table of contents
glass door zine issue #1. winter 2016/2017 4-13 Dianna Daoheung 14-23 Ani Simon-Kennedy 24-35 The Egg Collective 36-41 Dr. Jimmie Holland
Editors Maeve Benz Kristina Stallvik Interviews Maeve Benz Kristina Stallvik Text Maeve Benz Photography Kristina Stallvik Design Kristina Stallvik Printing Peecho Inc. Distribution Currently, glass door is only available online. Contact email@example.com for any further inquiry. Contributors Dianna Daoheung Ani Simon-Kennedy Hillary Petrie Stephanie Beamer Crystal Ellis Dr. Jimmie Holland Special thanks to Lynne Weinstein and Zoe Parker for making this zine possible!
A note from your editors: The idea of Glass Door was hatched one October evening in the darkroom at our high school. Recognizing our common interests, we started plotting to collaborate. We wanted to draw from our passions – photography, writing, and activism – to create a compelling product, and thus Glass Door, a zine about women in male-dominated industries, was born. In order to cover a greater breadth of professional environments, we decided to branch out from our home of Putney, Vermont and contact women in New York City. Among them, we spoke with an executive chef, a film director, an all-female collective that designs, produces, and sells their own furniture and the founder of the field of psycho-oncology. Our week in NYC allowed us to hear perspectives from women ages thirty to eighty-eight, all sharing their unique story, and ready to continue fighting for gender equality, no matter how steep the climb.
For every dollar a man earns, a woman makes eighty cents. This reality isn’t talked about enough. However, it’s discussed more than the actual, everyday experiences of women in the workplace. Over the course of our interviews, we saw a common theme of lowered expectations for a respectful work environment. In addition to overcoming the pay gap, women must continually prove themselves in order to establish their capability. As we learned, no industry is immune from perpetuating degrading stigmas. Consequently, the women we talked with all expressed gratitude for the positions they now hold. In 2015, women made up only 6% of cinematographers and 7% of executive chefs. Considering we are half of the population, this is simply unacceptable. Furthermore, these statistics have a profound impact on the women who they represent. Here at Glass Door, we are proud to be featuring women who are inciting such meaningful progress. Their tireless commitment to their work gives us hope for the future of gender equity. Fight the good fight! Maeve and Kristina 3
Dianna Daoheung CHEF AND BUSINESS OWNER OF BLACK SEED BAGELS
Dianna Daoheung, owner and head-chef of Black Seed Bagels, seems built for transitions. Whether switching career paths, slipping out from behind the counter to complete administrative work, or finding time in the midday bustle to talk with us, she appears eager to explore whatever lies ahead. We sat down with her at a booth in the back of Black Seed’s East Village location to discuss gender equity in the culinary world. The shop was starting to see its lunchtime customers come by. Many stopped momentarily to watch several bakers roll the latest batch of dough into bagels. Behind them, a large, wood-fired oven burned quietly. After introductions and the promise of free bagels, we launched into the interview. After graduating from culinary school, Dianna went to work at a Jewish delicatessen, Mile End, in New York, the owner of which, she would later team up with to create Black Seed. Talking fervently, Dianna remained fully engaged, without so much as a single side-glance to the surge of noontime diners awaiting their lox and cream cheese sandwiches. Her obvious trust in Black Seed’s operation gave the sense of a leader’s ease once having earned an unshakable respect. After finishing, we waited in line to grab some bagels for the road and caught the flash of Dianna’s red shirt disappearing into the back office. Work was waiting to be done.
To get started, could you talk a little about your journey as a chef? First, I went into advertising doing strategy. I did it for about four years, and at that point in my career I was like, “Alright, do I stick with this and excel or do I find something I am really really passionate about?” I was doing well in the advertising world, but it wasn’t something that was so tangible, you know? At first it wasn’t the baking idea that came to me, it was really soul seeking. I thought, “Oh, what
I can’t make a cake!” It really gives you the upper hand because you do know how to do those things and you are not limited.
should I do? Should I go teach surfing, should I go do this?”
