Two events at Sarah Lawrence! Mimosa Brunch & Jessie Ramey Speaks

Thursday, September 23, 6:00PM
at the Wrexham Living Room

The Women’s History Graduate Program Presents:

A Child Care Crisis: Black and White Working Parents and the History of Orphanages: A Talk by Jessie Ramey ‘01

Despite our Charles Dickens-like cultural memory of orphanages as grim repositories of parentless children, most “orphans” at the turn of the twentieth century had one, and sometimes two, living parents. Reeling from the effects of the new urban, industrial economy, working-class families often confronted overlapping stressors, from low wages and factory accidents, to inadequate housing and the loss of a spouse, any of which could plunge them into a childcare crisis. Dr. Ramey’s research re-conceptualizes orphanages as a form of childcare, examining the way that working parents used the institutions as a family survival strategy from the 1880s through the 1920s. Continue reading

Native Appropriations: Daily Encounters and Activist Fatigue

This is an excerpt from Adrienne K.’s blog Native Appropriations.  You can read the full post at

Yesterday morning I walked into my 7:15 am “Total Body Workout” class at the gym, laughing and joking with my friend. As I turned to get my hand weights and mat, my gaze fell upon a girl in the class…wearing this shirt.

I sighed and wrinkled my nose, but turned back to my friend to continue our conversation. A few minutes before class started, my friend whispered “Did you see her shirt?! Wasn’t that on your blog?” I nodded in response. Continue reading

This Week: Youth & Poverty, Islamophobia & more

Women Candidates versus Women’s Rights (Rachel Maddow)

The Poverty Nation Washington Built

Colorlines: “While the overall poverty rate climbed to 14.3 percent—one in seven—more than a quarter of both African Americans and Latinos lived in poverty last year. The data for poor children is the most arresting. Nearly 36 percent of black kids and 33 percent of Latino kids were poor in 2009, as were 38.5 percent of all families headed by single moms. Stop and try to digest this data: More than a third of all black and Latino kids are growing up destitute. With numbers like that, how can we talk meaningfully about a future of any kind, let alone a better one?”

French Senate Passes Full Islamic Veils Ban

Huffington Post: “Many Muslims believe the legislation is one more blow to France’s No. 2 religion, and risks raising the level of Islamophobia in a country where mosques, like synagogues, are sporadic targets of hate.”

The Forever Culture War

The American Prospect: “Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin argued in Politico recently that Obama actually ended one culture war—the one over gay rights and abortion—and stepped into another. Now, they write, the fight is over ‘the role of government and the very meaning of America.’ But really, this is nothing new. For women, people of color, LGBT people, poor people—those of us whose very lives were on the line in what Smith and Martin define as the “old” culture war—it has always been about who is a ‘real American.'” Continue reading

This Week: Female Sexuality as Insanity, Birthright Citizenship & more

Glass ceiling for female Hill aides?

Politico: “In general, women have traditionally had little problem securing employment on the Hill, especially entry-level positions. But in more advanced positions, including legislative director and chief of staff, their numbers drop off significantly.”

“Colorblindness,” “Illuminated Individualism,” Poor Whites, and Mad Men: The Tim Wise Interview, Part 2

Racialicious: “Illuminated individualism is really just a fancy term for progressive color-consciousness: a kind of color conscious mentality that leads us to take account of how color has shaped the experiences of others, and ourselves. So in terms of employment, this means adopting the mindset that when evaluating job applicants, we need to understand how things like on-paper credentials have been shaped (and mis-shapen) by the unequal opportunity structure.”

Female Sexuality As Insanity

The Atlantic: “Here’s a cool video of Rachel Maines discussing a time when the sexual desires of women were, quite literally, considered a mental disorder. Hysteria, they called it. Watch it and learn, fellas. And though Maines is snickering the whole way through, you better not.” Continue reading

Breaking Boundaries: Body Politics & the Dynamics of Difference

Breaking Boundaries:
Body Politics and the Dynamics of Difference

a Conference at Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York
March 4-5, 2011

Keynote Speaker:
Marilyn Wann
Fat Activist and Author, Fat!So?

When it comes to “the body,” the definition of normal is fluid and changes across cultures and time. In each context, there are those who have been exploited and oppressed because they do not fit prevailing notions of beauty. This conference will explore the body politics around those with “deviant” bodies. Continue reading

This Week: Indigenous Women Disappear, the Anti-Gay Agenda & more

The Female Factor

Slate: “Much has been made of the fact that Elena Kagan’s confirmation last month means that for the first time in American history, there will be three women on the high court. But beyond a sense that the court will be slightly more representative of the American people, and the possibility of yet more intriguing white lacy scarves from on high, what does the difference between having one, two, or three women at the court really signify?”

Recovery Mission

Guernica: “Between 2003 and 2009, 191,500 women served in Afghanistan and Iraq, twenty-six times as many as served in Vietnam. Helen Benedict, author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, reported that ‘by September 2008, 592 American female soldiers had been wounded in action and 102 had died in Iraq, more than in the Korean, Vietnam, first Gulf, and Afghanistan wars combined.’ According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), women make up 15 percent of the total military. As women have become more instrumental to the U.S. military, the last few years have seen a high rate of military sexual assault. It’s been the subject of investigations by media outlets including the New York Times and Responding to public outrage, the Defense Department created the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office in 2005. Benedict has reported that one in three women serving in the military is sexually attacked by comrades and that ‘harassment is virtually universal.'”

Focus On the Family says anti-bullying efforts in schools push gay agenda

Denver Post: “As kids head back to school, conservative Christian media ministry Focus on the Family perceives a bully on the playground: national gay-advocacy groups. School officials allow these outside groups to introduce policies, curriculum and library books under the guise of diversity, safety or bullying-prevention initiatives, said Focus on the Family education expert Candi Cushman.” Continue reading

Sister, Fear Has No Place Here.

by Cynthia Ann Schemmer

all photos courtesy of the author

This past April I drove to Amesville, Ohio to stay at SuBAMUH (Susan B. Anthony Memorial Unrest Home) to conduct oral history interviews with three permanent residents. SuBAMUH is a women’s intentional community located in rural farmland just twelve miles outside of Athens. Established in 1979, the land serves as a home, safe and sober space, campground, and educational center for women. Currently, there are only five permanent residents on the land, but a constant flow of women-identified campers pass through every year. Men over the age of 10 are not permitted on the land.

I have recently become interested in how we, as women, react to the destructive situations we find ourselves in, whether they be physical or emotional, as feminists, lesbians, queers, or heterosexuals. These reactions may be outward or inner, private or in response to society as a whole, but they are completely acceptable in their own respects; we are not mad and we should not be convinced otherwise. We react how we must, in order to resist psychic or physical death and maybe, in fact, we are just not mad enough. Continue reading