On Valentine's Day, Americans spend $17.6 billion on gifts. That’s roughly the same amount as the entire budget of NASA in 2014. Yeah. We are serious about buying stuff to express our love.
For this show, we explore the connection between romance and consumerism. Professor Lisa Wade, the editor of very fun website Sociological Images, explains the weird gender dynamics of Valentine's Day gift-giving, an original essay details the once-popular tradition of sending people nasty notes on Valentine's Day, and writer Kate Redburn argues that "the chief beneficiaries of gay marriage will be Crate & Barrel, not the queer folks with the most desperate need." Plus: listeners share their creative ideas for celebrating relationships (and yourself) without spending much money.
Even if you despise Valentine's Day, you'll find something to love on this episode. Listen below.
Ever wanted a women-centric history book to hand to a kid? This March, publisher City Lights/Sister Spit is releasing an exciting new book that tells the stories of 26 important American women, one for each letter of the alphabet.
The movements that have arisen recently to challenge racism and violence in our justice system have created not only discussion and outrage, but a cultural shift. Out of racism and violence and sexism has come creativity: songs, chants, art, policy ideas, creative ways to push back against power and reimagine the way our world can be. On today’s show, we’re looking at the culture that has grown from recent protests—in Portland, in New York, in St. Louis, San Francisco, and Cleveland—from art made on the streets to songs that wind up at the Academy Awards.
First, writer Tasha Fierce reads an essay that will be published in the upcoming Law & Order issue of Bitch exploring the history of black women leading civil rights movements—from the 1960s all the way to Black Lives Matter. Then, we listen through a growing archive of protest chants and think about how future historians will look back on today’s protests. Finally, musician and writer Jordannah Elizabeth makes us a mixtape of current protest music.
A feminist protest march in August 1970, as seen in She's Beautiful When She's Angry. Photo: Diana Davies
Present day. Women and men wear red and boost signs bearing the message: DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS WOMEN. From the rally stage, a woman speaks into a microphone. “We should have the right to choose,” she says.
If the glossy pages of my elementary school history books had told me stories like that of Grace Lee Boggs, I would have paid more attention. Like me, Boggs is Asian-American who was born to immigrant parents—if I’d learned her story growing up, I might have felt invested in our country’s history instead of feeling disenchanted by it.
In this episode, we look at the way movies and music discuss reproductive rights, including an analysis of Nicki Minaj lyrics, a history of American sex-ed films, and an exploration of the how movies make abortion seem more dangerous than it really is.
More ways to listen to this show are below the cut.
Kelly Cogswell's new book details the origins of the Lesbian Avengers—seen at left eating fire at an Dyke March in the early 1990s (photo by Carolina Kroon).
Before reading Kelly Cogswell’s book Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger, I confess I didn’t know about Dyke TV. I didn’t know about the first and largest Dyke March in DC that 20,000 people attended in April of 1993. I certainly didn’t know my undergraduate English professor from Hunter College, Sarah Chinn, was a part of the Lesbian Avengers.
Last week, I came across a very strange comic book: in 1976, Planned Parenthood teamed up with Marvel to publish a one-off comic in which Spider-Man defends America's youth from misleading sex education.