History on female empowerment

Taylor Jensen, Editor-in-Chief

Female empowerment has come a long way since thousands of years ago but it’s only just the beginning. A discussion on women’s history and women’s equality took place at the Levan Center at Bakersfield College on Feb. 13.

A group of professors and a Kern Community College District trustee spoke on the topic of “Ancient Greece to Modern America: A 3000 Year Quest for Female Empowerment.”

Professor of English and Mythology Rae Ann Kumelos was first to elaborate on the topic. She presented a slide show which was composed of pictures of Artemis who is “one of the three great virgin goddesses of Ancient [Greek mythology] along with Athena and Hestia.”

“Artemis represents the pure full moon, dark moon, and sickle moon. This illustrates the ability of Artemis to confront, withstand, and incorporate the shadow we all carry because that’s what an archetype is of the dark and the light,” Kumelos explained.

Professor of Art David Koeth spoke about Linda Nochlin’s famous quote, “Why Have There Been No Great Artists?” and discussed The Guerilla Girls.

The Guerilla Girls banned together to protest that there are no women presented in museums. The gorilla masks they wear keep the focus off them and on the subject at hand.

“In the last five years, four out of five museum solo shows have been by men, so we’ve got a long way to go [for women],” Koeth said.

Department of Academic Development Susan Pinza took the podium next and Virginia Woolf was one of the people she spoke about.

“She blamed women’s absence from history, not on a lack of brains but on their poverty because they did not have the independence they really needed,” Pinza said about Woolf.

Photographer Dorothea Lange was another part of her speech by describing her famous “migrant mother” photographs.

Photos of three female artists (Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo) and three female architects (Elizabeth Wilbraham, Julia Morgan, Zaha Hadid) were introduced to the crowd by Professor of Architecture Duane Anderson.

Anderson spoke highly on Hadid.

“Since I’ve known of her, I have felt that she was the greatest architect in the world and it was a huge loss to the field of architecture when she died in 2016,” Anderson said.

KCCD trustee Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg was the last to speak for the evening as she showed everyone paintings of nude women and the stories behind each painting.

“The emphasis on breasts and loins [in paintings] must mean fertilization…Women are viewed in art to please men.”