Tag: Gender

Intersex Revolutionary War Hero Did Good Because Doctors Did No Harm

The startling knowledge that the Polish nobleman and military leader, Casimir Pulaski, a hero of the American Revolution, may have been intersex should leave us with two important takeaways. First, people have always been born with intersex traits, or atypical sex development. Even the ancient laws of the Talmud recognized this fact, offering rules for… Read more →

What Does Gender Have to Do with the Desert?

Overheard in Grand Junction, Colorado on February 4, 2019 after Amy Irvine’s reading from her book, Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness. Amy Irvine’s Desert Cabal: A New Season in the Wilderness is a monologue written as if Irvine spoke directly to the deceased writer Edward Abbey at his gravesite. For those who… 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 →

If You See Something, Say Something: Imperial Origins of White Women’s Modern Racial Profiling

In 2018, confrontations between white women and people of color in the United States have become viral news bytes emblematic of widespread systemic racial profiling. Journalists, attorneys, civil rights activists, and armchair social media commentators point to the cases involving BBQ Becky, Permit Patty, and Golfcart Gail as examples of deep-seated beliefs in white female… Read more →

“A Male Department of Warfare:” Female Ambulance Drivers in the First World War

While serving as an ambulance driver during the First World War, Pat Beauchamp witnessed the harrowing sight of four soldiers “blown to pieces.”1 It was an experience that, she wrote: By chance, shortly before the explosion, Beauchamp and her fellow drivers had stopped further up the road for lunch. Part of the shock and fear… Read more →

The Trump Administration Wants to Define a Person’s Sex at Birth. It’s Just Not That Simple

A memo circulating through the Trump Administration proposes that several government agencies should define sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth,” according to the New York Times. This definition is a blunt instrument that, along with its cruel dismissal of the transgender population,… Read more →

“Hateful, Un-American Ideas!” Gender, Race, and Politics in Cold War Romance Comic Books

In the October 1949 issue of the romance comic Hollywood Confessions, the protagonist of the story “Too Ugly to Love” describes himself as so ugly that he resembles a “menace from a horror picture.”1 Jon Koslo has “accepted … [his] ugliness philosophically!” when a film producer spots him and “exploits [his] ugliness” by giving him… Read more →

The Privilege of Despair

A preternatural calm settled over me on Saturday afternoon as I heard the news of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. I wasn’t reconciled to the outcome; my calm did not come from satisfaction. Instead, it came from the awful confirmation of a different kind — that the United States was still the white… Read more →

Anatomy of Generation

Before the advent of modern technologies like the ultrasound, miscarried and aborted fetuses provided some of the very few glimpses inside the pregnant uterus. Pregnancy loss, whatever its personal meanings for women and their partners, offered physicians precious insight into the mysteries of human reproduction. The earliest recorded observation of a human embryo is in… Read more →

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 →