Archive for the ‘UMass’ Category

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I am of course welcoming myself back… after a road trip to NJ and the start of my final semester at Vermont College of Fine Arts, I can refocus on Woman-Stirred Radio. Today, I interviewed Chris Bobel, author of New Blood: Third-wave Feminism and the Politics of Menstruation. Chris is an associate professor and chair of women’s studies at the UMass, Boston. Chris’s earlier book is The Paradox of Natural Mothering.

The book takes a clear-eyed and wonderfully intelligent look at the cultural and social issues surrounding menstruation, the shaming and relative ignorance surrounding the singular most common experience women share. Bobel illuminates the new wave of feminist menstrual activists embodied by the Blood Sisters, and the Red Brigade, a fabulous group associated with The Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.

New Blood offers a fresh interdisciplinary look at feminism-in-flux. For over three decades, menstrual activists have questioned the safety and necessity of feminine care products while contesting menstruation as a deeply entrenched taboo. Chris Bobel shows how a little-known yet enduring force in the feminist health, environmental, and consumer rights movements lays bare tensions between second- and third-wave feminisms and reveals a complicated story of continuity and change within the women’s movement.

Through her critical ethnographic lens, Bobel focuses on debates central to feminist thought (including the utility of the category “gender”) and challenges to building an inclusive feminist movement. Filled with personal narratives, playful visuals, and original humor, New Blood reveals middle-aged progressives communing in Red Tents, urban punks and artists “culture jamming” commercial menstrual products in their zines and sketch comedy, queer anarchists practicing DIY health care, African American health educators espousing “holistic womb health,” and hopeful mothers refusing to pass on the shame to their pubescent daughters. With verve and conviction, Bobel illuminates today’s feminism-on-the-ground—indisputably vibrant, contentious, and ever-dynamic” (Rutgers)