Reproductive Justice: A Timeline

By Emma Staffaroni Emma Staffaroni is a first-year Master’s candidate in SLC’s Women’s History program. A ruthless feminist, she slays haters with her pen and then eats them for dinner, covered in cheese. She also enjoys basset hounds, trains, and red wine. Full disclosure: I am 23. That means that up until the last couple of years, most of the fighting for women’s reproductive rights … Continue reading Reproductive Justice: A Timeline

Police join protesters in Wisconsin; Thousands rally in New York

or, “THIS IS NOT A BUDGET ISSUE, THIS IS A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE” Today, as reported by Jenn Breckenridge at The Understory, police officers joined protesters inside the Wisconsin State Capitol: From inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, RAN ally Ryan Harvey reports: “Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join … Continue reading Police join protesters in Wisconsin; Thousands rally in New York

Monday Night: The Assassination of Dr. Tiller on MSNBC

Tomorrow night, MSNBC will air its documentary “The Assassination of Dr. Tiller” at 9pm EST.  Rachel Maddow narrates this story of the murder of abortion doctor George Tiller at his church in Wichita, Kansas on May 31, 2009. The video above is a segment of The Rachel Maddow Show introducing the documentary and trailer. Continue reading Monday Night: The Assassination of Dr. Tiller on MSNBC

Ginny Thomas reminds women we should be thanking Anita Hill

This is an excerpt from an article by Devona Walker posted on AlterNet. You can read the full article at AlterNet. The Anita Hill case was a turning point for American women, who have endured sexual harassment and gender bias on the job. Even though they dragged her name through the mud, she was unflappable on the stand and gave women everywhere in the U.S. … Continue reading Ginny Thomas reminds women we should be thanking Anita Hill


by Olivia Harris

Silence is, by definition, pretty impossible to study because it is a non-event.  But silence is also a learned act that is taught by modeling in social groups. In modern American society there are many taboo topics noted by academics from all across the fields of study: money, death, sex and sexuality, incest, class, medical issues, bodily functions, authority and power.  There is public silence maintained by every individual surrounding each of these that acts on most Americans in a way that Emile Durkheim would describe as functional. By not discussing these “controversial” topics openly, people actively feed into a culture of silence that reinforces a shared cultural ideology.  After all, “it only takes one person to produce speech but it requires the cooperation of many to produce silence.” (Norman Pittenger)

That makes silence a social act, and one inherently involved in power.    “Open” or “public” secrets are topics that are generally known and understood but never discussed.  These secrets are a form of public denial that function to protect the community as a whole and are learned through socialization (Zerubavel, 2006).  Often “not here” or “not now” are the phrases associated with such secrets: nobody is denying the existence of such truths, but each individual utilizes silence as a means to keep it from the public eye.  So some form of conversation (spoken or not) is necessary to promote the act of maintaining a public secret.  These secrets are often covered with talk about everything but the specific secret at hand. Continue reading “Silence”

Dorothy Height: Unsung Hero of the Women’s Movement and Civil Rights

by Erika Stump

Photo credit: David Kohl, AP

Dorothy Irene Height died on April 20, 2010.  She was 98.  Although not a common household name like her dear friend, Rosa Parks, Ms. Height was a fundamental force of the civil rights movement and an icon in the struggle for women’s rights. Not to mention her role as an impeccable model of style…oh, those hats!

Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1912, Ms. Height’s displeasure with racial inequality began early in her life. The Pittsburgh YWCA refused to let her swim in their pool when she was a child.  Then, at nine years old, a white girl said they could no longer be best friends because Dorothy was black. As a young adult, Height was admitted to Barnard College, but when she arrived, she was told she could not enroll as the two seats for black students had already been filled.  Given her renowned resilience, she immediately hopped on a subway and registered at NYU, where she earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in five years. Continue reading “Dorothy Height: Unsung Hero of the Women’s Movement and Civil Rights”

A War Justified by “Women’s Rights”

Photo composite by New York Times

Today, the New York Times reported that the American death toll in Afghanistan has reached 1000.  I think it’s worth taking note of this “grim milestone” here at RE/VISIONIST for several reasons.

Neither the war in Iraq nor the war in Afghanistan receives front-page attention anymore, despite the fact that violence and killing go unabated.  This war in particular has been branded and marketed as a fight for women’s rights, framed with the goal of helping young girls go to school (Laura Bush has been at the forefront of this campaign.)  Afghan women have been portrayed as helpless victims of Islam, which has come to justify the violence. Continue reading “A War Justified by “Women’s Rights””