received after the film urging them to sing together again. The result was a 12-city, 24 concert tour with 23 of the concerts selling out. The concerts at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco were recorded for a live album, Lifeline, and were videotaped for future broadcast. This experience indicated to women that there was a market for women's information and that mass outreach was possible in some media forms like music, if they could match the strength of the women's music network.
Women attempted to increase their outreach by creating networks of their networks, and by availing themselves of technology not previously utilized by feminists. While there was some success at one level, such as producing broadcast and video programs, films, recording companies and albums, at another level women were unsuccessful at taking the next step of obtaining radio or TV stations, or cable channels, or breaking into the distribution sphere necessary for significantly increasing outreach.
Women's media, in all its various forms, was at a threshold in its development, strong at the level that existed as of 1983, but unable to break into mass markets with their messages. Women were excited about the tremendous progress that had taken place in less than two decades in building networks in the many media forms. However, the awareness of how difficult it was to break into the mass markets in any of the media forms women had tried, with their severe financial limitations on their undertakings, were all too evident throughout these two decades of building communication networks. The effort to add broad outreach through non-print media provided a significant dimension to the communication networks developed 1963 to 1983, affecting the very nature of the women's movement. Without the women's music, without the books women published, without women's video and film, the women's movement would not be what it is today.
Chapter Seven Footnotes
1 " Associated Women's Press," Sister, September 1973, p. 1.
2 Nancy Borman, "Letter to All Feminist Publications," Feminist News Exchange [December 1973].
3 Interview with Laurie Lucas, The Stanford Daily, 9 May 1974, p. 4.
4 Linda Fowler, "News Service / Union Aim for National Feminism," Big Mama Rag, October 1975, p.6.
5 Feminist Newsservice Newsletter, 6 October 1976, p.1.
6 Linda Fowler, "News Service / Union Aim for National Feminism," Big Mama Rag, October 1975, p.6.
7 Feminist Newsservice Newsletter, 6 October 1976, p.1.
8 National Sisters Communication Service press release, quoted in Media Report to Women, June, 1976, pp. 1,4; "A-CROSS offers New Syndication Service," Media Report to Women, July 1978, p. 2.
9 1976Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1976), P. 27.
10 Cherie S. Lewis, Television License Challenges by Women's Groups ( Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1986), pp. 174-179.
11 Letter accompanying first packet, Her Say News Service, 16 May 1977; News Service Dispatch, Announcement, 18 August 1980.
12 The Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2nd Ed., 1976), p. 11. [The third edition is now available].
13 The Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves, p. 11.
14 The Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves, p. 14.
15 Kay Ann Cassell, " Women in Print, An Update," Library Journal (June 15, 1977) : 1353.
16 "Printers & Presses: Owning the Means of Production," Big Mama Rag, October 1976, p.11.
17 Baltimore Women's Liberation Newsletter, September 1971, p. 7.
18 The Feminist Press 1973 catalogue, p. 2.
19 " A New Press And An 'Old' Press," Media Report to Women, February 1974, p. 8.
20 Kirsten Grimstad and Susan Rennie, Eds., The New Woman's Survival Catalog, (New York: Berkley Publishing Corporation, 1973) , p. 11.
21 Diana Press Publications brochure, 1975, p. 1.
22 Diana Press, Letter to Editors and Publishers of the Feminist Press, Oakland, California, November 1977, quoted in " Diana Press Vandalized," Big Mama Rag, November-December 1977, p. 4; Coletta Reid and Kathy Tomyris, " A Statement from Diana Press: Press Suspends Women's Publications," Big Mama Press, June 1979, pp. 25-26.
23 "Persephone Sells Above Industry Norm; Goal: Strong Feminist Communication," Media Report to Women, September 1980, p. 5; "'Successful' Persephone Press Closes Up; Molly Lovelock Interview Asks Reasons," Media Report to Women, May-June 1984, pp. 15-16.
