Archive for the 'childhood' Category

May 7th 2012
Rites of spring

Posted under childhood & class & fluff & Gender & happy endings & students & the body

A colleague of mine recently gave a talk at my undergraduate college.  While we caught up over a cup of coffee, he asked about my experiences there, as he’s interested in sending his daughter to a college or university like that.  As I told him stories about the safety and liberty I felt there–and have felt nowhere else before Freshman convocation or since graduation–it occured to me that a surprising number of my fondest memories involved semi-public nudity.  Most of the naked memories were streaking up and down Senior Row or skinny-dipping in a fountain after dark when few people were around to witness us, and it was always a group endeavor–sometimes all-women, sometimes a coed group.

Is it just me, or do some of you have similar stories and memories?  What do you think is behind the compulsion of students to experience a college campus in Eve’s Livery? Continue Reading »


April 5th 2012
Sex preferences among expectant parents: are they antifeminist?

Posted under childhood & Gender & GLBTQ & Intersectionality & race & women's history

Via Bridget Crawford at Feminist Law Profs, we learn of a trend observed by Erin KLG at 5 Cities, 6 Women

[T]here’s a trend I’ve noticed lately that gets me as teary …. It’s this: when pregnant women – smart, funny, fierce women I respect – say they don’t want daughters. Some even take to their Facebook pages to rejoice, at approximately 20 weeks, when they find out it’s a boy instead of a girl – or, in the case of one person I know, updates her status to complain specifically about the disappointment of having a girl.

I find these women fall into two camps:

#1: “I don’t want a daughter because girls are harder to raise than boys.  Variations on this: “Girls are so moody and dramatic” or “Girls are manipulative and dangerous” or “Girls are easy when they’re young but watch out when they’re teenagers! Hoo boy!” or the ironic “Girls are too girly. I just can’t get into that stuff.” I cannot explain these women. I’m sorry. The best I can figure is that they dislike themselves, their sister, their mother, or someone else with a vagina, based on past experience, and the thought of producing another creature of the female variety makes their brain short and they say stupid things like, “Girls are just, I don’t know, harder on you emotionally.”. . . Really, you should pity these women. Show them kindness. Love them. But do not try to change them; you will not be able to reason with them. . . .

#2: “I don’t want a girl because the world is harder for girls.”. . .  Continue Reading »


March 29th 2012
Thursday round-up: The Right Shoe, Judy Blume, No Obamacare for You Bluegrass Review

Posted under American history & art & childhood & Gender & the body & unhappy endings & wankers

Well, well, well:  fires are raging here in Colorado, and hellzapoppin’ everywhere else these days.  Here are a few tidbits to keep you entertained today while I’m stuck in paper-grading hell. On a post last week that featured a new pair of shoes, a commenter asked if there were “shoes with manuscript-finishing powers?”  Girl, there’s a shoe, or a boot, for every job.  I’ve got these boots to inspire me to kick some a$$ and take names.  That’s what they say about me, friends:  Historiann really has a pair!  (Of boots, duh!)

  • Are your there, Judy Blume?  It’s us, your perimenopausal fangirlsAnna Holmes’s writes a valentine to Judy Blume’s unforgettable adolescent protagonists:  “Blume’s œuvre is filled with young female protagonists for whom boys, breasts, and sexual base-clearing are, if not irrelevant, sort of beside the point. In book after book, Blume gives us girls who have rejected the preciousness of childhood yet preserved the self-possession, ambition, and appetite for adventure that their peers and elders find in short supply. (‘What Mrs. Daniels didn’t know was that you could play with paper dolls like a baby or you could play with them in a very grown-up way, making up stories inside your head,’ reads one passage in ‘Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself.’) Contrast this with Blume’s exasperated, often derisive depiction of adult women—highly anxious, easily upset, overprotective, obsessed with outward appearances—and you begin to understand that what Blume is celebrating is that brief yet exhilarating time in a young girl’s life in which internal narratives take precedence over external attributes.”  Yes.  Don’t miss Holmes’s comments about the new e-book versions of Blume’s work, which totally undermines the way that the Blume books circulated in grade school back in the day:  someone would bring in their dog-eared copy, and each girl would have one or two nights in which to devour it before passing it along to the next girl.  Deenie.  Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret.  And the succes de scandale, Forever!  (I never understood the appeal of Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Blume’s one foray into male adolescence.  But that’s her only dog, in my view.)
  • From the department of “oops!”  Dahlia Lithwick called her shot last week about the Supreme Court’s review of the Affordable Care Act:  Continue Reading »


March 8th 2012
Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Posted under childhood & fluff

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February 27th 2012
Parenting confessions of a college professor?

