Wednesday, April 23, 2014
 

A Girl Like Her Film Screening/Discussion

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March 21, 2013 - March 21, 2013

One University Plaza
Springfield, IL 62703
217-206-6073

TIME: 7pm

PRICE: Free

PHONE: 217-206-8507

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In the 1950s and 60s, over a million women in the United States surrendered children for adoption due to enormous social pressure. At a time when "nice girls" didn't get pregnant, women were expelled from high schools and colleges and forced to leave jobs as teachers and nurses before their indiscretion was apparent to others. They were rendered voiceless and invisible --banished to the towns of distant relatives or maternity homes to give birth and surrender their children so they could start over with a clean slate. But did they? The women's stories unfold over images of an idyllic post-World War II period in America that continues to dominate the national psyche. Educational films from the time period offer guidance about dating and sex, and scripted newsreels paint a picture of adoption from an era when secrecy prevailed. As the footage illuminates the past, the women's stories -- which are eerily similar-form a collective narrative as they recount their experiences of dating, pregnancy, family reaction, and banishment, and the long-term impact of surrender and silence and on their lives. For the past 30 years Ann Fessler has focused on the stories of women and the impact that myths, stereotypes and mass media images have on their lives and intimate relationships. Between 2002-2005, Fessler conducted over 100 interviews with women who lost children to adoption during the 28 years that followed World War II, when a perfect storm of circumstances led to an unprecedented number of surrenders. Her book, The Girls Who Went Away (Penguin Press, 2006) was chosen as one of the top five non-fiction books of 2006 by the National Book Critics Circle, and was awarded the Ballard Book Prize, given annually to a female author who advances the dialogue about women's rights.

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