Music, Feminism & Women’s History Month

It’s clear that at Sarah Lawrence College, Women’s History month was all about the intersections of music and feminism this year. So in honor of the last day of Women’s History month (which also happens to be César Chávez Day and International Transgender Day of Visibility) I want to direct you to a blog I love about the intersections of feminism and music, called Rock and the Single Girl. Continue reading

“Abortion Rights Advocates” are Making News Again

Last week the NPR Editorial staff was making the rounds both on-air and on the web discussing a change in policy on reporting the abortion debate. Five years ago the official NPR style changed from characterizing individuals as “abortion rights advocates”  or “abortion opponents” to the more frequently heard, and loaded, “pro-life” and “pro-choice”. As of March 24th, though, “abortion rights advocates” are making news again! The official memo to staff explained that the policy, “is aimed at ensuring the words [they] speak and write are as clear, consistent and neutral as possible.”

You can visit the NPR ombudsman’s blog to read the full memo and commentary on this and other editorial and journalistic policies.

– Victoria Sollecito

More on the Texas Textbook Controversy

The Washington Post reports:

Because the Texas textbook market is so large, books assigned to the state’s 4.7 million students often rocket to the top of the market, decreasing costs for other school districts and leading them to buy the same materials.

Historian Eric Foner sat down with Stephen Colbert to discuss the Texas Board of Education’s recently approved changes to social studies curriculum.  Watch Foner and Colbert here!

Read Foner’s full article in The Nation: “Twisting History in Texas”

Sign a petition here: CREDO action

– Rosamund Hunter

5 things to love about: Barbara Walters

Editor’s Note: 5 things to love about is a brand new feature at RE/VISIONIST. RE/VISIONIST staff member Nydia Swaby wants to know 5 things you love about someone who’s important to you! Submissions welcome at submissions@revisionistslc.com. Nydia starts things off this week with 5 things to love about Sarah Lawrence College alum, Barbara Walters!

Barbara Walters

by Nydia Swaby

1. Broadcast journalist Barbara Walters is arguably America’s best-known television news personality. Walters co-hosted NBC’s The Today Show for ten years, spent twenty-five years with the ABC news magazine 20/20, and also served as a news correspondent for ABC World News Tonight. As the first female co-anchor of network evening news, Walters can be credited as changing the all-male face of U.S. network news.[i] Continue reading

The Texas Textbook Takeover

The Texas Board of Education just approved measures to change the curriculum in history, economics, and sociology.  The New York Times reports:

In recent years, board members have been locked in an ideological battle between a bloc of conservatives who question Darwin’s theory of evolution and believe the Founding Fathers were guided by Christian principles, and a handful of Democrats and moderate Republicans who have fought to preserve the teaching of Darwinism and the separation of church and state.

Since January, Republicans on the board have passed more than 100 amendments to the 120-page curriculum standards affecting history, sociology and economics courses from elementary to high school. The standards were proposed by a panel of teachers.

“We are adding balance,” said Dr. Don McLeroy, the leader of the conservative faction on the board, after the vote. “History has already been skewed. Academia is skewed too far to the left.”

Continue reading

Carmen Ashhurst Discusses the Music Industry

Photo by Rosamund Hunter

This year’s keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Women’s History Conference was Carmen Ashhurst, former president of Def Jam Records and Rush Communications.  Ashhurst’s invaluable perspectives on the music industry gave her an eager audience for the conference’s theme, “The Message is in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music, and More.”

Ashhurst worked alongside Russell Simmons before the commercial explosion of hip-hop in the early 1990s.  A former political activist in Grenada, she began working in the music industry at a time when it was more radical and subversive.

Ashhurst’s talk was rooted in the belief that hip-hop’s most popular acts now foster sexist, racist images and that much of the successful rap music today represents a “profound racial self-hatred.”  She emphasized that she and other women executives lost control as hip-hop became more popular and marketed to a mass audience.  Ashhurst asserted, “The music business is about selling music, not making music.” Continue reading

Kirstie Alley’s Big Life

I’ve always been fascinated with the way our culture conflates nutritional health with the shape of one’s body. This cultural myth has facilitated the proliferation of diet and weight loss products and services accompanied by popular culture and mass media’s reinforcement of the thin ideal. After reading Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, I decided to take a new approach to thinking about this issue. Kirstie Alley’s new reality TV series, “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” will focus on her attempt to shed pounds and regain her self-esteem after she lost weight and gained it back again, appearing on “Oprah” both times to talk about the result. Far from her place as the spokeswoman of Jenny Craig, comments like “Fat ass. Turn around so I can shoot you,” from paparazzi have pushed her back into the public to serve as a spectacle and example for how people should discipline themselves. Continue reading