The Call for Stories on Morning Edition, Mon., March 22

March 20th, 2010 in Archive by 3 Comments

Renee Montagne talks with The Kitchen Sisters about the new NPR series Hidden World of Girls and invites listeners to call in with their story ideas. 

The idea for this series was inspired by reading the obituary of Lula Mae Hardaway, Stevie Wonder’s Mother, a sharecropper’s daughter, a girl forced into prostitution, a teenage single mother whose young blind boy was discovered singing on a street corner in Detroit by Berry Gordy Jr., a determined woman who along with her son, received the Grammy for writing Signed, Sealed Delivered. Hers was a story we knew we wanted to tell. The series was inspired again when we watched a young 16 year old charanga player in an all-girl high school mariachi band competition in San Antonio, playing for the love of tradition, for a sense of belonging and for a scholarship, the first girl in her family to play an instrument, the first to dream of going to college. We knew this was a story we had to chronicle. And when they opened a new beauty school in Kabul, we looked at each other and thought again about “The Hidden World of Girls.” Over the last few years we’ve been collecting small stories, shards of sound, and images that have helped us imagine this series. Here are a few inspirations.

Fadimata Walett Oumar, leader of the band Tartit from the Tombouctou Region of Mali, talks about the life of the nomadic Taureg people, coming of age and attitudes about love and divorce.

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Sophie Fish, a thirteen year old in New York City, talks about creating a Ritual Box with her girlfriends.

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Artist Claudia Bernardi reads from her diary describing her work with her sister Patricia, a member of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, exhuming skeletons from a mass grave in El Mozote, El Salvador.

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Tiina Urm is one of the initiators of the “Let’s Do It” campaign in Estonia—a group who organized 50,000 Estonians to do in one day what it would have taken the government 3 years and 22 million euros to do – clean up 10,000 tons of illegal garbage littering the countryside.

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MUSIC IN THIS STORY:
Piya Tu Ab To Aaja, by Kronos Quartet with Asha Bhosle
Houmeissa, by Tartit
Ansari, by Tartit
Willie, by Cat Power
Lively Up Yourself, by Bob Marley
Lullaby, by Gonzalo Rubalcaba

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3 Comments

I felt inspired to write something in response to this subject. My story is my own, yet connected to a foundation of liberated, strong women who helped raise me and form my identity. I was born on The Farm, in Summertown, TN. The Farm was created in the early 70s by a community which orginally formed in San Francisco, where my parents met, at a class given by a professor of creative writing, Stephen Gaskin. The Farm was one of the original hippie communes and became famous across the United States. It was formed when fifty or so white buses caravaned around the country looking for a place to call home. My parents and others on The Caravan visited with locals in the various towns they stopped in. The thing about The Farm that I want to bring to this discussion is the important role the hippies played in changing societal ideas about what it means to be a woman or a man, from conception on. All women birthed at home, on a bus, in a tent, or wherever they called home at the time. Boys were allowed to grow their hair long. Girls and women were honored as the whole and powerful beings that we are, birthing corageously with bare breasts and underarm hair brazenly showing while cameras captured time. We are women today in a modern society that wants us to maintain our prepubescent innocence with a razor! I believe it is an important part of our being to reclaim in order to stand on even ground with men. With hair comes shame, in the eyes of many women, unless it is covering your head. It has come to be accepted to have short hair, but what about leg hair and armpit hair? Is it really so grose or are we buying into an image of womanhood by shaving? I think hair is a right of passage that needs to be re-addressed in order for our society to recover a whole image of womanhood. The more we know ourselves, the more respect we will command.

Leona Heikkala

3/23/2010

I’m so excited for this series. It sounds amazing!

Feminist Review

3/23/2010

Thanks for listening and writing in. We value all our listeners comments !

The Kitchen Sisters

3/24/2010

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