Category Archives: sexism

February 28, 2014, 11:05 am

Because the NY Times Can’t Print Everything….


This cover illustration from 1867 was titled: “The First Vote.”

….sometimes Tenured Radical steps in.

On January 31, 2014, Columbia University’s Eric Foner reviewed a new book on Reconstruction by Douglas Egerton. The review elicited this response from Bonnie S. Anderson, professor emerita in history at Brooklyn College. Anderson is the author of many influential books and articles in European women’s history, including the two-volume A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present (Oxford University Press, 1999), co-written with Judith P. Zinsser. She writes:

It depressed me to see the generally enlightened historian Eric Foner perpetuate the Reconstruction era’s erasure of women in his review of Douglas Egerton’s The Wars of Reconstruction (Bloomsbury: 2014.) Foner asserts…

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February 27, 2014, 12:11 pm

Happiness is a Cold, Plastic Doll: the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

rs_634x845-140213110818-634.sports-illustrated-barbie-swimsuit-021314It’s that time of year again: shaved pubes, barely (or not at all) hidden nipples, salt-stiffened wind-blown hair, pouty lips — that’s right, it’s the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary. And Barbie is on the cover.

I never knew about this phenomenon until I went to college (that would be Yale University, winter 1977.) All of a sudden, one day in the dining hall, there were gaggles of young men reading the thing (reading would be one way of putting it, I guess.) Women were supposed to pretend that a tits and ass festival was all in good fun, just like they were the following year when Playboy showed up to shoot “Girls of the Ivy League.”

My initial response upon seeing the Swimsuit Issue for the first time was puzzlement. I had no brothers, I went to an all-girls secondary school — so I had never seen one and couldn’t figure out the genre….

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July 31, 2013, 12:20 pm

If You Can’t Take the Heat, Get Out of the Slutbag


Naughty vacation roasting sticks (made in Minnesota!) for your favorite New York mayoral candidate: available on Amazon.

Here at Radical Summer Camp we are too busy reading, resting and eating to pay much attention to blogging. Nevertheless, when checking Twitter last night (yes, we do get cell service in the North Woods), the word “slutbag” kept appearing (HT Jason Cherkis) and it got our Internet juices flowing.

Further investigations revealed the latest news out of the crumbling Anthony Weiner mayoral campaign: a top Weiner aide loses her feminism card by referring to an intern leaker as a “fucking slutbag” and a c*nt; and the aforementioned intern leaker reveals that the Creepy Candidate in Chief called all female interns “Monica,” suggesting that he has really been obsessed with The Big Dog all along. …

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July 13, 2013, 5:02 pm

After the Dinner Party: An Evening With Judy Chicago

999028_10201725809293616_2040513223_nOne of the nice things about moving back to New York City is that every time you turn around something interesting is happening.  So it was that I found myself in the Rubin Lobby, a huge glass enclosure at the Brooklyn Museum, on an exceedingly warm evening. Institutional air conditioning was more than welcome.Jane Gerhard, an author in the book series I co-edit, was there with Judy Chicago to do a book launch for the latest volume in our series, The Dinner Party: Judy Chicago and the Power of Popular Feminism (University of Georgia Press: 2013).

It is rare that a historian gets to share the stage with someone she has  just written a book about; although as Jane pointed out, her book is really about the iconic status of The Dinner Party (on permanent display at the Brooklyn Museum) within popular feminism. Anyway, Judy Chicago does a great job speaking for herself.  ”What I like…

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May 6, 2013, 10:26 am

Where Are the Women At The New York Review of Books?

nyrb052313_png_230x1292_q85One of the paradoxes of being a female intellectual in my generation is that we grew up dreaming about being part of a literary and academic establishment that did not include people like us. This is, of course, doubly true for lesbians and women of color. My life history is informed by what is, and what used to be: sometimes the two collide. These collisions usually occur when I revisit the literary institutions that have shaped my aspirations and career since the 1960s.

My perspective on publishing is a comparatively long one. I have been a continuous subscriber to publications like The NationThe New Yorker and  The New York Review of Books since I was a teenager. When, as a young person, I imagined myself a writer, I imagined myself writing for those publications despite the fact that they were almost entirely written by men. Since feminism was only beginning to make an…

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August 30, 2011, 9:06 am

News Flash: Hollywood Still In Closet, Drag Kings Freak Famous Christians Out

I will be one of the first to admit that I don’t really get Lady Gaga, not the way other people do.  But I’m starting to.