24 Among the numerous publishers not described in this section were KNOW, Inc. in Pittsburgh, publishing material concerning the women's movement; Iowa City Women's Press; Womanpress and Lavender Press in Chicago; Les Femmes Publishing in California, publishers of books, on any subject, by/ for/ about women for the general trade audience; Spinsters, Ink, a feminist publishing company publishing its first books in 1978; Booklegger Press in San Francisco, publisher of feminist film directories and women and media materials; Shameless Hussy Press in California; and Northwest Matrix in Eugene, Oregon focussing on socialist feminism.
25 Celeste West, Ed., Words In Our Pockets, The Feminist Writers Guild Handbook on How to Gain Power, Get Published & Get Paid (Paradise, California: Booklegger Press, 1985).
26 Ragwomen Distributors Press Release, quoted in Media Report to Women, October 1975, p. 1.
27 Press Release, Diana Press, " Calendar and Date Book," [December 1975].
28 Press Release, Women in Distribution, [November 1974].
29 Women in Distribution Autumn 1975 Catalog, "Note," p. 1.
30 Women in Distribution 1977 Catalog, p. 2.
31 "How Easily Publishers Can Destroy Important Part Of Our Communications System," Media Report to Women, August 1979, p. 9.
32 off our backs, December 1981.
33 Plaintiff's Brief in Madonna Loercher and Feminist Book Mart Inc., for themselves and all others similarly situated, plaintiffs, v. Small Business Administration, Louis F. Laun, Administrator, Windle E. Priem, Defendants, No. 75 Civ. 5494 (CMM), in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, Archives of the Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, Washington, D.C.
34 " Female Takeover August 26," Media Report to Women, 29 September 1972, p. 7. Joan Bartl was the sales director of WPST and partner in the first Women on Words and Images, which published Dick and Jane as Victims.
35 "International Women's Day in Buffalo, NY, WUHY-FM Philadelphia," Media Report to Women, March 1974, p. 9.
36 "Radio Women's Show Follow Feminist Principles," Media Report to Women, October 1981, p. 11.
37 1976Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), p. 20.
38 1980Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1980), pp. 17, 19.
39 "Feminism in Your Living Room," 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 20.
40 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), p. 20.
41 1976Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1976), p. 28.
42 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), p. 20.
43 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), p. 20.
44 Press Release quoted in " Women's News Service Producing Hard News Programs for Radio," Media Report to Women, May 1974, p. 3.
45 "WBAI Women's Department Plans News Program," Media Report to Women, May 1974, p. 3.
46 "Programming Goals," Calliope Newsletter of the Feminist Radio Network, Washington, D.C. (undated).
47 "Greetings form FRN," Calliope, (undated, mid-1978), p. 1.
48 " In Process-FRN Collective," Calliope, (undated, mid-1978).
49 "Is There Really Feminist Programming?," Calliope, (undated, mid-1978).
50 "Programming Goals," Washington D.C.(undated).
51 "Greetings from FRN" Calliope, (undated, mid-1978), p.1.
52 "Feminism in Radio." Calliope, (undated. 1978). pp. 1, 2, 6.
53 "Feminism in Radio." Calliope, (undated. 1978). pp. 1, 2, 6.
54 "Greetings from FRN" Calliope, (undated, mid-1978), p.1.
55 Kate Sharp, Big Mama Rag, September 1976.
56 Triangle Women's Radio, Inc., brochure, 1974.
57 Triangle Women's Radio, Inc., letter from Chris Carroll to Editor, Media Report to Women, 10 June 1974.
58 "Women's Hard News Show Produced For TV," Media Report to Women, May 1974, p. 3.
59 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 20.
60 FCC Form 301, October 16, 1978, application for television license, p. 3, exhibit, p. 2, Archives of the Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, Washington D.C.
