Category: Clio Gets Personal

Hospital Confinement: From the 19th Century to the 21st

Last summer I had a very different experience of childbirth than most women. I was not entirely sure what to expect when my husband drove me to the emergency room on the night of July 4, leaking amniotic fluid 10 weeks early. Rather than the straightforward checking of vitals and intermittent monitoring as labor gradually… Read more →

The Stain of Slavery is Silencing Sexual Violence Against Black and Brown Women

I am an American woman who has never experienced sexual assault, rape, or coercion. Bully for me, right? This detail of my life is only notable because, among women in this county, I am in the minority. The Department of Justice reported in 2015 that there was an average of 321,500 reported cases of sexual… Read more →

It’s Not You, It’s Me: #MeToo in Academia

It was Friday, and I was indulging myself at the prepared foods bar at Whole Foods, thinking — hoping — that a meal would calm my anxiety enough to face the mountain of grading I had to finish at home. I had been too anxious to eat for about two days. Lost in thought, I… Read more →

Understanding My Past after #MeToo

For some, #MeToo and #TimesUp mark political correctness run amok. Some scoff that women don’t know the difference between a bad date and assault, drawing a sharp divide between critics of the movement and women who are demanding that we reclaim our voices in the face of a wide array of abuses. While not all… Read more →

Fight and Flight: “Butch Flight,” Trans Men, and the Elusive Question of Authenticity

My junior year of college, my roommate and dear friend had a butch girlfriend. She aligned more with what many would consider traditional masculinity than I did; there was always a can of Axe body spray in the back of her truck. She confessed to me one night that she felt pressure to transition to… Read more →

History at Home in the Tenement Museum

Several times a day, several days a week, I stand with a group of strangers in the parlor of a Lithuanian immigrant family who arrived in New York’s Lower East Side in 1901. I explain that when the Rogarshevsky family observed the Sabbath each week, their two teenage daughters were away at their jobs in… Read more →

I Think I Love You: Life, Death, and the Enduring Legacy of David Cassidy Fever

On May 30, 1974, 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan died after lingering in a coma for four days. The cause of her death? Officially, “traumatic asphyxiation.” Unofficially, according to the coroner, “a victim of contrived hysteria,” otherwise known as David Cassidy Fever. Twenty-six years later, at 14 years of age, my own life was saved. The cause… Read more →

On Poverty, Morality, and Mothering

In 1930, nineteen-year-old black (preta) Jovelina Pereira dos Santos, a live-in domestic servant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, hid her pregnancy from her family and employers, gave birth in secret, and asphyxiated her newborn immediately after delivery. Santos already had a young son named Ernesto who was a little over one year of age. Santos… Read more →

My Experiences with Auto-Immunity and Why I Dislike the Term “Able-Bodied”

I dislike the term “able-bodied.” I see this term used frequently in academic and activist scholarship, as well as everyday language, often without giving the term its due scrutiny. As an academic who studies structural inequalities based on race, gender, and disability, I find that it assumes a binary system structured on ableist ideas. It… Read more →

Finding My Amputee Brethren

I remember vividly the first amputee I met after my amputation. Driving down with my spouse to Wake Forest from our small college town so that I could get more chemo, we were at a rest stop. I had only recently received my first “test” leg and hobbled along, with atrophied muscles from months of… Read more →