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The Ghosts of Seneca Falls

conceptualized, produced and edited by Casondra Sobieralski. visual design by Marin Camille Hood.
created for the Women's Rights National Historic Park, Seneca Falls, NY. copyright 2008.



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(Low bandwidth users, don't feel left out! Check out the alternative STILL IMAGES! See link at left. Sound track files follow videos.)


excerpt from video of the 5 drafters of the "Declaration of Sentiments," (from left) Jane Hunt, Martha Wright, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott and Mary Ann M'Clintock.


excerpt from video of the audience: suffragists, abolitionists and one naysayer. includes Frederick Douglass (far right).


excerpt of the video with Amelia Bloomer, who started the first women's newspaper, "The Lily," and who rebeled against restrictive Victorian clothing for women. also includes 2 supporters and one socially conservative woman against women's rights.



The sound track for The Ghosts of Seneca Falls consisted of interviews with 7 people from the San Francisco Bay Area. Questions posed were about voting rights history, the history of the women's movement, opinions of what the Fouth Wave needs to tackle, et cetera. Below are my questions and participants answers/opinions. (Note: each question is answered by many people, but not all 7 people are represented for every question.)


Participant introductions--


Do you know when the women’s rights movement started in America? Do you know about the Seneca Falls convention of 1848?  What do you know about it?


The Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

What do you think about changing the line “all men are created equal” to:“…all men AND WOMEN are created equal?” Did you know that a group of women suggested that in 1848? How do you think the language in the Declaration of Independence has affected the legal and social conditions of women in America for the past 232 years?


True or false:  In 1848, married women could not own property, and any wages women earned went to their husbands?


What do you know about Sojourner Truth?


Do you know what amendment to the US Constitution secured the right to vote for African-American men?  For all women?  Do you know the dates of each?


Do you know what Title 9 is and when it was passed?  Do you know what has happened to it in recent years? 


Are there still careers that women in America are not “allowed” to pursue by law or by custom on the basis of their sex?  Any that men cannot? 

    • Did you know that NASA did not allow women to be astronauts until 1978? 
    • Did you know that the percentage of computer science majors who are women has been declining since the 1970s?  (-at an undergraduate level.)
    • Did you know that only 1% of electricians are women and that only 3% percent of administrative assistants are men?
    • Do you think there are still careers where women generally have a harder time being taken as seriously as their male counterparts or vice versa


Some people think of the “traditional” sphere of women as being the home, taking care of children and doing housework, and the “traditional” sphere of men as being out in the work world.  I would argue that this divide is not actually “traditional,” but rather, a blip in history.  In European-settled America (as indigenous tribes have had a variety of social structures), when do you think this actually became the “norm” until challenged in recent decades? 


Elizabeth Cady Stanton kept her given surname, Cady, when she married in the 1830s. Suffragist Lucy Stone made a national issue of keeping her given name as an act of equity when she married.  Laura Ingalls-Wilder is another famous woman of the 19th Century who combined her name with her partner’s.  In this past decade, we have actually seen a drastic decline in the percentage who keep their names, and more women reverting to using “Mrs.” Instead of “Ms.”  (In Pennsylvania in the late 1970s, I was taught in elementary school grammar class that “Mrs.” would no longer be part of the English language within a decade because of the double standard it was and because of the further double standards it suggested, and we should avoid using it.) Why do you think that is?  What do you think about the double standards around names and titles that still exists today?  Do you know why the tradition of women taking men’s names exists?


Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, “I believe that FEAR is what keeps people imprisoned.  The antidote, clearly, is HUMAN REASON.”   Do you think that still holds true today?  Elizabeth Cady Stanton said, “Progress is the victory of new thought over old superstitions.”  What is your reaction to that statement?


Are there, or have there been, alternatives to patriarchal social structures that you can name?


What do you think the word “post-feminism” means? Do you think we are in a “post-feminist” era?  Why or why not?


What are some of the issues that are left for the “Fourth Wave” to tackle in order to move humanity to gender equity?




for those of you interested in process, this was our starting point for the project, using research photos.