PRESTONSBURG – Big Sandy Community and Technical College Library Seminar Series and Office of Cultural Diversity presented Women’s History Conference on Friday. Women have struggled long and battled for rights that enabled them to be viewed as equals to their male counterparts. This seminar explored various topics faced by women of Appalachia.
The conference was free and open to the public. Registration and Breakfast began at 8 a.m. in the Magoffin Building Foyer and was provided by the Prestonsburg Woman’s Club. Dr. Shirley Thomas kicked off the first segment with a discussion on Disastrous Unions (Martial and Otherwise) and Their Rippling Effects. Many women are in relationships that do not bring out the best in them. Women in marriages often feel trapped. This segment tells participants how to determine if a relationship is disastrous and what steps to take to remove themselves from the situation.
Sandra Saad presented the second session on a topic many of us are plagued with, Breaking the Be Nice Curse. This segment discussed the barriers and challenges in finding one’s voice and in daring to speak up and speak out as needed.
“I often get taken advantage of. I love my friends and I enjoy spending time with them, however sometimes I get put in situations where I may not actually have time to help someone or the extra money to loan. I am a push over because I suffer from the Be Nice Curse. It was funny to sit and listen to Mrs. Saad speak about being a push over, because I felt like, wow she is talking about me. Very informative. I am now practicing my inner voice of speaking up and taking control,” said Shelia Newsome, seminar participant.
Seminar participants were given a special treat for their participation in attending the seminar. The BSCTC Cosmetology students treated seminar participants to manicures. Cosmetology students gave participants cuticle treatment, hand massages and polish.
Jennifer Herald-Koster presented a discussion on The Last Acceptable Ethnic Fools: Untangling the Knot of Silence Found in “Hillbilly” Rhetoric. This discussion focused on how Appalachians are presented to the rest of the world in the media on TV and in film with an eye on the way the word can be harmful. Being from Appalachia, we are often judged and treated as uneducated and unrefined.
Michelle Fields presented an exciting segment titled Wild Women of Hollywood: The Portrayal of Women in Films of the Early 1930s. Contrary to popular belief films of the 1930s often featured violence, adultery, drug use, and promiscuity for females. Quite different from the refined Ozzy and Harriet wholesomeness of the American woman portrayed in films of the 1950’s.
The seminar came to a close with a presentation on Women’s Heart Health presented by Charlotte Ramey. The discussion focused on the facts about heart health for women. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined.
The Big Sandy Community and Technical College Women’s History Conference was an exciting opportunity for women to gather together and enjoy a day of informative segments about interesting topics with the treat of getting a manicure from BSCTC Cosmetology students wrapped into one enjoyable day.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for the Floyd County Times. She can be reached at 606/886-8506.