Tag: Gender

When Politics Becomes Show Business: Gracie Allen Runs for President

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Radio ratings are slipping for a pair of married comedians. They are looking for a new gag to hook their audience. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the wife — A WOMAN — ran for president?! So started the 1940 presidential campaign of Gracie Allen. Unlike the other… Read more →

Sex, Death, and Three Irish Women

In November 1984 the Catholic parish of Tynagh, County Galway, Ireland, gathered to bury a woman who had been dead for 150 years.1 Local tradition asserted that the woman, Áine, gave birth to three illegitimate children in the 1830s or 1840s and then became gravely ill. Citing her sexual transgressions, Áine’s parish priest would not… Read more →

The Mother of Title IX Goes to Washington: Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002)

When the US women’s basketball team dribbled their way to a 6th straight Olympic gold this summer in Rio, they owed some — if not much — of their success to Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927-2002). Mink was the first woman of color elected to Congress, where she served as a US Representative from Hawai’i (1965-1977,… Read more →

Pronoun Privilege

Originally published as “Pronoun Privilege” in the New York Times on September 25, 2016. My fall classes started recently, and I had to face the pronoun question. It’s simple for me: My appearance matches my preferred pronoun, so I don’t worry about anyone misstating it. But some of my students are transgender or gender nonconforming,… Read more →

“Made in America”: O.J. Simpson, Race, and the Triumph of Toxic Masculinity

Black and white America could not have been further apart than on the morning of October 3, 1995 when a jury acquitted O.J. Simpson in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. While most white Americans responded to the jury’s “not guilty” verdict with horror, many African-Americans rejoiced. Filmmaker Ezra Edelman seeks to… Read more →

It’s Time to Take Nature to Task

In March of this year, one of my respected colleagues and I published a short essay in Pediatrics in which we critiqued the use of “nature” in public health campaigns, specifically regarding breastfeeding promotion. The piece came out on the heels of the publication of my first book, which examines the “back-to-the-breast” movement and the… Read more →

Sonia Johnson and Sticking It to Haters

Most women who run for president experience some degree of notoriety. Certainly this was the case for Sonia Johnson, who ran for president in 1984 as the candidate for the left-wing U.S. Citizen’s Party. Although Johnson held a Ph.D. in English, she spent much of her adult life as a Mormon housewife with limited involvement… Read more →

Nonpartisan Organizing in the Most Divided of Times: The League of Women Voters

Based on the ever-updating polls, this presidential election could be one of the strangest ever. Hillary Clinton has been dogged by allegations about her email practices while Secretary of State, with questions arising about hacking and her public ties to the private Clinton Foundation. Republican Donald Trump has polled at 0% with African American voters… Read more →

New York Grandmother Seeks Democratic Presidential Nomination! Ellen McCormack (1926-2011)

No, not that one! Exactly forty years before Hillary Clinton’s historic run and nomination, Ellen Cullen McCormack (1926-2011) ran for president as a Democrat in the 1976 primary campaign that ended with the nomination of Jimmy Carter. But Ellen McCormack was a different kind of female Democratic candidate. In fact, while Hillary Clinton famously rejected… Read more →

Teaching in an Era of Black Lives Matter

One of the functions of social movements is to raise consciousness around a particular problem or issue. The Black Lives Matter movement is no different. Activists have successfully used disruptive protest, policymaking, and social media to influence public debates around structural racism, state violence, policing, and mass incarceration. The movement, as well as my experiences… Read more →