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So much work...

I'm slammed! I have to grade papers, do more studying for prelims, and a host of other stuff, including another entry in the Encyclopedia of Third Wave Feminism, this time on essentialism. I'll post drafts of these entries and solicit feedback as soon as I receive the guidelines on how they are to be written.

Today I found out that NCTE is supporting the Pathways for All Students to Succeed (PASS) Act and the Graduation for All Act. Both acts center on improving literacy among adolescents. I would have quoted some sections of the letters, but NCTE has specified in the Document Properties of Acrobat Reader: "Content copying or extraction: Not allowed." Great. Yeah, I could type out what I want to quote, but it's the principle. The acts seem like a good idea, but I'd have to learn more about exactly how they'd work before endorsing them myself. All I know now is that PASS would provide grants for promoting literacy and would place "literacy counselors" in schools to work with teachers and with students who at risk of dropping out of school. "Academic counselors" would work with students and parents. The Graduation for All Act is basically the same, except it would target the schools with the lowest graduation rates.

Entry on Performativity

I've just accepted an invitation to write the entry for "performativity" for the forthcoming (from Greenwood Press, in case anyone was interested) Encyclopedia of Third Wave Feminism, edited by Leslie Heywood. While I'm grateful for and excited about the opportunity, this will prove to be one of the more difficult pieces I've been asked to write: It can only be 750 words, and the audience is high school/undergraduate/general public. I want to explain it clearly and get the theory right at the same time, if possible. Will I be able to do it?

BUST Goodies

Every time I get my new issue of BUST in the mail, I end up finding things I want, but don't really need, like this t-shirt and especially this other one. I also found books I want and will put on my Amazon wish list but won't buy until after I finish my prelims. Non-prelim-related reading material is strictly off-limits for the next ten weeks. I have to read Aristotle and Denzin & Lincoln and such, but I'd rather read:

Finding Ginmar

Via this excellent Body and Soul post that you must not miss, I was happy to find the LJ of my old friend Ginmar from the Ms. boards. She's stationed in Iraq, and posts particularly worth reading are her description of Iraq, daily experience there, her reaction to the photos, and her reaction to the Army's rape prevention workshops. Actually, just read the whole thing. I'd forgotten how much I've missed her.


Blackfeminism.org is a community blog about race and gender issues, which looks to be powered by Drupal. It's very new and smart, and I hope they get a lot of uptake. I look forward to the possibility that there will be some good discussion of race online; I've had a post gestating in my mind about race and blogging for a couple of days now, but I'm still working out what I want to say. I had a gobsmacking epiphany after reading Ann DuCille's article "The Occult of True Black Womanhood: Critical Demeanor and Black Feminist Studies" for the second time for the paper I recently wrote for my Women's Studies class, and now race is going to figure into my dissertation project a lot more than I previously thought, as well it should.

Mother's Day

I'm about to call my mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day. And I'm glad there's a day to honor this axis of her subject, this fraction of all that she is, and there's so much more: She's a breast cancer survivor, a watchdog when it comes to local politics (always getting mad when yet another person embezzles money from the city), a quick thinker, and she does right by everyone she knows. I can't think of anyone who knows her and doesn't respect and love her. But I'd be remiss if I didn't point out today that motherhood is revered in rhetoric and reviled in policy, to paraphrase Susan Douglas and Meredith Michaels. The discursive construction of motherhood is damaging to so many women; I'm reminded of one of flea's posts, which sticks with me:

I'm angry that so many of us live our lives with that nagging fear that we could lose our children if we fuck up in front of the wrong person, or even if the wrong person misinterprets what they're seeing. I am angry that baseball players get paid millions of dollars for only doing their job well 33% of the time but mothers don't get paid dick and are vilified for not batting a thousand. I'm angry that I've internalized all this Martha Stewart/Baby Einstein/Perfect Celebrity Mom bullshit, even though I'm fighting it as hard as I can.

I wish it were different. I wish we could detail our fuckups without fear, because God knows we're all in the same leaky boat. But as long as the burden of parenthood falls 90% on the mother, 10% on the father (regardless of how often he co-parents) and 0% on the government, we're going to have to keep whispering our failures to each other while pasting on the "we're all fine here!" smiles.

Douglas writes:

We mothers have no paid maternity leave, no universal healthcare so that all our kids are covered, no comprehensive after-school programs, no genuine, truly revolutionary new support of our public schools that would revive them (No Child Left Behind already has become a massive joke). Too many workplaces have no onsite or nearby daycare, no flexible time, no job sharing. The right to control our own reproductive lives is under total siege.

Mothers feel they have been sold a bill of goods: We're supposed to be eternally nurturing, supportive and ecstatic about child rearing 24/7. We are never supposed to get angry, because the words "mom" and "angry" aren't supposed to go together. But if mothers in this country never got angry about how they and the nation's children were being treated, we'd still have child labor and laws discriminating against married women in the labor force. Mothers' voices have not been heard, especially during this presidential campaign season. It's about time they were. Check out two Web sites, www.mothersandmore.org and www.mothersmovement.org. And remember: Motherhood remains the unfinished business of the women's movement.

I know some of that isn't true for some women; sure, many do have paid maternity leave, comprehensive after-school programs. Some even have on-site daycare at work. That's great, but these women are the exceptions, and as long as that's the case, I consider it a problem.

Today's New Links

An earnest thanks to Emily for showing me this piece by Dorothy Allison titled "Notes to a Young Feminist," and a sarcastic thanks a lot to AKMA for IMing me the link to Kingdom of Loathing, the procrastinatory game I never knew I always wanted. My character is a disco bandit named Yoterlon, after my old high school D&D character, Yoterlon Doonsbern the Fair.

Two Into the Blogosphere Articles: Sneak Preview

Elijah has posted the two papers he co-authored for Into the Blogosphere:

Lois Ann Scheidt and Elijah Wright, "Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs"

Susan C. Herring, Inna Kouper, Lois Ann Scheidt, and Elijah Wright, "Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs"

I encourage you to check them out and draft responses if you like. The collection will run on Movable Type, so you'll be able to post the responses directly under the essays.

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