I have been sick with a gross spring cold and also (appropriately) laid out with terrible cramps, so this is a little delayed (in fact, we just had our last class this week), but I'm making good on my goal to write up every week of the course. The theme for week 4 was "The End of Menstruation?" (yes, question mark and all). The readings focused on menstrual suppression practices and various ways to think about them. And ho boy, is this a loaded topic. We read:Read More
The theme of this week's class was "Representing the Menstrual Cycle." The readings covered a pretty wide range of topics:
- "Construction of Negative Images of Menstruation in Indian TV Commercials," an article from the journal Health Care for Women International (2012);
- "Menopausal and misbehaving: When Women 'Flash' in Front of Others," a chapter from Embodied Resistance: Challenging the Norms, Breaking the Rules (2011), a collection co-edited by the seminar instructor, Chris Bobel;
- and a piece by Leslie-Jean Thornton on representation of menstruation on Twitter, "'Time of the Month' on Twitter: Taboo, Stereotype and Bonding in a No-Holds-Barred Public Arena," published in the Sex Roles journal in 2011.
For week two of the seminar, the stated topic was "Experiencing the Menstrual Cycle." This took the form of readings on the embodied experience of particular groups of menstruators: religious women, masculine of center people and transgender women, and women in relationships (in the context of PMS). Here are the readings:
- A fact sheet published by The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, "The Menstrual Cycle: A Feminist Lifespan Perspective";
- Two articles from Sex Roles: A Journal of Research: "Restriction and Renewal, Pollution and Power, Constraint and Community: The Paradoxes of Religious Women's Experiences of Menstruation" by Nicki C. Dunnavant and Tomi-Ann Roberts (2013) and "PMS as a Gendered Illness Linked to the Construction and Relational Experience of Hetero-Femininity" by Jane M. Ussher and Janette Perz (2013);
- and an article from Culture, Health, and Sexuality, Joan Chrisler et al.'s "Queer Periods: Attitudes Toward Experiences with Menstruation in the Masculine of Centre and Transgender Community" (2016).
- We also watched short videos on the impact of menstruation in the homeless population (although the video didn't address the intersection of trans issues and homeless issues in this arena, which seems like a strange omission given the high rates of homelessness among trans youth, especially) and women soldiers (fair warning, this is a very weird and problematic video).
As I wrote last year, despite popular opinion, I am actually a big fan of end-of-the-year lists, roundups, and rankings. I like to hear people talk about things they love, I like getting recommendations from smart people, and I like forcing things I enjoy onto the people around me, so this is basically my favorite time of year.
Here's the first half of my Best of 2016 compilation, specifically focused on all forms of media.Read More
I didn't manage to do much writing on this blog over the summer (¯\_(ツ)_/¯), but I did read quite a lot, so now I'm going to write about that! Here is a recap of some of the books I tackled this summer, with recommendations for ALL types of readers (well all types who like either really good books or really engaging borderline-trashy psychothrillers...). This is going to be a bit long, since I've saved up a baker's dozen books to talk about all at once. In the future, I'll try to do more regular book reports when something is worth talking about.Read More
In my best of 2015, part 1 post, I mentioned that one of my favorite albums of the year was the original Broadway cast recording of the musical Hamilton. I became obsessed with Hamilton pretty much as soon as I listened to it, and of course once I become obsessed with something, I want to write about it. I'm certainly not the only person who had this experience with Hamilton over the past few months, nor am I by any means the only person to write about it. This is the musical that has launched a thousand thinkpieces, appreciations, and glowing reviews. I have not actually seen the show yet (I HAVE TICKETS FOR MARCH, AAAAHHH!!!), but after many, many, many, many times through the cast album, I think I feel okay putting down a few ideas.Read More
I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while now. I even took a class on it. But I wasn’t sure what I had to say, or even what specifically my blog would be about; I wanted to talk about books, and style, and food, and feminism, and travel, and literary theory…basically a lifestyle blog for hungry, well-dressed nerds (hm..that sounds like a tagline). But that didn’t seem very marketable. Then, this past weekend I attended the Cherry Bombe magazine Jubilee, which was advertised as “a day of celebration and conversation with some of the most inspiring women in the world of food.” Here’s a tiny bit of background on me: I’m a woman. I like celebrating and conversing. And I am both personally and professionally involved in “the world of food”; I love to cook and bake and eat, and I spend my 9-to-5 hours editing cookbooks for America’s Test Kitchen. I also went to graduate school to study women’s writing and feminist theory, so in many ways this conference sounded made for me. I have a subscription to Cherry Bombe and follow their podcast and their social media posts. I think they are doing smart, interesting, and aesthetically pleasing things. I was pretty much all in. What’s not to like, right? I was ready to be challenged and inspired and celebrated. New York City, here I came.
But of course, a mind-blowingly perfect and beautiful experience wouldn’t really make a good opening blog post for my new project. So here’s where the story takes a turn.Read More