Category Archives: its always women’s history month

December 13, 2012, 11:39 am

Because You Don’t Wanna Be *That* Colleague, Do Ya?

You aren’t *that* colleague, are you? The one who mansplains your way through the gender studies search, having proofread your daughter’s feminist theory take-home final but not the actual applications? The one who is sure that your seminars are so drastically under-enrolled because you are such a demanding teacher and everyone else int eh department has given in to political correctness/grade inflation/fashion?  The colleague who always needs a ride — but never gives one? And never asks for that ride until it’s time to go home? The colleague who is always late to a meeting because you have something (unnamed) that is more important? The one who has no advisees because all of your hours are by appointment only and you “don’t do email”?

Of course you aren’t. So you will really enjoy this end of semester crowd pleasing essay as you wade your way through grading, job applications and…

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August 30, 2012, 5:02 pm

Department of Feminist Reading and Writing

Still interested in strange Republican views of the female body?  Here’s a terrific piece in the New York Times by my former Zenith history colleague Jennifer Tucker (August 23 2012) defending Todd Akin’s science as correct — for medieval Europe, that is. Who says feminists don’t have a sense of humor???

And here’s a great WaPo op-ed by Stanford historian Estelle B. Freedman, “Women’s Long Battle to Define Rape” (August 24 2012) that places the emergence of rape as a prosecutable crime in the context of United States racial history. It comes complete with 300 wackadoodle mansplainin’ comments, lecturing this eminent scholar of gender and sexuality on aspects of American history and society that, as a feminist scholar, she could not possibly have been aware of  (for example, that if you get rid of illegal immigrants there will be no more rape.)

Finally, here’s something I…

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June 19, 2012, 8:59 pm

It’s Summer: Let’s Tee Up Some History Shorts

Obama may have made history by being the first president to golf in cargo shorts.

Word has it that all of us will be wearing shorts on Thursday, as the temperature rises into the high 90s. So let’s start the chilling with a…

Cold War Cultural Revival. You thought that the membership of the American Studies Association, the Modern Language Association and the Organization of American Historians had collectively driven a stake through the heart of American Exceptionalism. But someone from the Republican National Committee fished your old copies of Frederick Jackson Turner and Lionel Trilling out of the book donation box at the local library.

In April 2011, your favorite Radical twigged you to a Sarah Palin speech in which she explained that her appearance at the Iowa State Fair was intended, not…

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April 13, 2012, 4:26 pm

What Kind of Times are These?

Anonymous, Adrienne Rich (c. 1975), courtesy of the Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-103575

Today’s guest blogger, Jennifer Finney Boylan, is professor of English at Colby College. She is the author of 13 books, including Stuck in the Middle With You: Parenthood in Three Genders, which will be published by Random House/Crown in 2013, along with the revised 10th-year anniversary edition of her memoir, She’s Not There. Boylan’s blog, There from Here is at, and she may be reached at


Last week, as prelude to an evening of poetry, my colleague Peter Harris– a writer and a professor here at Colby College–gave a short reading from Adrienne Rich’s “What Kind of Times Are These.” “She burned through the fog that I lived in like an acetylene torch,” he…

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February 26, 2012, 1:33 pm

Sunday Book Review: Hey Daddy, What Was It Like To Be A Lesbian Feminist in the 1970s?

Jeanne Córdova, When We Were Outlaws:  a Memoir of Love and Revolution (Midway, FL: Spinsters, Inc., 2011), 256 pp. $14.95 paper. Citations refer to locations on the ebook version.

“I have always been fascinated by how a noisy swelling called a social movement arrives on the doorsteps of an individual’s life and how she responds to it,” longtime activist, writer and organizer Jeanne Córdova writes in the forward to her memoir When We Were Outlaws. “Most ignore the calling of the unfathomable energies of our times.  For the rest of us — how does one recognize a social movement when it comes calling at your door?” (115)

Today, being legible as queer or trans does not necessarily require a political community or a movement. Large numbers of GLBT folks seem quite eager to be politically indistinguishable from the heteronormative mainstream, preferring to participate in activism …

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January 15, 2012, 2:29 pm

The End of Miss America: Feminism Didn’t Kill the Pageant, But Boredom Might

Miss Wisconsin, Laura Kaeppeler, being crowned Miss America 2012

Last week I was writing a chapter of my new book about radical feminism and decided to begin with the 1968 Miss America Protest organized and executed by New York Radical Women.  I may ditch this opening: the more I dig back into the secondary material on women’s liberation, the more I see it turning up as a hook.  However, as a result of pursuing this narrative strategy I did something last night that I haven’t done in decades.