61 Judy Klemesrud, " Women Attempt to Get Own TV Station," New York Times, 12 June 1979, p. C14.
62 " The Memphis Women's Cable Television Channel: An Idea Whose Time Has Come," 9-page report, Women in Cable, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee (1973), p. 2.
63 " The Memphis Women's Cable Television Channel: An Idea Whose Time Has Come," 9-page report, Women in Cable, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee (1973), p. 8.
64 Letter to D.C. Women's Organizations, Women in Cable, Washington D.C., 11 June 1973; Letter to Friends and Supporters of Women in Cable, Washington, D.C., 11 September 1973. The five women who founded Women in Cable were Lillian Huff, Bettie G. Benjamin, Sally Banks Craig, Raquel Marquez Frankel, and Naomi R. Glover.
65 Letter to Friends and Suporters of Women in Cable, washington, D.C., 5 November 1973; "Capital Women in cable," 1975 Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 21.
66 1983 Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1983), P. 27.
67 1982 Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1982), P. 24.
68 1975 Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 21. 1980 Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1980), P.19. and 1978 Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1978), P. 31.
69 1977 Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1977), P.43.
70 1975 Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 22.
71 "The More Video Women," Media Report to women, January 1974, p.8.
72 "Women's Video Project," Media Report to women, February 1974, p.11.
73 Women make Movies notice sent nationally to film and video groups and individuals, quoted in "Feb. 1 Conference & Directory," Media Report to Women, January 1975, p.11.
74 "Call for Video and Filmmakers: Conference & Directory," Media Report to Women, January 1975, p.11.
75 "'International Videoletters' a Bi-Monthly Information Exchange Among 9 Cities," Media Report to Women, January 1975, p.6. Ariel Dougherty, co-founder of Women Make Movies in New York believes that very few of these videoletters were saved for historical archives. Tapes were recycled due to limited financial resources and the fact that this project was not funded to cover costs of continual purchases of new tapes. Persona; interview, April2, 1987.
76 "Women's Video Conference," New Women's Times, 15 March 15 April 1975, p.14.
77 Some of groups not mentioned in this section include: In New York City: Amazon Media Project, a nonprofit organization distributing women's videotapes for programs in college and women's groups; Videowomen, formed in the mid-1970's and continuing in the 1980's; Lesbian Organized for Video Experience(L.O.V.E.), formed in 1973 to produce documentaries on lesbian political activity; Feminist Video Collective, formed in the mids-1970's; Martha Stuart Communication begun in the mid-1970's to produce tapes with people who were endlessly talked about but rarely heard speak from themselves. Rochester Women's Video Collective, formed in the mid-1970's in that New York city. In Washington, D.C. Spectra Feminist Media Project formed in the mid 1970's specializing in 1/2 inch videotapes; Women & Work Video in the latter 1970's produced tapes on women and work in Washington D.C.; Suite Five Video Production in Greensboro, produced documentary, instructional and fine art videos, including one on the life of black educator Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown; Chicago Women's Video Group in the later 1970's gathered o critique their tapes and collaborate on production, Women's Art Video in Los Angeles produced and distributed their own tapes; Social Feminist video Group. In Santa Monica, California, produced and distributed videotapes; and Interflex Media, first in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and after 1977 in San Francisco, was a nonprofit video group focussing on women and Third World awareness, producing a video "Dr. Eva Yessye, Black American Folkmusic."
78 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 22.
79 1980Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1980), P. 19.
80 Chief Justice Andrew A. Coffrey, US District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Court of Opinion and Jugdement, October 12, 1977. Liane Brandon v. The Regent of the University of California, Civil Acion No. 76-580-C. Archives of the Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, Washington D.C.; "Agreement Made By And Between Liane Brandon And American Telephone And Telegraph Company," .
81 Freude Bartlett, " Notes on Distribution," Camera Obscura 3-4', Summer 1979.\
82 Personal Interview with Ariel Dougherty, co-founder of Women Make Movies in New York, April 2. 1987.
83 Personal Interview with Ariel Dougherty, co-founder of Women Make Movies in New York, April 2. 1987.
84 Press Release, Women's Focus, October 1979.
85 "See What I Say," Booklet on film by Michigan Women filmmakers, , p.1.
