Archive for May, 2011

May 31st 2011
What we should and should not worry about: an address for the rising generation of feminists

Posted under Berkshire Conference & Gender & happy endings & jobs & students & women's history

Check out this year’s commencement address at Barnard College by Sheryl Sandberg. (H/t to reader COB for the link and the idea for this post.)

It’s brave of her to throw a bucket of cold water in the face of graduating Seniors by telling them this: Continue Reading »


May 27th 2011
Summer travels

Posted under American history & art & fluff & happy endings

Guess where the summer research travel/conference/friends, and fun are?

It’s time for me to return to the eastward. As I understand it, they have the internets there too, so as they say, WATCH THIS SPACE.


May 26th 2011
The gendered expressions of mental illness and violence

Posted under American history & Gender & unhappy endings & women's history

I’m sure you all heard yesterday or this morning that the Tucson gunman who intended to assassinate U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and who murdered 6 of her constituents and injured 13 others in January was found incompetent to stand trial for his crimes.  Instead, Jared Loughner “will receive treatment in a secure federal mental health facility for up to four months before doctors evaluate him again. . . . If doctors can restore his mental health, the judge may find him competent to stand trial. If not, prosecutors can seek to have Loughner committed to a mental health facility indefinitely.”

This is almost surely the right decision, given the severe nature of his illness.  But, I’m still frustrated by the fact that no one ever talks about gender in the violent expression of mental illness.  Overwhelmingly, the people who commit mass murder fueled by mental illness and access to high-powered weaponry are men.  They’re stark, raving mad–but they’re in touch with reality enough to pick up and absorb cultural cues and messages that gun violence is a masculine prerogative.  Continue Reading »


May 25th 2011
On being (politely) called a pain in the a$$

Posted under American history & childhood & class & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & students & the body & unhappy endings & weirdness & women's history

I was talking to a friend the other day about the fact that both of us throughout our careers have often been described by others as “outspoken,”  “willful,” or even “intimidating.”  For example, at a talk I gave a few weeks ago, I was introduced by a (male) former professor as “one of the two most willful graduate students” he’s ever worked with.  This was extremely disarming–first of all, because that’s not my memory of my graduate school self*, and secondly, because of course my instinct was to argue with this characterization, although that would only have ratified his judgment of me as “willful.”  (Game, set, and match to the former professor before I even opened my mouth!)

My friend–also a white woman, also exactly my age, also middle-class, and also supposed to be a “nice girl” from the suburbs–told me a similar story about how at the conclusion of a two-year postdoc, she was introduced by the (male) director of the granting organization as someone who really “shook things up” around the place and got up in their grills about various issues.  What could she say after an introduction like that?  Once again, shutting up is the only way you can go.  You can’t argue with him without proving him right. Continue Reading »


May 24th 2011
Feminists demand let justice be done

Posted under American history & class & Gender & Intersectionality & race & the body & unhappy endings & women's history


A correspondent sent this to me, so I pass it along to you to sign and return to kscarbro AT soemail DOT rutgers DOT edu.  UPDATE:  Kathryn Scarbrough has asked us not to e-mail our signatures–her e-mail in-box has been overwhelmed.  If you wish to sign the petition, you may do so by clicking this link and adding your name.

Feminists Demand Let Justice Be Done

Rape is always about power and domination; it is sexualized violence.

Rape and sexual harassment of women are pervasive at all strata of society and in all corners of the globe. Women will never be fully free and able to enjoy equality with men until this ends. As feminists, we see the arrest of former International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on sexual assault charges as an opportunity to increase public awareness and as a wake-up call to renew action against sexual violence, not only in the US where his arrest occurred and in France, where media and many public figures are portraying him as the victim, but around the world. Continue Reading »


May 24th 2011
Anatomy of a blog post

Posted under bad language & unhappy endings & wankers

Kidding on the square, friends!

I just found something on the internet that pi$$es me off.  Here it is:

Blah blah blah blibbity blab women/teachers/higher education/women teachers in higher education. 

Blah blah blah blibbity blab.

Blah blah blah blibbity blab.