Posted under American history & childhood & students & technoskepticism & weirdness

This story caught my eye last night:  “Parenting Secrets of a College Professor,” by Kathleen Volk Miller.  At first, I was thinking “right on” when I saw this:

My 20-year old daughter, Allison, who has her own apartment in Philadelphia, sent me a text the other day:  “I need socks and dandruff shampoo.” I laughed aloud and texted back, “I need deodorant and coffee filters.”

I had a fleeting thought that she was actually asking me to pick up those items for her, but I preferred to think we were playing a cellphone game. I try not to be a helicopter parent. Experience as a mother and professor has taught me how badly that can backfire.

Instead, I prefer a more hands-off approach, which came naturally. From the time Allison turned 18 something kicked in, and I simply no longer had any desire to know her work schedule or pick up her tampons. I remember wondering if this was as instinctual as nursing her or bundling her up when she was a baby.  But that’s not what I see at Drexel University, where I teach and where my daughters go to school.

Cue the stories of the other parents, the dreadful helicopter parents– Continue Reading »


February 15th 2012
You’re a monster!

Posted under childhood & fluff

Think of how many times a day you might potentially use the declaration “you’re a monster.”


February 12th 2012
Sunday round-up: snow fun at all!

Posted under American history & childhood & class & Gender & jobs & local news & students & unhappy endings & wankers

I’m not in fact skiing today with the rest of the famille Historiann, as I have too much work to catch up on.  Here are a few ideas and miscellaneous items to keep you warm on this cold and snowy weekend:

  • Today in slactivism:  Reader and commenter Susan passed this along–all you have to do is click on the slide show to enable a donation to help the education of girls in Pakistan.
  • Speaking of education:  how about some support for the education of girls and boys in the United States?  When I read stories like this b!tching about the low 4-year graduation rates at universities in my state, and at the same time the high rate of remediation our high school graduates require, why doesn’t anyone point out that hack politicians and businessmen have made war on K-16+ education for years, attacking public education at all levels in particular as wasteful and ideologically suspect, and in general doing their best to withdraw public sympathy and taxpayer support for any kind of education?  At the same time, they’ve also conspired to pass laws that offer incentives to corporations for taking their money and their jobs offshore to chase the cheapest labor around the planet.   Now, all of a sudden, they’ve seized on the idea that College for Everyone is the way to save the U.S. economy–because the factory and manufacturing jobs are gone and because construction is in the toilet, everyone needs to be a knowledge worker now.  So whose responsibility is it to turn everyone into knowledge workers?  Continue Reading »


January 31st 2012
And their music? It’s just noise!

Posted under childhood & students

At Inside Higher Ed today, William Bradley offers a humorous and self-deprecating essay on his memories of college versus the conduct he observes in his students.  With every essay he finds cut-and-pasted from Wikipedia, with every mobile ringtone he hears during his classes, and with every complacent D student he meets, he wonders about the erosion of higher education in the United States:

“I had so much respect for my own professors,” I tell myself. “Yet these students seem to be mocking my efforts.”

It’s easy to understand why those who have been doing this for their entire lives might get frustrated, isn’t it? It’s depressing, to think that the college experience now is so degraded, compared to how we remember our own college years, a time of discovery and the excitement that comes with acquiring knowledge.

Continue Reading »


January 23rd 2012
Cold weather fun: Hockey Monkey Monday!

Posted under childhood & fluff & happy endings

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January 2nd 2012
New Year’s Roundup: Plus ca change edition

Posted under American history & bad language & childhood & class & Gender & jobs & unhappy endings & wankers & women's history

Hope your 2012 is Dy-No-Mite!

Well, friends, Happy New Year and all that crap.  We’re back home on the High Plains Desert, and it’s sunny and reaching into the 50s and 60s this week.  Fun!  I will miss feeling like Jaime Sommers running at sea level for the past two weeks, but it’s time to get back into running at 4,713 feet elevation-shape again.  While I’m out, here are a few linky-dinkies to keep you amused, if not informed. 

  • Kyle Smith of the New York Post asks, “Why do feminists reject their ultimate icon, Margaret Thatcher?”  Maybe the better question is why isn’t Margaret Thatcher a feminist?  “‘I owe nothing to women’s lib,’ Thatcher said, and at another point she remarked, ‘The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.’”  Duh.  I forgot:  feminists never do anything right, and everything is always our fault.  Women’s careers are never enabled by the work of previous generations of feminists–no, in fact women only profit by heaping scorn on feminism and feminists.
  • From the annals of it’s all mom’s fault:  this problem has a name, and it’s momYes, 1950s middle-class mothers, in addition to being blamed over the years for causing autism, “smothering” their children, and sending a generation of upper-middle class Easterners into a lifetime of psychotherapy, are now being blamed for Public Health Menace #1:  OBESITY!  Awesome!!!  Continue Reading »


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