the first word
by julie parker
are holding in your hands a bouncing baby magazineand
its a girl! Or, as a Doonesbury character once announced, Its
a baby woman!
WNC WOMAN will grow and blossom will be the usual combination
of nature and nurture, for its very purpose is to create a platform
for local women to share their ideas, insights, knowledge, and
wisdom. We are creating a web through which the
women of Western North Carolina can be interconnected, interdependent,
and interactive. And such a web is naturally supported by a
website: ours iswnc-woman.com.
Helgesen, author of The Female Advantage, writes of the webs
created by women:
The structure of the web of inclusion first presented
itself to me when I tried to draw rough approximations of the
organizations run by women...What I came up with always bore
a literal, architectural resemblance to a spiders web
interweaving made the structures inextricably integrated and
connected a pattern, really of relationships
like a spiders web, the structures were continually being
built up, stretched, altered, modified, and transformed
. from The Web of Inclusion: Architecture for Building
goes on to tell how she found out that, in the process of devising
ways of leading that made sense to them, women had built profoundly
integrated and organic organizations, in which the focus was
on nurturing good relationships; in which the niceties of hierarchical
rank and distinction played little part; and in which lines
of communication were numerous, open, and diffuse.
I noted that the women tended to put themselves at the
centers of their organizations rather than at the top,
she writes, thus emphasizing both accessibility and equality,
and that they labored constantly to include people in their
was no recognized name or category for what the women were doing,
so Sally Helgesen began referring to their organizations as
webs of inclusion.
from Women Weaving Webs: Will Women Rule the
Internet? by Clarisse Behar Molad, Ph.D.
web of inclusion is the very nature of both our process and
Women Weaving Webs project was born on a trip to Western North
Carolina in 1996. I was thinking about moving here from DC,
and had asked my friend Clarisse to come explore the area with
me. We were both working on our Ph.D.s at the time hers
in Electronic Commerce and mine in New Media Studies. Our interests
overlapped; when we saw our first dreamcatcher in Cherokee,
suddenly our interests were even more tightly interwoven. The
dreamcatchers web took on a profound meaning for both
of us as we began to think about the ways women relate, how
the Internet works, and the parallel between the two. We were
both inspired by the concept of women weaving webs.
After our trip, Clarisse went off to write her book and conduct
seminars around the country about women and the Internet (I
spoke at a couple of them), and I went off to create and conduct
doctoral-level seminars on hypermedia (multimedia, web, email,
etc.) and the social construction of knowledge.
In 1997 I moved here and started my own web design companyHandwoven
Webs. (See the thread? Pun intended!) Id been doing web
design for the federal government since the Web was in its infancy,
and wanted to apply my skills to helping local businesses, organizations,
and individuals prosper. Last year I was asked to join the board
of a local womens organization. I was impressed by the
lack of attendance at the monthly meetings. It was clear to
me that the barriers of time and spaceconflicting schedules
and geographyprevent women from getting together as much
as theyd like. Even communicating by phone can be problematicwe
tend to play phone tag as often as we reach a live person.
Aha! I thought. Good old hypermedia
and the social construction of knowledge to the rescue!
Asynchronous communication is the answer. Asynchronous
communication is not, as you might think, a high-tech solutionweve
been doing it for millennia. Its called writing.
. .is the greatest invention in the world. Great is the astonishing
range of analysis . . . great, very great, in enabling us
to converse with the dead, the absent, and the unborn, at
all distances of time and space; and great, not only in its
direct benefits, but greatest help to all other inventions. "Slaying the Dragon" by David J.
It was my friend Sandra Huie who came forward holding the print
piece of the puzzle when she suggested I do a print magazine
for Western North Carolina women. Over a plate of linguini at
the Sunnyside Cafe just a few short months ago, Sandra planted
the seed that was then carefully nurtured by a circle of wonderful
women whose ongoing interest, enthusiasm, ideas, feedback, and
support have been critical to the idea becoming reality. Kelle
Olwyler said of this collaboration: I love the circle
of women who are holding the net in their hands that is holding
the creation in space. Thank you, then, to all the women
whove been holders of the net in various capacities:
Most especially thanks to Sandi Tomlin-Sutker, my friend and
co-conspiritor in this effort.
threads of my life have been interwoven (dare I say Handwoven?)
with the threads of so many other women. These threads have
come together in an elegant tapestry that is now WNC WOMAN.
And like Penelopes tapestry, together we will also un-weave
some of the threads of our lives, some stories we have been
told that are indeed myth, like what a womans place is
and what her limitations are. Comejoin us!