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The Nanny State on Your Plate?

By Rachel Louise Moran

In late-November, the FDA finalized new rules for calorie counts on menus. In about a year, all food establishments with over twenty locations will need to post the calories of regular items directly on the menu. Other nutrition facts must be available on request. In about two years, vending machine companies owning more than twenty machines will need to display a poster listing items' calories. When the rules were released, few of the responses were shocking. The Center for Science in the Public Interest described the rules as "the culmination of a decade-long movement for better nutrition." Fox Business hosts called the rules "a little bit ludicrous." Is "Obamacare affecting what you eat now?" asked Fox host Charles Payne. The Chicago Tribune editorialized that calorie counts are the "nanny state" at work. Media voices are portraying the calorie counts as a battle between public health and personal freedom, just as they did with smoking regulations, jumbo soda rules, and bans on trans fats.

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Yes Virginia, Feminism Left Christmas Alone

By Cheryl Lemus

As I write this blog post, I am recovering from an intense Thanksgiving weekend. Over the course of four days, I cooked, attended a Doctor Who convention, put up the rest of our Christmas decorations, and shopped. I am not ashamed to admit that as of 11:59 p.m. on Halloween, I hit the Christmas station on Pandora. Although I usually wait until Thanksgiving to decorate the tree, I actually put it up a week early this year. And this was not the first time I was in a store very early on Thanksgiving because there was a deal that I could not pass up. I am a liberal feminist, and yes, I am one of those people who loves most everything about the holiday. I cook, I shop, I share past traditions, and damn it, my tree looks awesome. This feminist loves Christmas. Kirk Cameron would be proud.

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Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Sinister Santas.
-The Titanic of the Golden Gate.
-A Victorian sanitary picture book.
-Ebola, women, and the risk of care.
-What books did WWII soldiers read?
-Sex, public memory, and Aaron Burr.

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Adventures in the Archives: The First Time

by Audrey Smith

The possibility of having an “adventure in the archives” always seemed a bit far-fetched. My perceptions of academia, particularly as related to notions of adventurousness, were dominated by images of Indiana Jones holding a dirty artifact and marking the X on the map. When Professor Carolyn Lewis (the adviser to whatever academic adventures loomed on the horizon for me) suggested that the archives were a time-warping place of magic and discovery, I conjured visions of swashbuckling conflicts amongst dueling historians, perhaps a diverting romantic intrigue amongst the dusty stacks – anything less than that couldn’t be an adventure, and to call it so seemed simply and woefully inaccurate.

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Confessions of a Newborn Father: The Birth of the “Hands-on” Dad

By Ginny Engholm

A recent Vicks Nyquil commercial has a typical scenario for an advertisement set in a workplace. A clearly sick man -- coughing, runny nose, the whole works -- opens what looks like an office door a crack, pops his head in, and delivers the one line of the commercial: "Dave, I'm sorry to interrupt. I gotta take a sick day tomorrow." While this might seem like a very traditional depiction of masculinity, a guy at the office asking his male boss for a day off, the ad subverts this narrative by revealing an adorable toddler standing up in his crib. The tagline of the ad -- "Dads don't take sick days. Dads take Nyquil" -- makes the ad's argument clear. A real man is one who is so dedicated to his real job -- fatherhood -- that he continues to parent through his colds and flus. While the idea of moms' total and complete dedication to their roles as mothers has of course been part of our cultural understanding of motherhood for, well, forever, the shift in the past decade or so of depicting fathers as equal-opportunity martyrs, devoted to the care of their children, strikes many modern viewers as something new.

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Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-AIDS history: I want more!
-Remembering Pearl Harbor.
-When disability and race intersect.
-Remember the 1990s power lines panic?
-A presidential daughter you could pick on.
-A history of health disparities in Ferguson.

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Crafting Womanhood

By Elizabeth Reis

As a women's and gender studies professor, I am especially aware of my privilege in not having to think constantly about my gender. Because I fit most of the criteria of a typical white American woman, I never get questioned or called out on my gender expression, and so I'm free to focus on other aspects of my life, leaving this area relatively unexamined. There have been two times in my life when I thought consciously about my gender identity: the first time I had sex ("this is how it's done?") and when I gave birth to my first child ("this is what women do?"). With both of those experiences, I remember thinking to myself, "I've never really felt like a WOMAN, whatever that's supposed to feel like, but many women do this, and so I guess I'm one of them." And that was the end of that. Since both of these events, many years ago, I've been able to put the question of my "womanliness" on the back burner and instead teach about the history and politics of gender in the United States.

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Hoping for a Good Death

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this special report: Elizabeth Reis, professor and chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at the University of Oregon and Nursing Clio‘s content editor, has penned a beautiful essay over at the New York Times. In it, she discusses the difficult medical decisions surrounding her father’s last days. Read this essay, then sit down and talk with your loved ones about end-of-life care.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Plague riddled pigeons.
-What did Gettysburg smell like?
-Airport food used to be a big deal.
-Remember the Sand Creek Massacre.
-Mass imprisonment and public health.

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Worlds of Rape, Words of Rape

By Sharon Block

Stories of rape again fill the news. Rolling Stone featured an article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely about University of Virginia's responses to rape at a fraternity party. The resurrected history of Bill Cosby's sexual assaults on women has dominated headlines. Of course, October also had campus rape news: Columbia University student Emma Sulkewicz' "Carry that Weight Project" brought national attention to colleges' woefully inadequate responses to sexual assault. Come to think of it: in 2013 we heard plenty about disbelieving judges and police reticence to take student rape seriously. 2012? Let's just call it the year of Republicans and Rape and move on.

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