In this episode, Natalia, Niki, and Neil discuss the Girl Scouts in light of the Boy Scouts’ recent decision to admit girls, #MeToo activism, and how Michael Friedman’s recent death of HIV/AIDS helps us understand the illness in historical context.
Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show:
- We discussed the decision by the Boy Scouts to admit girls’ and the resistance of Girl Scouts leadership to the idea that this is a step forward for gender equality, as explained in this New York Times op-ed. Neil referenced the Girl Scouts’ longstanding commitment to progressivism. Natalia recommended this Atlantic article about what the Boy Scouts’ resistance both to admitting gay scouts and girl scouts teaches us about masculinity.
- When Alyssa Milano implored women Twitter to answer “me too” to signal their having been sexually assaulted, she touched off a new wave of hashtag activism. Natalia referenced the longer history of “me too” – it was created a decade ago by Tarana Burke – and commented how contributions of people of color are often erased. Niki recommended David Karpf’s The MoveOn Effect as a useful way to understand hashtag activism. Natalia recommended feminist Carol Hanisch’s On the Issues article about the continued salience of consciousness-raising to the feminist movement.
- Michael Friedman’s death of HIV/AIDS in 2017 came as a shock to many who think of the disease as chronic, but no longer fatal. In chronicling how the disease has stigmatized gay men, Niki recalled conservative William F. Buckley’s proposal that HIV-positive gay men have their status tattooed on their buttocks. Natalia referenced a Smithsonian article on the fear-mongering approach of 1980s and 1990s public health campaigns around HIV/AIDS, as well as a useful New Republic piece explaining why the United States was hit harder than western Europe by the virus.
In our regular closing feature, What’s Making History:
- Natalia discussed a Racked article explaining a new fashion trend: menocore.
- Neil commented on the latest wave of resistance in schools to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Niki discussed historian Claire Potter’s Washington Post article on the relevance of Andrea Dworkin to understanding the Harvey Weinstein debacle.