Category: Feminism

The Battle of the Sexes in Health Care?

By Ashley Baggett

In the past few decades, women’s health issues have risen to the forefront of public awareness campaigns. Most people recognize the pink ribbon as a symbol of the fight against breast cancer, for example. Due to increased public health campaigns, more women now visit their doctors for routine Pap smears to detect cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer, reducing the number of women who die from cervical cancer by fifty percent over the past forty years. Various programs seek to provide women with everything from emotional support for survivors of gender-based violence to prenatal care. But what about men’s health?

Cross-Dressing: An American Pastime

By Tiffany K. Wayne

Whether we like it or not, clothes and fashion are important markers of status, class, gender, and sexual identity. Just ask any high school student who is trying to present their own personal style or identity and comes up against the rules and judgments of parents, teachers, and society. Most schools today have dress codes regulating the length of skirts and banning t-shirts with offensive images and drug or gang references. Some schools also have gendered dress codes, such as the Virginia school which prohibits “any clothing worn by a student that is not in keeping with a student’s gender and causes a disruption and/or distracts others from the educational process or poses a health or safety concern.”

What’s in Your Vulva?

Thirty years ago I went to the Berkeley Women’s Health Collective to get fitted for a cervical cap. “What is that?” some of you might be wondering. The cervical cap is a barrier form of birth control, which fell out of favor when easier hormonal methods became more popular and more effective. It worked by… Read more →

One Year of Making the Personal Historical

By Carrie Adkins

In 2009, the historian Jill Lepore told an interviewer that “as an obsessive reader of newspapers and watcher of news,” she was struck by “how impoverished our historical perspective is on most contemporary problems.” She was absolutely right. In 2012, as we, the co-founders of Nursing Clio, began to conceptualize our project, the news was making me want to lose my mind. Every day, I watched as Republicans proposed – and sometimes passed – new bills that limited access to safe and affordable abortion. And, to my horror, they didn’t stop there but instead started attacking contraception as well. Lawmakers worked to eliminate insurance coverage for birth control; Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” because she opposed those measures; and the presidential candidate Rick Santorum went so far as to state that contraception itself was “not okay.” Watching these developments, I went from bemused to angry to downright scared. We were supposed to be living in the twenty-first century! What on earth was happening here?

Happy 1st Birthday Nursing Clio!

By Jacqueline Antonovich

I can’t believe that one year ago this week, our little collaborative blog project went live. Has it really been that long? It seems like just yesterday Cheryl, Ashley, Carrie, Meggan, Adam, Carolyn and I were debating what to call this blog- Mons Pubis? Pubis Medicus? Nurse Clio? Thank God cooler heads prevailed and we went with Meggan’s suggestion of Nursing Clio (For an explanation of the name see here). As the creator, co-founder, and executive editor of this whole endeavor, I have to tell you, this has been an intensely fantastic, insane, scary, and rewarding first year. I have met some wonderful scholars, engaged in some lively debates, and formed what I hope will be life-long friendships. In every way, the blog has exceeded my expectations and I hope we continue to bring you important, relevant, and fun conversations throughout this next year.

Marketing Domesticity

By Rachel Epp Buller

One of the recurring themes in my “Women and Gender in Art History” class this semester has been the historical association of women with the domestic sphere. In the nineteenth century, we looked at examples of European art that addressed this clear cultural separation of spheres, where public = masculine and private = feminine. Of course, this cultural association of women with domesticity persisted throughout much of the twentieth century (think June Cleaver) and was cleverly marketed to women through seemingly endless inventions of domestic appliances and ever-better cleaning products.

By the 1970s, American feminist artists and writers began taking on the gendering of domesticity. Building on Betty Friedan’s arguments in The Feminine Mystique (1963), writers like Pat Mainardi critiqued the cultural assumptions that made cleaning a gendered imperative. In “The Politics of Housework” (1970), Mainardi examined the excuses used by her husband to avoid sharing the burden of household chores:

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead?

By Helen McBride

A week ago, Saturday Night Live paid tribute to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who passed away earlier that week. The SNL sketch featured Fred Armisen as Ian Rubbish, a Johnny Rotten type, whose dislike for the British monarchy and government inspired punk-rock gems. However, as we learn in this “documentary,” when Margaret Thatcher came to power, Rubbish’s reaction left his band, the Bizzarros, and fans scratching their heads. Expecting Thatcher to be “Rubbished,” Rubbish instead did a 180 and wrote songs praising Thatcher. What in world had come over Rubbish? Well we learn soon enough that his “love” for the Iron Lady developed because, wait for it, she reminds him of his mum. So there is no changing his mind. SNLs tribute reflects a myriad of responses to Thatcher’s death. Not surprisingly, the stormy reaction across Britain and Ireland over Baroness Thatcher’s death hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention. The decision to commemorate or celebrate her death in Northern Ireland in particular, was bound to produce a split in opinion. The relationship between Northern Ireland (and the Republic of Ireland for that matter) and Thatcher has always been tense. Recent revelations from former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson about Thatcher’s supposed mistrust of the Irish, and her equally naive and ridiculous Cromwellian solution to the “Troubles” (i.e. to simply move all the Catholics to the Republic) is just the latest in this deeply complicated relationship. Yet, the polarized responses to her death reflect not only her conservative policies that still influence British politics, but also reveal cultural norms and beliefs regarding gender and politics. Thatcher may have reminded Rubbish of his mum, but this reduced Thatcher to being a mum, not a politician, judged not for her (controversial) policies, but for her inability to fulfill feminine expectations.

Just Add Water . . . and Sperm

By Tina M. Kibbe

As an historian of science and medicine, I am always interested in both the histories of and the latest innovations in genetic and reproductive technologies. It is unbelievable how far we’ve come in such a relatively short period of time. These technologies are usually met with a mixture of awe and fascination or resistance and fear—it seems as if sometimes we are witnessing a glimpse into the future, yet it is actually happening in the here and now. I recently came across an article that actually made me stop and say, “Wow, really?” It’s about research into a new reproductive technology, but before I get to it, I want to do a brief background of revolutionary reproductive and genetic technologies that have sparked some intense ethical and moral debates. Specifically, three groundbreaking developments which have women/gender at their very core. Three developments that, as they were occurring, perhaps seemed like they were only futuristic, fantastic things that could never really happen . . . until they did.

Same-Sex Marriage Does Threaten “Traditional” Marriage

Recently on Facebook some friends were passing around a quote by comedian Ellen DeGeneres who was responding to the charge that same-sex marriage will “threaten” heterosexual marriages. Ellen quipped: I get you, Ellen, but you’re missing the larger point. Same-sex marriage does threaten “traditional” marriage. Marriage equality is a threat to those who do not… Read more →

A Tale of Two Pregnancies

By Cheryl Lemus

So I don’t know if you all aware but Kim Kardashian and Duchess Kate Middleton are pregnant. Yes I know, surprising news since both pregnancies have received very little coverage in the media. I mean you would not even know they were pregnant. Sarcasm aside, when both women announced/confirmed their pregnancies in December, I was not surprised to see the media circus that unfolded around the both of them. NBC’s Today practically wet itself when Kate confirmed her pregnancy, while Kim’s news went viral when Kanye West announced she was expecting their child during a concert. Since then, the media has been more than happy to closely monitor both women’s pregnancies (even more than their obstetricians), but in the past few weeks, more attention has been placed on Kim and Kate’s pregnant bodies, revealing a tale of two pregnancies, one the ideal (Kate) and one the reality (Kim). And the attention, praise, comparisons, conniption fits, and criticisms reflect that these two norms are clashing for the first time.