Friday, January 23, 2009


The title of this blog is "Breaking the Code." I've been using this as the working title of my book project also because it captures the essence of what Progressives, feminists, intersex activists and others were doing in their efforts to alter the practices and infrastructure of urban public space (as well as achieve reform and change in economic, social, and political realms) in the 20th century. It occurs to me today, however, that the URL for this blog is actually a better descriptor for what I'm trying to get at because it addresses WHY they were doing what they were and what they hoped to achieve.

Even though most of these activists talked about "independence" or, when they adressed it directly at all, "privacy as a right," privacy is actually a privilege reserved for some and denied to others. It is more than independence, though independence is key to getting there -- but, as these activists learn, it is not enough.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Barred from the Barroom

Admittedly, this article of mine took a long time to come out.

But out it is and I'm tickled by the write-up it got in the intro for Feminist Studies' special issue on the 1970s:

"Many of the younger feminists writing and working today cannot personally remember a time when women were barred from public spaces and accommodations, which is what makes Georgina Hickey's article, "Barred from the Barroom: Second Wave Feminists and Public Accommodations in U.S. Cities," such an important piece of scholarship and reflection. Hickey makes it possible for us to remember -- or perhaps encounter for the first time -- what it was like to "do feminism" during an era when an unescorted woman could not enter or be served at many restaurants, cafes, and drinking establishments. She reviews not only the multitude of strategies used by feminist activists -- some liberal and some radical -- to open up these spaces but also the mind-boggling array of reactions these feminist activists got from the resistant patriarchal public. This article provides an opportunity for older feminists to review how far we've come and for younger feminists to reflect upon some of the most concrete and undeniable accomplishments of the Second Wave in spite of its many documented shortcomings."