Genders & Sexualities

Nancy Drew and the Syndication of White Savior Feminism

By Kirsten Ginzky

Relatable-yet-superhuman, Nancy Drew has been an enduring cultural icon, debuting in 1930 and starring in hundreds of books along with films, television series, and video games. When I was introduced to Nancy in 1998, I devoured every volume of the yellow-spined mystery series that I could get my hands on. The heroine is a spunky, prodigious girl detective who solves hundreds of cases, succeeding when lawmen cannot. Nancy is sarcastic, confident, and an ace at evading the many criminals who tail her powder blue Mustang convertible during high-speed chases. In the early 20th century, the Nancy Drew series was lauded as presenting “an amazing alternative to the career choice of secretary and milliner that other children’s books provided” (Paretsky, 1991, p. 9). The syndication of the ‘Nancy Drew’ archetype created a significant blueprint for modern American girl and womanhood – one that helped inspire a model of empowered womanhood that dominates 20th and 21st century American life with a Who’s Who of public figures including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomayor, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Diane Sawyer, Laura Bush, Barbara Walters, Nancy Pelosi, and Sandra Day O’Connor (Murphy, 2009; Shipman & Rucci, 2009) citing her as an inspiration. Viewing Nancy with an intersectional lens complicates this narrative: aspirational, independent, but never rebellious, Nancy Drew is a thoroughly modern product, created through a fine-tuned capitalist production and distribution model. Her actions and beliefs reflect both traditional middle-class values and the expanding role of American youth and women in the wake of the Progressive Era. The books affirm WASP superiority and the original editions, revised in the 60s, are rife with racial stereotypes. A contemporary reader could easily dismiss Nancy Drew as an upper-middle-class ‘white savior.’

Violence Against Women—It’s a Men’s Issue

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTvSfeCRxe8 Jackson Katz, Phd, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. An author, filmmaker, educator and social theorist, Katz has worked in gender violence prevention work with diverse groups of men and boys in sports culture and the military, and has pioneered work in critical media literacy.Katz is the creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which advocates the ‘bystander approach’ to sexual and domestic violence prevention. You’ve also seen him in the award winning documentary “MissRepresentation.”

Queer and Trans Youth and the Transformative Power of the Arts

By Sojn Boothroyd

“Making art is the place I felt most connected to myself and to the mystery of creation. I felt powerful, like a superhero—like no one could touch me or hurt me in any way.”—Jayden

Jayden was a participant in Queer Teen Identity Formation and the Arts, a qualitative research study I conducted as a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2009. Eight individuals living in different geographical locations who engaged in the arts as teens and identified as trans, queer, pansexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning participated in the study. During the interviews, they talked about their experience identifying as queer and trans teens, what that entailed, and how engaging in the arts affected their lives at that time. The participants responded in writing to an email questionnaire and chose pseudonyms, used here, to keep their names confidential for the study.

Introduction to LGBTQ Studies

This course will provide an introduction into Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Studies. Considering LBGTQ Studies as an interdisciplinary field using humanities text-based critical analysis, this course will focus on how the central concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity work within history, politics, literature, technology, art, music, philosophy, and literature. Throughout this course, students will work towards a deep understanding of the intersectional dynamics of privilege and oppression as they relate to LGBTQ individuals and culture by exploring the lived experiences of LGBTQ individuals and their partners/families. Critically read, discuss, analyze, and write about the assigned readings and central course themes. A key part of this process will be the application of course concepts to current cultural conversations and, potentially, students’ lived experiences. Build both a specific and general knowledge of the history and current dialogues regarding LGBTQ issues across multiple disciplines and across multiple forms of…

Hollywood Won’t Save Us: Instead, Let’s Build a Revitalized Radical Feminism

By Barbara Ransby | Truthout

With the rise of the #MeToo moment and the #TimesUp campaign, Hollywood has discovered activism, and with it, a new lexicon and fledgling new identity. This is potentially a blessing and a curse for those of us who have been fighting feminist and anti-racist battles long before “intersectionality” was uttered from the stage at the Oscars, long before activists formed a phalanx of silent sentinels to serve as props for celebrity performances. This scene was politically counterbalanced, by the way, with a celebratory tribute to war and militarism. But this is the world we live in. And like with every industry and institution, there are a handful of genuine change-seekers in Hollywood — people who have risked their careers and livelihoods to wage uphill battles for greater justice in the arts and media. And we have to give them the opportunity to be better allies going forward, in the spirit of Eslanda and Paul Robeson and others. How do we do this work, and dance this dance, with greater attention to the principles that ground us?

We should all be feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much … to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world — of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.

No Perfect Victims Convening 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7mMvkqbdFA&feature=youtu.be Between 1977 and 2007, the population of U.S women prisoners grew by 800% with an annual growth rate doubling that of men over many years. The vast majority of incarcerated and criminalized women (trans and non-trans) have previous histories of domestic and sexual abuse. This gathering at the Allied Media Conference in 2017 engaged participants on how to pro-actively support and advocate for survivors who live at the intersection of gender violence and criminalization. They highlighted the experiences of grassroots organizations and defense committees in supporting those who don’t fall into the “perfect victim” narrative and shaed a new toolkit for those who want to do similar work. View the full Criminalized Survivors Panel and No Perfect Victims Convening 2017 For more information, visit: www.SurvivedandPunished.org www.LoveandProtect.org Thanks to our funders for the convening: Groundswell Fund, Open Society Foundation, Allied Media Conference, and dozens of individual donors. Video by Tom Callahan (www.SensitiveVisuals.com) Photos by Sarah-Ji…

The Lit Review: No Justice, No Pride

The Praxis Center is proud to feature The Lit Review’s weekly interviews conducted by hosts Monica Trinidad and Page May. Every week, the hosts of The Lit Review chat with people they love and respect about relevant books on Black struggle, movement history, gender, cultural organizing, speculative fiction, political theory and more. Sparked by the urgency of November 2016, they recognized that political study is not accessible to many for a variety of reasons, and their hope is that his will make critical knowledge more accessible to the masses.

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