Category: Feminism

Stop Putting My Vagina in a Binder!

By Cheryl Lemus

Well I have to be honest with you all, unlike most of my fellow Nursing Clio authors, Carrie, Adam, and Ashley, I did not finish Vagina: A Biography. Each and every time I opened the book, with the full intention of reading a chapter, two to three pages in, I dozed off. I did manage, finally, to get through some of the chapters and in the end, I found myself not really caring about the vagina as a goddess. I had one thing in mind when I first started this piece, where I was going to discuss what sort of vagina my vagina wanted to be and then Tuesday night’s debate aired. Well wouldn’t you know it, Romney made the brilliant “binders full of women,” comment (it is has to be up their with “I like trees,” but maybe not), and it made me think about how it connects to Wolf’s book. Throughout history the vagina has been put into neat little categories, binders if you will, that have been used to define, stigmatize, and even defile women. Our vaginas have defined us as sex objects, mothers, weaker employees, and victims, while at the same time branded us emotional, irrational, and fragile. So how does this relate to Wolf, you ask? It’s simple, Wolf wants to place the vagina into another binder labeled “Vagina as Goddess,” and it is another category that in the end, will bite women in the ass. The vagina is NOT a goddess and therefore we are NOT goddesses.

Because Science Says So

By Adam Turner


Vagina Week continues! With this post by Adam Turner on Naomi Wolf’s use of Science! in her new book,
Vagina: A Biography. Naomi Wolf uses a whole lot of science in her new book, Vagina: A Biography (perhaps more accurately called an autobiography). She lectures at length about the nervous system, stress responses, brain chemistry, and how all of these things seem to have their center in powerful mind-altering (heterosexual, vaginal) sex. Taking her personal experiences as a jumping-off point (itself a dubious scientific technique) Wolf references a wide variety of studies to make her argument that the vagina, broadly defined, is a driving force in women’s lives, responsible for their happiness, successful relationships, creativity, and existential health.

Welcome to Vagina Week!

By Carrie Adkins

It is officially “Vagina Week” here at Nursing Clio. Carrie Adkins, Adam Turner, Ashley Baggett, Rachel Epp Buller, and Cheryl Lemus will each post their thoughts about Naomi Wolf’s new book, Vagina: A Biography, and dissecting some of Wolf’s claims about vaginas, orgasms, and female sexuality. Please consider posting your own thoughts in the comments section!
Carrie Adkins kicks off “Vagina Week” with an overall analysis of Wolf’s book:

Gillard vs. Abbott

By Sean Cosgrove

Julia Gillard (Australian’s current, and first female, Prime Minister) has made waves both at home (which for me is Australia) and overseas after her explosive speech calling out the leader of the opposition (currently Tony Abbott) for not only being sexist but fostering an environment of sexism and misogyny.

You can read about it everywhere. Seriously, everywhere: The BBC, The Australian (and again) The Conversation, Crikey, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Jezebel, The New Yorker, The Vine.

Regardless of Who “Won” the Debate, Women Clearly were the Losers

By Heather Munro Prescott

Wednesday night we editors had a little fun attempting to “live blog” the first Presidential Debate. Since none of us know how to do this on the blog itself, we used the Nursing Clio Facebook page. I also contributed to the debate “backchannel” on Twitter. Since my Twitter feed isn’t linked to our blog, I thought I would compile some highlights for readers of Nursing Clio.

The Fat Skinny Girl

By Cheryl Lemus

Yesterday, several media sites published comments made by Christina Aguilera to her record company during the recording of her new album Lotus. Allegedly, she told them that she was fat and that they needed to get over this idea that she was a “skinny white girl.” News about her comments spread like wildfire and there was a loud cheer for Aguilera and her acceptance of her “fatness.” Apparently though, today her rep emphatically denies that Aguilera ever said she was fat. Whatever the reason is that her people are backtracking from the “fat” statement, the celebration yesterday reflects that there is more willingness to accept celebrities who do not fit the beauty ideal wrapped around females. It gives women around the world a reason to feel content with their bodies. But, as we slowly accept that beautiful women encompass all different sizes, shapes, and colors, we are at the same time creating an ideal of female fatness. Aguilera’s (now refuted) proud statement “I’m a fat girl now,” may be a reason to celebrate, except she’s not fat. Not even close. By accepting that Aguilera is “fat,” we are only creating a myth of the fat skinny girl, who still has firm and flawless proportions. Just as we decry the ideal skinny female, the ideal fat girl does not seem to get much criticism for projecting a body that very few overweight girls and women have.

