Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has Fairbanks Disease, which causes stunted bone growth. He’s 4’11”. So he was bullied mercilessly in school until somebody stood up for him. An older kid who he didn’t even know began to beat the crap out of anybody who bothered him. It was the foundational experience of his life.
The older kid was Mickey Schwerner. A few years later, Schwerner joined Andrew Goodman and James Chaney and went door-to-door in Mississippi, trying to register Black voters. You know what happened.
The picture on the top of the page is of actress Gloria DeHaven. Yet it shows up often on the Internet as being a young Frances Bavier, the woman who would eventually play Aunt Bee on the Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s.
I did not realize this until recently, but I think I’m becoming a devotee of the British way of punctuation. “British usage omits the apostrophe in the plural form of dates (e.g., 1980s)”. Also, “British style (more sensibly) places unquoted periods and commas outside the quotation marks.”
This Sergio Aragonés masterpiece is included as a fold-out poster within Inside Mad. His priceless gift to all Mad fans shows over six decades of Mad contributors and ephemera within a mish-mash of Mad office walls. The only thing missing in this beautiful mess is a key. Doug Gilford will be attempting to label everything you see with brief (pop-up) descriptions and links to pertinent pages…
“To move in public spaces and do their jobs, librarians — along with schoolteachers and nurses — had to wrap themselves in an aura of absolute respectability. “
My blog in the Times Union local newspaper, with content, often reprinted from this blog, or noting stuff of primarily local interest, is called Information Without the Bun. Came up with this title in about five minutes when the blog coordinator, Michael Huber, insisted on a name. The title was to evoke two ideas: 1) having the meat without a hamburger bun, and 2) the antithesis of the stuffy, usually female, librarian that shushed people all the time.
The article by Dustin (Oneman) delves a bit deeper:
While the role of librarian has existed for a good long while… the modern librarian, the modern female librarian, dates back to the late 19th century and specifically back to Melvil Dewey, he of the decimal system that bears his name. Dewey was a strong advocate for the use of women as librarians, not out of any sense of gender justice but because, as proprietor of a company that sold a system of receiving, cataloguing, shelving, finding, and checking out books that promised to transform the library into a hyper-efficient book-lending machine, he felt that men would chafe under the monotony of the job. Women, he felt, were ideally suited to the mindless task of working in a modern, Dewey-ized library.
Bringing women into public life in the late 19th and early 20th century was not, however, without challenges. Women who left the domestic sphere were branded disreputable, their bodies assumed to be offered up to the (male) public. Actors, dancers, mill workers, field hands — all took on the aura of the prostitute…
To move in public spaces and do their jobs, librarians — along with schoolteachers and nurses — had to wrap themselves in an aura of absolute respectability. Unlike factory workers, actresses, store clerks, secretaries, and farm workers, who dwelled in the working classes or in the bohemian demimonde of the arts, librarians, nurses, and schoolteachers moved among the middle and upper classes. No hint of disrepute could be endured, and their respectability was secured by thoroughly de-sexing themselves through clothing, behavior, and hairstyle.
Thus, the female librarian (and nurse, and schoolteacher) with a bun was a symbol of chastity, respectability. It was, I’m guessing, necessary to be taken seriously in the job they did. Because men are, well, like men often are.
The question remains, though, of why these icons have survived even as the reality of these professions has changed radically, shedding the desexualizing camouflage as women have gained more acceptance in the public sphere…
But the sexy librarian is still very much with us. She exists in movies, TV shows, commercials, porn, adult magazines, erotica, and the fevered imagination of men who date librarians. She quite often gets in the way of real librarians doing their jobs.
I DO know female librarians who have talked about embracing the sexy librarian trope, though, in a way to counteract the bun lady trope because it’s difficult for patrons to take bun lady seriously. And control of the sexy image is, in its own way, empowering to them.
Dustin, I imagine, would disagree:
In the end, the icon of the sexy librarian is about disempowering women who dare not only to move through public spaces but to exercise power, however limited (through the iconic librarian’s iconic “shhhh!”), by unveiling and conquering the sexual being hidden beneath her unassuming exterior. The image of the sexy librarian reminds us that, regardless of their appearance or accomplishments, women are first and foremost sexual objects. And that’s pretty much business as usual for American masculinity.
Hmm. So this gets me to wondering whether the title Information Without a Bun was an inadvertent sexist title. (I HAVE been accused of thinking too much on occasion.)
In the worst cases, women who need this medication for other medical reasons suffer very dire consequences. A friend of mine, for example, has polycystic ovarian syndrome, and she has to take prescription birth control to stop cysts from growing on her ovaries. Her prescription is technically covered by Georgetown’s insurance, because it’s not intended to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately, under many religious institutions’ insurance plans, it wouldn’t be.
And some bullies, one in particular, publicly called her a “slut”, asking why should the government pay for her to have sex, that, therefore she was a prostitute. Which means that federally-funded insurance programs that allow guys to take a blue pill, to help them have sex, is what, precisely?
This actively creeps into the political arena: According to Watchdog.net:
Starting this November, Texans must show a photo ID with their up-to-date legal name instead of IDs like a birth certificate. That’s not a problem for single or married men — but it leaves a third of Texas women scrambling in a state with just 81 DMVs in its 254 counties.
Casual sexism is quite pervasive, in the gaming industry, in science, just to note a couple of recent examples. And in addressing these types of issues, women are often viewed as “oversensitive” or “shrill” or “don’t have a sense of humor” or the C-word.
Income inequality, in which the poor get poorer, affects female-headed households even more than male-headed households.
As the father of a daughter, I feel that the war on women in the US – and do believe a war on women exists, for reasons better stated by others – is detrimental, not only to my girl’s future, not only to women’s future but to men’s as well. There’s some quote that notes that when we limit some of our people, all of our people suffer.