Tag: Gender

When Legs and Arms Won: The Culture of Dissection and the Role of the Camera at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania

In Fall 1906, three weeks into their freshman year, Elizabeth Cisney-Smith and her classmates were, as she wrote, “initiated” to the dissecting room of The Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP), one of the nation’s first degree-granting medical schools for women.1 Per tradition, a crowd of upperclassmen assembled in the third floor hall, just outside… Read more →

Menstruation in the 1990s: Feminist Resistance in Saskia’s Heavy Flow Zine

Among the many treasures in the archives of Glasgow Women’s Library, the six issues of the 1990s menstruation-themed zine Heavy Flow is a special gem. The series was created by artist and writer Saskia between 1993 and 1995 and provides unique insight into the discourse surrounding menstruation at the time. Saskia, who has proven difficult… Read more →

The Persistence of Félicité Kina: Kinship, Gender, and Everyday Resistance

In January of 1803, the sixteen-year-old Félicité-Adelaïde Kina (née Quimard) traveled from Paris to Pontarlier to protest the imprisonment of her stepson Zamor and her husband Jean for allegedly inciting revolution in British-occupied Martinique two years earlier. All three had been deported from the Caribbean island to England in 1801 and then detained in France… Read more →

I Was Trolled – Here’s Why I’m Turning It into a Teaching Opportunity

Here’s what happened. I wrote an essay critically analyzing a YouTube talk show I actually watch and enjoy — Hot Ones — on which celebrities answer questions while eating ten chicken wings doused in hot sauces of increasing spiciness. I argued that interrelated gender conventions about flavor, food, appetite, and consumption shape how celebrity is… Read more →

“The Sickness”: Schooling, Separation, and Sociality in Southern Guyana

As soon as I began my fieldwork in Guyana in July of 2014, I started to hear hushed discussions and whispered warnings about something the locals were calling “the sickness.” While I assumed that they were referencing something like malaria or the flu, I soon discovered how wrong I was. “The sickness,” sometimes mentioned explicitly… Read more →

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 →

How To Cook and Cure: Early Modern Recetas

Recipes can quickly transport us to particular times and places. A glance at this vintage Jell-O recipe calls to mind the model 1960s US housewife and the gendered obligations of food and preparation. Women’s relationship to recipes are taken up in a less widely-known context in British artist George Cruikshank’s nineteenth-century etching with watercolors. Titled,… Read more →

Climate Calamity: Lice, Typhus, and Gender in Mexico

By tucking themselves away in the corners of beds and the folds of clothes, insects have long evolved alongside humans. Mites, ticks, fleas, bedbugs, lice—they all feast happily on blood, leaving humans with the itchy, irritating aftermath. In the first half of the twentieth century, rural parasitic insects gained a foothold in the largely agriculture-based… Read more →

Not a Day for Salads: The Football Food Rules of the Super Bowl

Super Bowl LII will soon be upon us, along with its super-sized spread of snacks, an American meal as iconic as Thanksgiving. Matching debates over what to serve on the fourth Thursday in November, food rules guide what supposedly pairs perfectly with the nation’s favorite sport. Super Bowl party menus most often include foods like… Read more →

Judy Blume with a Potty Mouth: A Review of Netflix’s Big Mouth

A sex education video plays to a class of middle school students. “As puberty begins, hormones are released and the sexual organs begin to change. The uterus is the center of female reproductive activity….” Two boys, quietly, in the back of the room: “The uterus? I thought girls had vaginas?” “I thought that too, but… Read more →