As House Republicans argued for extremist measures to cut assistance to women, children, and men who use Planned Parenthood’s services, Gwen Moore and Jackie Speier bravely shared their own personal experiences on the House floor. Their words are a reminder of the dire necessity to have more women and people of color serving in legislative positions. Continue reading Rep. Gwen Moore & Rep. Jackie Speier: Amazing Speeches on the House Floor
Protest turned to celebration today in Egypt with the announcement of Mubarak’s immediate resignation after nearly thirty years of rule. The people have triumphed, and Egypt will never be the same. Be sure to check out Al Jazeera English’s live stream of continued coverage here. Also, take a look at some on-the-ground reporting and analysis this week from young bloggers. Thanks to 1st year women’s … Continue reading Making History in Egypt
Super Bowl News and Analysis Huffington Post: What to Say to Young Boys and Men About Big Ben “There will also likely be considerable hand-wringing from many in Steeler Nation, who will cheer for their team with a troubled conscience, out of concern that their cheers could be construed as support for a man — the team’s quarterback and on-field leader — with a disgraceful … Continue reading Super Bowl Round-Up
Below is an excerpt of an article originally posted at For the Birds Feminist Collective. I’ve been a vegan for the last five years. I have always intuitively connected not using animal derived products to my feminist politics, but only recently was asked to articulate this relationship for a symposium at at local college. Once I dedicated time, thought, and research to the topic I … Continue reading Feminism & Veganism
by Kellyn Johnson
In her postmodernist, critical essay For the Etruscans, poet and theorist Rachel Blau DuPlessis seeks to define the ‘feminine aesthetic’:
“Female Aesthetic”: the production of formal, epistemological, and thematic strategies by members of the group Woman, strategies born in struggle with much of already existing culture, and over-determined by two elements of sexual difference—by women’s psychological experiences of gendered asymmetry and by women’s historical status in an (ambiguously) nonhegemonic group.
I posit that her definition, meant to work within literary theory, also provides a critical framework for the work of women in other creative processes. As Maggie Humm emphasizes, “feminist aesthetics focuses on women’s social subjectivity, not simply on visual imagery, and feminist art aims to transform the asocial, sexist values of traditional aesthetic.” In particular, I believe that the work of women directors in theatre and film both physicalize Duplessis’s definition and fulfill Humm’s directive, reflecting women’s psychological, political, and physical experience as Other in a largely patriarchal system.
While much critical work has been done regarding the work of actresses and women playwrights, there exists an overwhelming lack of critical theory regarding the work of women theatrical directors. Women filmmakers receive slightly more attention in the work of E. Ann Kaplan, Mary Hurd and Barbara Quart, but aside from largely biographical projects such as Anne Fliotsos and Wendy Vierow’s impressive American Women Stage Directors of the Twentieth Century, women directors as a group remain largely unexamined. Continue reading “Dangerous Direction”
by Alexandria Linn
In the fantastic world of relationship self-help, a new dating guide emerged to once again help the lonely American woman land her “dream” guy. Using senseless and sarcastic humor, the markets itself as a guide for women who need to know if their potential suitors are “gay” (according to the author’s understanding of homosexual qualities). For those particular women who want to know how to distinguish between men of the homosexual persuasion, and those who embody all of the violent and neglectful tendencies of the “masculine” male, Ed Baker and Chris Busick have answered the call.
In their book entitled Is He Gay? (for obvious reasons) the two self-help authors follow the story of a young, white and single female as she comes dangerously close to falling in love with a gay man. Despite the author’s attempt to scream commentary to her from the sidelines of the pages, she begins to fall for the homosexual male. Her relationship is sustained by her denial, though she eventually recognizes that the man she’s dating is attracted to other men and not to her. In the end, the woman leaves the relationship with only small disappointments (fortunately, no deep wounds) and resolves that she still loves him “as a friend”.
The good news is that other straight women can steer clear of making the same mistake. By heeding the authors’ advice, one can avoid the queer pitfalls that may occur in the single girl’s dating arena. For those who are not familiar with all the heteronormative ideals of homosexuality, Is He Gay? points out all of the stereotypical tropes associated with “gayness.” The authors, do however attempt to acknowledge their gross generalizations, with a disclaimer at the end of the book that reassures the reader that their mocking was done so “all in good fun,” of course. Continue reading “Is He Gay?”
by Sonia Saraiya
In this exhibit, Sonia Saraiya explores the concept of virginity and what it means in our society when looked at through a feminist lens. This article was originally published at nist.tv.
Everyone seems to know what virginity is – but, oddly, few people can entirely define the term. Though virginity is moored in murky, hard-to-define concepts like “purity,” “sex,” and “first,” most people have a concrete idea of what it is – and either consider themselves virgins or remember the time they “lost their virginity.” In suburban America, teenagers are nervously asking, “If I did ____ with my boyfriend, am I still a virgin?” and in other cultures, kissing on the lips is just as much of a transgression as having sex for the first time – never mind trying to define “sex” or even “first time” in any satisfying, comprehensive way.
Virginity is historically a women’s issue – because the ideal of virginity is heavily, though somewhat subtly, gendered. In common English parlance, a “virgin” is anyone who has not had sex. But the contemporary social pressure, globally, on women’s virginity (as a way of retaining their purity) belies the word’s etymology. “Virgin” comes from the Latin “virgo,” which means “sexually inexperienced woman” and could be interchanged with “maiden.” Though both the ancient Romans and current English-speakers use the term virgin somewhat loosely to encompass more than women, the emphasis remains. Of the few women who managed to make a name for themselves in history, a large number of those are virgins: The Virgin Mary and Queen Elizabeth I, for example. Male monks and priests are “celibate”; pagan priestesses to Vesta, meanwhile, were the Vestal Virgins. The ancient Greeks (and later the Romans) categorized their goddesses based on whether or not they were virgins; there were exactly three major virgin goddesses, and three non-virgins. Though virginity is used for both men and women, it is a primarily feminized concept centered on the penetration of a vagina by a penis.
As with many social issues, the argument over women’s issues takes women’s bodies as the territory, often speaking for women at large. Maintaining virginity and losing virginity are both framed as feminist issues, both cited as the best way to maintain self-respect. And the constant background noise behind this conflict is the contradictory message of popular mainstream media – a shaky middle ground between conservatism and progressivism. Continue reading “Virgin America”
Please consider signing this petition at Change.org calling on Governor Kasich of Ohio to pardon Williams-Bolar for unfair sentencing. I was infuriated yesterday when I visited The Boyce Blog (via Racialicious’s daily link roundup) to learn about a black woman in Ohio, Kelley Williams-Bolar, who is being sent to jail for sending her children to the wrong school district. Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse writes, … Continue reading Petition to Pardon Kelley Williams-Bolar
We got a tip from friend of R/V, Kate Angell, about this great collaborative blog focused on primary sources. It’s called Women’s History Sources: Women’s History Sources is a collaborative blog that serves as a current awareness tool for anyone who is interested in primary sources at archives, historic sites and museums, and libraries. Some of the types of sources that the blog covers: New … Continue reading Women’s History Sources
Here’s a sneak peak at a new documentary, “Not Just A Game” by sports writer and editor Dave Zirin on politics, racism, and gender in sports, now out on DVD through the Media Education Foundation. Continue reading Sports Documentary on Social Change