on the business end, which is really cool too! But it’s really challenging as a female because it’s still – especially in that upper echelon of people that you are dealing with – extremely male dominated. Even more male heavy than, I would say, working in an actual kitchen. Nowadays there are so many amazing female chefs. But once you go towards the investor side, and the banks, it is incredibly male heavy and still very early 80’s, early 90’s chauvinistic. It’s like, “Let
So I went to french culinary school. I mainly studied pastry just because I didn’t know much about it and I already knew a lot about savory cooking. I don’t want to say that I didn’t have a strong interest in it, but I’m not one of those people who is like, “I love cupcakes!” I like a balance of food. I’m not a big sweets person. It’s great to be in the kitchen and know that pastry aspect because a lot of male chefs will be like, “Ugh,
Then I developed my bagel recipe, and honestly right now I do a lot more of the business end of things. I still come up with the new recipes, but luckily we have a lot of talented bakers now. I can step back a little bit, let that go on self drive, and just focus
me show you my business card,” American Psycho kind of feel. It’s really weird because they will forget that there’s a female in the boardroom and that those jokes guys used to make aren’t really flying any more. The challenge has definitely been getting people to respect me as a legitimate business owner and trusting that I know what to do when it comes to a certain cost or cutting labor. Could you describe a particular instance in the business world where you felt like you had to combat these stigmas? Definitely. I think the crazy thing is a lot of the men don’t even realize what they are doing or saying because it has been okay for so long. You know, in the restaurant industry, the fun part is that it is so loosey goosey. It’s so un-PC, and a lot of times that’s good because we don’t take it too seriously. But in the same realm, there’s a border that gets crossed often. You realize the industry is changing and it needs to be equal, especially with pay scale. Any time I talk to my other guy friends who are chefs, they are like, “That’s how much you are getting paid? That’s ridiculous! I get paid double, triple, the amount that you do, but you work way more than I do.” That’s always the huge battle. And constantly proving that it’s okay to have emotion behind things. Like I might be crying right now, but it’s not because I’m a girl, it’s because I fucking care! You know, because I legitimately care about the employees. I legitimately care about the food, and I’m not crying because I’m “on my rag.” I try as a woman not to compare myself or wish I was more like a man. Instead, I’m like,“There’s nothing
wrong with crying. There’s nothing wrong with caring about the little details of things, especially in the restaurant industry.” What separates us from other bagel shops is all the detail and the attention that we do put in. I don’t think it’s about making yourself more masculine. I think it’s embracing your female qualities and being like, “Yo, this is why we are a better business.” Because we really care. Instead of thinking, “Money, money, money” or ,“I want to open up another Black Seed,” it’s more how can we make the existing ones better and how many great people can we hire, giving them opportunities that are not just continuing to be a line cook. Why do you think executive chef positions have advanced more towards gender equity than the business side of restaurant management? I think that it’s always been hard for both. There’s always going to be an imbalance because we do get pregnant and the restaurant industry doesn’t have as many benefits as the typical nine to five job. That’s the fall off of why there are so many more men in the industry than females. It’s similar in that there should be paternity leave, and there is never paid paternity leave for guys, which is an unfair balance not just on the female side. I would say having children in the restaurant industry isn’t looked down upon, but it’s the biggest hiccup when you get to a certain age bracket. It’s a tough job. Sixteen hour days, seven days a week... you never have a life outside of this. It’s a true commitment and I think that’s where the imbalance happens. Health benefits in general
and benefits in the restaurant industry in New York City are barely there, which is weird because you are around knives, fire, you’d think there would be better help. But no, there’s not! Considering the imbalance, and how tough it is, has your family been supportive of you pursuing this career?
I’m first generation, so it was just weird for my family to be like, “Wait a minute, you’re quitting a really cush advertising job with an office and benefits and travelling perks to go down in scale?” Not that I’m really old, but I’m in my mid thirties, so there’s definitely been a question of, “Don’t you want kids soon?” I do, but at the same time, Black Seed is my baby. When I’m older, I won’t ever regret it because Black Seed is something that I brought onto this planet and that’s my legacy. And I guess that’s why a lot of people
have children, right? Owning a business is very much like that: leaving behind something that people can remember you by. It’s not gonna be like a heart breaking moment for me if I don’t have children, which a lot of people think is messed up. That goes back to being female at a certain age where people say, “You need to settle down now.” But I’m like, “No! I live in New York City, I
can freeze my ovaries and have kids later, it’s fine!” So, have you found being a chef and a business owner to be an empowering experience? Empowering, because for one, just running a successful business in New York City in general, is really, really, hard. And two, because I work with the employees and empower them to do something they never thought they would even be doing! Like baking, or you know, helping us grow the business. I try to involve the staff
as much as possible and not be so closed-off in business procedures, cause who knows? They might want to open up a bagel shop ten years from now, or a restaurant, and that’s been the most satisfying – teaching employees, not just the basics but how to grow a business and how to become a baker, because a lot of them didn’t even think it could be a career path. Have you experienced any stereotypes people have of businesswomen? If so, how? Yeah, you know it’s come out of me. Stereotypes are around for a reason; every once in awhile, I am gonna be bitchy, for lack of a better word. But again, I think we need to stop trying to make ourselves more masculine or more feminine. We need to just accept that we are different in certain ways. Some of those stereotypes might be true, but I don’t think they should be negative stereotypes. When they call me bitchy, it’s just me being stern. Not that my employees personally call me that, but if they did, it’s the equivalent of a guy being called an asshole. It’s just that pendulum swing. I try to be pretty even keeled though. I try to look at the positive attributes I have as female. I am more maternal, I am more patient, so I try to use those characteristics to negate the negative stereotypes I get. What do you think is the biggest barrier to women working in the restaurant industry? Or something you would like to see change? Like I touched on earlier, being able to have a family outside of the restaurant industry is a very difficult thing. Because of maternity and paternity leave and the – I don’t
want to call it abusive – hours. If you have other chef friends, it often becomes a competition of who works more hours. It shouldn’t be like, “Oh, you only work 13 hours? Give me a break,” and I hate that that’s the standard. People get so overworked. That’s definitely something I try to better in Black Seed’s culture; we don’t need to abuse our salaried employees. They don’t exactly make the best salaries in the world, but we should make sure, as business owners, that they are getting their fair share. You know, it’s interesting when you see what’s going on in Sweden. They’re trying to cut it down to a six-hour work day and so many other countries have siestas. I come from a super Buddhist background, my dad’s a retired Buddhist monk, and life’s definitely about finding a balance of quiet time and alone time. It’s important to not think about business or even things outside the business, and have time to think about yourself.
