By Cheryl Lemus
In the past few days, Americans (and I am sure many people around the globe) have read Angelina Jolie’s startling announcement that she recently underwent a preventative double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery (and as I understand she will also have her ovaries removed). Like most people, I was awestruck by her bravery, her straightforwardness, and her honesty. As a scholar of medicine and gender and women's history, I was instantly struck by how her melodic narrative described her agency as both a patient and a woman. Her op-ed also conveyed a dream of perfect medical care, family support, and clarity in making a very profound decision that would have a major impact on her future health. But as much as I marveled at her decisions (as did so many other individuals), my academic training immediately brought a level of cynicism that I could not easily dismiss (and I am not alone). I almost instantly began to think about Angelina Jolie the celebrity, not Angelina Jolie the common woman.
Posts from the ‘femininity’ Category
By Cheryl Lemus
By Tiffany Wayne
Recently on Facebook some friends were passing around a quote by comedian Ellen DeGeneres who was responding to the charge that same-sex marriage will “threaten” heterosexual marriages. Ellen quipped:
“Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine...”
I get you, Ellen, but you’re missing the larger point. Same-sex marriage does threaten “traditional” marriage.
By Cheryl Lemus
So I don’t know if you all aware but Kim Kardashian and Duchess Kate Middleton are pregnant. Yes I know, surprising news since both pregnancies have received very little coverage in the media. I mean you would not even know they were pregnant. Sarcasm aside, when both women announced/confirmed their pregnancies in December, I was not surprised to see the media circus that unfolded around the both of them. NBC’s Today practically wet itself when Kate confirmed her pregnancy, while Kim’s news went viral when Kanye West announced she was expecting their child during a concert. Since then, the media has been more than happy to closely monitor both women’s pregnancies (even more than their obstetricians), but in the past few weeks, more attention has been placed on Kim and Kate’s pregnant bodies, revealing a tale of two pregnancies, one the ideal (Kate) and one the reality (Kim). And the attention, praise, comparisons, conniption fits, and criticisms reflect that these two norms are clashing for the first time.
By Austin McCoy
The Steubenville rape case and CNN’s disturbing response to the conviction of the two football players illustrate the pervasiveness of rape culture in American society. As Blogger Lauren Nelson highlighted in her piece, “So you’re tired of hearing about rape culture,” politicians, news pundits, athletes, teenagers, men, and women have displayed some or all the characteristics of rape culture recently—victim-blaming, shaming, and (online) bullying, objectifying women, demonizing sexually active women, perpetuating the notion that (young) men, especially athletes, are entitled to act upon women’s bodies without their legal consent, and sympathizing with those judged guilty.
By Carolyn Herbst Lewis
One of my escapes is reading Good Housekeeping. When it arrives in my mailbox, I usually take that afternoon “off,” and spend it on my porch swing, sipping coffee or wine as I page through it. Mostly, I read it and find the pleasure in all of the things that I am not going to worry about. The best recipe for mu shu shrimp? There is no way my picky son will put that anywhere near his mouth, so I’m not going to cook it. How to make the craftiest seating cards for a dinner party? Not gonna do it because my dinner parties are self-serve buffets. How to reorganize your closet so that it is color-coded? Not practical in my tiny hole in the wall. Lose five pounds by doing sit-ups before you get out of bed in the morning? I'd rather just hit the snooze button. It’s not that I find this information or these suggestions laughable or useless or anything like that. I do not mean to sound condescending or snobby about it. I love Good Housekeeping. It’s just that most of its contents don’t really have anything to do with the kind of household that my husband and I maintain. And yet I faithfully read it. Why? Because every so often there is something that works for me. [Like the suggestion to use a cup to amplify the music from my iPhone (March 2013, p. 29). I’ve been walking around with my iPhone in a coffee mug for the last four weeks. It’s brilliant.] And I really do find comfort in the feeling of being free from having to do any of the things that the GH articles suggest that I do to make my home, myself, or my family happier, healthier, or prettier.
