In keeping with the Tina Turner motif, I have once again opened my blog entry by citing her lyrics as words to live by. And in doing so, I have both asserted my inner Second Wave feminist and acknowledged my fear of a small Midwestern town, home to the University of Notre Dame.
Yes, in less than a month I will be boarding a South Bend, Indiana-bound plane to present at the 5th Annual Notre Dame Undergraduate Film & Television Conference. My presentation will explore the feminist undertones in Howard Hawks’ “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” I will argue that Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe used their sexuality as a means of political empowerment, or at the very least, to gain access to the Old Boys Club. And as a few select musical numbers will demonstrate, they succeeded.
Aside from the excitement that surrounds any academic conference, I am equally pleased with the means I took to raise the funds to afford the conference. Initially the Office of the Dean of the College denied my request for funding, stating that it had already provided $3000 worth of funds for my thesis research. But to ensure that I would pester the Office no further, the administrators took the liberty of tabulating all the funds I had extracted from Wellesley since my entry– and avid readers, it exceeded the cost of a semester’s tuition fees.
Now I don’t like to compare myself to Moses, but in this instance, I felt like I was trying to extract water from a rock. And like the Great Rabbi, stood little chance of success given my previous awards. In contrast to Moses, though, when no water came from one rock, I moved onto the next piece of metaphorical sediment: the Cinema and Media Studies Department. Surely they would fund a Cinema and Media Studies major in her pursuit of cinematic excellence.
Or, as they case may be, they would lack the funds to do so, and I would once again be on the prowl for my new rock of biblical proportions. In this case, the Writing Department was that rock. Since the original paper I had written had been conceived in a first-year writing course entitled “Women in Film,” I could argue there was an association to be made.
And with little effort on my part, I succeeded. The Chair of the Department, apparently told by a fellow professor that I was the “bee’s knees,” determined to fund my project fully. And furthermore, to allot $50 for snacks in the airport. I only pray that South Bend has at least one Starbucks in town, and preferably in the airport. Otherwise, I am liable to reduce the dwindling population by several hundred conference-going bodies.