Ani Simon-Kennedy FILM DIRECTOR AND CO-FOUNDER OF BICEPHALY PICTURES
How did you become interested in filmmaking and what kind of work do you make now? So I’m American, but I grew up in Paris. I was born in New York and when I was two, my parents were just like “let’s move to France!” I spoke French at school and English at home, and I actually think that’s what got me interested in film. When you grow up in a bicultural, bilingual family, you become very good at observing people; you can shift your brain. I feel like speaking two languages is like driving a car because it forces you to always be aware of your surroundings. I went to film school in Prague for a year and met Cailin, who is my film partner. We were the only two women in the cinematography department, so we were like, “we are either going to hate each other or love each other,” We totally banded together and just shot everybody’s shorts. We were a moving making machine! So we teamed up and submitted our short films to Cannes, but we needed to submit a production company name. We were like “we don’t have a production company, we’re students!” So we just came up with a name, Bicephaly Pictures (which is the medical term for ‘two headed’) because we had started seeing each other as this two headed monster that was just shooting everybody’s stuff. Around the same time, I had this revelation where I was like “guys, I think I’m a director.” And I always call it my coming out of the closet moment because I was like “I have
Upon meeting Ani Simon-Kennedy, commended filmmaker, co-founder of Bicephaly Pictures, and general badass, her vibrancy felt palpable. She greeted us both with a hug after setting down her scone and coffee, a grin seemingly encompassing her whole face. A few baristas knew her by name and waved “hi” as we got settled. She had an hour to talk before heading back to Bicephaly’s headquarters, a few blocks from the Tribeca bakery where we conducted the interview. In addition to completing a number (200!) of commercial projects, Ani recently made her first feature, Days of Grey, which premiered in 2013 at the Reykjavík International Film Festival. An Icelandic pop group, Hjaltalin, scored the film, and played the music live during the first screening. It picked up a number of accolades, among them, Emerging Narrative Winner at Oaxaca Film Festival, and an official selection at the Nordic Film Festival and Intl Environmental Film Festival. The theme of collaborative art surfaced again when Ani mentioned traveling to Africa to document two female DJs – one from Uganda, the other, Detroit. Needless to say, her spark and distinct drive attract uniquely compelling projects. The future of females in filmmaking is lucky to have Ani Simon-Kennedy as one of its trailblazers.
How did you become interested in filmmaking and what kind of work do you make now? So I’m American, but I grew up in Paris. I was born in New York and when I was two, my parents were just like, “Let’s move to France!” I spoke French at school and English at home, and I actually think that’s what got me interested in film. When you grow up in a bicultural, bilingual family, you become very good at observing people; you can shift your brain. I feel like speaking two languages is like driving a car because it forces you to always be aware of your surroundings. I went to film school in Prague for a year and met Cailin, who is my film partner. We were the only two women in the cinematography department, so we were like, “We are either going to hate each other or love each other.” We totally banded together and just shot everybody’s shorts. We were a movie making machine! So we teamed up and submitted our short films to Cannes, but we needed to submit a production company name. We were like “We don’t have a production company, we’re students!” So we just came up with a name, Bicephaly Pictures (which is the medical term for “two headed”) because we had started seeing each other as this two-headed monster that was just shooting everybody’s stuff. Around the same time, I had this revelation where I was like, “Guys, I think I’m a director.” And I always call it my coming out of the closet moment because I was like, “I have something to say.” and everyone was like, “Yeah…. We already know… ” Then it made sense for
us to have a company, because I was directing and Cailin was shooting and it wasn’t just like two cinematographers… We just turned five this year which is crazy! We are kind of a one-stop shop. We are like infinitely expandable or retractable, but day-to-day it’s just the two of us. So we became small business owners, which was not part of the plan! Now we mostly make commercials and write content, which is our bread and butter. It’s been kind of a cool time to make stuff because a lot of brands want authentic, genuine stories, which is way more in line with my filmmaker heart than, “Buy this thing! You’re going to love it!” It’s been a nice combo because I think if we had even had this company five years earlier, the ad world wasn’t really there yet. And next we’re making our second feature in March, in New Orleans. So we’re with-child! Got a bun in the oven. It’s a good life, I can’t complain. Even on the worst day ever, where everything is going wrong and everything sucks, I’m still making cool stuff with my best friends. If that’s the baseline, there’s no way it could be that bad. What was it like for you and Cailin being the only two women in your department in Prague? It was a big problem. We had a major talk where we brought together all these teachers and people during the second semester and we were like, “You have rampant sexism in this school, let’s talk about this!” The best thing about Prague film school is that it’s super international. We made
friends from all over the world, ages 18 through 40 – it was such a hodge podge.
