Category: Feminism

Exploding Myths About Medicine’s Wage Gap: Lessons From the Past and Present

It’s not news that women are paid less than men for comparable work, subject to variation across race, field of labor, and other factors. In medicine, the gap is particularly pronounced. At first glance, we wouldn’t necessarily expect medicine to be particularly inequitable. Being a physician is a high-status occupation that requires a great deal… Read more →

How Dusty are Your Baseboards?: The Politics of Domestic Labor

Recently I attended a bridal shower that provided a rare occasion for chatting with girlfriends sans partners and kids. Upon returning to my seat from a second visit to the brunch buffet, I noticed two concurrent conversations going on either side of me. Although occurring separately, both conversations centered on cleaning- specifically, house cleaning and… Read more →

Vagina Dialogues

By Elizabeth Reis

Students at Mt. Holyoke College are protesting the annual performance of Eve Ensler’s feminist classic, The Vagina Monologues. Their gripe with the play is that by focusing on vaginas, the play perpetuates “vagina essentialism,” suggesting that ALL women have vaginas and that ALL people with vaginas are women. Transgender and intersex people have taught us that this seemingly simple “truth” is actually not true. There are women who have penises and there are men who have vaginas. Not to mention women born without vaginas! Hence, these Mt. Holyoke critics imply, the play contributes to the erasure of difference by presenting a “narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman,” and shouldn’t be produced on college campuses.

In Between Cultural Appropriation, Racism, and Sexism: Azealia Banks and the Erasure of Black Women in Rap

By Austin McCoy

Rap artist Azealia Banks, who released her debut album, Broke with Expensive Taste, in November, made the news with her appearance on Hot 97’s radio show, Ebro in the Morning, in December. In her 47 minute interview, Banks railed against white Australian-born pop singer-turned rap artist, Iggy Azalea, Azalea’s boss, rapper, T.I., and against capitalism, slavery, and the appropriation of black culture. Azalea released her debut album, The New Classic in April, which shot up to #1 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop Album and Rap charts. Her song “Fancy” dominated the airwaves. The positive reception even led Forbes to initially declare that Azalea “ran” rap.[1] This declaration, which Forbes eventually dialed back, underscored Banks’s critique about appropriation and black women’s exclusion and erasure in the corporate rap industry. Banks declared, “At the very fucking least, you owe me the right to my fucking identity. And not to exploit that shit. That’s all we’re holding onto with hip-hop and rap.”

Female Circumcision, Clitoridectomy, and American Culture

In the United States, female circumcision (the removal of the clitoral hood) and clitoridectomy (the removal of the external nub of the clitoris) are nearly always regarded as practices that happen someplace else. When their presence within the United States is acknowledged, these procedures are positioned as having come from the outside, as originating with immigrants from… Read more →

Clio Talks: with Astrid Henry

Today we have something a bit different: an interview with Professor Astrid Henry by Nursing Clio blogger Carolyn Herbst Lewis. Astrid is the Louise R. Noun Professor of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at Grinnell College. She recently co-authored Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements (W.W. Norton & Company, 2014) with Dorothy Sue Cobble and Linda Gordon, which Carrie Pitzulo reviewed for us earlier this week. Astrid also is the author of Not My Mother’s Sister: Generational Conflict and Third-Wave Feminism (Indiana University Press, 2004), and her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies. She received her Ph.D. from the Interdisciplinary Modern Studies Concentration of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s English Department and has been a member of the Governing Council of the National Women’s Studies Association.

Yes Virginia, Feminism Left Christmas Alone

By Cheryl Lemus

As I write this blog post, I am recovering from an intense Thanksgiving weekend. Over the course of four days, I cooked, attended a Doctor Who convention, put up the rest of our Christmas decorations, and shopped. I am not ashamed to admit that as of 11:59 p.m. on Halloween, I hit the Christmas station on Pandora. Although I usually wait until Thanksgiving to decorate the tree, I actually put it up a week early this year. And this was not the first time I was in a store very early on Thanksgiving because there was a deal that I could not pass up. I am a liberal feminist, and yes, I am one of those people who loves most everything about the holiday. I cook, I shop, I share past traditions, and damn it, my tree looks awesome. This feminist loves Christmas. Kirk Cameron would be proud.

Crafting Womanhood

By Elizabeth Reis

As a women’s and gender studies professor, I am especially aware of my privilege in not having to think constantly about my gender. Because I fit most of the criteria of a typical white American woman, I never get questioned or called out on my gender expression, and so I’m free to focus on other aspects of my life, leaving this area relatively unexamined. There have been two times in my life when I thought consciously about my gender identity: the first time I had sex (“this is how it’s done?”) and when I gave birth to my first child (“this is what women do?”). With both of those experiences, I remember thinking to myself, “I’ve never really felt like a WOMAN, whatever that’s supposed to feel like, but many women do this, and so I guess I’m one of them.” And that was the end of that. Since both of these events, many years ago, I’ve been able to put the question of my “womanliness” on the back burner and instead teach about the history and politics of gender in the United States.

I’m a Country Girl … Or Not

By Sarah Handley-Cousins

I have a confession: I love country music. I grew up in a small town that could have come straight out of a country song, with its one stoplight, large number of cows, and self-described “redneck” residents. Country music was, unsurprisingly, pretty popular. I stopped listening to country for quite awhile after I left home, until a friend took me to a Zac Brown Band concert — after that, I was hooked. My Pandora stations all had titles like “Today’s Country Radio” and “Country Love Songs Radio.” I even bought cowboy boots. One day while singing along to Florida Georgia Line’s incredibly popular “Cruise,” I found myself thinking, “Man, I want to be this girl.”

A Short History of the Penis, Masculinity, and American Feminism

If you haven’t heard of Claire Wyckoff, the San Francisco woman who copywrites by day for a global advertising firm and in her spare time maps runs that look like penises (or other stuff) around town using the NikePlus app, head over to her Tumblr right now. Seriously, right now. We’ll wait. Wyckoff appeared all over… Read more →