Posts by Author: Lauren MacIvor Thompson

You Know What? Equality Feminism is Crap

In the wake of the Women’s March, one thing is clear — we haven’t resolved a debate that has been at the heart of feminism since 1848. What, if anything, does women’s equality mean? Does it mean we’re equal with men? Does it mean something else based on our physical and social status as women?… Read more →

“Ain’t No Bitches Gonna Hunt No Ghosts”

2016 is Terrible, So Go Watch Ghostbusters, Laugh, and Let Feminism Save Us All Dear Ghostbuster boys. Sit down and close your mouths. Stop talking. Stop leaving your stupid Rotten Tomatoes reviews, and your comment threads, and doing your misogynist, racist, sexist tweeting and mansplaining. Just. Stop. First, you drove Leslie Jones off Twitter with… Read more →

Throwing Shade on Lady Presidential Candidates: Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927)

Oh, Hillary. What a bitch. A liar. A cheat. A man-hater. A one-percenter. The Donald most definitely does NOT rate her a “ten” on his own, patented “Women Donald Trump Thinks Are Hot Scale.” A measure so significant that he even uses it to rate his own daughter! Is this sad? Yes. Is this bad?… Read more →

No Safe Spaces: Missouri, ISIS, and What We Can Do About It

Before the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut a few weeks ago, I had begun writing an essay about race, gender, and free speech at the University of Missouri. The President and Chancellor have recently stepped down amidst charges from the student body that they were unresponsive to multiple incidents of racial intimidation (as well… Read more →

Suffragette, T-Shirtgate, and a Taylor Swift Tweet: Breaking Down the Historical Problem of White Lady Feminism

Can rich, white ladies be effective feminists? In the court of public opinion these days, it seems the answer is no, mostly because they keep saying and doing really stupid things. Women of color and those of us lacking in the silver spoon department have been telling everyone from Taylor Swift to Erica Jong to… Read more →

She probably doesn’t want my Progressive feminist sympathy, but I’m giving it to her anyway: Thoughts on the Republican Debate, Donald Trump, and Fox’s Megyn Kelly

Was it just me, or was Thursday night’s Republican debate deeply, deeply weird? The entire event seemed farcical, as though we were all watching a Saturday Night Live sketch of the nuttiest idiosyncrasies of the candidates. And yet Lorne Michaels was nowhere in sight. Presumably, the sixteen men and one woman (of course) who lined… Read more →

Outlander: A Story for Historians

While heading out for a quick lunch last week, I found myself in the elevator with a colleague from my department. I invited her to come eat with me if she had time, and she proceeded to give me a sheepish yet excited look. “I would, but I just started book 1 of the Outlander… Read more →

Female Presidential Candidates Aren’t the Answer: Republicans and the Reframing of the War on Women in 2016

There seems to be some confusion about what the controversial term “the Republican war on women” actually means. Most became familiar with the concept during the 2011 midterm elections when Republicans swept the majority of seats. Left-leaning media outlets began wringing their hands over the kind of restrictive anti-abortion legislation they feared would pass, and… Read more →

A Short History of the Penis, Masculinity, and American Feminism

If you haven’t heard of Claire Wyckoff, the San Francisco woman who copywrites by day for a global advertising firm and in her spare time maps runs that look like penises (or other stuff) around town using the NikePlus app, head over to her Tumblr right now. Seriously, right now. We’ll wait. Wyckoff appeared all over… Read more →

“A singularly intricate situation has developed in Washington”: Some Historical Background on Hobby Lobby

By Lauren MacIvor Thompson

If Progressive Era birth control reformer Mary Ware Dennett hadn’t been cremated in 1947 immediately following her death, she’d be rolling over in her grave today. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (or Burwell as the decision was handed down) has abruptly called forward again the long legal story of the fight for reproductive rights. Other landmark cases along this path have included Griswold v. Connecticut (1965); Roe v. Wade (1973); Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989); Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), and somewhat more recently, Gonzales v. Carhart (2007). What’s Dennett got to do with all of this and why does it matter? We have to go back eight-five years ago to examine Dennett’s activism and her legal case, to understand the political background for Hobby Lobby.