“We were like, ‘You have rampant sexism in this school, let’s talk about this!’” That was great, but it also brought a lot of people who weren’t used to working with women in an equal and fair way. This exists in France and in the States too, but there’s something worse about dealing with it in a film school where everyone was learning together. I was like, “You know, I can carry this! I have arms!” There were also way more creepy situations; I don’t need to be hit on, we are all students here. Also, I think sometimes some guys tend to gravitate towards guns or sex – for whatever reason – when they are writing a short. And that’s fine, but you have to ask, “What’s the story you are trying to tell? Do you actually need this or is it just you playing out this elaborate fantasy that you’ve had in your head?” So we talked about it a lot. We had these round table talks, and then we fixed it! No, just kidding. Nothing changed; we just had to graduate. But, it was still cool, speaking up about it. I was glad that we brought it up even though, I will say, absolutely nothing changed. It was a bummer, but it was my first opportunity to talk about this issue. I had been on sets that were horribly sexist before, but I was a lowly PA and I didn’t even know who I was supposed to talk to about it. So, at film school I think
it was a combination of age, setting and zeitgeist. When you initiated those discussions about sexism at film school, how did the professors react? It was funny. There was one teacher who was like, “I agree one hundred percent, yes.” But the big problem was that some of the professors – the old-school Czech ones – were just straight-up creeps, to the point where it was almost comical that they were so gross. Were there any female professors who could help you advocate? Yeah, no, it was all guys. The receptionist was a woman! And the cafeteria lady! So, that was that… But I met a lot of fellow badass ladies who we still work with all the time. Wow, haven’t thought about that in a long time. Igor, if you’re still at Prague Film School, you’re the worst! Did you ever feel discouraged during those years, or further into your career, because of the sexism? No, which is great, I guess, but also weird. I feel like so much of film is finding people who are going to help you make stuff. Finding people you see eye to eye with. I’ve been pretty lucky (knocks on wood table) even before meeting Cailin. I think if I were more attached to how other people felt about my stuff, that (sexism) would affect me more. If I was like, “Oh my God, I want to get a million views on Youtube, or I want to get into these film festivals,” then I’d probably feel like a total failure. But that recognition is never why I wanted to make films in the first place. For better or for worse, what I love about film is that you make
these projects and then you move on to a fresh set of people. And eventually, you get to this point where you’re like, “This is my team, this is who I like. I don’t need to do this forced cohabitation with anybody I don’t like, to a certain extent.” And then you’re with your gang! Why do you think that female cinematographers and directors receive less recognition for their work? I think it’s because men give the awards. There’s a very closed circuit. When you actually see the feedback loop, the people who recommend directors for jobs tend to be white men, who tend to think of other white men. The juries and the selection committees are that same demographic. I do think that it takes extra brain power to say, “Let me challenge myself to think of someone who isn’t exactly like me.” I also think a lot of mentorship happens because you see yourself in this younger version.
