Category: Reviews

Narrative Privilege and the Power of Pose

This post contains spoilers for the full series of Pose, including the series finale. Dorian Corey began her career as a dancer in the Pearl Box Revue sometime in the 1960s. By the late 1970s, she was the mother of the House of Corey, strutting the runway in underground drag balls and performing in shows… Read more →

Reproductive Designs and the Stories Behind Them: A Review of Designing Motherhood

Today almost all IUDs (intrauterine devices) look like the letter “T,” with arms that slightly droop and a string that dangles from its trunk. When inserted, the arms press against the walls of the uterus to help prevent pregnancy, and the string dangles down into a woman’s vagina as a way to check that the… Read more →

Mare of Easttown: Not Just Another Dead Girl Show

The HBO crime drama Mare of Easttown captivated viewers, who flocked to social media with theories about who killed Erin McMenamin. The show follows detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) as she investigates this and other cases in Easttown, a suburb of Philadelphia. Billed as “an authentic examination of how family and past tragedies can define… Read more →

Honor to Us All: What Trans Men Gained and Lost in Mulan (2020)

My parents took me to see Mulan for my ninth birthday. Appropriately for someone raised as a girl, they bought me a Mulan doll that featured prominently in my playtime (as I’ve written before, I could never honestly tell my gender therapist that I hated dolls). Later, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” became… Read more →

Portraying Abortion in Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Film and TV portrayals of abortion in the last decade have become both more prevalent and complex. Take the different abortion storylines over the course of HBO’s series Girls (love it or hate it). In Season 1’s “Vagina Panic,” Jessa is scheduled to have an abortion when she conveniently has her “period” in a bar’s… Read more →

“There’s Only One Way This War Ends”: New Ways of Telling a Familiar Story in Sam Mendes’s 1917

In the spring of 1917, the German Army was recouping from enormous losses suffered at the Somme, Verdun, and in the Brusilov Offensive on the Eastern Front. Hoping to consolidate and reinforce their manpower, their army on the Western Front retreated to a series of well-planned, highly fortified trenches known as the Hindenburg Line. In… Read more →

Waiting for a Death Revolution: A Review of HBO’s Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America

I can’t decide what to do with my corpse. Embalming, the bread-and-butter of the American funeral industry, feels wrong. Is cremation a better option for me? Do I want a funeral service where everyone can cry (or celebrate) my departure? Or is it better to just let things go quietly, no ritual required? The fact… Read more →

Hannah Gadbsy and the Comedy of the History Lecture

She had me at Douglas’ Pouch. The Mary Toft reference was just a bonus. I went to Hannah Gadsby’s stand up show Douglas expecting searing critique of the patriarchy, sharp commentary on trauma and sexism, a fresh perspective on gender and sexuality non-conformity, and the kind of cathartic laughter that makes everything possible. I didn’t expect… Read more →

Exhibition Review: Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis

One hundred years after the 1918 flu epidemic, Germ City: Microbes and the Metropolis opened at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY). The exhibition, which ran through April 2019 in association with the New York Academy of Medicine, asked visitors to consider the complex relationship between New Yorkers and pathogenic microorganisms, both… Read more →

Historian Witches and Scientist Vampires: Can We Be Deborah Harkness When We Grow Up?

Historian-witches, vampire-scientists, and a world where you can get a tenure-track job at an Ivy and fancy fellowships at Oxford just because you work hard and have great hair? You guessed it: we’re talking A Discovery of Witches. Please excuse our numerous exclamation points! A Discovery of Witches is the first book in Deb Harkness’s… Read more →