The Profess-Hers Podcast
23 | The Uneven Bar - Women in Gymnastics

23 | The Uneven Bar - Women in Gymnastics

April 15, 2019

What's changed in American women's gymnastics since Mary Lou Retton got that perfect 10? Were they all changes for the better?

In this episode, we discuss the history of women's artistic gymnastics - from when females were first able to compete, to when women started doing the aerial impossible. We cheer for Simone Biles, Kerri Strug, and other favorites, and contrast the strength and power of these athletes to the murky mess of institutional failure that's surrounded the sport for decades.

Lots of great highlights and good memories (especially for those of us who love the Olympics!). We also get into new scoring systems, feminist gymnasts and feminist gymnastics, gold medal counts, and our hope for the USA Gymnastics of the future (as long as Simone Biles will be there, we're in!). 

You'll also get a couple of good book recommendations - whether you're into novels or nonfiction. 

Written and hosted by Allegra Hanna and Misty Wilson-Mehrtens. 

22 | The No-History Episode - Updates on Women in TV, Sports, Music, Science, Space and More

22 | The No-History Episode - Updates on Women in TV, Sports, Music, Science, Space and More

April 8, 2019

In this (kinda short) update episode, we discuss recent developments for women in horror, TV, sports, music, math, science, movies, and space. Most of the news is good - but all of it is essential.

Who's broken records in music? What happened to our all female space walk? Why are people still telling women what they can't wear to play sports? How did women already become more impressive at math since just last month?  Also, more to say about Captain Marvel, lady detectives, and horror.

It's a fun episode, with guest spots from Cristina (Brooklyn 99!) and Austin, some great recommendations for binge-watching and normal watching, and some news that will outrage but also inspire. 

Written and hosted by Allegra Davis Hanna and Misty Wilson-Mehrtens.

Clips from "7 Rings" and "Thank U, Next" and from Jordan Peele's "Us."

To read the Tweets we quote about the space walk, follow Erin Blakemore (@heroinebook): https://twitter.com/heroinebook/status/1110313517599449088.

21 | Female Investigative Journalists - Women’s History Month 2

21 | Female Investigative Journalists - Women’s History Month 2

March 29, 2019

Nelly Bly, Katherine Graham, Marvel Cooke, Lorena Hickok, Joan Didion: they wrote stories that sometimes only women could write, elevating women's voices and revealing otherwise unknown details of our society.

We are going to (of course) discuss a brief history of women in journalism, and share stories about four of our favorites. Allegra also shares some book recommendations, and we (try to) end on a positive note, analyzing these women's long lasting and beneficial impact on history and writing. 

Intrepid and important, these real-life women writers have their stories told in some novels we recommend in this episode.

This episode was recorded in Galveston, where we were attending the Texas Distance Learning Association Conference. 

Books we recommend: Woman 99, The Address, The Dollhouse, White Houses. and Slouching Toward Bethlehem. 

Find us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @professhers. Email us at professhers@gmail.com

Written and presented by Allegra Davis Hanna and Misty Wilson-Mehrtens.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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