“Unbought and Unbossed” at 40: Remembering Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 Presidential Campaign

By Austin McCoy

Long before Jesse Jackson, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, Shirley Chisholm launched a campaign for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, we rarely mention her efforts when we look at the history of U.S. presidential politics in the last forty years. It would seem easy to forget how Chisholm blazed the trail for the likes Jackson, Clinton, and Obama after Clinton’s and Obama’s 2008 nomination battle. But the sexism that Hillary Clinton endured and the racism that Obama faced in 2008 arose from a longer context of racism and sexism structuring the outcomes of U.S. party and presidential politics. Chisholm stood as the first to confront the closed nature of national (and black) politics. Defending her campaign to the broader Democratic Party would seem par for the course; yet, Chisholm also battled the established black male leadership in quest to secure the nomination. In doing so, however, “Fighting” Shirley Chisholm, as she called herself, utilized various political styles and strategies seen in later candidates like Jackson, Clinton, and Obama.

A Pregnant Woman is Not a Worker

By Cheryl Lemus

So I was dealing with a bout of insomnia tonight and while I was sitting in front of my computer (which I know does not help), I came across a Huffington Post piece on The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), which has just been introduced in the Senate. The bill, which mirrors one introduced to the House in the spring, would require that employers make workplace accommodations for pregnant workers. You know, like giving a pregnant worker regular bathroom breaks. But, not surprisingly, it faces opposition by, that’s right, Republicans. Republicans see things a little differently. See, to them, that baby bump and its need for “accommodations” will kill profits. Don’t you know that requiring an employer to allow a pregnant woman to carry a water bottle during work or making them give her routine bathroom or rest breaks will cause an economic burden? The GOP, made up of primarily desperate white men clinging to their hegemony, are not surprisingly holding steadfast to their antiquated notions of pregnant women (and women in general). With many big businesses funding (and running) the GOP, the party of “pro-life” reveals its true colors yet again by stipulating that an individual’s well-being should not get in the way of profits. At the same time though, most Americans do not recognize a pregnant woman as an employee. Although there are 77 million women in the workforce, many of whom are working in low-wage jobs, a pregnant worker is not the norm. A pregnant woman is not a worker.

Men: Masturbation Equals Liberty!

Men for True Liberty is writing to ask for two speaking slots at the DNC in Chicago in August. The speeches will educate convention goers and the public about the threat to men’s freedom and liberty. When Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan won in 2012, we were led to believe that the economy would be restored to its former glory. Men’s reproductive rights were not even a blip on the radar. Yes, we had heard about the war on women in 2012, but what did that have to with men? What did that have to do with the economy and jobs? Our naivety led us to think politicians would never try to control men’s reproductive rights. Well, we realized too late what a big mistake it was to separate reproductive rights from the economy and now it’s time for us to atone for our egregious errors.

Meeting Death–Notes from a Living Historical Artifact

I have recently experienced a good deal of (mostly good) healthcare services here in Northern Illinois. For the last three and a half years I have been a patient in and out of various hospitals, undergoing small and large “procedures,” experiencing rehabilitation and a large number of outpatient services. It wasn’t always this way. I am/was a nurse. I was the one giving the care, staying calm in emergencies, answering those difficult questions and doling out reassurance like sandwiches at a picnic. My recent experiences as a patient have brought back a lot of memories and the sudden realization that I am a living, historical artifact. The apprentice-style nurse training I received in Britain in the early 1980s is now defunct and has been replaced by a University degree, higher wages and a level of professionalism even Florence Nightingale could only dream of in 1860 when she established her training school for nurses in London.[1]Britain, the whole world now knows, reveres the National Health Service as a national icon (remember the opening ceremony at the 2012 Olympics in London–dancing nurses in archaic-looking uniforms and nimble-footed doctors prancing around the stadium with their bedded patients?). I think it was watching the NHS tableau that triggered the memory of the time I first met death.