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Women’s History Month: Celebrating Women In The Arts – Spotlight On Carol Carpenter

by Karen Tortora-Lee on March 15, 2011

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Women's History Month

These women of the arts hail from different disciplines, but they all have an indomitable spirit and a luminescent spark that makes them amazing human beings who are out there every day, doing amazing work.

Today we continue our series with Carol Carpenter. What can I say about Carol Carpenter?  On the surface she and I couldn’t be more different and yet somehow when we met we clicked immediately.  Carol has a wry smile and a glint in her eye;  her writing is sharp, smart, some times biting, some times touching but always truthful.  It’s that truth that has made her the recipeint of numerous awards.

Carol is also a loyal colleague; despite the fact that she was ON HER WAY TO PARIS when I sent out a call to participate in this series she promised she’d do what she could, and (true to her word) she sent me her thoughts from her lovely vacation spot.  If that’s not the real deal, I don’t know what is. In her own words:

I’ve always had a hard time discussing issues through the lens of my gender, because it has so rarely defined the way I look at the world. I think this reality comes from many different sources: from having parents who assumed I could do anything I wanted, to having been a competitive childhood athlete who saw aggression as compatible with being female, to being raised in an area of the country where bragging is an art form (the Texas border) and approaching life from a place where victimization is considered weak.

I carry all of these cultural influences and assumptions with me as I navigate the world, and yet I know that my gender brings differences in opportunities that I am probably too solipsistic to see. It’s strange: on a macro level, I do see the world in terms of power dynamics and how they play out in the world. My politics are aligned with this awareness, and I constantly see gender dynamics play out in how horrifically gay men are treated, and in how sexualized women are. But on a micro, personal level, I feel like these dynamics don’t apply to me. They do, of course; I’m intellectually aware enough to know that. But I don’t feel them.

I feel as though I am an equal in the boxing ring of life, and if a guy takes a punch at me, I’m going to punch back.

Carol Carpenter

Carol Carpenter


DANG Carol!  I sure as heck do NOT want to ever be next to the guy who takes that first swing at you – just in case he ducks and I get the punch instead.  Yeah – that would wipe me out completely.

Here’s a little more information on Carol Carpenter:

  • Sweet, Sweet Spirit June 25 at the Robert Moss Theater
  • Village Fall 2012 at American Southwest Theater
  • Good Lonely People info at
Carol Carpenter, Dramatist
Exploring American Conflict through the Intersections of Left & Right, Urban & Rural, Religious & Secular ~ And Finding Grace in the Moments that Bind.
Winner, Best Playwriting @ Planet Connections / Audience Favorite @ NewBorn Play Fest / Semi-Finalist @ Pandora Productions of Louisville & Editor’s Pick NY Daily News.

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