By Cheryl Lemus
Two nights ago I ran across a story about Farrah Abraham, who set off a firestorm when she posted online that she waxed and tweezed her 3-year-old daughter’s eyebrows because she had what Abraham described as a unibrow. The moment she admitted what she did, people called her insane, ignorant, and labeled her a “bad mother.” Farrah Abraham is known for her appearance on Teen Mom, a show that glorifies teenage motherhood and turns its participants into minor celebrities. Now as a mother myself, I could throw myself into the mix and condemn Abraham for falling victim to the rancid consumer culture that plagues motherhood, but I'll refrain mainly because I, as well as most mothers, have acquiesced to the rampant consumerism that shapes our opinions, criticisms, and habits of mothering. In fact, when it comes to beauty and clothing, many mothers have become comfortable with our children mirroring our fashion choices. There are many reasons for this, but seemingly since the 1950s middle-class mothers and daughters looking like twins or looking older/younger than they are reflects changing norms regarding girlhood and motherhood. Girlhood and motherhood has become increasingly sexualized, as the pressure to look older or younger has grown.
By Cheryl Lemus
Well today’s the day that Americans decide if whether we will have a 45th president or we'll keep our 44th president. If you are a regular reader of Nursing Clio, you are well aware that we do not hide our political affiliation and we are all waiting with baited breath for tonight’s results. Regardless of the outcome, we cannot assume the war on women is over. Starting on Wednesday, this war will change. If Romney wins, well, who knows what Mittens has in store, but it is safe to say that the war will escalate. If Obama wins, the war will subside a bit, but we cannot let our guard down. If we are going to win this war, we need to set our sights on an enemy that has remained largely in the wings, although there are a few who have made their way onto the stage. Our real enemy is not the white male blowhards, who use politics to advance legislation that openly limits women’s rights. No, the real enemy is the conservative woman who uses a warm smile to distract you from the fact that she is using her well-manicured hand to strangle your vagina. Our true enemy has a vagina, not a penis.
By Carrie Adkins
It is officially "Vagina Week" here at Nursing Clio. Carrie Adkins, Adam Turner, Ashley Baggett, Rachel Epp Buller, and Cheryl Lemus will each post their thoughts about Naomi Wolf's new book, Vagina: A Biography, and dissecting some of Wolf's claims about vaginas, orgasms, and female sexuality. Please consider posting your own thoughts in the comments section!
Carrie Adkins kicks off "Vagina Week" with an overall analysis of Wolf's book:
By Cheryl Lemus
Yesterday, several media sites published comments made by Christina Aguilera to her record company during the recording of her new album Lotus. Allegedly, she told them that she was fat and that they needed to get over this idea that she was a “skinny white girl.” News about her comments spread like wildfire and there was a loud cheer for Aguilera and her acceptance of her “fatness.” Apparently though, today her rep emphatically denies that Aguilera ever said she was fat. Whatever the reason is that her people are backtracking from the “fat” statement, the celebration yesterday reflects that there is more willingness to accept celebrities who do not fit the beauty ideal wrapped around females. It gives women around the world a reason to feel content with their bodies. But, as we slowly accept that beautiful women encompass all different sizes, shapes, and colors, we are at the same time creating an ideal of female fatness. Aguilera’s (now refuted) proud statement “I’m a fat girl now,” may be a reason to celebrate, except she's not fat. Not even close. By accepting that Aguilera is “fat,” we are only creating a myth of the fat skinny girl, who still has firm and flawless proportions. Just as we decry the ideal skinny female, the ideal fat girl does not seem to get much criticism for projecting a body that very few overweight girls and women have.
By Cheryl Lemus
So I was dealing with a bout of insomnia tonight and while I was sitting in front of my computer (which I know does not help), I came across a Huffington Post piece on The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which has just been introduced in the Senate. The bill, which mirrors one introduced to the House in the spring, would require that employers make workplace accommodations for pregnant workers. You know, like giving a pregnant worker regular bathroom breaks. But, not surprisingly, it faces opposition by, that’s right, Republicans. Republicans see things a little differently. See, to them, that baby bump and its need for “accommodations” will kill profits. Don’t you know that requiring an employer to allow a pregnant woman to carry a water bottle during work or making them give her routine bathroom or rest breaks will cause an economic burden? The GOP, made up of primarily desperate white men clinging to their hegemony, are not surprisingly holding steadfast to their antiquated notions of pregnant women (and women in general). With many big businesses funding (and running) the GOP, the party of “pro-life” reveals its true colors yet again by stipulating that an individual's well-being should not get in the way of profits. At the same time though, most Americans do not recognize a pregnant woman as an employee. Although there are 77 million women in the workforce, many of whom are working in low-wage jobs, a pregnant worker is not the norm. A pregnant woman is not a worker.