Tag: Feminism

Women’s Liberation, Beauty Contests, and the 1920s: Swimsuit Edition

For several years, I’ve had a wall decoration in my office: a panoramic photo of a 1920s beauty contest. I was surprised to come across it at a discount home furnishings retailer and bought it on impulse. After all, how often does a cherished primary source present itself as a consumer good? From its inception,… Read more →

The Dangers of the Damaged Hero: Gender and Suffering in Romance Novels

I unabashedly love romance novels. As a reader, I find that a well-crafted happy ending is a wonderful antidote to a world that seems at times utterly devoid of them. As a scholar of gender, I am fascinated by the ways in which sexuality, power, and desire are constructed, discussed, and challenged. Moreover, I heartily… Read more →

Taking Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy Seriously: Little Women on PBS

Spoilers ahead for plot points of Little Women — but you’ve had 150 years to read the book! Growing up, my mother kept a 19th-century copy of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women on a table in my parents’ bedroom. It was pleasantly heavy, and its rounded cover had embossed vines and flowers on the cover…. Read more →

Why It’s Bad When It’s “Not That Bad”

When then-Senator Al Franken was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women this past November, I braced myself for the backlash. I grew up in Minnesota, so my social media threads were filled with Franken-loving Minnesotans begging him not to resign and castigating his accusers for blowing their experiences out of proportion. One friend of… Read more →

The Enigmatic Spinster

Judging from the number of books, blogs, news articles and interviews focused on the lives of single women, it seems that the “spinster” is making a resurgence. For example, Rebecca Traister’s All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation and Kate Bolick’s Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own received… Read more →

Women On the March

The Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere the day after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president attracted much attention. There were accolades for the feeling of sisterhood that pervaded the rallies across the nation, fueling a sense among liberals that women denied the presidency would be the ones to lead the next… Read more →

A Parable for Our Time: Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale

“I know this may not seem ordinary to you right now, but over time it will be. This will become ordinary.” These days, words of caution like this sound like they could come from any number of progressive political pundits commenting on the rise of right-wing nationalism and all that it entails. In Hulu’s new… Read more →

When the Man Gets You Down… Or the Power of Transnational Feminism

Over the last fifteen years, Latin America has seen the rise and fall of women in politics. A decade before the U.S. (almost) elected their first woman president, Chile elected Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010 and 2014-present); Argentina voted in Cristina Kirchner (2007-1015); and Brazil chose Dilma Rousseff (2010-2016). These women ran on mainly leftist platforms and… Read more →

Rosie the Riveter for President: Margaret Wright, the People’s Party, and Black Feminism

  “I’ve been discriminated against because I am a woman, because I am black, because I am poor, because I am fat, because I am left-handed.” On an August afternoon in 1976, about 100 people from 14 states gathered at an alternative high school in the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco to hear Margaret Wright… Read more →

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 →