20 | Women of Science - Women’s History Month 1

March 22, 2019

The history of women in the sciences is not stellar, but we’ve got lots of good news, and several female scientists to celebrate, from the 1700s to right now.

We can’t pronounce the names of all of the dinosaurs whose fossils she found, but we can tell you how much we respect the achievements of Mary Anning; Misty takes us back to the time when women were welcome in science, but also to a time when a woman couldn’t become a surgeon, so she helped invent a different medical subfield; and Allegra brings you promising updates from NASA, where women are rocking rocket science. Other women we dig in this episode: Dr. Virginia Apgar, Tiera Fletcher, and Kristen Facciol.

Some sources we mention, if you’d like extra homework:

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna

19 | Women in Space and Flight - MCU Part 2

March 8, 2019

How do the MCU movies in space represent women? How important is Captain Marvel? What’s the history of women in flight and space?

In this episode, we discuss the three MCU movies that take place in space: Guardians of The Galaxy, Guardians of The Galaxy 2, and Captain Marvel. We also discuss some famous women of flight - piloting military planes, space shuttles, and commercial airlines. There’s a lot of great representation in the films, and in our history, as well as some unfortunate moments.

Hear about women who helped train pilots in WW2 and how they never gave up fighting to be recognized, women who took flight for NASA and the Air Force, and how our first female combat pilot has kept fighting on behalf of herself and other women in the armed forces after retiring.

Also: Spoiler-free quick review of Captain Marvel, and discussions of representation behind the scenes of these three movies (Female writers! A female director! A score composed by a woman!).

We’re taking Spring Break off - so we’ll be back March 22 to continue celebrating Women’s History Month!

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna

18 | MCU Part 1 - Representation and Women in Superhero Films

March 1, 2019

Is the Marvel Cinematic Universe a feminist universe?

In this episode, we discuss the history of some of our favorite heroes and the comics code that prohibited both “the walking dead” and  drawing women with “exaggerated” physical qualities. We talk about screen time for women in the last 20 Marvel movies, representation in the writers’ rooms, and the things to look for in a feminist viewing.

We agree that most MCU movies give us some good news, like female scientists, world class assassins, and even some cool lady villains, but also bad news like limited development and some serious male gaze.

At least one of us is a huge Marvel fan (and the other is hugely oblivious to everything except which one Thor is), so there are no takedowns here. And, there’s lots to love, like the many kinds of progress Black Panther includes, the first named female superhero in the MCU, and the (fingers crossed) upcoming Black Widow movie. Plus, strong friendships, perfectly awkward teenage Peter Parker and the academic decathlon team, and us not remembering what to call the clothes superheroes wear (We know now! They’re suits!).

Part 2, which covers heroes in space and Captain Marvel, is coming next!

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna

17 | 80s Ladies at Work

February 22, 2019

In the 1980s, the percentage of American women who worked outside  the home rose above 50%, so in this episode we talk about the history of women at work, and get into some great 80s shows and movies that reflected the experiences of working women.

What was it like to be joining the workforce - or trying to move up in it? What social changes were causes and results of the evolving workplace? Misty, for some reason, brings a graph to a podcast, and Allegra actually looked up historical research. Don't worry - Misty still hasn't watched most of the shows and movies we discuss, including:

  • Cagney & Lacey
  • A Different World
  • Murphy Brown
  • Family Matters
  • Designing Women
  • 9 to 5
  • Working Girl
  • Die Hard

These texts take on challenging topics, ridiculous fashion, changing gender roles, and about 200 cans of Aqua Net.

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

16 | The Trouble With Tropes

February 15, 2019

What’s a “woman in a refrigerator”? Are you more complex than an Old Maid or Bridezilla? Nagging wife or desperate for a husband?

We’ll discuss what tropes are, and what tropes storytellers use in their depictions of women. How do these tropes undermine or over-simplify women’s complex ranges of emotions, ideas, and personalities? How do tropes affect our own biases, and why does this matter?

With lots of examples from TV and movies, we get into crazy women, old maids, wedding-obsessed ditzes, and perhaps the most pernicious: straw feminists and women on the sidelines.

Don’t worry, we end with examples of TV shows, movies, and books that bust tropes with realistic, complex, nuanced female characters that bring women’s identities into the forefront.

