By Natisha Robb
In “When the Personal Really is Historical (and Scary!),” Jacqueline Antonovich, a gender and medicine historian, described her 21st-century experience with pertussis, a.k.a. whooping cough, an extremely contagious “good old-fashioned Oregon Trail disease” that recently reemerged since its near eradication in the 1970s. While Antonovich suggests a recent surge in the anti-vaccine movement, records unveil a history fraught with ongoing controversy. Before vaccinations became a childhood rite of passage, every family knew someone who lost a child to a now vaccine-preventable disease. Yet despite the magnitude of casualties from smallpox, measles, polio, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis in populations lacking herd immunity, vulnerable communities did not always welcome vaccination campaigns with open arms.
Consider two diseases: Disease A and Disease B. Children with Disease A are described as being “excitable” and “precocious,” at risk of being “overstimulated.” Thus, they are unable to balance “academic, intellectual, and physical growth.” [Schuster, 116] Children suffering from Disease B, on the other hand, are “active, restless, and fidgety” and have difficulty “sustaining attention to tasks, persistence of effort, or vigilance.” [Barkley, 57] At first glance, the symptoms of the two diseases in children seem oddly similar. Yet these are two wildly unique diseases that have never overlapped in time.
By Mallory Nicole Davis
In 2010, Thomas Araguz III, a Texas firefighter died on the job, leaving behind his two children and transgender wife, Nikki. The couple was legally married because although the state of Texas only recognizes heterosexual marriages, the state will validate a transgender union if the trans partner’s identification documents dictate that s/he is the opposite legal sex of the spouse. However, when Nikki sought survivor benefits after her husband’s unexpected death, Thomas’ family launched a case against Nikki, stating that Thomas did not know his wife was transgender. The suit argued that Nikki wrongfully deceived her husband, while lobbying for the nullification of their marriage and subsequently, Nikki’s request for spousal benefits. The case was complicated further by the prosecuting attorney’s interrogation of a deposition taken from Thomas in a separate court case—a battle over custody of his two sons with his ex-wife—in which he stated that he did not know that Nikki was transgender. In response to the scrutinizing of her late husband’s statement, Nikki insisted that Thomas lied during his deposition and pretended to be unaware of her transgender status in order maintain custody of his two small children. Nikki stated, “At the time, Thomas and I thought it was in the best interest of our children to lie. They were the center of (our) lives”. Whether Nikki neglected to disclose her trans identity to her husband or that the couple collectively decided to lie to the court during their custody case for the sake of their children, deception surrounding Nikki’s trans status is at the center of this legal case; and undoubtedly, her credibility will be diminished regardless of how the court decides.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
-John Lennon in Havana.
-A 1950s guide to hooking up.
-40 vintage ads that shame women.
-Is Alcoholics Anonymous outdated?
-Vibrant anatomy drawings circa 1959.
By Carrie Adkins
Can we all just finally agree that the ratings system currently used by the Motion Picture Association of America is misguided, outdated, and increasingly irrelevant?
I realize I am not saying anything particularly original or revolutionary here, as people are basically complaining about the MPAA everywhere and all the time now. These complaints vary, but most of them fall into two major categories. First, there’s the inconsistency issue: the ratings sytem seems to be applied subjectively and arbitrarily. So, for example, using the word “fuck” more than once is supposed to result in an R rating, except sometimes, as with The Social Network, it inexplicably doesn’t. Meanwhile, the sexually explicit The Wolf of Wall Street avoids the NC-17 rating for no perceptible reason aside from being directed by Martin Scorsese, while less explicit (but sadly Scorsese-less) films either have to cut material for an R or else accept the NC-17, knowing that the NC-17 typically results in much lower profits. This situation was discussed perceptively by director Jill Soloway, who was forced to make a number of cuts to Afternoon Delight in order to avoid an NC-17.
Winter has declared war on most of the Midwest. The Polar Vortex directly and indirectly wreaked havoc on most U.S. citizens last week. Grocery stores ran short on staples! Schools canceled school! Travelers found themselves stranded! Cars did not start!
And my zipper on my down coat broke!
By Jacqueline Antonovich
-House snooping in 1970s Brooklyn.
-21 vintage recipes that should not exist.
-Scientists decode early strain of Cholera.
-This historic house can be yours for free.
-The original artwork for The Little Prince.
-14 really questionable vintage cigarette ads.
By Helen McBride
In 1999, Sweden passed the Law against Procurement of Sexual Services, criminalizing the purchase of sex, which punishes johns but not prostitutes. Worldwide, the law is considered a progressive way to improve the lives of sex workers while also combating the root causes of exploitation in the industry. Currently up for debate in Northern Ireland’s government is a similar measure, a new law, titled the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill, which seeks to limit human trafficking in Northern Ireland. Clause 6 of this bill emulates the Swedish model in an attempt to criminalize those who pay for sexual services. Problematic, however, is the lack of distinction made between individuals who choose to become sex workers and those who are trafficked.
By Heather Munro Prescott
Every year the New York Times magazine publishes a special issue “The Lives They Lived” honoring the lives of prominent persons who died in the past year. This year’s list included a number of notable women, including Abigail van Buren (aka Dear Abby), Esther Williams, and Maria Tallchief. This inspired me to create my own list of female role models who died in 2013 and whose life and work influenced my own.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
-1950s version of voicemail.
-A new era in intersex rights.
-10 strange ways Tudors died.
-Anxious youth, then and now.
-1964 predictions on life in 2014.