I watched the Miss America Pageant.

I didn’t intend to watch it — in fact, it took me by surprise, since for many years the pageant was a summer event. However, the show I really wanted to watch (a complex legal drama called The Firm that seems to have several plots running at once and involves the witness…

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September 20, 2011, 3:39 pm

Anything Can Happen To Any Bunny: A Review of “The Playboy Club”

I got out of the salt mines early today, and the first thing I did was read Historiann, who made a great catch on Nora Ephron’s response to the new Mad Men rip-off, The Playboy Club (stay tuned for Pan Am, premiering on ABC September 25.)

The second thing I did was microwave some lunch and settle down in front of the DVR to watch me some Bunnies.

The verdict?  It’s bad television, not because it celebrates sexism (which it does) but because it does so in a way that does not permit a transgressive identification, or perhaps any identification, with any character in the show.  Now, I would disagree with at least one of the points that Ephron makes about The Playboy Club: “Trust me, no one wanted to be a Bunny.”  No one wants to take comprehensive doctoral exams either, but that’s hardly the point.  Even though most committees don’t make you wear skin-tight sateen, spike heels and…

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August 2, 2011, 9:50 am

It’s Tuesday, It’s Hot: You Need Shorts

For those of you who are new to Tenured Radical, you should know that people send us stuff all the time.  Little stuff, big stuff, stuff that goes viral as a featured post and other stuff that we just save and kick out every once in a while with other stuff we like.  So without further ado, today’s stuffed shorts are:

Moonlight, Magnolias and Marriage Myths. In today’s Grey Lady, Princeton historian Tera Hunter has a superb op-ed about the ways in which Republican right-wingers are re-writing the history of slavery to suit modern political agendas.  The excising of the 3/5th clause in the Constitution during a Republican reading of that document on the House Floor, and the outrageous assertion in a document authored by Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum “that ‘a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than…

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June 21, 2011, 8:02 pm

In Sisterhood: Support The Strike At London Met’s Women’s Library

There’s a long history of feminist resistance in England

Eighteen months ago found your Radical in London.  On the trail of radical feminist Leah Fritz, I had also decided to check out what archival material was available on the feminist anti-pornography movement in London.  What I found at The Women’s Library at London Metropolitan University changed the shape of my research.  I discovered that, just as radical feminists in the United States had become intractably divided over the representation of eroticism, Andrea Dworkin’s ideas had roamed across the pond and found both opposition and fertile ground on the British left.  In the UK, where there is no absolute right to free speech, and where skinhead violence had produced legislation against hate speech that would have violated the First Amendment in the United States, the struggle took some similar, but also different forms.

I loved the…

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June 12, 2011, 9:03 pm

What’s More Fun Than Feminist History? More Berkshire Conference Highlights

Iacovetta presents at an event that makes me want to go to Canada

The 15th Berkshire Conference is finishing up with a business meeting as I write here at my desk in Shoreline, a meeting where outgoing president Kathleen Brown of the University of Pennsylvania will hand the organization over to Franca Iacovetta of the University of Toronto.  Iacovetta will take us to Canada for the very first time, just as Vicki Ruiz took us West for the first time in 2005, and Ruth Mazo Karras took us to the Midwest for the first time in 2008.  Thanks to a great program committee, the University of Massachusetts — Amherst, and a hard-working local arrangements (who, it is rumored, started shuttling people to the airport at 4:00 a.m.) the meeting appeared to come off without a hitch.

If you heard a rumor that this year’s festivities included a burlesque show, I won’t say you are wrong — they also…

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