“Remember—Don’t Drill a Hole in Your Head”: A Review of The Sawbones Book

The Sawbones Book: The Horrifying, Hilarious Road to Modern Medicine is an adaptation of a Maximum Fun Network podcast, Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine. I reviewed the podcast for my own blog back in 2014, so I’ll keep the synopsis here short: Justin McElroy and Dr. Sydnee McElroy are married. She’s a doctor…. Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news The history of blood. Jack the Ripper outdone. The treasure behind the wall. Saving black feminist classics. America is failing its black mothers. A history of seasonal affective disorder. The accidental invention of bubble wrap. The archiving of black women’s sexual lives. Public dissection… Read more →

I Am a Professor in a Movie

Inspired by the “I am a ____ in a movie” phenomenon on Twitter where people in different professions tweeted the unrealistic portrayals of their professions on the big screen. I am a professor in a movie. I enter a college classroom on the first day. The classroom is filled with first-generation college students with few… Read more →

Feeling Grief: On Emotions in the Archive of Enslavement

In September, when an archivist at Fisk University asked me to help identify a ten-page manuscript from 1776 Saint-Domingue, my mind began to race. Saint-Domingue was the French Caribbean colony that became Haiti after a long revolution that lasted from 1791 until November 18, 1803. In the 1770s, the colony was in the throes of… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Demented, happy, and useful. Acid and sexual psychonauts. How nurses learn to handle death. Black GIs in Saigon and “Soul Alley.” A cancer rap, thanks to Nina Simone. Who really built the first electric guitar? Tear gas and the U.S. border, a history. The… Read more →

Hallmark Christmas Movies: Guilty Pleasure or Feminist Rallying Cry?

A woman arrives in a small American town at Christmas time. Possibly her car has broken down, or she’s there on business, or to take a job she (initially) does not want, or she’s deliberately seeking the traditional festive comforts of a small town during the holidays. (It might be that she grew up there,… Read more →

My So-Called Life: Angela Chase, Body Image, and Teen Angst

In August 1994, ABC aired the pilot episode of My So-Called Life, and for the first time I felt that a television show spoke directly to me. I was fifteen, self-conscious, and searching for identity in a rural suburb of Lansing, Michigan. Shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place obsessed over affluence, sexuality,… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Joy riders of India. The archive of hate. Beautiful but deadly. A photo history of the bra. A petite exhibit on menstruation. The sex lives of the Middle Ages. The feminist power of embroidery. The city cobbled with Jewish gravestones. Using drugs as a… Read more →

Lillie Western, Banjo Queen

It should come as no surprise that the Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists list includes only two women, Bonnie Raitt at #89 and Joni Mitchell at #75. The unyielding maleness of guitar culture stretches across decades and genres, even in the face of necessary corrections like Gayle Wald’s biography of Sister Rosetta Tharpe or the… Read more →

Review of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free

My Testimony I always wanted a really sexy testimony. That’s not the word I would have used, of course. Growing up in the evangelical Christian church, I knew good girls were never supposed to be “sexy.” The word “sexy” was said only in hushed tones, like “whore,” “vagina,” or “feminist.” A “testimony,” as used in… Read more →