“SHE REFUSED TO RETURN WITH HIM.” Here on the Palko POV, you, reader, get to see my journeys across Grounds from my point of view. I hope to shed light on current trending topics, whether that’s through my favorite fictional heroines or through historical examples from our culture’s long and mighty struggle with complex sex and gender identities. As the Center’s engagements in the University community bring me into contact with students, colleagues, alumni and others whose work is relevant to ours, I try to bring you a glimpse into the present-day perspectives they’ve shared with us.
As we welcome back our interns for a new year of work with us, I invite you to join me in pausing to reflect on where our individual paths have brought us over the past year and think about where we hope to go in the upcoming one.
Throughout Katie Couric's America Inside Out, the viewer steps into the shoes of the camera person or the interviewer - and into some intense dialogues with the respondents. Later in the episode, when Couric called for more conversation around the series' topics, she pulled me out of the August days where I had been, bringing me back to my living room miles from the Downtown Mall. Questions immediately flew through my mind: How do we do this? How do we engage opposing viewpoints in a sustained manner? The contemplative notion of an expanding self suggests one way we can try.
As one of the Iris writers poignantly shares, "I now understand how ridiculous it was for me to live in pain for years." In a powerful follow-up to their earlier look at the financial burden imposed by the need to take care of menstruating bodies, they look now at the physical impact of abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. This, and much more food for thought, is available in the current issue of Iris Magazine.
Before coming here two years ago, I contemplated all of the possibilities this position would bring with excitement – excitement tinged with just a note of trepidation at the thought of stepping away from the classroom. This spring, I’ve been grateful to return to the classroom to teach a course for our interns. It reminds me that finding out what we stand for, expanding what we know, is an ongoing project.
Traditionally, the bildungsroman that is so popular among literary novels presented challenges to the author working with a female protagonist. But, there are plenty of novels centered on girls and young women that are worth recommending - and re-reading. Inspired by my daughter’s summer reading list, I’ve decided to revisit some old favorites and (hopefully) discover new gems. This post will kick off an occasional series of responses to novels with girls as their protagonists. If you’d like to read along with me, stay tuned for my reflections.
I missed a few months of blogging, absorbed with
overseeing the renovation of our building. I'm happy to announce that we are back and settled into our "new" old space!
Walking through the front door now evokes echoes of a Hemingway title: the Women's Center is a "clean, well-lighted place" now where we are proud to welcome students for our internships, our mentoring programming, our counseling and wellness services, and our lounges where they can just hang out. Some days, I make a cup of tea and wander up the back stairs, down the front stairs, over to the lower level stairs, just taking in the sight of colleagues and students bringing the Corner Building to life.
To make up for lost time, I've got months of posts from the Palko POV lined up to share with you. I hope to spark some thoughts and conversations!
For those of us who are inclined to take this time of year as an opportunity to reflect and find a theme running through past months, 2017 offers abundant food for thought. Moving into 2018, we are challenged to simultaneously assess and act.
As I wrote about in earlier posts looking at the #MeToo campaign and consent education, many social problems we face have roots in early childhood. Addressing them can be challenging for adults, since it means changing long-held and early-learned patterns and behaviors. But the good news is that we CAN change how we socialize children and create changes that will ripple forward.
As the Iris writers remind us, "The start of menstruation is classically hailed as the day a girl becomes a woman; it is also the day she starts to hide this womanhood." For many women, the need to take care of their menstruating bodies creates financial burdens. I've noticed a growing awareness of this issue in university students, and they are thinking about ways to address this structural inequity. This, and much more food for thought, is available in the current issue of Iris Magazine.
About the Author
Exploring women's issues in search of a world that more equitable for everyone.
* frac·tal FRACTALS ARE USEFUL IN MODELING STRUCTURES (SUCH AS ERODED COASTLINES OR SNOWFLAKES) IN WHICH SIMILAR PATTERNS RECUR AT PROGRESSIVELY SMALLER SCALES (Google dictionary)