Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
By Margaux Kay LaPointe , '11
Parables of Women, written by journalist and professor Olga Connor, Ph.D., is about, in the author's words, “the only successful revolution in the 20th century: feminism.” Connor spoke on campus Wednesday, Feb. 6, at a special event sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, the Latin American Studies Program, and the Women’s Studies Program.
Connor has been a Sunday columnist for the literary pages and editor of sections of El Nuevo Herald, a daily newspaper in Miami, since 1987. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Ph.D. in Romance Languages. She has been a literature professor for more that 20 years, teaching at Swarthmore College, Dickinson College, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Miami, and Florida International University.
Connor experienced the women’s rights movement in Philadelphia as a professor at Swarthmore College. Beginning in 1965, she recorded her experiences of the movement as parables to deliver a moral message. Connor explained that she chose this form of written expression because religious parables influenced her as a child. Although Connor’s parables are not religious, they are spiritual and physical in nature, she said.
As a professor in the ‘60s, Connor heard the complaints of women struggling to gain rights and of men confused and concerned about women’s growing liberalness. She observed that young women confronted a model of perfection as women were often portrayed as complaint housewives. These women began to think that “house chores should be awarded with salaries,” she said. It was hard for women to have it all, both a career and a stable home and family, she said.
“It’s your sex and not your gender that gets in the way,” Connor said. It affects “politics, career, home, love, power, life, and death.
“Parables of Women is a result of years of struggle,” Connor said. She was involved in the feminist movement in the hopes of helping female professors gain tenure. She felt that women and men were treated unequally in professions; however, Connor feels that this movement made a difference. “Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are proof that we have come a long way,” she said.
Connor continued to write parables until recently. Parables of Women was published in both English and Spanish in 2003.
Connor concluded her lecture by reading two parables from her book. “Parable of the Adamite” is about the first androgynous human being. Through this parable, Connor said that she hopes to show the “concepts of equality as if we were one sex.” She closed with a reading of her parable, “Cat’s Powers.”
Margaux Kay LaPointe, ’11, is a first-year student from Lebanon, Pa. She is an intern in the Office of Communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Margaux plans on majoring in communication with a specialization in public relations.