What an idiot, and here are several reasons why this person is wrong and/or doesn’t know what ze is talking about.  As if!  Continue Reading »


May 22nd 2011
Codex rules, Kindle drools. (And I told you so.)

Posted under technoskepticism

You're a renter, not an owner.

(And drooling on an e-book when you fall asleep reading can be a messy, expensive, and potentially life-threatening proposition!)

I know many of you didn’t believe me, but here’s the testimony of a Kindle-ized author and former true believer:

[W]hen the Kindle edition of my book came out, the publisher set the price at $27.95. They also raised the price of the hardback by $5.05. It’s the difference between the electronic and physical copy of the book that matters, I figured, not the cost of the book itself.

What sent me over the edge is when I saw that is charging more for the Kindle version of David McCullough’s new book than they are for the hardback (at least as of the moment that I’m writing this). This tells me that the pricing for Kindle editions has become totally untethered from economic reality, and that can’t be good for consumers. Certainly, it costs more to produce the physical book than it does to deliver the e-version. All the savings from an electronic edition of McCullough’s book are therefore flowing to Amazon rather than readers. Readers should demand better.

Instead, believes that their Kindle customers are willing to pay more for this fleeting edition than they are the thing which is permanent. Continue Reading »


May 21st 2011
School’s out for summer!

Posted under fluff & happy endings

Continue Reading »


May 20th 2011

Posted under American history & Gender & jobs & unhappy endings & wankers

Well, someone is getting a raise at Baa Ram U. this year–just no one on the academic faculty:

Four years ago, Colorado State athletic director Paul Kowalczyk could envision this moment, a time he would look upon his men’s basketball program with equal parts pride and hope, and reward a coach for taking ashes and building a winner.

Thursday was that day — a day Colorado State made official a three-year extension for men’s basketball coach Tim Miles. Along with a $330,000 raise, the deal is expected to keep him in Fort Collins through 2016. It also has a $250,000 longevity incentive waiting for him if he stays until then.

.       .       .       .       .

Miles had a base salary of $420,000. On July 1, that will be bumped to $585,000. On July 1, 2012, that will move up to $750,000. So, over the course of the next 14 months, he’ll receive a total raise of $330,000. Continue Reading »


May 19th 2011
Lessons for Girls, number one: Anger

Posted under childhood & Gender & women's history

Howdy, friends–I’m still in self-imposed blogland exile until I finish up some overdue work, but I thought I’d republish this post, which is one of my all-time favorites (and one of your all-time favorites too, if my sitemeter is to be trusted).  As some of you longtime readers may remember, “Anger” was the first contribution to what became a fun series a few years ago, Lessons for Girls.  I’m not just posting this today because I’m a lazy lazy-a$$ed lazypants lady who can’t get her work done on time (although it’s true)–some recent e-mail correspondance with a friend has suggested that it might be time for us to review our thoughts on and experiences with anger.  (Note to friend:  see especially the part about how “it’s okay to make other people angry.”

Don't be a dip$hit!

If I wish I had learned one lesson earlier in life, it’s this:  it’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to make other people angry, and anger can work for you.  (Well, that might be three lessons, but I find it hard to disentangle them, so bear with me.)

It’s okay to be angry.  Girls are subjected to an impressive load of anti-anger propaganda.  Snow White and Cinderella, at least in the mid-century modern Disneyfield versions we’re stuck with today in U.S. popular culture, are both specifically praised for remaining sweet and good-natured in spite of the fact that they’re turned into indentured servants by their stepmothers.  (There’s also a not-so-subtle implication that it’s their sweet natures that preserve their beauty–because anger is so aging, my dears!)  What kind of a lesson is that for girls?  If a child of mine were enslaved by an evil stepmother, I’d sure as hell want her to get pi$$ed off and fight back.  But, anger is punished in girls from the beginning.  An undergraduate student of mine recently complained that she’s not permitted to express anger.  When she does, first she’s patronized and told that she really doesn’t mean what she’s saying, and when she insists that no, she really is angry, the reaction she gets from other people isn’t apology or rational discussion, it’s anger at her anger.  (For more on this see below, “It’s okay to make other people angry.”)

I’ve got another version of Snow White’s story I like to tell:  Continue Reading »


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