Marissa McGrath Ted Talk: The F Word: How Feminism Saved My Life

WGSS Senior Marissa McGrath was featured on the 4th annual TEDxOhioStateUniversity event, held on Feb. 14, 2015, titled “The Human Narrative.” The event talks covered stories, ideas and topics that make up our collective story as human beings.

In this talk, Marisa McGrath talks about her perspective on feminism as an undergraduate student. Initially rejecting feminism due to the negative stereotypes with which it is associated, Marisa found solace in feminism after combating a series of unfortunate events. With feminism, Marisa was able to grow and flourish.

Marisa McGrath is a senior at The Ohio State University double majoring in International Relations and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. A native of Youngstown, Ohio, on campus, McGrath is a member of Alpha Xi Delta sorority, The Girl’s Circle Project and various other activities. She graduates this May.

Congratulations Marissa and thank you for sharing your powerful story!

What Black Feminist Historians Think You Should Read

must read

Historians Jessica Marie Johnson (Michigan State University) and WGSS’s Treva Blaine Lindsey (The Ohio State University) discuss their Black History “Must Reads.” Johnson and Lindsey are the co-authors of the recent essay “Searching for Climax: Black Erotic Lives in Slavery and Freedom” in Meridians.

Watch the video here!

New WGSS Diversity Video









In this video the students, faculty and staff of WGSS speak about how diversity is crucial to their studies, research, teaching and in other aspects of their lives and work. This production was part of a larger department-wide effort to increase diversity in our course offerings, attract more students of color to our classrooms and improve climate around issues of race. We are grateful to those who brought these concerns to our attention and to the students, faculty and staff who took time from their busy schedules to speak on camera.

Watch the Video here!

Special thanks to Professor Guisela Latorre for making this video happen!

Selfie Revolution by Riana Brewer

Selfie Revolution

WGSS Undergraduate Senior Riana Brewer created her own media-rich Ted Talk for an independent assignment in Professor Suchland’s senior seminar class. Brewer’s presentation discusses self-representation and how the rise in self-promotion on the internet (via selfies) challenges mainstream messages which overwhelm our society with images of white, cisnormative/heteronormative, and able bodied representations of beauty. Brewer runs a popular tumblr site called lezbhonest which seeks to proliferate images of non-normative expressions of love and identity. Brewer is in the process of creating a second video of interviews with people about their experiences as LGBTQ.

“The act of self-representation helps to break these narrowly defined roles and boundaries. When minority groups and individuals, such as queer people of color, take selfies, they are actively demonstrating against the narrow boundaries set forth by institutions. They are building a base of individuals that celebrate diversity and individualism. In the past, disciplinary control have forbid workers from wearing braided hairstyles common in Black culture. Selfies are reaffirming that wearing braided hair, performing gender, and being queer and happy is a positive act worth celebrating. Selfies from minority communities often receive hundreds to thousands of comments and “notes” that produces a psychological benefit to the uploader (feels better about self in a world that denies identity), affirmation for others in the community, and a certain “cool” factor or newfound appreciation from mainstream society”

Watch her video here:  Selfie Revolution Ted Talk


Hip Hop Feminist Professor Treva Lindsey: Beyoncé’s Feminism Backlash and Outkasted Conversation

treva beyOn December 17th, 2013, HuffPost Live invited me to serve as a co-panelist for a segment entitled, “Beyoncé’s Feminism Backlash.” The panel also featured feminist scholars, activists, journalists and cultural workers and critics, Imani Uzuri, Dr. Kaila Story, Joan Morgan, Rosa Clemente, and Rahiel Tesfamariam. Each panelist discussed Beyoncé self-identifying as a feminist on her latest self-titled visual album as well as how black feminists/womanists/gender-progressives responded to Beyoncé claiming a space within feminism. Initially titled the “Beyoncé Wars,” the segment highlighted a range of black feminist standpoints and provided a rich dialogue about the tensions, fissures, complexities, and intra-politics of black feminism, and more specifically, black feminist cultural criticism.

As a black feminist cultural critic, I often grapple with popular culture and mass media as sites of inquiry. More specifically as a cultural historian, I explore popular culture texts with a critical lens situated within histories of representations of black women and black womanhood. Contextualizing contemporary representations of black women and womanhood requires understanding complicated histories in which racism and sexism thrive(d). Without question, systemic exploitation, disenfranchisement, misrepresentation, dispossession, and marginalization play important roles in the historical and lived experiences of black women in the United States. While my work critically considers and engages with histories of the exploitation of black women, I also use the archive to uncover histories of black women’s pleasure and joy. Consequently, a central part of my current research agenda is the excavation of pleasure in contemporary black women-authored narratives/projects.

The release of Beyoncé’s self-titled visual album in December 2013 offered a unique opportunity to pose questions about black women, performance, erotics, (hyper)sexuality, and feminism. Her album provoked a range of responses from feminists/womanists/gender-progressives. Because of my scholarship around pleasure, erotics, and African American women’s expressive culture, HuffPost Live invited me as a panelist who could shed light upon the sexual politics extant on Beyoncé’s latest project. I attempted to offer commentary that encapsulated both the possibilities and the limitations in the feminist politics espoused on the visual album. As one of the most visible and popular artists of the twenty-first century, I affirmed the importance of Beyoncé self-identifying as a feminist. Without question, her album and larger body of work include notable “anti-feminist” moments such as word-play by her husband and frequent collaborator, rapper and mogul Jay-Z that alludes to intimate partner violence. These moments must be considered alongside the pleasure politics and women’s/girls’ empowerment narratives she espouses.

The HuffPost Live discussion about Beyoncé mirrors many difficult dialogues occurring in feminist media, black feminist thought, and popular culture classes. It is important that we approach popular culture and mass media with critical lenses. Representation matters and can have material consequences. Our engagement with media must also allow for space to account for our affective and emotional responses as well. Understanding the emotional and affective investments we have in popular culture strengthens our scholarship and teaching. I am a feminist who enjoys Beyoncé, but that enjoyment cannot and will not deter me from being an incisive and thoughtful feminist cultural critic and historian. – Professor Treva Lindsey

Watch the video here!

In addition, Professor Treva Lindsey was also recently featured in a series created by Dr. Regina Bradley (Kennesaw State University) entitled Outkasted Conversations. This series of conversations with a range of popular culture scholars focuses on the hip hop group, Outkast. As it is the 20th anniversary year of their first, ground-breaking album, this conversation is very timely and necessary. Dr. Lindsey was interviewed about embodiement, pleasure politics, and gender politics as they pertain to Outkast and their body of work. I have included the link here in case it may be something the department wants to highlight. Listen to it here!