The Center for Research on Women and Social Justice · Eileen Boris, Director · Department of Feminist Studies
University of California · Santa Barbara, CA 93106 · Tel 805.893.8444, line 2 · Fax 805.893.8676
Archive: The 3nd Annual Hull Chair Lecture on Women and Social Justice - January 21, 2003
Photography Exhibition "Beggars and Choosers: Motherhood is Not a Class Privilege in America"
||Exhibit is co-sponsored by the Gallery,
College of Creative Studies and will be in the Gallery, January 6-29, 2003
Reception: January 21 at the Gallery following Solinger talk
Solinger Lecture: January 21, Multicultural Center Auditorium 4 pm
For more than a generation, politicians have argued that resourceless women
in the U.S. who have children-especially the ones who need public assistance-are
irresponsible and selfish, are wasting public money, and make bad mothers.
Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans agree: women shouldn't have
children if they are too poor-or otherwise lack the resources-to support
kids properly. In fact, at the beginning of the 21st century, most Americans
have, in one way or another, embraced the idea that motherhood is an economic
status, a consumer status, even a class privilege that should be reserved
for people with enough money to give their children advantages.
When Americans think about who is a legitimate
mother, they often lack information about how women become poor and resourceless.
Few know that employers pay African-American women about 65 cents for every
dollar they pay white men for similar work. Most Americans don't know that
40% of the poverty in female-headed households could be eliminated if all
women were paid wages comparable to the wages males earn for comparable
work.Even more poverty could be eliminated if all employers were committed
to paying all employees a "living wage." This exhibit provides
images and information that clarify the strength, dignity, and determination
of mothers often defined by public policy and public opinion as women who
should not reproduce.
"Beggars and Choosers" makes a stunning case that "reproductive
rights" means claiming the right and the resources to control fertility,
and also means claiming the right and the resources to be a mother. Among
the distinguished photographers in the show are Susan Meiselas, Margaret
Morton, Stephan Shames, Mel Rosenthal, Brenda Kenneally, and Corky Lee.
Among Rickie Solinger's books are Wake Up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy
and Race before Roe v. Wade (1992, 2000); The Abortionist: A Woman
Against the Law (1994); and Beggars and Choosers: How the Politics
of Choice Shapes Adoption, Abortion, and Welfare in the United States
Kay Obering is a photographer and artist located in Boulder, Colorado.
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