Egypt Talks Up Opposition to Genital Cutting

Hey Ellen, listen up: Talk shows can be central to creating serious feminist change. This has been the experience in Egypt, where a recent sharp drop in female genital mutilation (FGM, “female circumcision”) is being attributed not just to legal changes and government efforts at education, but to a newfound willingness on the part of […]

So What Did You Ladies Do All Day?

Women, the history books like to tell us, didn’t work until well into the 20th century. At best, we learn, poor women kept house and raised children, rich women had poor women do those jobs for them, and that was pretty much it. It wasn’t until the 20th century that women got all Rosie the […]

A New Name for Your Hymen?

How much can a name change do to lessen the impact of millennia of misogyny?  That’s the question the Swedish Riksförbundet För Sekuell Upplysning (Swedish Association for Sexual Education, or RFSU) is trying to answer with its campaign to rename the hymen.  Rechristening these tiny leftovers of the process of vaginal development as the slidkrans–literally […]

Advice to Troops: “A Girl Is a Small Catastrophe”

Jacques Rifflet is not a household name, to be sure.  He is a Belgian lawyer, an emeritus professor of both international politics and comparative religion, and a putative expert on the Islamic world who has been a journalistic consultant on the Gulf War and called upon frequently by the Belgian government as an adviser.  He’s […]

The Mystery of Women’s History

People may adore romance in their comedies and chocolate in their peanut butter, but mystery in your history can be hard to love. This is a problem when it comes to March, National Women’s History Month.  History, we learn at school, is about facts: names and places, dates and statistics, lists of battles and treaties, […]

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