- First, Notorious Ph.D., Girl Scholar has some helpful ideas for young scholars who are contemplating their first conference paper or other research presentation. The consensus in the comments appears to be: 1) respect your audience by respecting the time limits and 2) practice, practice, practice. If you read your paper (as most of us in the humanities do), don’t read in a monotone–be aware of the performative aspects of conference presentations. Try not to bore your audience to death or to bombard them with too many arguments.
- Next, Tenured Radical has some thoughts on the recent Title IX discrimination claim filed by Yale students with respect to that university’s failure to “take action on harassment and sex crimes, including rape.” She writes, “Here’s a hint, ladies: if you’ve asked for action at your school and they don’t hire anyone, if your school offers ‘consent training’ rather than anti-rape workshops, they don’t open a women’s center, faculty are not receiving mandatory sexual harassment training, and the bulk of the website on rape is still devoted to all the things you, as a woman, can do to ‘avoid’ being raped — your school might benefit from a Title IX investigation too.”
- I still say that my modest proposal for preventing rape and sexual assault is the best: Continue Reading »
Archive for the 'GLBTQ' Category
Howdy howdy howdy! Thursday is my busy day, but here at the Historiann chuckwagon we’ve got a few things for you to chow down on:
- First, thanks to commenter cgeye for this insider description of how No Child Left Behind-style standardized tests with essays are actually scored and graded. And some of you think AP grading is pressured and arbitrary! It’s a veritable haven of sanity and intellectual freedom compared to the stories at the link above. Who ever would have predicted? Oh, I know, I know! Me. And anyone else who knows how education actually works–but as we all know, we live in the era that believes that teaching is too important a job to be left to the teachers, right?
- Speaker’s Corner has some good Women’s History Month blogging going on, especially around reproductive rights. See for example her review of Cornelia Hughes Dayton’s “Taking the Trade,” an article that describes an eighteenth-century Connecticut abortion and its aftermath in small-town Connecticut. She also published recently a first-person narrative of a late-term abortion in the early twenty-first century called “Back the F^(k Off.” Also worth checking out: “Damn those rich teachers and their ’93 Nissan Sentras!” Hey, that’s a big step up from my high school days, when teachers all drove ’77 Gremlins and Chevettes. What the frack all do they want–they’re driving cars that are half the age of the ones my teachers drove, 5 miles to school from their crummy apartments and uphill both ways.
- Job Market Cleanup in Aisle Four: Tenured Radical shares some thoughts about search committee etiquette for letting candidates know that they’re not going to get a job offer. Continue Reading »
Here’s a little something to make you barf first thing in the morning like you’re six weeks pregnant. (Warning: if you are pregnant, proceed with caution!) In a story about “redshirting” children–mostly boys–and starting them in Kindergarten at age 6, Kristina Dell reveals this little nugget about why holding children back from starting school is an attractive idea to many parents, especially competitive wealthy parents:
But often it’s the parents, not the teachers, who insist on redshirting their sons. Besides academics, many see multiple bonuses for their boys to be bigger. “A majority of boys’ parents that I have spoken to feel like the social life of a boy has a lot to do with sports,”says Debbie Moussazadeh, a mother whose daughters are in kindergarten and third grade at Horace Mann School, a private school in the Bronx. “A kid who is older for that year may have a bit of an advantage on the field.” Parents who have read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers are well aware of the Canadian hockey study he cites, which found that the number of players who made it to professional hockey leagues was disproportionately composed of people who were the oldest in their grade. “I had parents say to me, ‘Don’t you want Holden to get a sports scholarship?’” recounts [parent Holly] Korbey. “But I would say, ‘He is four years old and I don’t even know what he’s good at.’” What’s more, parents see it as a good thing socially if their boys have an extra year to grow, so they won’t be shorter than the girls in their class down the road. “People were seriously concerned that Holden would drive later than everyone else and wouldn’t get to go on dates,” says Korbey.
But the incentives to push back boys often work in the opposite direction for girls. Parents don’t necessarily want their girls to undergo body changes while their classmates are still playing with American Girl Dolls. “Many parents don’t want their girls to be the tallest and hit puberty first,”says Aimee Altschul, a doctor in Fairfield, Connecticut who has two daughters (whom she did not hold back) in pre-kindergarten and first grade.
