Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: SlutWalk NYC, Wall Street, & Immigration

SlutWalk on this Saturday, October 1st in NYC. Be there!!! (Unless like me, you have to get a root canal.) There are so many reasons to go. What will happen if the media continues to ignore the Wall Street occupation? In fact, the answer  to that question is already playing out, as numerous videos capture violent treatment and arrests of protesters. Check out Occupy Wall … Continue reading Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: SlutWalk NYC, Wall Street, & Immigration

Deep Play: Katy Perry and the Revenge of the Candy Ravers by Brian Donovan

{Brian Donovan is a cultural and historical sociologist, author of White Slave Crusades: Race, Gender, and Anti-Vice Activism, 1887-1917, and an associate professor of sociology at the University of Kansas.} Cultural sociologists theorize that musical likes and dislikes tells us more about the listeners than anything inherent in the music. The music we adore mirrors and creates a lifestyle, or habitus, that we share with … Continue reading Deep Play: Katy Perry and the Revenge of the Candy Ravers by Brian Donovan

BRITNEY: A MANIFESTO by Caroline Biggs

{Caroline Biggs is a graduate student in Women’s History at Sarah Lawrence College, fashion addict, pop cultural junkie, and girl-about-NYC.} Britney Spears changed my life. At first, this sentence may seem absurd to you for reasons including (but not limited to): 1. I am nearly 30 years old, 2. It is 2011, 3. I am an educated, self-described feminist, as well as an art, music, … Continue reading BRITNEY: A MANIFESTO by Caroline Biggs

Another Body Talk

by Robert Leleux


One of the most peculiar things about The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls is that it seems, at times, to have been written by your Great Aunt Rose. Joan Jacobs Brumberg is an accomplished historian and an enlightened thinker, but she sometimes expresses a tone of agonized propriety that I can’t recall having heard since the days when Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds. Take, for example, the following sentence, delivered absolutely without irony in the course of an impassioned plea on behalf of sexually exploited teenage girls: “The way in which a society handles young girls in trouble,” she writes, “is…revealing.”[1] The “trouble” to which Brumberg is referring to is, incredibly, the “Is she in trouble?” kind of trouble. The kind of “trouble” that always comes with quotation marks around it, even when it’s used in conversation.

Except, I haven’t heard that kind of “trouble” used in conversation since I was a small boy in Texas, playing under my grandmother’s dining room table, and listening in on the conversation of the old ladies in my family who still considered “pregnant” an unsuitable term for that “delicate condition.” Likewise, “out-of-wedlock births,” another Eisenhower-era phrase of which Brumberg avails herself several pages later.[2] In fact, The Body Project is sadly, but revealingly, littered with such creaky, antiquated expressions. Never more so, I’m afraid, than in the very, very unfortunate section devoted to body piercing, of which the following sentence is perhaps the most mortifying: “Teenagers today,” Brumberg explains, “grow up in a world where rigid dichotomies between gay (homosexual) and straight (heterosexual) behavior are disappearing.”[3] Oh, dear, dear, dear. Statements like this remind me of the kind of “talks” ladies used to give on current events during monthly luncheons at the club. Continue reading “Another Body Talk”

Freeing Society in “They Don’t Care about Us” by Michael Jackson

by Monica Stancu

In Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, Michel Foucault argues that there is a direct connection between the modern legal system and power relations. According to him, the legal system, with its police, prisons and constant surveillance of the population represents a manifestation of power and is used as a political tool to further restrict and repress society. Foucault’s philosophical principles may be applied to the reading of Michael Jackson’s controversial video, They Don’t Care about Us (1996), which was set in a prison. In the video, the singer claims that the dominant class in America uses its political power to abuse and manipulate the people by keeping them not only in a physical jail, but also in a “metaphorical” psychological jail by withholding information and making false accusations. Continue reading “Freeing Society in “They Don’t Care about Us” by Michael Jackson”