 

Audio from: Wedding Crashers, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, Community, Powerpuff Girls

With more examples from: Married With Children, Roseanne, New Girl

Shows We Recommend in This Episode: The Kids Are Alright, Orange is The New Black, The Wire, Grace and Frankie, Big Love, Parks and Recreation, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Black-ish

Books We Recommend in This Episode: The Wife (Wolitzer), Manhattan Beach (Egan), Asymmetry (Halliday), Burning Girl (Messud).

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna

15 | Math Class

February 8, 2019

We’re taking you to math class, as best as we can, to talk about math education for women, and some of our favorite female mathematicians and math experts.

From women in the 1800s who fought to go to college or invented computer programming, to women still alive with mathematical achievements that helped defeat Nazis and move us all forward.

This episode includes discussion of 4 awesome women, featuring a guest spot from our friends in the STEM Fatale podcast:

  • Ada Lovelace, who understood the concept for the first computer (the analytical engine)
  • Katherine Johnson, who completed flight path calculations for John Glenn using paper and pencil (and chalk and chalkboards) 
  • Elizebeth Friedman, who helped create the field of code breaking and used her skills during both World Wars
  • Grace Hopper, who served in the Navy, worked on the Mark I computer, and invented programming compilers

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna

14 | Dudes + Feminism (Featuring a Profess-Him)

February 1, 2019

Do men need feminism? Does feminism need men? Is toxic masculinity real?

The answer to all of these questions is a very emphatic yes, and in this episode, we discuss examples from TV, academic research, and our own lives that can attest to that. While this episode includes discussions about serious stuff that we take seriously, we have lots of fun (and so many laughs) with our guest, a real-live dude professor who shares his perspectives and experiences.

We discuss the Big Bang Theory, Gamergate, Urban Dictionary, Man Wipes, Wonder Woman, a Gillette ad you may have seen, and satire.

Toxic behavior isn’t exclusive to men, and it’s certainly not universal among them, but there are expressions, actions, products, ads, and media that illustrate and amplify the toxic version of masculinity. Toxic enough to make many men feel not strong enough, toxic enough to make women wary, and toxic enough to put people at odds.

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna, Guest Rik Sehgal

13 | Villainy, Crimes, and Musicals

January 25, 2019

Female criminals, anti-heroes and villains in history, literature and TV.

Why are female criminals oddly fascinating? How has their depiction changed over time, and what does their depiction tell us about ourselves? What’s up with playground chants about murder? Why do we need more female anti-heroes on TV?

We discuss some famous felonious women, and some lesser known lady criminals of history - including an exploration of the continued (and possibly sexist) depictions of Lizzie Borden, the women who (mostly) inspired the musical Chicago, and others.

We also get into the literary tradition of writing female villains inside and outside of stereotypes, inspiring performances by female actors, and accomplishments of female authors. Not happy to let Walter White and Tony Soprano have all the fun, we trace the history of televised female anti-heroes and decide on whether their representation is, in the end, beneficial representation after all.

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

12 | Lady Detectives on TV

January 18, 2019

From Charlie’s Angels to Brooklyn 99, how have female detectives and crime solvers been depicted on TV?

We discuss some notable TV detectives from Honey West to Jessica Fletcher, talk about how shows like Law and Order made progress in representation, and get into CSI and other shows that (thankfully) start to show more complex female characters. This episode also includes discussions about The Closer, Veronica Mars, Major Crimes, and some new shows this season that have us feeling hopeful.

It’s pretty obvious from the start that we think Brooklyn 99 is the most progressive example we have - and guest Cristina Sullivan shares her take on Latina representation in the show. We commend its humor, diversity, portrayal of LGBT characters, and its approach to important topics. But how did we get here - and why is this show a rarity?

In this episode, we end on a high note of progress, with some optimism about the future of female detectives on TV.

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna

11 | Lady Detectives in History and Literature

January 11, 2019

Women solving crimes, preventing assassinations, gossiping to find killers, and breaking into archetypes and police forces.

Who are the notable female sleuths from literature, and how does their development reflect the changing nature of police departments? How does Agatha Christie’s most famous lady detective fit an archetype, but break the mold? What happened to the first generation of women who grew up reading Nancy Drew?

We start in the 1840s with literary traditions and the creation of modern police forces, introduce you to the real Kate Warne and a novel about her, and discuss literary and real-life legacies of women who changed crime solving.

In this episode, we make powerful connections between history and literature, and between modern policewomen and recent crime novels. You'll also get lots of great book recommendations!

Find Profess-Hers on Twitter and Instagram @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com. Listen to us everywhere you find podcasts.

Written by Misty Wilson-Mehrtens and Allegra Davis Hanna