January
24th 2009
Feminist news and views roundup, yee-haw!

Posted under: Gender, women's history

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and catch up on the news today, all you tenderfeet, dudes, and fellow cowpokes:

  • New Kid on the Hallway reports that women law students in their 20s are innocent of skirts-only dress codes, and view pantsuits as more conservative than skirt suits.
  • Time machine alert:  The Cult of True Womanhood lives again!  (Via Feminist Law Profs.)  “The ‘countercultural’ attitudes that signers support include the idea that women are called to affirm and encourage godly masculinity, and honor the God-ordained male headship of their husbands and pastors; that wifely submission to male leadership in the home and church reflects Christ’s submission to God, His Father; that ‘selfish insistence on personal rights is contrary to the spirit of Christ’; and, in a pronatalist turn of phrase that recalls the rhetoric of the Quiverfull conviction, their willingness to ‘receive children as a blessing from the Lord.’”
  • Political football tossed to Obama–he goes long.  (Why on the Friday night news dump, though?  Oh well–this cowgirl isn’t complaining.)

Adios, amigas!  Stay warm, and have a great weekend.

7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Feminist news and views roundup, yee-haw!”

  1. Rose on 24 Jan 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    Interesting post by New Kid! My first job out of college, in 1988, was in the communications division of a large state bureaucracy. One fine summer day I wore pants to work (nice linen ones, with a matching jacket), and a colleague literally chased me down the hallway, stopped me, and exclaimed, “You’re wearing PANTS!!!”

    I said that I was aware of this fact, and she hissed, “Don’t you know that it’s an unwritten rule on the eighth floor that you can’t wear pants?!”

    I looked down the hallway, where a male colleague of ours was standing, and said, “Clayton seems to be wearing pants.”

    Shortly thereafter, other women in the office started wearing pants, too. I like to think I broke the ice!

    In hindsight, though, it’s amazing to me that it was still so controversial that late into the 80s. But then again, when I was job hunting *before* getting that job, I was also told by a state legislator that I interviewed with that he didn’t think he’d hire me, because then there’d be two women in the office, and that was always trouble, because they just fight all the time.

  2. Ignatz on 24 Jan 2009 at 4:27 pm #

    My mama wore pants to work in 1972 and nearly got fired.

  3. Notorious Ph.D. on 24 Jan 2009 at 4:58 pm #

    I read the post on the submissive woman round-up, and rolled my eyes. Oddly enough, this morning I was reading Frances Dolan’s Marriage and Violence (which is not necessarily the book that the title suggests), and she deals with this issue in both the Early Modern Atlantic World and c. 20 evangelical movements, concluding that it’s the solution (albeit not one that she endorses) to the contradictions inherent in the Christian (and especially Protestant) conception of marriage as simultaneously “two as one flesh” and “biblically-ordained hierarchy.”

    It’s like the old saw about women’s status under the Common Law: in the eyes of the law, husband and wife are one person, and that person is the husband.

    Whoo! See me bein’ all well-read and stuff!

  4. Historiann on 24 Jan 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    We loves Fran–she is a top-notch scholar and a really nice person who’s very kind to random junior faculty in whose success she has absolutely no stake. I knew her when she was researching that book–she said that historians (of the 19th C variety, natch) told her when she would present her work, “you can’t do that!”, as in, make comparisons between the early modern period and the 20th C without taking into consideration all of the origins of modernity, progress, blah blah blah. When, of course, her point as a feminist scholar was: modernity? Progress? Change? For whom?

    Sometimes it is more revealing to emphasize continuty rather than change. (Change over time is such a guy thing, isn’t it?)

    And Rose and Ignatz–wow. Just wow. I was working in offices in the late 80s although I don’t recall any pants v. skirts issues. However, I did make a stink in the early 80s over the dress code for jr. high school band concerts, which dictated skirts for girls, and nice trousers and ties for boys. (I lost that battle, unlike Rose!)

    Hey, modern U.S. historians: how about a dissertation on the politics of pants in the 1960s-1980s? (Or let us know if there already is one.) I think a lot of people know Amelia Bloomer’s name and assume that the “struggle for the breeches” was over sometime in the 1930s or 1940s. But, my sense is that trousers waxed and waned throughout the 20th C, depending on whether or not American society at large was worried that women might actually be making progress. (I also think that because many famous 1930s and 40s glamorous film stars were photographed wearing trousers doesn’t mean that it was acceptable for women to wear them in everyday life.)

  5. mary on 24 Jan 2009 at 7:00 pm #

    I guess Catholic school is way behind the times. From 91 to 00, I attended two schools one Catholic and the other one Christian (predominately Catholic) that only let us wear pants from November to April—and that was a recent development. I guess someone in the late 8os finally figured out that knee length skirts and Minnesota winters dont mix well.

  6. Indyanna on 24 Jan 2009 at 10:58 pm #

    Historiann,

    Maybe you have (or have heard) some of the stories about the old Divine Tracy Hotel in Philly near the Penn campus? The stay of choice for cash-challenged researchers, but with separate floors for the sexes and a definite pants-code. Otherwise, nicely quiet, warm, and safe. Now Penn has taken the place over and rehabbed (or more properly, Taj Mahaled) it, as an upscale undergraduate residence. A local journalist took his daughter there for a campus tour and tagged it “assisted living for young people.” But you can not-wear whatever you want on any floor and any hour of the day or night!

  7. Historiann on 25 Jan 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    Indyanna–I knew the Divine Tracy, but never had to stay there (having my own apartment or dorm room in the area, of course.) I heard it was not only skirts, but stockings or nylons that were required. Most of the women I knew bristled most about the nylons–esp. in summer heat, when many of the visitors and part-time researchers were most in need of housing. (But the skirts-only rule also nixed shorts, which would also have been uncomfortable too.)

    And Mary–interesting that your schools finally got with the program in the early 1990s. This is perhaps the root of the problem: not enough Catholic school educations going around!