Like many graduate students, I obsess about my particular academic interests and have a hard time letting them go at the end of the day. I happen to study the history of women and medicine in the United States, so I see my specialization everywhere, often to the dismay of my friends and family. I interrupt movies to point out inaccuracies and anachronisms, and I offer unsolicited historical commentary about the depictions of women on Mad Men. I lecture people about the stupidity of 1950s nostalgia, and I get angry about advertisements for Dr. Pepper. I am, in short, lots of fun at parties.
Here we go again. That sound you hear is millions of Americans gasping and clutching their pearls over the new Time Magazine cover story on attachment parenting. The blogosphere is already atwitter with comments of disgust, outrage, and shock over the photo of an attractive mother nursing her 5 (ish) year-old-son. Let’s be honest here, however you might feel about older children breastfeeding, the picture is clearly meant to shock – it is intended to stir the pot. In fact the cover, incredibly enough, manages to alienate all mothers – either you are put on display as a freak that over-parents, or you are shamed for not parenting enough. The headline says it all: “Are you Mom Enough?” It might as well say, “You Will Never be Good Enough – Regardless of your Parenting Choices – We Will Always Judge You. Happy Mother’s Day!” (OK, maybe that title is a bit too long.)
By Carolyn Herbst Lewis
There is much ado these days about E.J. James’ Fifty Shades series. While some folks are defending it as sex-positive, others condemn it for promoting female powerlessness and submission. The problem with much of the commentary is that since nobody wants to be a jerk and give away the story, most stop at the Red Room of Pain and the BDSM contract between 27-year-old Christian Grey and 21-year-old Anastasia Steele.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
I recently read Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion, a fascinating biography by historian Jean H. Baker. As a historian of gender and medicine, I thought I knew all about Sanger and her quest to make birth control legal and accessible to the women of America; however, I found myself utterly shocked by one simple fact from Sanger’s background – her mother, Anne, was pregnant eighteen times in twenty-two years, which resulted in eleven live births.
By Ashley Baggett
Scores of songs discuss love and breaking up. Ending an intimate relationship with a significant other is well known for its challenges: how to end it, what happens after, how to move on, who gets to keep the pet, etc. Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” takes on this topic, and while its tune is catchy and quite beautiful, the song’s lyrics are enough to make any feminist or egalitarian individual cringe.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
Welcome to Nursing Clio! Nursing Clio is a collaborative blog project that ties historical scholarship to present-day political, social, and cultural issues surrounding gender and medicine. Men’s and women’s bodies, their reproductive rights, and their healthcare are often at the center of political debate and have also become a large part of the social and cultural discussions in popular media.