86 "'Surviva' Celebrates Rural Wome Artists," Media Report to Women , October 1981, p.11.
87 National Women's Film Circuit Packet, Moonforce, 1977.
88 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 23.
89 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 23.
90 1975Index/ Directory of Women's Media, (Washington, D.C.: Women's Institute for the Freedom of the Press, 1975), P. 22.
91 "Women's film festival," off our backs, September 1973, p. 28.
92 "Doing a Women's film festival," off our backs, November 1973. pp. 10-12.
93 Personal Interview with Ariel Dougherty, co-founder of Women Make Movies in New York, April 2. 1987.
94 " Virgo Rising , The Once & Future Woman," Media Report to Women, June 1974, p.10.
95 Olivia Records Release, Oakland, California, 11 October 1982, pp. 1-2.
96 Musica, 8 July 1974, pp. 2.
97 Debbie St. Charles, Revolution NOW! Alternatives in Music," Paid My Dues, October 1974, pp. 10-11.
98 "Music Network," Paid My Dues, October 1975, p.45.
99 "Second National Women's Music Festival." Announcement,.
101 "7th National Womens' Music Festival-May 29 - June 1," Flier, 1980.
102 "second Michigan Women's Music Festival," Flier, 1977.
103 Roadwork, Inc., 4-page flier, Washington, D.C, 1983, p.2.
104 "Musician Margie Adam emphasizes Music Role in Widening Communication," Interview, Media Report to Women , June 1976, p. 8.
105 Dorothy K. Dean, Editorial. " This IS It," Paid My Dues, March 1976, p. 55.
106 Virginia Blaisdell, "The Haven Women's Liberation rock Band 1970-1976, R.I.P.," Sister, the monthly newsletter of New Haven Women's Liberation, February 1976, p.3.
107 Boston Women's Music Newsletter , June 1977, p.2.
108 Houston Breakthrugh, December /January 1979.
109 Roberta Kosse, "Women Like Me." Brochure.
110 Barbara Dane, "New Harmony Sisterhood Band," flier,1977.
111 Roadwork, Inc., 4-page flier, Washington, D.C., 1983, p.3.
112 "Songs of Working Women," coalition of Labor Union Women flier, 1982.
113 "From Women's Faces," lyrics by Therese Edell from album, by Sea Fiends Records (P.O. Box 20015, Cincinnati, OH 45220).
114 "Touring: Two views." Paid My Dues, March-May 1979, pp. 15-17, 41-42.
115 "Hurricane Production." Press release, 
116 Ginny Berson, Making A Show Of it, a Guide To Concert Production (Ukiah, CA: Redwood Records, 1980).
117 "A Few Words About Women," 1980 and 1984 Ladyslipper Catalog and Resource Guide of Records & Tapes by women, Durham, NC, inside front cover. Ladyslipper also handles sub-distribution(distridution to distributors) of several women's labels and recordings to the WILD network, including: Women's Wax Work (Alix Dobkin), Urana(Kay Gardner, Casse Culver, Alive!) Even Keel (Kay Gardner), Old Lady Blue Jeans(Linda Shear), Philo (Ferron), Biscuit City(Rosy's Bar & Grill), Oigami (Betsy Rose & Cathy Winter), Sweater(Jasmine), Mary Records(Mary Lou Williams), Whyscrack(Kate Clinton), Freedom's Music( Debbie Fier), Wild Patience(Judy Reagan), Rebecca (anthology), Coyote (Connie Kaldor), Mother of Pearl (Heather Bishop), One Sky (Judy Gorman-Jacobs) and others,
118 New Women's Times, July-August 1983.
119 Sojourner, October 1979.
Publicity releases on the Holly Near Ronnie Gilbert album Lifeline.