Lara Freidenfelds

Are We Free to Be President Yet? The Legacy of Pat Schroeder and 1970s Feminism

I was born into 1970s feminism. I came into the world in 1972, the year Free to Be You and Me came out. It must have made a big impression on my elementary school teachers, because I saw the filmstrip version of it in school at least three times. I loved it at least as… Read more →

Playwright Alice Eve Cohen Asks Us to Reconsider What We Think We Know about Pregnancy and Motherhood

“What makes a mother real?” asks writer and performer Alice Eve Cohen in her newly-published play, What I Thought I Knew. In 1999, Cohen experienced the most improbably and bizarrely complicated pregnancy imaginable. Her play is a crystallization of her stranger-than-fiction pregnancy memoir that was acclaimed at its 2009 publication with book-of-the-year awards from Salon… Read more →

The Problem with Fat-Talk at the Pediatrician’s Office

“His BMI is on the high side of normal. See?” The pediatrician showed me a chart. “This is something we need to keep an eye on.” I had brought my younger child for his seven-year-old checkup, a pro forma ritual as far as I was concerned. Our pediatrics practice always asks my kids if they… Read more →

I Could Wrestle with my Disability, but I Think I’ll Dance Instead

This post is the inaugural essay in an occasional series we’re calling Clio Gets Personal, a special and infrequent departure from our typical historical and cultural criticism featuring more intimate stories.  A year and a half ago, I gained a permanent dance partner. That’s what I’ve decided. That’s how I need to think about the damage to my visual… Read more →

Sorry, I’m Disabled. Oh, Wait, I’m Not Sorry, Just Disabled.

“Sorry,” I say, “Sorry, but would you mind giving me the directions again a little slower? I have a visual impairment and I didn’t see which way you were pointing.” “So sorry, excuse me for bumping you, I didn’t see you there.” “I’m sorry I didn’t think to get permission ahead of time, but I’m… Read more →

Enforcing Death Rituals after Miscarriage is Just Plain Cruel

The Indiana legislature claims it wants to protect unborn children and their parents. Last week Governor Mike Pence gave his blessing to a new bill aimed primarily at restricting abortion but also addressing miscarriage, explaining, “I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families.” But… Read more →

Clio Talks: An Interview with Historian Jessica Martucci

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing historian Jessica Martucci at length about her new book, Back to the Breast: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding in America. We discussed the Mommy Wars, the politics of pumping, and the importance of playing devil’s advocate with lactivists and skeptics alike. What follows is a snippet of our… Read more →

Of Rifles and Responsibility: How Can We Speak to Each Other Across the Gun Control Divide?

As a kid, I loved shooting a rifle with my uncle, out back at my grandmother’s farmhouse. My dad and I would go out with Uncle Bill, in his ubiquitous plaid flannel and hunting cap, and my cousin. We’d set a tin can on a stump. Uncle Bill would show me, holding the rifle firm… Read more →

Yes, I’m a Wife, But You Can Call Me the “Current Supporting Spouse”

The year my second son was born, I went to work, and my husband stayed home. It was the most luxurious year of my life. In the mornings, I nursed my baby while my husband brought our older child to preschool. When he got back, I handed off the baby, said, “bye, Sweetie, see you… Read more →

Average-looking Married Couples Having Caring, Respectful Sex

A friend of mine recently lamented that when he sat his teenage son down to have “The Talk,” he had to focus on the internet instead of relationships. “It’s not like the old days, when you’d tell your kid about the mechanics of it, and protection, that kind of thing. My son knew the basics… Read more →