Archive for July 2nd, 2010

Last week heard Ray Darcy stumbling over what to call a newborn while he attempted to talk about attitudes to breastfeeding. It’s admirable that the former Rose of Tralee host chose to use his radio platform to promote tolerance of breast feeding women.

However, his partner and on air sidekick, the fabulous Jenny Kelly, gave birth to their first child a few years ago.

She took part in a HSE campaign to promote breastfeeding a few years back. Yet now she sat silent in the studio while Ray spoke, presumably, for her and other breastfeeding women.

Then comes the announcement that John Murray will be taking the Tubridy slot on RTE Radio1. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that Ryan Tubridy  spoke for women or even had empathy with women. However, since Marian Finucane’s long running reign over the slot, and considering the general demographic of listeners at that time of the morning (majority of whom are women, though more men are doing some childcare), it seems sensible to appeal to women at that time.

It seems radio bosses ( the head of Radio 1 is a woman), are content to let the men do the talking to us and for us.

John Murray is an excellent broadcaster, a thoroughly decent person and a smart man. He isn’t a woman.

While we don’t have a woman, or two women, hosting a show we are missing out on proper debates across a range of subjects, not just those that are traditionally viewed as “women’s issues”. We are missing the point of view of Irish women on all the most important elements of our society, from politics and policies to communication and relationships.

While men dominate the airwaves of our national stations we are silently dampening the future of any women who might have made good broadcasters. We are keeping half our population cowed and quiet by exhibiting the theory that only men can have true gravitas or knowledge to host a radio show. It is only the topics that men find interesting that are the important ones. It follows then, that it is only men’s opinions which carry true weight.

Why do our female heads of radio continue to propagate this myth?

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If you’re in Dublin tonight and find yourself with nowt to do, go and see Mountain Man at Crawdaddy. Comparisions to Appalachian folk and the Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack have been lobbed at the Vermont trio, but watch Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath in this clip and make up your own mind. Their album Made the Harbor is out now on Bella Union. More music here:

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Megan’s post about bygone Hollywood fashion reminded me of an upcoming theatre project called My Life in Dresses. Created by Sorcha Kenny (winner of Dubline Fringe Festival’s 2008 Spirit of the Fringe Award for The Woman Who Left Herself) who is both playwright and vintage  zealot, MLID is about clothes and the potential stories they have to tell through memory and association.  Elements of the play will involve input from anyone who owns a piece of clothing with a history.  Some of the narratives Sorcha has collected will be incorporated into the play, which premieres at the Fringe Festival in September. I interviewed her about it recently and the people she had spoken so far had fascinating stories to tell . One man, a widower still grieving for his late wife, had kept her entire wardrobe, including the going-away outfit she wore on their wedding day. There was also the fateful story of three unmarried sisters, all in their late 30s, who lived in 1930s New York. Their family deemed them spinsters who had collectively failed to “snag” a husband, only for all three women to get married in the same year, in the same venue and wearing the same dress. My Life in Dresses is not just confined to vintage clothes –  Sorcha spoke to a 30-year-old friend who had had a daughter when she was very young. Her story focuses on a simple night-dress, which has a huge resonance, because she wore it the night she gave birth.  Yvonne Nolan also contributed a wonderful tale about her grandmother’s wedding dress.

If you, or anyone you know, has a piece of clothing with a story to tell, get in touch with Sorcha at mylifeindressesATgmailCOM.

Link: My Life in Dresses

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