Joann: My Sister The Mail Carrier

A brief portrait of Joann Elam who delivers the mail in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. She talks about being a woman in a traditionally male job. She comments on responses from job supervisors and how she derives personal benefit from this kind of employment. Produced for the Chicago Video Makers’ Coalition program, SLICES OF CHICAGO, a show for broadcast consisting of small format “alternative” videos on subjects not normally seen on broadcast television.

00:00Copy video clip URL Onscreen text: “In the 1970s, few women were employed as urban letter carriers. This video was broadcast in 1977 in a program of short videos by independent producers about people and points-of-view not then represented on commercial television.” Followed by title card. 

00:16Copy video clip URL Joann walks up a sidewalk with a cart carrying letters. In voiceover she talks about how much she enjoys the job because she loves to walk. We see her deliver letters and interact with residents. 

01:40Copy video clip URL Joann explains that she doesn’t think of it as “a man’s job” even though it has traditionally been held by men. She compares being a letter carrier with traditional women’s jobs like waitressing. 

02:30Copy video clip URL Joann discusses “getting in trouble” for volunteering for duties typically done by men. 

03:27Copy video clip URL Onscreen, Joann talks about how being a letter carrier gives her permission to be outside on the street alone, in a way that is unusual for women. 

04:01Copy video clip URL End credits: “A video by Eleanor Boyer & Karen Peugh. 1977.”



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