“And you can find a million other examples like this where women start out of the gate at the same place, but then the men rise faster and higher while the women are just creeping along.” It’s just so pervasive. Cary Fukunaga, the director who did True Detective and Beasts of No Nation, has totally shot up. He was at Sundance the same year as this girl, Dee Rees, who is a black woman. They both had their first features at Sundance in the same year, so
this is the same baseline. They both started in the same place. There’s a million different factors involved, but he’s since made four other features, a crazy successful TV show, and won an Emmy. He’s like the success story, whereas Dee’s only on her second feature that’s going to be at Sundance this year. It’s crazy that these two directors started at the same place, but one is stratospherically more established. And you can find a million other examples like this where women start out of the gate at the same place, but then the men rise faster and higher while the woman are just creeping along. There’s a certain point where you’re like, “this can’t just be out of sheer ability.” But on a weird subliminal level, you start to set your expectations lower. It’s a bit like the chicken or the egg. Everyone starts out super ambitious and then there’s this moment of re-calibration. I do think a big problem is the people actually making the decisions in the room. For a lot of awards I used to think, “Oh my God, they picked the best.” That it was this sort of all knowing, all seeing, secret faction. Now, having peeked behind the curtain of ‘this is what a jury looks like,’ ‘this is what voting for an awards show looks like,’ I realize it’s actually a failed system created by humans who try to make it work to their benefit. Understanding that is a good step towards finding validation elsewhere for my work. If I’m always setting myself to their standards, I’m always going to feel like a failure. But, it’s also easy to fall into this ‘the system is stacked against me’ mindset, which I don’t think is helpful either. That’s a long answer
to a complicated question. Where would you like to see the film industry in regard to gender equity in the future? What people have you seen making strides toward that ideal? What I want to see is actual equality, which is numerical equality. We should not treat women as a minority anymore, because we are numerically fifty percent of the population! When I open the new releases in The New York Times and half of the movies opening are directed by women, that’s when I’ll be like, “I’m feeling good about the world!” Or when Sundance releases its lineup and exactly half of the movies are directed by women, I’ll be like, “We did it.” Until then, I think we’re just failing. I’ve always found this so baffling because we’re half of this planet. There’s been something particularly grating about women being treated as this small faction.People say, “Let’s have one woman in the room…” Like one’s enough because we’ve hit our diversity quota. That’s not good enough. I feel like there are a lot of unsung heroes. It’s great that there are very vocal famous people speaking out against gender inequality. They have the biggest platform, they have the biggest voice. But I’m really into the people who are just treating it like the norm. I feel like there are a lot of people at production companies and studios who are actively working to change things within the system. The people who are being kind of quiet about it are the ones making real change, not just to be on the right side of history. It’s ultimately up to the people who have the money:
the producers and the financiers. Until we get financial equality, we won’t have gender equality. We live in a capitalist society where money dictates everything. If people just funded films by women that are stories about women – the big studios, production companies, distribution companies – and put those movies out, the audiences would vote with their dollars.
“People are realizing that we need more grassroots movements. If the system isn’t going to help us, we need to help each other.” This director Alma Har’el – who makes documentaries and commercials – started a campaign called ‘Free The Bid.’ Generally on a commercial, you have three directors who submit treatments. Her campaign is getting companies to pledge that whenever executives are bidding on these three directors for a job, one of them has to be a woman. It puts us in the room basically. Which is a big part of the problem because a lot of these decisions get made by what typically ends up being white men, who even with the best of intentions in their nobelist of hearts, still don’t have the perspective that somebody else might have. Leah Meyerhoff started a collective called Film Fatales that’s all women directors and we meet once a month to discuss where we’re at and help each other, and that’s an awesome support system. People are realizing that we need more
grassroots movements. If the system isn’t going to help us, we need to help each other. I think there are so many gatekeepers in film that it can get very discouraging, but a lot of these collectives come from the idea that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ If one of us succeeds, all of us succeed. Cailin and I definitely felt, as the two women in Prague, that there could only be one of us. I think we have bred all this competitiveness and pettiness that’s really destructive to women. But I feel like being able to shift your perspective ends up benefitting everyone. So, yeah, 50/50 in our lifetimes!!!
“What’s been empowering to me is feeling like I have this whole circle of people - men and women - who I can rely on and trust.” Do you still find being a filmmaker empowering? I feel so lucky. I think so much of it is the work. When you get hired by a client, they’re inherently trusting you, which feels great. And we have repeat clients from day one, who we still make videos for today. Then they tell their friends, who tell their friends, so it’s felt like, “Wow, we’ve built this little community,” which is cool! Anytime I feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself, I feel very empowered. I think a lot of filmmakers get this mentality of, “it’s me against the world.” It’s super isolating to be a filmmaker if you write your own material. It can get really lonely, but what’s been empowering to me is feeling like I have this whole
circle of people - men and women - who I can rely on and trust. That feels like a really good thing.
The Egg Collective FURNITURE AND LIGHTING DESIGN COMPANY
In spite of their scattered logistics, we were fortunate enough to catch all three ladies of the Egg Collective, 25 Crystal Ellis, Stephanie Beamer, and Hillary Petrie, at once in their SoHo showroom. As collaborators, they design, manufacture, and sell their own furniture, no small feat for an independent company operating in a niche market. With a fabrication space in Brooklyn, they often split up to tackle different aspects of any given project. Their showroom clearly establishes Egg’s aesthetic – clean, simple, and elegant. We sat at one of their tables, a modern, dining room-sized piece, and listened to their individual and shared stories covering everything from anecdotes about facing blatant sexism to the “dream-like” reality of running a company with your best friends. Considering women currently hold a mere 1.4 % of carpentry positions in the United States, Egg’s team is certainly an anomaly – and not to mention, a lovely one, too. It’s our hope that their tenure inspires a new generation of women in carpentry who can carry the same strength and humility as Egg does so well.
