Tag: Women’s History

Moralizing Motherhood: America’s Long History of the Breastfeeding Police

By Ginny Engholm

A recent Facebook post by our own Jacqueline Antonovich weighed in on one of the most contentious issues in the mommy wars — breastfeeding. She was responding to another Facebook post by a well-known feminist blogger who goes by the name The Feminist Breeder. Antonovich wrote, “I finally had to unfollow a page about feminism and birth/parenting. I’m all for breastfeeding, but if you are going to say you are not trying to judge, but you just ‘don’t get’ women who bottle feed, then you are too wrapped up in your liberal, upper-class, white world to understand how economics, culture, body type, cancer, and/or sexual trauma can make breastfeeding difficult or impossible. So tired of sanctimonious mommies.”

“Blossoms of Hope”: Our Cultural History of Pregnancy and Infant Loss and Grief

By Ginny Engholm

In a recent Adventures in the Archives post, Adam Turner recounts a moving story of grief and loss he found in Today’s Health of a woman whose daughter was born three months premature due to a hemolytic disease in the 1950’s. In the comments section after the post, blogger Historiann remarks, “I find it fascinating that she writes of her RH baby as being born ‘just three months too soon,’ and very much as a daughter rather than as a fetus or a patient. Even now, a 3-months preemie is still an extremely premature child with no guarantees–it’s interesting to know that some woman in 1950 thought about her daughter in the ways that seem familiar to [how] those of us in the post-Roe, post-ultrasound era think about pregnancy & children.” The commentator’s surprise at this mother’s conception of her fetus as a “daughter,” I think, mirrors a current trend in the feminist scholarship of pregnancy and childbirth that seems to divide cultural ideas around pregnancy, fetuses, and infants into pre- and post-Roe. Furthermore, advances in prenatal technology, particularly the development and increasing use of ultrasound technology, encourage us to imagine that women today have different, and in some ways, more personal relationships with their children still in the womb. And no doubt we do.

No Pies, No Spectacles, No Preaching to Women Alone

by Adam Turner

Even without the festive march of holidays this time of year, these colder (and, here in the US Pacific Northwest, wetter) months put me in a baking frame of mind. Short days, wool socks, and an overtaxed heater seem to call out for some family traditionals — nisu and an orange-chocolate-chip bread that’s practically cake — and sends me looking for newcomers like these peppermint cream squares. I could joyously do without the barrage of “Little Drummer Boy” covers, but tolerate even the most saccharine of Christmas tunes for the sake of winter cakes, pies, pastries, and cookies.

A Golden Girl’s Guide to Growing Old

By Cheryl Lemus

A few months ago, I decided to stop dyeing my hair. There were a couple of reasons behind this decision. In March, I started my new job as assistant professor of history for an online university, which means I work from home. One of the advantages of this position is that I don’t have to get dressed. Working in yoga apparel and/or PJs is oddly liberating, although I have to remind myself to wash my face and brush my teeth. There is a freedom in forgoing a professional wardrobe, but I began to wonder if I still needed to color my hair, which I’ve done in one way (Sun In) or another (Clairol #108) since I was 13. Now that I work from home, the box of dye is sitting in the bathroom. I think laziness is driving my decision more than wanting to make some sort of statement about embracing middle age.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-A menstruating leg ulcer?
-New Da Vinci mural discovered.
-Exorcist healing in the 18th century.
-An interactive map of slave rebellions.
-Early modern breast cancer treatments.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-A short history of Bookmobiles.
-A 1,600 year-old murder mystery.
-Canada’s sexy new Gonorrhea ads.
-A beautiful air travel map from 1929.
-UN sued over Haiti cholera epidemic.
-The lost legacy of the British Black Panthers.
-Audio files of Auschwitz survivors now online.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Nazi bride school.
-A haunting WWII memorial.
-1948 photo essay of a “career girl.”
-A history of knives, forks, and spoons.
-What’s it like to live in a house museum?

This is the Culture of Sexual Violence

There are two family pictures in a box of photographs that are the only few I have of my father and me. My mother always told me my father doted on me and I was definitely becoming “daddy’s little girl.” Yet, the images of a seemingly happy family are overshadowed by the knowledge that at the time these two pictures were taken, my father had or was raping his stepdaughter: my teenage sister.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Growing a 16th-century medicinal garden.
-Do you buy generic medicine?
-10 annoying habits of hearing people.
-Illness narratives in the 18th century.
-What about the Founding Mothers?
-American presidents and infectious diseases.

A Historian’s Guide to Summer: Independence Day Reading Edition

By Heather Munro Prescott

Via Book Riot, where Derek Attig reminds us that “In a very real way, the Fourth of July is a huge, national holiday celebrating a piece of paper and a scribble of ink. Yes, the celebration is for what that paper and that ink did—ideologically and politically, if not practically or militarily, separate the colonies from Britain—but it’s still, at heart, a celebration of paper and ink.”