ONE MORE TIME: If you are not a feminist (or something blamelessly ignorant, like a baby or a ferret or a college freshman), then you are a bad person. Those are the only options. You either believe that women are people, or you don’t. To help you pick one, here is some information!
First-Wave Feminism: Maybe We Could be Citizens now?
These were the tough old 19th-century bitchez (note: Calling women “bitchez” with an affectionate z is pretty upper-level ironic material—maybe just stick with “women” for now) like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton who were all, “Heeeeeey bros, we were thinking that maybe if you’re not busy we could get the right to vote and stuff please maybe?” Then they proceeded to righteously fuck shit up until the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920, which gave American women the vote. A lot of the first-wavers were totally racist, plus they were still pretty into the idea that a woman’s job is shutting up and scrubbing stuff. But, you know, nobody’s perfect. Continue Reading »
Archive for the 'European history' Category
Have you heard the one about the 600-year old bra? (Some of my bras only seem that old, but when I find a bra that works, I’m likely to wear it to shreds. Can any of you relate, or am I just about the laziest lingerie shopper in the universe?) This is a seriously cool discovery, one that I’m particularly interested in because I’ve developed something of a fascination with historical underwear. (I just gave a talk last month about the significance of stays in seventeenth and eighteenth-century North America.)
This discovery by Beatrix Nutz of the University of Innsbruck is important because historians of clothing have assumed that the brassiere was invented little more than a century ago, when aggressive corseting went out of style, and middle-class and elite American and European women were being encouraged (for the health of “the race”) to engage in sports and become more active. Corsets, which by the end of the nineteenth century severely limited one’s lung capacity, were not helpful when engaging in late Victorian and Edwardian-era fashionable sports, like tennis, bicycling, and croquet.
Some news organizations are also publishing photos of what looks like a 600-year old thong that was also part of the same cache of clothing. I’d love to read what you medievalists and/or fashion experts think about this, because I doubt that this article was worn in the way modern women wear underwear. My theory Continue Reading »
In a very smart and measured editorial last Sunday in the Denver Post, Professor Lloyd Burton of the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado, Denver, pointed out how language shapes our views of wildfires and forest management:
We have three problems with our narrative: First, it is an urban narrative applied to a mostly rural landscape; that is, it reports on [wildland-urban interface] wildfires as if they were urban fires. The initial focus is always on proximate causes (what ignited the fire), followed by a quest for fault-finding, usually around the issues of why the fire wasn’t immediately eradicated or why everyone may not have been moved out of harm’s way.
Applying the urban narrative to the WUI also stresses the necessity for the immediate and total suppression of all fires, whenever and wherever they arise. In the urban context, this is absolutely understandable. To do anything other than that would invite catastrophe in our densely populated cities. But applying this urban expectation to WUI wildfires is both futile and inappropriate.
A second problem is that the news media mindset and resulting language of its discourse is saturated in metaphors of war. We are treated daily to visuals of ex-military aircraft bombing fires and structures with toxic fire-retardant. We have strong, courageous, well-trained and well-disciplined “fighters” in the field being coordinated by a top-down incident command system; and we use many of the same communications technologies and terms to implement tactical field maneuvers. Continue Reading »
Well, friends, it’s the Saturday in-between the end of classes and the beginning of finals week, so I’ll be out in the garden weedin’ and grillin’ up a storm instead of in front of this computer screen for most of the day. I’m turning this blog over to smarter writers and bloggers than I, for your degustation:
- Tony Grafton reviewsAndrew Delbanco’s College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be. Of all of the recent books on what’s wrong with higher education, this one seemed to me to be among the most worthy. I’ve had Delbanco’s scholarship on my shelves since undergraduate days, and as he is a Columbia University faculty member he’s doesn’t blame the faculty for all of our current woes. Grafton finds Delbanco’s contribution stronger on the Was and Is parts than the Should Bes–in other words, a better history of higher ed and diagnosis of its current ills and perhaps weaker on prescriptive solutions, but it seems like getting the Was and Is parts right is a good enough reason to read it.
- Echidne reflects on the end of the Cold War, and concludes that without the atheistic communist foe, capitalism “has gone wild:” “It is ironic that communism was what kept the American type capitalism decent. Without that public enemy the nazguls are free to rob and ravage.” That’s the thing about the ultra-rich and their lapdog politician-servants: they’re not just greedy, they’re sore winners.
- Finally, the Big Dog takes on the Dog-Eared: Continue Reading »
Busy day–we’re still teaching classes here, with our dogforsaken 16-week semesters. But then, as Dr. Crazy noted yesterday, they end. (Finally!) And then, we begin all over again.
Or rather, they walk into a BBC interview studio–and they discuss the night from their different disciplinary perspectives. Here are the results!
Do we manipulate the darkness, or does it manipulate us?
Oxford Professor of Circadian Neuroscience, Russell Foster, explains his research which shows how the blue-tinged sky of dusk is a trigger that tells our bodies it’s time to prepare for bed[, a]nd why it would be good for us to go back to rising with the dawn and going to bed at sundown.
Rut Blees Luxemburg finds surprising richness of night-time colours in her photographs, and historian Craig Koslofsky shows how early modern Europeans first colonised the night by introducing street lighting.
And most interstingly of all, Craig Koslofsky of the University of Illinois talks about his research for Evening’s Empire: A History of the Night in Early Modern Europe. If you just want to hear about the book, scroll ahead to about 32:15 in the podcast. Continue Reading »
I’ve been thinking a lot about hair lately. First, there was this comment from LouMac yesterday, in which she wrote (sarcastically, in a rant about “choice” feminism and the narrowness of straight women’s performance of gender) “Young white hetero women all have identical long straight hair because they choose it!” Since most of you readers are affiliated with college and university campuses, you probably recognize this as the dominant hair aesthetic, too.
I think there was a greater diversity of women’s hairstyles in Maoist China than there is among white college women today, but I have to admit that I went through my long-straight-hair phase too, in the early 1990s when I was poor and didn’t have money for luxuries like haircuts. (The long-straight style has the virtue of being inexpensive to maintain if one has “good” hair. African American women, some Jewish women, and others with curly or “bad” hair need at least regular blowouts, if not messy and dangerous hair-straightening perms too to achieve this look, so for some women it’s a very costly and time-consuming investment.)
Then back at Echidne, I found this link to something that she called Michelle Duggar’s “wifely tips for a happy marriage.” Follow the links back that she provides, and eventually you’ll get to this PDF, “Seven Basic Needs of a Husband,” which includes a lengthy (and on the surface, strangely detailed) discussion of a wife’s hair and how it plays a primary role in a wife’s dutiful submission that is the foundation of all happy marriages, according to this document. I’ve copied the document–with its strange quiz-like format as well as its odd typefaces, bolds, and use of ALL CAPS–as best I can here: Continue Reading »
Echidne: “Rick Santorum has the most open mind of the late twelfth century.” Feel the Santormentum!
I wish I were teaching the history of sexuality course this semester that I co-taught last semester. I would really love to hear about my students’ reactions to fact that birth control has suddenly become a major campaign issue both in the Republican nomination fight and perhaps even in Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
I think it might underscore the argument I made to them towards the end of the class last term that my college years in the late 1980s and early 1990s were in fact a freer time sexually from a feminist standpoint than many young women today enjoy. Continue Reading »