This week marks the first From the Bitch Library post that examines the history of female librarianship as well as the relationship between feminism and libraries.
Image: Melvil Dewey
Melvil Dewey, creator of the Dewey Decimal System, is oftentimes praised for having created a new job field for women in the US. In 1883, Dewey was hired as the head librarian at Columbia College (which later turned into Columbia University), and he soon convinced the trustees to let him open a library school. At the time, Columbia College only allowed women into a special women's college, so Dewey's plans to invite women to join the library school were controversial. His first class was comprised of 20 people, 17 of whom were women. While many have focused on Dewey's success in educating and opening up jobs for women, attention is rarely paid to why he felt women would make great librarians. Spoiler alert: he held some pretty sexist beliefs.
The most boring exhibit I ever saw in any of the Washington, DC Smithsonian museums was, without a doubt, the gowns of the First Ladies. Oh, how I could not have cared less. But my mother preened over them like she'd just found some rare bird egg sitting under her window. Helen Taft? Grace Coolidge? Elizabeth Monroe? I didn't care about their dresses, and I certainly didn't know who they were as women. On top of that, weren't First Ladies just... housewives in a really nice house?
To be fair, based on the above image alone, I did not fully appreciate the outrage. It appeared Wonder Woman's ass kicking capabilities did not seem diminished despite the lack of star spangled panties and glamorous accessories. However, when I saw this picture of the new costume, then the ire made a lot more sense. The new Wonder Woman looks like an extra on the 90s version of Melrose Place with her small hair and velvet choker.
As many of you Internet fans know, I'm the web editor here at Bitch Media, which means I concern myself mainly with what goes on in this series of tubes we're working in right now. However, today I'd like to talk about Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture, the best print magazine in the whole world. (OK, I'm biased, but it is seriously awesome.) And now you can get a subscription or renew your existing subscription to the magazine for the limited-time price of $19.96!
You know how in Gattaca doctors used hormones to control the personalities of fetuses, ensuring a creepily uniform generation of "perfect" people, like the guy who plays Ethan Hawke's brother in the movie? Well, now there is a doctor who is attempting to do something similar by eradicating non-"feminine" traits in female fetuses—an "abnormal" disinterest in babies, not wanting to play with girls' toys or become mothers, "career preferences" that are deemed too "masculine"—and she's this week's Douchebag Decree recipient. Dr. Maria New, come on down!
OK, so this video may have come out last month, but I swear I just noticed it for the first time today (and a quick office poll confirmed that I am not alone). How did this slip under the radar? The first Broken Bells music video and it features Christina Hendricks in a "Ray Bradbury does The Valley of the Dolls" plot that has her selling her android body parts in the hopes of meeting a man on a resort planet? There's a lot going on here.
Regardless of which person the President would have selected for Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, I would have been interested. I am curious to see what floats around in the ether (read: debate) around present-day nominees, and given the interest by many in the makeup of the court, I want to keep tabs on the rhetoric around this specific nominee. Especially since she's an ex-gay.
Helen Mirren keeps popping up in my daily conversations and I am doing my best to resist this wave of Helen Fever. I had a strain of Helen Fever in 1995 (while sick with an actual fever and accompanied by marathons of Prime Suspect) so I felt this time around I was somewhat immune.
Linda Gass is definitely not be the first to use her skills in sewing for political activism, even within the environmental art movement.
Susan Shie is credited with starting the Green Quilt Movement in 1989, with two other artists, taking quilts off of the bed and on to the walls to promote ecology and our stewardship of the earth. Gass is one of over 1,000 artists worldwide who has contributed to this relatively new formal tradition in environmental art, but she stands out for her realistic aerial landscapes and deep knowledge of land issues and histories of the areas she depicts.