Why do women in…


Why do women in today’s society feel the need to live in fear of their biological time clock?

As Judith Halberstam explains, the phenomena of reproductive time, governs the way that people not only construct their relationships but their lifestyles. You go to college, you find your soul mate, you build a career, and then of course women you MUST have babies. BLA BLA BLA bull shit! As a person that values living outside the social constraints of reproductive time I find it hard to believe why women  continue today to be anxious and fearful of their biological time constraint to have children. Do you believe Amelia Earhart’s accomplishments would be any more exquisite if she decided to have children? Of course, anyone would answer no to that question and could argue that if Amelia did decide to have children her accomplishments in aviation could have been greatly impacted due to the time, energy and money that goes into raising kids.

That aside, women are constantly bombarded with news segments, advertisements, T.V. series, and films that address the importance and “responsibility” that we hold in this world to bear children. Check out time marker 2:56 of this CNN news clip and you’ll catch my drift ;).


-Victoria Brown


Commoditizing Androgyny… What’s next?


Androgyny. Existing outside the realm of “boring” contemporary or simply just another outlet for advertisers to attack and eat its glorious stigma of being different? Otherness as we have discovered through the readings of bell hooks has been exploited and commoditized as a way to spruce up the mundane and normality of the heterosexual whiteness in which we find in advertising EVERYWHERE. As we have discussed in class androgyny is a new way of complicating and challenging the binary system of gender norms. If you were worried that this was going to complicate your preconceptions and views of gender don’t you worry because Pantech has whole heartedly started to ruin this new outlet of gender interpretation for you. Androgyny is simply just an outlet for advertisers to reach us consumers in a new and exciting way. Finally someone else that agrees that Androgyny is desirable and achievable for everyone! Still confused consumers? All you need is to buy a Pantech phone and you will hold the key that unlocks all of the great pleasures and privileges that an authentic androgynous individual encompasses. Oh behold the power of advertising! 🙂

-Victoria B.

Reasons Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Ok so maybe this link doesn’t have everything to do with our course.  However, I thought it was useful if only for mental health/stress reliever purposes.  Also, some of the people portrayed are representing us as Americans and as human beings and I’m frightened by that.  




— Megan Hruska

What Would Tyra Do?

Models seemed to keep coming up during discussion of the readings.  And every time we talked about models I thought of some America’s Next Top Model episode that it could relate to.  Like when we talked about the Dove beauty/women campaign and their use of “real” women and how the women on ANTM who claimed to be plus sized were just closer to the average size of the American woman.

When we discussed the articles on androgyny and we looked at images of androgynous models I kept thinking about how in nearly every cycle, Tyra will create an androgynous model during the makeover episode.  So first and foremost Tyra gets what Tyra wants (such as having one model create a gap between her front teeth) and secondly she likes to have variety on her show, which is why she comes up with different makeovers for each of the girls.  For me what is most interesting are how the girls adjust to their new styles.  Some girls take the look and run with it; they are maybe even empowered by it.  Other girls literally crumble and lose all sense of self-esteem and worth because their hair is gone.  I can remember one episode when one of the models absolutely hated her new androgynous look and she claimed that it had taken some of her (obvious) femininity away from her.  I just thought that it was really interesting that some of the ANTM models failed because of their androgynous look but now it is the “in” or “it” look to have. Maybe Tyra does know best?

— Megan Hruska

Pinterest, How Fantastic

As I try to finish up studying for my finals and writing my last papers I keep finding myself on Pinterest.  And then I think about when we talked about when we discussed Pinterest and fantastical modes of consumption/reception in class. 

We started the discussion because of Lewis’ article, which discussed how magazines different in their representations of models and clothing and their layouts in general.  The fantastical mode essentially consisted of what you wanted to look/be like.  The magazine had ideal images and it was up to the viewer to read against the grain or not. 

Pinterest works the same way as the magazines. You can take a wholly realistic approach and only look for things that can be attained or you can fill your pin boards with your most exceptional dreams and desires. 

The mission statement of Pinterest is itself rather fantastical: “Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.”

The goal is to connect literally everyone on the planet, which is a rather lofty goal.  The mission statement of Pinterest and what it is used for is actually fairly representative of the American Dream.  You cannot achieve a goal until one has been set and throughout history Americans have been setting seemingly impossible bars.  Pinterest is just a public display of a person’s hopes and dreams.  When Monica on the TV show Friends had to plan her wedding she consulted her wedding scrapbook, as did the bride in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  Today a bride will just direct her wedding party to her Pinterest so they can see exactly what she wants.  And she’ll be saving the environment by not making a scrapbook! 


— Megan Hruska

Polio & Repro-Time

I never expected my Epidemics in History class to have anything to do with this class.  And then I was reading primary source documents for my final paper and as the patients were explaining how they contracted polio and then how it affected their lives I just kept thinking about repro-time.

The document I was reading is “Polio Voices: An Oral History form the American Polio Epidemics and Worldwide Eradication Efforts.”  Essentially it is a compilation of firsthand accounts of polio victims.  After writing my history paper I went back and looked at the narrations to look at how polio affected repro-time or how the victims said polio affected their lives in terms of repro-time.

Samuel McKnight was born with polio because his mother contracted it while she was pregnant.  His mother eventually died of the disease.  McKnight was raised by his grandparents and his father left because of the damage caused by polio.

Priscilla Dewey Houghton sent her children away after she contracted polio in the hope that they would be spared the disease.  Later he son said he felt deprived by having his mother taken away from him at that stage of his life.  The boy was five when he was sent away.

Fred Bloom built a house for his family and his brother’s.  Specifically the house had a level that was wheelchair accessible for his quadriplegic brother.

Carol Cox was denied enrollment to public school in the first grade because she had suffered from polio.

Edward O’Connor said “you lied a lot because you couldn’t tell potential employers that you had polio – you would never get hired.”

Judith Ellen Hewmann said that the disability she suffered because of polio was worse than the disease.  She was disabled before there was any kind of legislation in our government and she also suffered a lack of employment.

During one of our class lectures my professor stated that during the highpoint of the polio epidemic marriages often suffered.  Specifically she stated that women who suffered paralysis to their arms were more likely to have their marriages end and/or it was rare for them to marry or remarry.

It isn’t groundbreaking to say that illness affects lives in a critical way but I thought it was really interesting to see how drastically polio influenced changes — particularly if you had to live the remainder of your life in an iron lung.   While reading this document I started to think if there was ever a time when repro-time actually existed.  All throughout our existence there has been disease to disrupt our lives so maybe that’s all the more reason to ignore repro-time because it is legitimately just in our heads.

Silver, Julie, and Wilson, Daniel. ”Polio Voices.” London, England: Praeger. 24-91.


— Megan Hruska

What Came First, The Chicken Or The Woman?


In the article, “Cultures of Eugenics,’ subRosa, makes the argument that women and chicken are far more similar then you would think. Oh, stop me if you’ve heard this one before! According to subRosa, “women and chickens both produce eggs, and eggs are all-important in today’s genetic engineering industry” (subRosa 15). Moreover, the article does a side-by-side comparison of two entities, arguing that both chickens and women were the first animals/humans to be permanently confined indoors “based on intensive genetic selection, dietary manipulation, bodily restriction and drugs” (subRosa 4). However, things started to get a bit fuzzy when trying to accept the suggestion that Britney Spears is linked to the genetically engineered pharm chicken of the same name. Comically, the authors assert that as Spears is a cosmetically engineered American teen idol, so too is its poultry counterpart. While I agree with the bulk of subRosa’s arguments in their essay, this one was a little too far fetched for me. 

-Ro Weissberg