The first time I saw her was on American Idol, doing a hit song that I had never heard, “Poker Face.” I Tweeted to FaceBook, “Who *is* this Gaga person?” One of my cultural studies colleagues from the South, whose partner wrote the music for the biggest trans off-Broadway hit since Rocky Horror, shot back, “She is a *genius* — that’s who she is.”

Suddenly a song that had just been blending in on my car radio made itself obvious, and I began to follow Gaga’s rise to super-stardom.  Like many campy performers, she is particularly popular among gay men. However, unlike some of the more famous disco queens (here I would cite Donna Summer’s long reluctance to connect to gay fans and the ever-ungrateful Gloria Gaynor, who said in 2007 that she viewed her…

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May 16, 2011, 10:16 pm

Studies In Sexism: Roseanne Barr Tells All In New York Magazine

Roseanne Barr, formerly the star of the hit TV sitcom Roseanne (1988-1997), now runs a macadamia nut farm in Hawai’i.  However, she hasn’t lost her wit or her bite, particularly when it comes to sexism. She has an amazing article in this month’s New York magazine (May 15 2011) where she rips off the lid about how she was treated by producers Marcey Carsey and Tom Werner.

It didn’t take long for me to get a taste of the staggering sexism and class bigotry that would make the first season of Roseanne god-awful. It was at the premiere party when I learned that my stories and ideas—and the ideas of my sister and my first husband, Bill—had been stolen. The pilot was screened, and I saw the opening credits for the first time, which included this: CREATED BY MATT WILLIAMS. I was devastated and felt so betrayed that I stood up and left the party. Not one person noticed.

As Roseanne fought…

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May 8, 2011, 1:08 am

Where Credit is Due: Rutgers Basketball, Don Imus and Drive Time Shock

It is interesting to me that the most complete account I have yet read of Don Imus’s attack on the Rutgers women’s basketball team is on the front page of the Business section of the New York Times. This subtle — or not so subtle – placement of the story makes the point that, beyond the ways that shock jocks such as Imus have coarsened our public culture over time, racism and sexism are literally business as usual for the broadcasting industry in the United States.

I want to emphasize the sexism part of this equation because so much emphasis has been put (and correctly so) on the racial quality of the attack, and I don’t think we can think properly about one without giving the other equal weight. This is particularly important when we are looking at traditionally male institutions like athletics or the military, where women are still thought of as unseemly, sexually deviant…

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March 7, 2011, 6:02 pm

If You Are Considering Writing A Memoir About Your Childhood Sexual Abuse….

…Don’t.  At least, not unless you have a story to tell that pushes us beyond the horror of it all.

The Daily Mail, which reviewed Margaux Fragoso’s Tiger, Tiger in the United Kingdom, says it is “shocking the literary world.” Why? Because Fragoso references her love for the man who abused her for fifteen years, and because it is so graphic about the sexual fantasies they shared that some critics call the book itself pornographic.  The NPR review, which suckered me into buying this ghastly memoir (oh had I only clicked “read more”) comes closer to why I am shocked by it:  it is such a poorly written book.  As Dan Koies writes delicately,

But it’s perilous to discuss Tiger, Tiger, because when an author asserts her moral right to reclaim her abuse and recast it as story, it’s easy to seem churlish when you wish that she were a better writer — or that she’d had a more careful editor….

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August 15, 2010, 3:01 pm

Never Mix, Never Worry: A Brief (And Incomplete) History Of The Academic Couple

Push your way past the Katie Roiphe essay on page 2 of the New York Times “Sunday Styles” section today (yes, this conservative anti-feminist really does seem to own the column named “Cultural Studies,” which is an irony, is it not, given what cultural studies represents on the academic left? Does Roiphe know this? One suspects not.) Make your way to “Modern Love,” where Boston College Shakespeare scholar Caroline Bicks, who also blogs at Academic Shakespeare, writes about academic commuting. In “Is The Husband Going To Be A Problem?” she addresses going on the job market as a couple, commonly known in academia as “the two body problem.” She also mentions what I think is probably a widespread experience: Bicks’ husband was never asked about what would happen to her on his interviews; but whether he would be a “hiring issue” was an anxious subtext of her interviews, a question that was …

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