How did you guys meet and what was the evolution of the Egg Collective? If you could, also talk a bit about your backgrounds individually. CE: We met when we were eighteen and we all studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. I always remember professors telling us it was the first year in the history of the architecture school that, I think, there were either the same number of women or slightly more women than men in our class. So we were the class where that gender tip took place. Anyway, we became friends when we were there, the three of us. And we’ve been working together and collaborating basically ever since. HP: That’s where we got our formal design education, but once we graduated we did more ‘out in the field’ work. We’ve all worked in wood shops and Stephanie went to work right after college apprenticing for a fine furniture maker and finisher in St. Louis. Crystal and I both made our way into shops in between the time we graduated and we started Egg, which was about 2006-2011. But going out and working in the industry and in the field actually building things and installing things and – CE: Yeah I think we probably were all the only women in the wood shops we worked in – HP: There was one woman. I had one female colleague. During those experiences, did you feel like you had to combat any stigmas? SB: Initially I didn’t. In St. Louis in the small coop of workers,
they were all super generous, old school, easy going guys. But when I moved to New York, that was actually when I first really felt the gender issue because clearly none of the men in the shops I entered had interacted with women in that setting. So, I felt definitely like I had to prove myself a bit to earn their respect. Once they saw that I could do what I was claiming I could do, I think I won them over even more than if it had been another man coming into the shop. They were so bowled over by the fact that a woman was doing the same kind of work that they were and was capable of, you know, milling wood and getting her hands dirty and finishing pieces. So, I definitely felt the need to have to prove myself. CE: I think, she (Stephanie) has the most woodshop experience. I worked in a small shop here in New York with two great guys. I don’t know if I was the first female employee, but I never felt like I was treated differently. I’m still friends with both of them – they are fantastic. I would say generally, and this isn’t totally true, but in woodworking you have to have a certain kind of patience and character. Not everyone fits into it, but most of the men that I have interacted with have been relatively calm, gentle, steady people. SB: I think if I were to draw a line as to where gender becomes an issue, it would be with the contract working side of the industry. With people that are more geared towards cabinetry and installation and building construction, I feel like that’s where you get more of the machismo and find a little bit of a hesitancy toward women entering. I
(left to right) Crystal Ellis, Stephanie Beamer, Hillary Petrie
Georgie the dog!
I don’t can freeze thinkmy that ovaries I’ve had andany have negakids later,experiences tive it’s fine!” or felt like I couldn’t have a relationship with these people, So, again, but have you justfound feeling being like you a chef have and to a business prove yourself. owner to be an empowering experience? Empowering, HP: The times because I experienced for one, it were just running never when a successful I was working business building in New York installing and City in general, kitchens. is Never really, in really, the hard. And two, fabrications space because did I feel I work likewith anythe employees thing was different, and empower but when them I wentto doinstall to something on site they there’d neverbe thought a ton of they would men around even be and doing! they don’t Like baking, – or
dock would just stop and stare at us like we were zoo animals. We eventually got to know everybody and prove ourselves. They were just like, “Oh, it’s the girls,” you know. They were like, “They can do it, too.”
SB: You’re not normal.
CE: I think that people find it interesting, but you know, when you’re purchasing an expensive piece of furniture, in the end it comes down to, “Do I want that table?” Not like, “Oh I’m buying it because they’re women.”
CE: Yeah, we’re not considered normal in that sense. HP: Another time is when – I have vivid memories of this because it would happen to us a lot in the beginning – we would get wood delivered. You’d order a lumber delivery, and a giant truck backs up to the loading dock. It’s a lot of work to load the wood off the dock, and if we were down there for a lumber delivery, people on the
Do you think on the client end you get different reactions nowadays because the Egg Collective is female-run? SB: Overall, we like to think that the work speaks for itself. But people do enjoy the story.
SB: Right. I wonder how much that factors into anyone’s decision-making process when they purchase a piece. We don’t know, but I don’t think it’s a huge factor. We do occasionally see the enthusiasm of particularly female clients who appreciate what it means
to have started this business and to be making work in this field. CE: We’ve bitten off a lot – we design our work, manufacture it, sell it, represent it. We try to do it all, which sometimes feels overwhelming, but it also allows us to deliver the product and experience that we want. Are there other collectives like yours who are all female run and able to cover that spectrum of the business end, the design end, and
the manufacturing? CE: Not that I know of. I mean, the only other all female collective that comes to mind is a design collective called Front, but they are in the Netherlands. They are Dutch and they don’t make their furniture, they are just a design house. SB: I don’t know, I think there are definitely more coming up as the industry is changing, but I don’t think there is anyone covering the breadth that we do yet.