Apparently, everyone knows that boys have to be taller, stronger, and better at sports than girls, and everyone knows that girls who grow boobies or use deodorant in third grade are disgusting pigs! Continue Reading »
A colleague of mine sent me a link to Rebecca Traister’s review yesterday in the New York Times of Stephanie Coontz’s A Strange Stirring: “The Feminine Mystique” and American women at the Dawn of the 1960s (New York: Basic Books, 2010). It–like the book it reviews–is a refreshing review of Betty Friedan’s signal achievement and its importance in the intellectual and political history of American feminism. In this respect, it’s quite a departure for Coontz, whom most of us know as a prominent American historian of marriage and the family.
After decades of distancing themselves from Friedan, whose activism after the publication of The Feminine Mystique was frequently controversial, it seems like feminist historians of all ages are now drawn to reconsider her work. Her work (like any historical document or artifact) was a prisoner of its time, and since it was based on a survey of Smith College graduates, it was primarily an examination of la querelle des femmes from a white, middle-class perspective. Perhaps 50 years is now a comfortable distance from which to read all of the uncomfortable questions Friedan’s book asked and raised about itself?
But as Traister points out, so many of these conversations throughout the twentieth century about women’s roles and how to combine family life with a working life have a Groundhog Day-like quality. “Reading Coontz’s account of postsuffrage backlash — ‘Three decades of relentless attacks on feminism as antimale and antifamily had taken their toll’ — it’s hard to remember that she is writing about the 1950s. When she quotes Dorothy Thompson, who proclaimed in 1939 that the fantasy of women’s being able to meld career and family was ‘an illusion,’ we might as well be reading a modern antifeminist screed about the impossibility of ‘having it all.’”
I have to put in a word for Daniel Horowitz’s terrific biography Betty Friedan and the Making of “The Feminine Mystique”: The American Left, the Cold War, and Feminism (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000), which may have started the whole Friedan revival. Continue Reading »
I’ve followed with only an exhausted disinterest the “controversy” over Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Motherover the past few weeks. Having been scolded by readers for daring to express opinions on this blog from my perspective as an American women’s historian about modern discourses on motherhood without revealing myself either as a mother or as a non-mother has tried my patience in the past, and the whole fracas over Chua’s book (which was really about her article in the Wall Street Journal, which was clearly calculated to raise people’s blood pressure and get hits to the website) just seemed so calculated to get people–especially XX-chromosome people–whipped up into a lather as they performed their motherhood superior dances.
Fortunately, Tenured Radical breaks it down and explains it all in two posts, the first about the fact that “Middle Class Child Abuse is Not an Asian Thing,” and the second in which she writes about “How Amy Chua Made Me Think About Feminism” after actually reading Chua’s book! Here’s an excerpt from the second post:
I can also now answer question The Los Angeles Times asked today: “What’s Behind Our Obsessive Amy Chua Disorder?” The answer, I think, is that mothering is more or less a cursed profession that is analogous to being a professional homosexual, which is what I do when I am not being a tenured college professor. As with mothers mothers, people always feel like they must have — nay have a right to have — opinions about homosexuals, regardless of how silly or unwelcome those opinions are. The less people know about real homosexuals, the more they feel like they have to have an opinion about us. . . . Continue Reading »
Reader Swamp Ape brought this to my attention earlier this week: Jon Wiener, a History professor at the University of California, Irvine, has a modest proposal to make our classrooms safe from gun violence. “The Arizona legislature is considering a proposal to authorize the carrying of weapons on campus by faculty members. The idea is simple—in case of trouble in the classroom, somebody needs to be able to blast away at problem students. But the question arises, should all faculty members be armed?”
Wiener thinks this might be dangerous–adjuncts are understandably disgruntled, the untenured regular faculty might be unstable, and “then there are the women, the minorities, and the gays—always complaining about ‘underrepresentation’ and ‘equity issues,’ always whining about pay differentials. Guns must be kept out of their hands, too.”
