As you may well be aware, there is a spa in New York City that sells vajazzling. The flash and style of adding sparkling, jewel-like plastic to denim can also be accomplished for the vagina. Is our current, historically unprecedented, public focus on the vagina finally succeeding in creating a female cultural counterpoint to the penis? Are we nearing total equality of the sexes? The popular emphasis on the vagina is certainly on the rise. The explosive popularity of the Vagina Monologues, now regularly performed on college campuses, made many more comfortable with the V word. Social critic Naomi Wolf has recently argued for the existence of the “mind-vagina”connection. Commercials coyly refer to the letter V for various feminine products and sitcoms and singers laud their own embrace of the vajayjay as a way of indicating equal sexual footing with men. “Designer” vaginas are also part of this new emphasis. Cosmetogynecology is one of the fastest growing types of cosmetic surgery.
I celebrate with all my heart the recent victories of the campaigns in Washington, Maine, and Maryland to to legalize same-sex marriage. It brings me immense pleasure every time I see another crack in the wall of discrimination against LGBT people – and all people. Now the Supreme Court has taken up the issue as well and there is a lot of excellent coverage on what this might and might not mean for the marriage equality movement. That’s not going to be my focus here, though. I also don’t intend to get into the clear parallels with interracial marriage and the Loving v. Virginia case. Instead, I’ll explore the issue of marriage itself in thinking about the question: Why is marriage the goal?
-What’s in your belly button? (Hint: ewww…gross.)
-The forgotten history of 20th century drugs.
-The history of female genital mutilation.
-The nautical roots of the modern tattoo.
-The troubled history behind the stolen babies of Spain.
-1860s fundraising efforts for emancipated slaves.
I am not sure why I am writing you this letter, but it seems like a good time to write because America needs something that I only think you can deliver. Yesterday, 26 innocent people lost their lives, 20 of them were children between the ages of 5 and 10. I tell my children I believe in you and right now, I definitely need to believe. I’m an adult, female historian who has two beautiful children who are 6 and 7. I hugged them just a little tighter last night. I whispered “I love you,” in their ears because I wanted to make sure they knew how much they are loved. They are the exact same age some of those children who will never hear their parents’ whispers of love ever again and my throat tightens every time I think of that reality.
This past May, I attended the annual meeting of the Western Association of Women Historians, which is one of my favorite history conferences (I’m pretty sure there is no other history organization that concludes its awards banquet with a sing-a-long). Usually I hate to miss any of the sessions. But this year, I snuck off with Cheryl Lemus and another historian (I’ll call her L) to do a little “mentoring” in the shops of Berkeley. This isn’t totally facetious, as we were on a mission: to find me a properly fitted sports bra. I had started running a few months earlier, and while I had great shoes and a snazzy outfit, certain other areas of my anatomy were feeling less well-equipped. Cheryl and L are seasoned runners, and they were appalled by my bounce. So, we headed to the only place where any self-respecting women’s historian would go for such things: Title IX Sports.
via re: Cycling, where Laura Werschler expresses her disgust with “drug and device based birth control and its zealots.” According to Werschler, “birth control in the U.S. has become synonymous with drugs and devices. The pill, patch, or ring; Depo-Provera or hormonal implant; copper IUD or Mirena IUD; traditional hormonal birth control or long-acting reversible contraceptives. All impact the function of the menstrual cycle; some suppress it completely. As a pro-choice menstrual cycle advocate I take issue with the fact that keeping your cycle and contracepting effectively are now considered mutually exclusive.”
-A new reality show will shame women who had abortions.
-Where are all the female geniuses?
-7 ways women are sexualized, stereotyped, or underrepresented in media.
-A history of disability.
-Can Viagra make better athletes?
-A small Colorado town’s big role in shaping the National Mall.
Last year on my personal blog, I wrote of my disappointment that Health and Human Health Secretary Kathleen Sibelius overruled a recommendation by scientists at the Food and Drug Administration and by FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that Plan B One Step be made available over-the-counter without any age restrictions. In her letter to the FDA Commissioner, Secretary Sibelius said that there were “significant cognitive differences” between older adolescents and younger ones So, if age restrictions were removed, then the drug would be available without prescription or other point of sale restrictions for even the youngest girls of reproductive age (the average age of menarche in the U.S. is 11.1 years). Never mind that only 1% of all 11 year old’s have been sexually active (and for those, “sexually active” usually means rape or incest).
This is an unprecedented move by an HHS secretary — i.e. none of her predecessors has ever overruled the FDA on a drug application. It was not the first time that “politics trumped science” when it came to emergency contraception (give background).(during the George W. Bush administration, the problem was the FDA Commissioner).
Gender-based violence plagues our community. Approximately 30% of Americans say they know someone who has been abused by her significant other in the past year. Rather than being a highly visible topic, a shroud of silence seemingly surrounds the issue. Over forty years after the Women’s Liberation Movement, we are still trying to break the silence and raise awareness. We should somehow be closer to ending the violence, but we are not. As a domestic violence survivor, I utilize opportunities to break the silence and speak about my experience. My hope is that I help to spread awareness and generate discussions that will dismantle the stereotypes and assumptions about intimate partner violence (IPV). I have little influence compared to some activists in the fight to end gender-based violence, and I have far less reach than large organizations. Most recently, an enormous group⎯ the National Football League (NFL)⎯ had the responsibility to take a stance against IPV and send a needed message to its huge fan base. And, they did.
-The weirdest claims made by “Designer Vagina” websites.
-Civil War underwear.
-Japanese-American internee letters found hidden in wall.
-The historian’s curse.
-New study shows disabled parents often lose custody of their children.
-Girls in juvenile detention face health care issues.
-Is neuroscience under attack?