Would you say that this earns you more respect from your male counterparts? CE: I don’t know. I do feel like with the close colleagues we’ve had in woodshops and our male employees, there’s a camaraderie and a mutual respect level there. That’s a good feeling to have with people you work with. I think we have definitely impressed a few guys along the way! I went to a craft school called Penland and, I won’t say the professor’s name, but when
I first started in his woodworking class, I was the only woman in it and he said something to me along the lines of, “Are you sure this is the right place for you?” and I was like, “Yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry. I know what I’m doing, I’ve done this before.” I actually had more experience than most of the guys in that class. Anyway, we did our projects and at the end of it he was like, “I was wrong. I’m sorry that I said that to you. You did better work than the rest of the students
in this.” And I was like, “Yeah….” Sometimes you have to put your head down and just prove it, and then in the end you hopefully change people’s perceptions. Have your families had similar reactions to that teacher? Or have they been more supportive? CE: My friends and family- I feellike I’ve never had an issue- they are really supportive.
HP: I think my parents – and I would say the same for these guys – understood the entrepreneurial spirit behind it. Maybe they didn’t quite understand the furniture industry, but they knew we were trying to start a business and make something that we could contribute to in the long term, invest in, and do the kind of work we wanted to do. And get paid to do it!
SB: I think that it took a minute for my parents to understand the
What would you say is the most rewarding part of running the
trajectory that I hoped we would go on when I went from studying architecture at a prestigious college to working in a back alley woodshop. I think they were pretty shocked by my choice. I think craft is super important and a beautiful career in its own right, and that’s something worth pursuing. Our end goal is potentially something even bigger picture. So it’s been a process of educating our families as to what it is that we ultimately want to do.
Egg Collective? SB: I would probably say getting to work with people that we have both hired internally and that we get to create with. We have an amazing team and employing people in America feels incredibly important. And then beyond our immediate team, we work with a network of subcontractors whose businesses we contribute to as well. I think that has been one of the most unexpected, but most rewarding parts of starting Egg.
Dr. Jimmie Holland PSYCHIATRIST AND FOUNDER OF THE FIELD OF PSYCHO-ONCOLOGY
Dr. Jimmie Holland speaks with a measured, southern drawl, leaning back in her armchair, legs crossed, a twinkle in her eye. She is the unsuspecting champion of psycho-oncology, having started the field in the seventies. Now eighty-eight, she still works on the seventh floor of Sloan Kettering with a fleet of psychiatrists, none of whom would be here if not for her curiosity and persistence. Dr. Holland grew up in rural Texas and attended Baylor Medical School, graduating in 1952. She was one of three women in her class of 90 students. After completing a psychiatric residency and working at Mass General in Boston, she went to live in Buffalo, NY where her husband – an oncologist – was working at a cancer institute. There, she would develop her interest in the emotional responses of patients with cancer. Upon returning to New York, Sloan Kettering offered Dr. Holland the opportunity to head the first psychiatriconcology unit in the world. She began her work there with one other doctor, and now the department hosts some 200 employees. In discussion, she speaks modestly of her remarkable career, often pausing to remind us how lucky she feels. As she walked us out, administrators and doctors in cubicles lifted their heads from their work to give her a smile. Dr. Holland’s eyes crinkled back as she gave a quiet nod.
You mentioned that you were one of three women in a class of eighty men at Baylor Medical School. Did you ever feel discouraged from pursuing a career in medicine because you were a woman? No, not at all! My colleague and I were younger than most of the men who had come back from the war. They were really a bit older. They sort of treated us like younger sisters. We were kind of special. I never felt somehow mistreated or maligned or harassed. I felt I was equally treated. I was never put down, but maybe I just didn’t see it... While founding the field of psycho-oncology, did you feel overwhelmed at any point? I didn’t know we were founding a field! You just do what’s at hand, and I had no idea whether we’d be able to make it here or not. I mean, would an anti-depressant work on someone who’s depressed if they have cancer? We didn’t know the answer to that. So you sort of go in humbly. But at that time, people were not always told they had cancer. It was considered so frightening and demoralizing that we didn’t tell people they had cancer. We used a euphemism, like, “Oh you have a swelling or a tumor.” But the word cancer – it was called “the big C” – was avoided. We’ve come a long way in reducing the stigma. We have a stigma attached to something when we don’t know anything about it, when we’re afraid of it. Would you say that you had to work harder than your male counterparts to achieve the position you now hold?
Yes. I was a country girl. I always figured I’d have to work harder than everybody else because I started with a disadvantage. We didn’t go to very good schools, so it was my assumption I’d always work harder. I hadn’t thought about that before … but I always felt I had to work harder. And I knew that if I did, I’d come out okay. That’s pretty much been true. It takes hard work.
