A woman’s work is never done, part I: the daily churn.

You might think that’s my excuse for the silence around this old blog.  Instead, friends, it’s my call to arms.  Let me explain:

I know it’s been a little quiet around here lately–what with all the papers and exams, then winter graduation and the grades were due, then the family travel and holiday merriment, and the eating of the all the sadness of 2016. So much sadness to eat this season, friends!

I’ve been at a loss about what to write about since the election last month, and the awful triumph of the Human Stain.  What can I say after all of my blithe confidence about electing our first woman president?  I feel like a chump who spent most of last year leading you down the path of chumpitude with me.  What good are my opinions and analysis, anyway?  I’ve been feeling defeated even before I can begin to write about something, anything here lately.

As someone much funnier than I said on Twitter last month, “2016 will be remembered as the year when America had a choice between a woman and a monster, and we voted for the monster.” “But wait!” I can hear you thinking, “but the popular vote. . .”  I know.  The popular vote + $4.50 will get Hillary Clinton a Venti Salted Caramel Macchiato.

Given all the tsuris, how can I avoid making this blog a place where people come to bitch and make each other sad, and instead make this blog a place where people can share and test ideas for the very necessary resistance we’ll need to develop and work for.  Already a newly emboldened Republican party is targeting universities ideologically, continuing their assaults on our personal safety with bills that permit anyone–students, staff, faculty, and the general public–to openly carry firearms, while attacking specific colleges (usually the liberal arts), disciplines (again, usually within the liberal arts), and even specific courses and faculty members.

Those of us who enjoy the privileges of tenure have a special obligation to speak out and resist, and to defend our work environments as places where all kinds of thinkers and thoughts are welcome.  We’ll need to document hostile attempts to mess with our workplaces, our students, our intellectual liberty, and our curriculum, and we’ll need to collaborate in this resistance.

In short, we’re going to have to roll up our sleeves and plunge into the muck.

Boston trade card for North American Electric Washing Fluid, 1851, courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society

Boston trade card for North American Electric Washing Fluid, 1851, courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society

It’s been hard to find my blogging voice, which has rarely been as woesome as I’ve felt IRL lately.  I’m your friendly, upbeat blogger who wants to cheer you along in your travails, not spray you with the wretched debris of political misery every time to dare to click on over here.  If this blog had a motto (aside from “History and Sexual Politics, 1492-present”) it would be We’re All in This Together.  We’re no quitters or shirkers, we’re not miserable complainers.  We’re merry pirates!  We’re an Andy Hardy movie, with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney getting the kids together to rent a barn and put on a show!

I want, in the ditty on the trading card above, to “renovate the rubbing, scrubbing, washing world/Upon our merits we alone depend/Topmast to the breeze our banner is unfurled!”

Back in the saddle, friends!

Back in the saddle, friends!

I’ve been cheered by some talks with some friends and readers over the past week or so, and they’re helping to pull me out of this funk.  Whose interests does my silence serve?  Not mine, that’s for sure, and probably not yours either.  So, this cowgirl is getting back on Seminar, my trusty commuter horse, and returning to regular blogging.  My aim is to have something to say daily, or pretty much, focusing once again on the original point of this blog:  History and Sexual Politics, 1492-present.  Sometimes I’ll just share something funny or silly; sometimes I’ll be serious as a heart attack.

Come on back tomorrow, when I will share with you part II of this post–it’s a little public promise I’ve made to ensure that I really am going to get back on that horse and see if we can’t canter along together a spell.  With much affection and all good wishes for the new year, this dude will abide.


(And if you’re curious, you can see where I found these great images of free women’s labor at the American Antiquarian Society in a digital exhibition they did back in 2004 called A Woman’s Work is Never Done. Except for the above image, obvs.!)

UPDATE, 12/30/16:  Don’t miss my follow-up post, “A woman’s work is never done, part II:  and even when it is, it’s not on the syllabus.”

18 thoughts on “A woman’s work is never done, part I: the daily churn.

  1. Totally looking forward to this, H’ann!!! We in the commentariat have to step-up as well. Anything is interesting that you have to offer: The fun stuff, the doll stuff, the fluff-stuff. Turning loose on academic administrative collaborationists with the Trumpist agenda, though, should provide a category unto itself. I’ve already seen some of this where I run my trap-lines.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yup. I’ve been feeling this, too — not helped by the end of the semester and feeling shitty about my “real” writing, but I think some of my bloggy silence has also been about feeling too down, post-election, to want to be out in the public space of the blog.

    But cheers to you for this. Here’s to turning things around in 2017!


  3. “I feel like a chump who spent most of last year leading you down the path of chumpitude with me.”

    Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Me too.

    And then all that news started surfacing, conveniently after the election, about tens (or was it hundreds?) of thousands of mostly poorer voters struck from rolls, about strange ties between Giuliani and the NY FBI, and, of course, Da Russians.

    Turns out we weren’t actually chumps. We just didn’t get CIA briefings that would have let us know who was going to be installed as Prez. And the other thing I’d never imagined was that the integrity of our elections was a minor detail. Much more vital to keep everything running along smoothly to perdition.

    Studs Terkel said long ago that creating helplessness was the first task of any dictator. And as far as that goes, I really am a chump. I feel helpless.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t kick yourselves, any of you, for your down moods. Mourning demands its due. If you don’t go thru the process, it’ll just bite you in the ass down the road.

    That said, I’m all for jumping into the revolution. First suggestion: Kevlar ensembles. Hopefully they’ll let us escape unscathed as all the open-carry nutcases, I mean activists, get pissed and shoot each other to perdition.

    I’m planning something new this year — a writing effort that could actually get public notice. One of my nieces is an actress-singer-choreographer, so I’m thinking of penning a holiday musical extravaganza. The main character, Lady Bobo-Hampton, is a cross between Mrs. Malaprop and a Dame Maggie Smith aristocrat. I will have to leave out my four-letter alternative lyrics to Deck the Halls, but I have some fun parody numbers planned for Lady B-H along with ones done at face value. If I can pull it off, I’ll send it to the company my niece frequently works with.

    That’s more upbeat than my other new year’s resolution, to piss the rest of my family off (well, except Sarah) so I don’t spend as much next Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m still stuck on how I want to be using my own blog space. It’s still not drawing me in the way that it used to do – but I agree that we need to speak up and speak out as academic women with a fair bit of security and power. If not us, who?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Recommended reads #94 | Small Pond Science

  7. I’ll be glad to have your company. I have thought since the election that I need companions – many online – and I need to be present where I am. I’ve been visiting with friends this last week, and thee different women talked about suffering post-election trauma.


  8. Pingback: A woman’s work is never done, part II: and even when it is, it’s not on the syllabus. | Historiann

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