The lesson is clear: guns on campus should be restricted to the hands of the senior professors—the old white men. They know the importance of preserving order. Continue Reading »
Mary Winter in the Denver Post, in an otherwise nice take-down of the inequities in the treatment of and advertising for women’s and men’s sexual dysfunction:
Call me cynical, but when the voice-over says, “This is the age of taking action,” my bar is set just a bit higher. And not to go all feminist on anyone,but I find it interesting that the female version of Viagra — a product called Zestra — still can’t advertise on most television stations, apparently because erections lasting four hours are acceptable prime-time conversation, but allusions to female sexual desire are not.
You may have seen the story on ABC’s “Nightline” this fall: two female entrepreneurs in California developed a botanical-oil-based product that in clinical trials was 70 percent effective in enhancing women’s sexual satisfaction, according to Zestra’s makers.
Now, you would not know it from the $300-million annual ad campaign for erection-enhancing ads for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra, but women suffer more sexual dysfunction than men do — 43 percent to 31 percent, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In other words, the potential market for flagging female libidos is huge. But here’s the irony: When the makers of Zestra went to 100 television networks and stations to buy ads, the vast majority refused them. The few stations that did take their money would run the ads only after midnight or during the daytime.
(U haz editorz at the Denver Post? Or is u now like the non-peer reviewed interwebz?)
Winter’s point is clearly and strongly a feminist argument–women’s sexual dysfunction is treated differently both medically and in television advertising. Yet, she distances herself from the political movement that made her analysis possible by writing, “[a]nd not to go all feminist on anyone, but. . . “ Continue Reading »
After years of being an internationally-renowned place for sex reassignment surgery for forty years, Trinidad, Colorado no longer has a doc in town to do the work. The Denver Post reports that Dr. Marci Bowers, herself a transgender surgery patient at one time, has moved to San Francisco because of what sounds like an extremely stupid business decision on the part of the local hospital:
Her work has been recorded in documentaries, magazine articles, TV shows — attention she has welcomed, even courted.
Mt. San Rafael Hospital, not so much.
Bowers views the publicity as part of her work.
“It’s important. It educates people,” Bowers said.
The hospital viewed it as an intrusion, an inconvenience and a royal pain. Crews dragging cameras, wires and microphones through the 24-bed hospital disrupt patient care and cost money, said chief executive Jim Robertson.
That prompted an unusual policy. Media must get hospital permission 60 days in advance before visiting and pay for access.
It was that policy, Bowers said, that drove her away.
“In September, I finally said, ‘Look, if I’m going to stay here, we’ve got to address this media policy,’ ” she said.
The hospital and its board weren’t about to do that.
“There are many residents of Trinidad who would like to have the city known for something other than gender-reassignment surgery,” said board member Dr. Jim Colt.
Uh, right: let me guess. I’m certainly no businesswoman, but does anyone really think that the one gynecologist the hospital has hired to replace Bowers and the new ”cardiac diagnostic tests” are really going to bring patients from around the world to Mt. San Rafael Hospital? Continue Reading »
When I read Zuska’s comments about Science Cheerleader, I thought Science Cheerleader had to be a parody. Apparently it’s not–but it is in fact a total joke, because (for example) it suggests that “What Everyone Needs To Know To Be A (sic) Science Literate” is the cheerleaders from the Philadelphia 76ers in spangly bras and short-shorts reading the words of an actual physicist. The actual physicist does not don a bra-top and short-shorts and read the science concepts himself. I wonder why not? Maybe because he understands that it’s never a mark of status to appear publicly in a state of undress? (In my period and field, for example, the only people portrayed as unclothed are enslaved people–and they’re almost never represented as wearing clothing at all, whereas 17th and 18th century portraits of white people are more portraits of clothing than of individuals. Clothes make the man, indeed!)
Anyway, back to science. Zuska writes:
Okay, let’s play what if. What if the Science Cheerleaders are responsible for making just one girl stick with her science & math classes – isn’t it all worthwhile then?
Let’s say the Science Cheerleaders do keep one girl in advanced science or math classes, but make three other girls feel like they have to pornulate themselves in order to be 21st Century Fembot Compliant While Doing Science, and make five d00ds feel like it is perfectly okay to hang up soft porn pictures of sexay hawt babes in the lab and harass some colleague because hawt science women WANT to be appreciated for being sexay and smart! – is it still worth it?
She then goes on to describe an effective outreach program she worked with to get more girls, especially girls who would be first-generation college students, into STEM fields. Continue Reading »