Category: Feminism

Threatening the Gender Hierarchy in Women’s Sport

Critics of South African track star Caster Semenya warn that her continued participation in women’s track and field without taking testosterone suppressants will mark “the end” of women’s sports. I have a vested interest in continuing sporting opportunities for women—I am a Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies PhD student writing my dissertation on the subject,… Read more →

This is Not a Culture of Life, This is a Culture of Un-Death

Last week at a Vatican conference on abortion, Pope Francis “argued that children who were not expected to live long after birth deserved to be treated in the womb ‘with extraordinary pharmacological, surgical and other interventions.’” He intimated that parents who did not use extraordinary measures were not caring for their children, saying that “Taking… Read more →

Manly Firmness: It’s Not Just for the 18th Century (Unfortunately)

The references to “manly firmness” are everywhere in late-18th-century political sources. For example, Edward Dilly wrote to John Adams from London in 1775 to praise the men in the Continental Congress, “for the Wisdom of their Proceedings — their Unanimity, and Manly firmness.” In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson listed the crimes of the… Read more →

Hallmark Christmas Movies: Guilty Pleasure or Feminist Rallying Cry?

A woman arrives in a small American town at Christmas time. Possibly her car has broken down, or she’s there on business, or to take a job she (initially) does not want, or she’s deliberately seeking the traditional festive comforts of a small town during the holidays. (It might be that she grew up there,… Read more →

Public Memory and Reproductive Justice in the Trump Era

Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 necessitated a rethinking of narratives of both self and nation, and a reimagining of the future for many feminists and others on the Left. Our book, Nasty Women and Bad Hombres: Gender and Race in the 2016 US Presidential Election, connects the outcome of the 2016 presidential election with America’s “historical… Read more →

“We’re Here As Women”: General Hospital, #MeToo, and the Power of Soap Operas

Split personalities and evil twins, secret babies and long-lost heirs. Soap operas provide us with stories of high drama and deep intrigue, contrasting scenes of familiar domestic life with a narrative tuned to the highest possible emotional frequency. Because they air every day, five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, daytime soap operas are… Read more →

The Dangers of the Damaged Hero: Gender and Suffering in Romance Novels

I unabashedly love romance novels. As a reader, I find that a well-crafted happy ending is a wonderful antidote to a world that seems at times utterly devoid of them. As a scholar of gender, I am fascinated by the ways in which sexuality, power, and desire are constructed, discussed, and challenged. Moreover, I heartily… Read more →

Joan Scott, Liberalism, and Abortion Rights

Recently, the University of Edinburgh awarded Joan Scott an honorary doctorate in social science. The hooding ceremony seemed more like a Catholic wedding than an intellectual honor — replete with scepters, somber music, and long robes (the British do like their hierarchy). I attended, of course, not for the solemn ceremony, but for the lecture… Read more →

“Weaponized Babies”; or, Damn, Why Didn’t I Think of Using That Term?

News that Senator Tammy Duckworth brought her baby to the Senate floor for a vote thrilled some and infuriated others. Prior debate over whether babies belonged in the Senate sparked some great pro- and anti-baby remarks that pundits and scholars will enjoy parsing and quoting in coming days, weeks, months … or until babies on… Read more →

Pornography on the Playground

When I was 19, I had a summer job supervising a playground. It was a pretty lame job. It paid $5 an hour, and it was outside in the sticky summer heat. The hours alternated between utter boredom and the kind of excitement I’d rather avoid – breaking up shouting matches, figuring out whether the… Read more →