“We have a stigma attached to something when we don’t know anything about it, when we’re afraid of it.” When you were younger and you were realizing you wanted to be a doctor, was your family supportive of that? Very much so. My mom and dad couldn’t have been more supportive. I was their only child, so they were very kind. Many people sort of said, “Gee, that’s wonderful. How can we help?” But other people were like, “What do you mean? You’ll never make it!” I had my fair share of that sort of thing, I can remember an uncle saying that. On the whole, I had a lot of support. My parents didn’t have much money, but they sent me to college, they sent me to medical school. So I didn’t have to scrounge and figure out how to do that on my own. It seems like you came from a very supportive background. Did you see other women trying to achieve similar goals who didn’t have that kind of support? I can remember a young woman a
bit older than I who went to law school, and I was very impressed with her. She was from the same little town. No one went to college from this little town…. basically You what did mentioned their papa that you hadwere doneone and of three went to the women farm.inWomen a class mostly of eighty mensecretary did at Baylorwork Medical or nursing School.orDid you ever feel teaching. Those discouraged were the only to purocsue a career cupations available in medicine to women. because And you awere not lot ofa them woman? went to college. No, ifnot So, a women at all! My happened colleague to have and I were five kidsyounger and herthan husband most of died, the men she and whohad hadno come education, back from it was the war- they tough. It was were hard really to find a bitsomeolder. They sort thing to do ofto treated support us alike family. younger sisters. We were kind of special. I Inever think felt women somehow have mistreated had it very or maligned hard over or theharassed. years. And I feltthere’s I was equally still lots of treated. room to I was keep never in there put down, but Particularly plugging! maybe I justright didn’t now see it... this guy, Trump. We’ve got with to do this fellow in. We’ve got to Whilemoney raise founding for the Planned field of Parentpsychooncology, hood! We’re didinyou a bad feelshape discouraged in this to keep going country. How women at any point? could elect a I didn’t man who know talkswe and were thinks founding like this, aI field! You don’t understand just do what’s it… at hand, and I had no idea whether we’d be able makein it here not. years I mean, “Weto are for orfour would an anti-depressant work on of fighting fordepressed what we someone’s who’s if they have cancer? We didn’t know the thought we had already answer to that. So you sort of go in gained. The harassment humbly.
of women continues, But at there’s that time, people were not and no place for always told they had cancer. It that.” was considered so frightening and
demoralizing that we didn’t tell Bridging off of that, where would people they had cancer. We used you like to see the country in a euphemism, like, “oh you have a regards equity in the swelling to or gender a tumor.” But the word future? cancer – it was called “the big C” Good and I certainly feel – was question, avoided. We’ve come a long strongly about it. We were making way in reducing the stigma. We such progress! Boytooh boy, have good a stigma attached somethings were moving along. I used thing when we don’t know anything to feel it; Roe vs Wade a dead about when we’re was afraid of it.
issue. I think in terms of women’s rights to their own bodies, we have moved a long way, but there are still fewer women in top leadership positions in the business world and medical world. I think that’s partly because women have to take care of the family, so if you’re going to have kids, you can’t do that justice and push all the way up the ceiling. It’s tough. A lot of women say, “Okay, in medicine I’ll do radiology or I’ll do something that has regular hours that’s easier.” But if you’re going to run the place, it’s harder. What else do we need to be doing? Well right now we need to fight for all these basic rights all over again. We are in for four years of fighting for what we thought we had already gained. The harassment of women continues, and there’s no place for that. I think if we had a female president win, and she’s a terrific lady, it would have been so good for us. It was a terrible loss and I’m ashamed of women who said they don’t want her and let this election go by. I think that was a big, big mistake. So what would you advise young men and women right now to do? On a political level, I think we need to watch legislation very carefully. It’s coming down the pipe and it may not be what we want to see. I think we are moving slowly in the right direction, the question is how much we are slowed down by that man over the next four years. When he gets impeached, remember you heard it here! Besides the political landscape we are facing right now, have you
experienced any other surprising events in the evolution of gender equity? Well, I think the history of suffrage is a wonderful story. You know the first meeting at Seneca Falls was incredible! And the story of the women who had the audacity to go and vote and were put on trial and ended up in jail. Fascinating. The degree to which they tolerated harassment of all kinds for efforts at social justice and social reform ... it hasn’t been easy! Women have tolerated a lot of maltreatment for their principles and we may be back there again…
“Women have tolerated a lot of maltreatment for their principles and we may be back there again…” Despite the struggles women continue to face, in your field has being a woman given you any advantages? Well, I think women in medicine are seen to be a little more empathic and a little bit better at communication. We have those sort of innate advantages, but I think there’s also disadvantage in that your credibility is less than with a man. I don’t like to say that, but there’s some truth to it. So it’s both advantage and disadvantage. That’s where I’m coming from. I’m very lucky to be the mother – actually I say I’m the grandmother now – of the field. It’s been a lot of fun to see it evolve and all the people who contribute. I just happened to be in the right place in the right time.
glass door zine issue #1 thanks for reading!