Jeana

Jeana

Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.

Recent posts

Dear Indiana: Please Recognize Federal Laws About Same-Sex Partners

As an Indiana resident, I’m upset that not only is gay marriage still not legal in my state, but that the federal law to extend visitation rights to same-sex partners is not being recognized here. Recently, a woman living in Indianapolis was hospitalized while unconscious, and her (female) partner has been banned from visiting her bedside because the unconscious woman’s mother disapproves of their relationship. A 2010 federal law specifies that even in states where gay marriage isn’t yet legal, hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid must extend same-sex partner visitation rights. But that clearly hasn’t happened here. That needs to change. Continue Reading →

Comparing “Real Food” And “Real Women” Rhetoric

We’ve all seen the “real women” memes: “Real women have curves,” and so on. There’s been some pushing back against these ideas, which I think is useful, since holding up one category of womanhood as more “real” than another is ultimately essentializing and harmful. This intriguing blog post, Real Food, draws a parallel between the “real women” meme and arguments about “real food,” arguing that this logic is problematic on several levels. First, the “real food” rhetoric tends to be very judgmental: I’ve met very few people who make personal choices of the “real food” persuasion without also pressuring those around them…without also proclaiming that the foods most people rely on to survive are inherently inferior…without also implying that the reason the rest of us are fat, or poor, or don’t have shiny hair, or don’t walk around perpetually bathed in magical sunbeams of happiness, is entirely because we eat the terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad food — the food that is not Real. The same thing goes for femininity and “real” women. Continue Reading →

Let’s List How Feminism Hurts Men

I’m a fan of satirical role reversals in rhetoric, as with this list of how to end sexual assault by limiting men’s freedom. Now there’s a list of all the ways in which feminism hurts men. We see examples like “Because of feminism, all birth control is covered for women without question or debate, while men have to fight to get insurance companies to pay for their Viagra prescriptions” and “Because of feminism, it’s hard to find a movie with a heroic male lead anymore.” It really makes you think, doesn’t it? Since all of the examples are so obviously exaggerated… Continue Reading →

Why Can’t We Just Talk About Sex?

I’m annoyed at our sex-phobic culture a lot of the time, for a lot of reasons, but today it’s specifically because we consider it taboo to talk about sex outside of a few limited contexts. When is it okay to talk about sex? Presumably with one’s partner(s) – though in the mainstream culture it’s assumed that in order to talk about sex you’re heterosexually married and pursuing sexual activities as a way to procreate. And in theory you should be able to discuss sex with your medical professionals, especially if you’re experiencing a disorder that’s sexual in nature (genital pain, trying to conceive, etc.). Otherwise, there aren’t many socially acceptable venues in which to openly and honestly discuss sex. Continue Reading →

Transgender Teen Denied Yearbook Photo

A teenager in Texas is being told that his yearbook photo (in which he wears a tuxedo) will not be published in the yearbook. According to the school district, the photo does not meet “community standards.” This is because the teen, who identifies as male, refused to wear a drape or blouse as was required of the schools’ girls (the school apparently refuses to recognize the teen’s choice to live as transgender). This is unfortunately yet another incident wherein the choices of individuals regarding their own gender or sexuality identity are not institutionally respected. Continue Reading →

If I Can’t Change My Conditioning, How Can I Expect Others To?

I’m fascinated by what makes people change their minds, as demonstrated in this post about a self-identified misogynist who ultimately became sympathetic to women’s positions. I like to see this process happening when people’s beliefs become more tolerant rather than going in the opposite direction, even though I recognize that these are subjective values. In my ideal world, everyone who holds beliefs that are misogynist, transphobic, racist, homophpobic, and so on would realize, eventually, that they’ve been wrong this whole time. We’re all human, and we shouldn’t discriminate against anyone for who they are, right? But then I had a sobering realization. Continue Reading →

Sexism In Science

In case you missed it, a scientist who contributes to Scientific American turned down a blogging opportunity from one of their affiliates – who then called her an “urban whore.” And yet, rather than use this as an opportunity to combat racism and sexism in science, the blog removed her post commenting on the issue. It’s since been restored, but important questions remain: how can we hope to address issues of inequality (by gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and other identity factors) if there’s still so much bias at institutional levels? And how do efforts to combat sexism and racism in science reflect similar struggles in other parts of society? Continue Reading →

Texas Voter Laws Affect Women Disproportionately

As reported in Salon, a new voter ID law in Texas could disenfranchise up to one-third of women voters. Many voting-age women do not have an identification document that currently reflects their legal name (due to marriage, divorce, and so on). Additionally, photocopies are not accepted for the multi-step name-change process, making additional hurdles for women and transgender people – but not cis-gendered men. This makes me feel somewhat cynical, as Texas already doesn’t have the greatest record of looking out for its female citizens. Ideally everyone, regardless of gender identity, would have access to facilities to easily change their names, marital status, sex, and so on – or if that access is restricted, it shouldn’t affect their ability to do vital things like vote. Continue Reading →

Why To Keep Using The Word “Feminism”

We’ve all run into someone who says things like, “Yeah, I agree with a lot of feminism, I just don’t like calling myself a feminist because [XYZ].” One common reason given is that feminism is (supposedly) just about improving women’s living conditions, while the speaker considers him/herself a humanist, someone who wants to raise all of humanity. Which is a nice idea, but there are, in fact, specific reasons to describe oneself as a feminist. And no, they do not include hating men. The brilliant blogger Spacefem describes her reasons for doing so in a blog post here. Continue Reading →