This essay focuses on the writing of working-class novelist Carolyn Chute and the theory of language developed by Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin, in order to explore what I describe as a practice of feminist anti-fundamentalist epistemology. In it, I analyze Chute's earliest works, The Beans of Egypt, Maine and Letourneau's Used Auto Parts, alongside their critical reception to examine how these novels trouble certain key "truths" of class and gender discourse in the United States. I argue that Chute's writing demonstrates what Bakhtin identifies as dialogic language—that is, language that destabilizes dominant discourse by re-contextualizing it within the social power struggles from which all meanings arise—through which it not only exposes the class and gender politics that underwrite oppressive fundamentalist definitions of family, love, and home; but also offers opportunities for feminists to re-visit and re-nourish our own foundational categories such as choice and consent.
feminist theory / feminist epistemology / feminism and class / women writers / Carolyn Chute / Bakhtin / dialogic language
Feminist poetry -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- United States.
Universities and colleges -- Curricula -- United States.
This article describes a content analysis of journal articles from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) that sought to measure the degree of curriculum transformation in a large professional organization using Tetreault's Feminist Phase Theory scale. In the course of analysis, a theme emerged which was not addressed in Tetreault's scale, nor in the other feminist phase theory scales. This emergent researcher-labeled "challenges" theme provides important insights regarding the ongoing difficulty of achieving curriculum transformation and suggests the need for a more comprehensive scale to assist both researchers and practitioners.
content analysis / feminist phase theory scale / journal articles / Women's Studies / curriculum transformation / National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) / higher education
Women in science -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Women in technology -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Sex discrimination against women -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Why is it that many successful, intelligent women who surmount the numerous institutionalized barriers to study and work in science and technology ultimately leave? The first clue lies in the "war metaphor" in this paper's title. Although the overt discrimination that women in science and technology historically experienced has diminished, for some women today it still feels like a war zone. This paper chronicles one woman's battles in and out of science and technology in relation to three fundamental themes: (1) the male-oriented science culture; (2) the historical legacy of barriers to education and employment; and (3) epistemological and pedagogical limits. It is a story about a woman who went AWOL from science and technology to find a "both/and" peace in-between, and about how Women's Studies facilitated her evolution from warrior to diplomat.
women in science / women in technology / institutional barriers / culture of science / male-oriented epistemologies of science
Parenting -- United States -- Computer network resources.
Computers and family -- Social aspects -- United States.
Internet -- Social aspects -- United States.
Parents are increasingly seeking information about parenting online. However, like traditional sources of parenting instruction—family, friends, and advice books—online parenting resources communicate not only suggestions about childrearing, but also gendered expectations about parental roles. While the Internet provides space for a wide range of attitudes about parenting, from individual websites to online magazines to large commercial sites, many parents make use of the latter. One such representative site, BabyCenter, initially appears progressive in its attitude about equal division of labor between mothers and fathers, but a close rhetorical analysis of the site's structure and language reveals very traditional expectations in which the mother is primarily responsible for child care. These attitudes influence visitors to the site as they participate in community spaces, engaging in dialogue with other parents. This article analyzes how these attitudes are presented, how parents choose online parenting sites, and how they respond to and resist the expectations they find there.
parenting / gender equity / online communities / status of women / work-family conflicts
Reproductive health -- Mississippi -- Mound Bayou.
Women's rights -- Mississippi -- Mound Bayou.
African American women -- Health and hygiene -- Mississippi -- Mound Bayou.
African American women -- Medical care -- Mississippi -- Mound Bayou.
This article expands on research that appears in my book, Women of Color and the Reproductive Rights Movement (NYU Press 2003), in which I argue that the feminist framework of reproductive health care, or even the feminist framework of women's health care, was far too narrow to understand the health care needs of most black women in the 1970s. Black feminist activists of this era maintained that for black women (as well as for other women of color, including Latinas and Native American women), a broad understanding of health care needs was essential to women's reproductive health. Rural African American women in the Mississippi Delta in the 1960s similarly argued that women's reproductive health could only be understood within a broad context of health care, one which improved the life quality of the entire community, particularly in poor communities where even basic health care requirements remained unmet. Problems like sanitation, housing, clothing, transportation, and food were all necessities that had to be provided to make women's health a real possibility. The Delta Health Center organizers responded by linking reproductive health to larger public health and development solutions in Bolivar, Coahoma, Sunflower, and Washington counties, four of the poorest counties in Mississippi and in the nation.
health care / reproductive health care / women's health care / neighborhood health centers / civil rights movement / black women's health movement / contraception / sterilization abuse
Abortion -- Moral and ethical aspects -- United States.
