Archive for June, 2011

June 6th 2011
Material culture, feminist activism, and the future of feminism

Posted under Gender & the body & women's history

Rational dress reform

Jessica Valenti’s discussion of the grassroots feminism on display recently in SlutWalks is pretty good–but I thought she buried one of her more interesting points at the end of the article:

In the past, clothing designed to generate controversy has served to emphasize the message that women have a right to feel safe and participate fully in society. Suffragists wore pants called “bloomers,” named for the women’s rights activist Amelia Bloomer. They were meant to be more practical than the confining dresses of the times. But, echoing the criticism of SlutWalk participants today, the media did not take kindly to women wearing pants. The November 1851 issue of International Monthly called the outfits “ridiculous and indecent,” deriding the suffragists as “vulgar women whose inordinate love of notoriety is apt to display itself in ways that induce their exclusion from respectable society.”

I don’t wade into the toxic swamp of the comments sections of mainstream newspapers, but I’m sure you’ll find even uglier language condemning the SlutWalkers for (some of) their attention-seeking attire. 

Valenti also evokes the (historically untrue) spectre of “bra-burners” in her lede, but that too speaks to the symbolic power of women’s clothing in the history of feminism.  This is a history that gets overlooked or ignored because of recent debates in the West over garments-as-oppression for other women–you know, Afghani women in burkhas, or other Muslim women covered by the hijab or la voile.  As though Western women’s clothing has never been an issue in their citizenship or their feminism!  Continue Reading »


June 4th 2011
Straight pride weekend, with a breast milk shooter

Posted under fluff

Why should the non-straights have all the fun?

That Hippy Johnny guy–how does he get all the girls, anyway? Here’s more straight world pride for you: Continue Reading »


June 3rd 2011
“But know that I am a celebrity:” a lullaby by Mr. Ricky Gervais

Posted under art & childhood & fluff & happy endings

A night-night song brought to you by the letter N. Enjoy!


June 1st 2011
Quebec libre, 2011

Posted under O Canada & women's history

Quebec City

I hope your summers are off to a fine start. In Quebec City, it’s lovely late spring weather–not too hot, but warm and sunny and just right!  (Well, today was pretty hot actually, and a cold front is going to blow through tomorrow, but we’re always ready for that in the true North, strong and free.)  The tulips, crabapples, and lilacs are just flowering here–so it’s especially floral and picturesque.

The fun thing about Quebec is that it’s (in the words of one of my traveling companions) a “free city,” especially in the tourist centers of the upper and lower cities inside the city walls.  It’s got a relaxed and playful vibe–people walk around in everything from skins from the waist up (men, anyway) to suits and more formal wear.  The teenagers and young adults of the city were sunning themselves and showing off their tats on the walls of the city.  The historic parts of the town are tres touristique, and there are more tacky T-shirt shops than ever, but hey–everyone has to make a living, right?  Being a francophone Canadian means that one lives in a very small country, and not everyone wants to get rigged up like a Musketeer to go to work.  Continue Reading »


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