Category: Undergraduate Writing Series

Mujeres Libres: Women, Anarchy, and the Fragility of Democracy in Spain

Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez decided to call a snap election in April 2019 following the withdrawal of support by the Catalan separatists who were propping up his government. The short-term implications of another general election in Spain were great, as the lack of a stable government in recent years has impacted Spain’s social… Read more →

Women in the French Resistance

In France, women have long played a vital role in the military. Like most modern militaries, in multiple conflicts the French army had “camp followers,” mostly women, but also men and children, who took care of the cooking, laundering, and other tasks needed to maintain a large standing army. During the French Revolution, some women… Read more →

Sex Trafficking in Twentieth-Century Europe

Thanks to Liam Neeson and edgy action-thrillers like Taken, Americans have a pretty specific idea of what the sex-trafficking industry looks like: naïve young American girls, traveling on their own for the first time, who trust the wrong guy and get kidnapped. In Taken, the girl’s father happens to be ex-CIA with a “very particular… Read more →

Thomsonianism Meets Juice Cleanses

I will be the first to admit that I love juices. They’re colorful, full of tasty fruits and vegetables, and highly “Instagrammable.” I’ve been known to occasionally treat myself to a $10 cold-pressed drink, but there’s more to juice than just an expensive beverage. They’ve become part of an alternative medicine culture surrounding the idea… Read more →

Understanding Shaming’s Place in History: The Story of Germany’s Victims

It can be difficult for those who have never experienced sexual violence to understand and address the pain of survivors. From the women who’ve chosen to come forward and report instances of abuse in the entertainment industry as part of the #MeToo Movement, to less publicized cases in which women make the brave choice to… Read more →

Militaristic Homophobia: Attitudes toward Homosexuality in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia

“Sin doesn’t lie in the act itself, but in its relation to other things.”1 Mikhail Kuzmin wrote these words in his novel Wings, which depicts a homosexual relationship between a middle-aged man and an adolescent boy. Kuzmin’s quote highlights that homosexuality was not harmful because of the sexual act itself, but in how it was… Read more →

Shame and Shearing: The Politics of Women’s Hair in Independence-Era Ireland

The shearing of women’s hair has a long history as a tactic for dehumanizing, humiliating, and setting women apart from the rest of the population.2 Hair often holds great symbolic value for women. Long hair can be a mark of femininity, and many women take great pride in their hair. The act of shaving a… Read more →

Heterosexuality in Medicine

I walk into the examination room, dreading what is about to happen. My heart’s racing. First, they take my warm comfortable clothes and make me put on a plain, crinkly, paper gown. The doctor walks in and washes her hands, making them ice cold to the touch. I get goosebumps. I lay down on a… Read more →

The Freshman Fifteen: A Stigmatized Phenomenon

Seventeen magazine popularized the phrase “freshman fifteen” in 1989 and the phrase remains ubiquitous in U.S. culture today.1 Seventeen’s cover story “Fighting the Freshman 15” depicted the inevitable weight gain as an uphill, hopeless battle. The so-called “freshman fifteen” fostered a legendary nervous epidemic amongst students, especially women, entering their first year of college. How… Read more →

Incarcerating Eve: Women’s Health “Care” in Prisons and Jails

In Season 4 of the hit Netflix original Orange is the New Black, we get a glimpse into the healthcare issues that plague incarcerated women in prisons. The fifth episode of the new season focuses on the crisis that the characters face when the prison has a tampon and maxi pad shortage. This shortage of… Read more →