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Mother’s Day

11 May

Think Mother’s Day is the only holiday celebrated in America without a controversy behind it? Think again:

“As early as the 1850s, West Virginia women’s organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination, according to historian Katharine Antolini of West Virginia Wesleyan College.

The groups also tended wounded soldiers of both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865, she added.[…]

Anna Jarvis’s idea of an intimate Mother’s Day quickly became a commercial gold mine centering on the buying and giving of flowers, candies, and greeting cards—a development which deeply disturbed Jarvis.  […] ‘A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world,’ Jarvis once said.”

This Mother’s Day, I’m going to be thinking about what mothering really means, not just because I’m 7 months into my own journey of motherhood (yep, I’m having a baby) but also because, while individual mothers should absolutely be adored and celebrated, there is so much more to mothering than the actions of individuals.  Motherhood is still regarded as an inferior and unimportant aspect of life in many parts of the world, yet none of us would be here without it.

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Real Men Hug

17 Aug

The sort-of counterpart to my own humble blog is The Art of Manliness, who has a great (and big!) collection of photographs of men, along with an extensive discussion of the changing norms among men from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.  Go check out the physically intimate photographs of that other sex.

For the Fashionable Feminists of Hystory…

20 May

The Evolution of Four Sisters

16 Dec

Sometimes I feel like women in our society are supposed to be timeless. Pop culture, media, society – whoever you want to blame, we rarely see images of women old or aging. Somehow, we are supposed to pretend that there is no clock ticking off the minutes of our lives, no forces of physical entropy re-sculpting our bodies every minute in tiny little ways. We are portrayed most of the time as young, and the young women we see are never allowed to grow old before our eyes.

So it’s great to see a collection like this that follows women through their lifetime.  (I’m not even going to put a picture from it here, because you should go look at the whole thing.)  We get to see 25 years of age and experience etch themselves beautifully into each woman’s face.

Vintage Best Friends

2 Nov

Exiled Mothers Visited Their Children

2 Oct

I think I’ve mentioned before how much I adore archaeology for telling the story of people that history often forgets.  An article that I came across today really exemplifies that: A Human Face To the Convict Past of Australia.

Female criminals are rarely talked about in history, probably at least in part because of the idea that women can’t be criminals, that crime is the province of men.  (That’s why we’re all so shocked when women do horribly criminal things, isn’t it?) But women have been criminals, and an important question to ask when any sort of social punishment is involved is: what then happens to their children? Continue reading

“Women of the Future”: Still Wearing Corsets and For Some Reason Often Sleeveless

22 Sep


Click on the picture to see more.

As noted in the comments on the original article, these pictures were probably intended to be mocking rather than representative or inspirational. In my mind, that makes it even more interesting that so many of these roles are actually filled by women now – without our corsets or sleeves getting in the way.

9/11

11 Sep

Normally, September 11th is a day on which I silently remember the terrorist attacks on the US and consider what has happened since.  It’s become a day that is so synonymous with jingoistic posturing that I would rather just avoid talking about the subject altogether.

But then I came across this article: Heroic Women of 9/11: Where Are Their Memorials?

Because terror, violence, and war – and strong, reasoned responses to them – are so heavily associated with men, our collective imagination forgets that there were women involved, and that they too performed heroic and necessary actions.  On this September 11th, let’s make sure to remember all of the people who risked and sacrificed their lives, the men and the women.

Update: White women and heroes aren’t the only ones who should be remembered.

Hysteria Movie

4 Sep

While it’s sure to have the worst parts of the historical reality downplayed, and maybe a little too much humor – in the, “you’re laughing because this makes you uncomfortable, aren’t you?” sense – this upcoming movie called Hysteria should be an interesting introduction for a general audience.

Mary Francis vs. the Pipeline

30 Aug

Mary Francis, retired teacher from Norman, Oklahoma, is arrested for protesting the tar sands pipeline.

I really hope history is on her side and we stop creating such destructive, thoughtless assaults on the future of this planet.  At least we have awesome women like Mary Francis on the front lines for us.

Elderly Woman Arrested in front of White House

(Click on the image to see where I got it from and read what they had to say.)

h/t Spring.