Bodylogues: A request for writers/performers

Would you tell me a story of yours?

I’ve heard incredible stories here, from very different people. Each of these people cracks me up and shocks me and makes me think, with the casual stories of their unique lives. And with every story I hear, my narrative of the people around me becomes a bit more enriched.

It’s narrative of the body – and woman’s body especially – that me and a few others came to question, starting with our involvement in the Vagina Monologues here at the University of Chicago. We became very aware of stories that weren’t being told, of a space for body-positive stories aware of their constraints in time and space – stories of people here at the University of Chicago. We want to tell those stories through the Bodylogues, a set of stories about the UChicago community today.
Your stories might involve women’s vaginas, but might speak of women’s lips instead, or their fingers or thighs or knuckles, during their midterms or parties or love stories or internships or relationships or prayers, of the things their bodies go through. You could identify as male, or female, or neither. Just living in this gendered world gives you a story to tell about it.

So tell me your story about your experience with the feminine, whoever you are. I hope to bring together a group of around 15 five-minute stories by the end of winter quarter, illustrations of the infinite, vividly different feminine experiences surrounding us every day right here. Send it (or any questions about the nature of this project, confidentiality-related or otherwise) to me at from now through Friday of second week next quarter – That’s January 17th. After a quarter of slowly tuning your story to say exactly what you want it to say with workshops and rehearsals, we’ll make it part of a performance for our friends in the spring – either through your own performance or through the anonymity of another performer’s voice. The nuances of this project are ultimately in your hands.

So, tell me your story?

UChicago Class of 2015


How the Media Failed Women in 2013

I think this video ties in nicely to discussions we’ve had about how much has been accomplished with gender equality and how far we’ve yet to go, as well as cultural production. It’s interesting that most of the positive examples focus on popular media and women in media, while the negative examples are much more politically focused, though this may just be a conscious choice of the creator of the video. I found it surprising, too, how much biology and “hysteria” still figure into discourse against women.

Sidenote: Miss Representation, the film by the creators of the video seems pretty relevant to what we’ve been talking about over the past few weeks, as well. Trailer below!

Trafficking, Prostitution and Inequality: A Public Lecture by Catharine MacKinnon

We haven’t really talked about prostitution/sex work in this course, but I came across a video of this lecture by Catharine MacKinnon at the University of Chicago in December of 2011 and thought it might be of interest to some of you.

“Catherine MacKinnon, the Elizabeth A. Long Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School specializes in sex equality issues under international and constitutional law. She pioneered the legal claim for sexual harassment and, with Andrea Dworkin, created ordinances recognizing pornography as a civil rights violation and the Swedish model for addressing prostitution. Representing Bosnian women survivors of Serbian genocidal sexual atrocities, she won Kadic v. Karadzic, whcih first recognized rape as an act of genocide. Her scholarly books include Toward a Feminist Theory of the State (1989), Sex Equality (2001/2007), and Are Women Human? (2006).

“In her visiting lecture to University of Chicago Law School students, Professor MacKinnon discussed issues raised in her book Are Women Human?: And Other International Dialogues. Her work exposes the consequences and significance of the systematic maltreatment of women and its systemic condonation by taking us inside the workings of nation-states, where the oppression of women defines community life and distributes power in society and government, and inside the heart of the international law of conflict to ask why the international community can rally against terrorists’ violence, but not violence against women.”

Maureen Johnson’s Coverflip

This was something I kept being reminded of while reading Cixous and was pretty popular story earlier this year, so many of you might have seen it already. Anyway:

YA author Maureen Johnson tweeted this:

And ended up getting a lot of responses like this:


Huffington Post wrote a story about the challenge (called Coverflip) that has a great slideshow of redesigned covers, including both books by men with covers redesigned “for women” and vice versa.

What I was concerned about while reading Cixous was how “feminine texts” could hope to achieve a larger audience beyond women if the publishing industry now is so aggressive/biased in their marketing toward women. She never really addresses the effect (if any) feminine texts may have upon men who read them, though it’s rather problematic if the only people who read women’s texts are women.

More links!

Glimpse of Post-Suffrage Future…

“I thought too, of the admirable smoke and drink and the deep armchairs and the pleasant carpets: of the urbanity, the geniality, the dignity which are the offspring of luxury and privacy and space.” — Woolf, page 23

I stumbled on these great cartoons from 1890s-1920s illustrating the horrors of women gaining the right to vote and was reminded of what we discussed in class, of women sitting around and smoking cigars. It’s funny that Woolf disliked the Suffrage Movement. While she blames the movement for making it difficult for women to write because of the self-consciousness that it aroused in men and women’s minds (pg 98 – 100), the cartoon is clearly illustrating that because of the Suffrage Movement, women might have the luxury to smoke their cigars (and write).

The above cartoon posits that gaining the same rights as men had, would result in women sinking — in imitation — to the moral character of men. Why Not Go the Limit?, by Harry Grant Dart, was published March 18th, 1908, in Puck magazine.

The above cartoon posits that gaining the same rights as men had, would result in women sinking — in imitation — to the moral character of men. Why Not Go the Limit?, by Harry Grant Dart, was published March 18th, 1908, in Puck magazine.

More cartoons!