Abortion -- Law and legislation -- United States.
Women's rights -- United States.
Minority women -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States.
This paper argues that the pro-life versus pro-choice paradigm for understanding reproductive rights is a model that marginalizes women of color, poor women, women with disabilities, and women from other marginalized communities. The pro-life versus pro-choice paradigm serves to both reify and mask the structures of white supremacy and capitalism that undergird the reproductive choices that women make. While both camps of the pro-choice and pro-life debate give lip service to addressing the concerns of women of color, in the end the manner in which both articulate the issues at stake contributes to their support of political positions that are racist and sexist and which do nothing to support either life or real choice for women of color. Instead, women of color activists should develop alternative paradigms for articulating reproductive justice that make critiques of capitalism and criminalization central to the analysis rather than simply expand either pro-choice or pro-life frameworks.
women of color / Native American women / reproductive rights / pro-choice / pro-life / prisons / prison industrial complex / capitalism / contraceptives
This essay suggests that U.S. Latina immigrants working in feminist health promotion can make a distinctive contribution to transnational and transversal approaches to feminist activism while remaining associated with global third-world feminisms through nation of origin connections. The author, a Cuban American who served as coordinating editor of Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas (NCNV), the Spanish cultural adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves (OBOS), uses concepts from border-crossing and U.S. third-world feminisms to demonstrate how including U.S. Latina perspectives helped re-vision the text's relationship to transnational feminist movements. She describes the ways U.S. Latina and Latin American/Caribbean feminisms share approaches to grassroots organizing, but have different "cultures of politics," linking individual women, activist organizations, and global movements for gender justice and social change. She highlights the meaningful role of Puerto Rican and Caribbean feminisms as transnational travelers and pivotal guides for expanding our understanding of effective strategies linking local and global, as well as North and South. She concludes with strategies for expanding collaborations between U.S. Latinas and Latin American/Caribbean feminists, highlighting opportunities for scholar/activists working for reproductive justice as part of broader movements for social change.
transnational / U.S. Latina / health promotion / feminist activism / popular education / reproductive justice
Reports on the 2005 Edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves
Boston Women's Health Book Collective. Our bodies, ourselves: a new edition for a new era.
Women -- Health and hygiene -- United States.
Feminism -- United States.
This series of three reports about Our Bodies, Ourselves (forthcoming May 2005) offers a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges of transforming a classic text of second-wave feminism—often called the bible of women's health—to meet the needs and sensibilities of today. The first report explains the challenges encountered by the "tone and voice" editor as she edited for inclusive language, content, and tone, while also considering how race, class, age, ability, sexual orientation, and other concerns affect the text. The second report describes the new chapter on gender identity and sexual orientation, outlining the process and politics with which the author approached its creation. The third report describes the author's efforts to meet an overall goal of the book—to broaden its appeal to a younger audience—and also to restructure the sexual anatomy section and address current "hot topics" such as menstrual suppression.
Our Bodies, Ourselves / women's health / generations of feminism / tone and voice / inclusive language / diversity/ gender identity / sexual orientation / sexual anatomy
Purvis, Jennifer. Grrrls and women together in the third wave: embracing the challenges of intergenerational feminism(s).
Kinser, Amber E. Negotiating spaces for/through third-wave feminism.
Mack-Canty, Colleen. Third-wave feminism and the need to reweave the nature/culture duality.
We invite readers to participate in a discussion of third-wave feminisms set forth in three essays that appeared in the previous issue of the NWSA Journal (Volume 16.3, Fall 2004). The three essays discussed are "Grrrls and Women Together in the Third Wave: Embracing the Challenges of Intergenerational Feminism(s)" by Jennifer Purvis, "Negotiating Spaces For/Through the Third Wave" by Amber E. Kinser, and "Third-Wave Feminisms and the Need to Reweave the Nature/Culture Duality" by Colleen Mack-Canty. These essays present a broad perspective on various practices, potentials, and limitations of third-wave feminism. To open a discussion of some of these topics, the Journal's research and editorial assistant, Adela C. Licona, invited Krista Jacob, third-wave activist, to engage in a dialogue.