Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity (Night Glow Board Books)

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Natural Cycles works in conjunction with a special thermometer sensitive enough to note changes in basal body temperature—the temperature of the body during rest—which increases after ovulation due to the hormone progesterone.

Nature or nurture?

On fertile days, the app gives users a red light, telling them to avoid sex or use contraception. If the light is green, the user can in theory have unprotected sex without worrying about an unwanted pregnancy. This is similar to the failure rate for birth control pills and hormonal birth control patches and injections, and much lower than the failure rate of condoms for typical use, which is about 18 percent. Other apps haven't gone through clinical trials or sought approval as contraceptives, so it's difficult to know how Natural Cycles could fare in comparison.

Clue tracks period dates and helps predict the next one, while also keeping tabs on information about mood, pain and more. These apps are essentially high-tech versions of the old paper calendars many women used to keep. Some explicitly sell themselves as conception aids.

How beliefs about sexuality have changed over time

Glow , for example, has pages of user success stories featuring blurry photos of doubled-lined pregnancy tests. Of those 53, only four accurately predicted the window.

New Release Tuesday: July, 23, 2019

Few apps actually predicted the precise date of ovulation. This date is important, as a woman is much more likely to conceive by having sex on the day before or of her ovulation. Is a woman conceiving because the app is helpful? Or is the kind of woman who uses an app more likely to conceive, because of high motivation levels leading to more sex and more careful monitoring of fertility signs? For many, the stakes are higher when it comes to preventing pregnancy.

a book review by Jane Haile: Homeward Bound

Though the apps themselves claim to assist in conception, no app before Natural Cycles has gotten official approval as a form of birth control. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, says she started noticing fertility apps gaining traction two or three years ago.

Being sick, hungover or sleeping poorly can affect the result. And, while some women have very regular cycles, many are so irregular that data from one cycle does very little to predict the next. A tiny, t-shaped piece of plastic wrapped in copper, it is implanted in the uterus, where it repels sperm and prevents implantation.

But that restriction is gone, Minkin says. One IUD can prevent pregnancy for 10 years. There have been technological advances that do make natural planning family methods potentially more accurate, Minkin says. From time to time, the sign language interpreter appears to be a useful prop and gets briefly drawn in. It is a good metaphor for a mind becoming stripped of meaning and purpose, pulling in new interpretations.

Perhaps this play is in part a response to those ageing feminists whose longstanding preoccupations with patriarchal and corporate power structures sometimes seem at risk of being replaced by fear of personal decline and, in particular, of dementia. Alzheimers seems to represent a particular terror to many of us. Generally they are hidden at home with carers, mostly family, mostly women.

This play proposes an alternative. Let Me Stay starts to consider what it means to be the same person when so much has changed and been lost. By finding threads and continuities and constancies of character, and working with these, Julie maintains and develops her relationship with her changing mother. Nor does it address care services based on minimum wages with no recognition of the skills required to support someone with these impairments to lead a fulfilling life.

These are brutal truths about dementia, but not what this play is about. Rather, it concerns our own, societal, attitudes to dementia, and challenges us to understand that our prejudices are just that, and are not inevitable. Shirlee ….. The play is enormous fun, beautifully performed, and it makes you think. If you get the chance, go and see it. In this book she takes issue with gay marriage, the commercialisation of gay life-styles, and the lack of political solidarity amongst more privileged gays in the UK those who have experienced a sea-change in attitudes towards homosexuality , with gays and lesbians internationally who face ongoing oppression and persecution.

We here publish two extracts from the most controversial chapter in her book , Is It Something in the Genes? It is still a hotly debated subject. It is also about believing that gay people cannot help the way we are and therefore should not be on the receiving end of prejudice. The flip side of this is that those young men and women growing up in a hostile environment who do not wish to pursue a straight life and feel dissatisfied with their lot are being fed the line that some people are born gay and some straight, and that biology is most certainly destiny when it comes to sexual orientation.

Obviously, the argument that being lesbian or gay is a choice gives the bigots an opportunity to argue that we should be made to live a straight life. After all, goes the logic, if one can choose to be gay, then one can choose to be heterosexual. Anyway, since when did a proud liberation movement allow its enemies to define the terms of the debate?

I have always believed that pushing nature over nurture plays straight into the hands of anti-gay bigots. By arguing that we are born this way, gay men and lesbians do not represent a challenge to the status quo. A gay gene is, by implication, something that is not really supposed to be present, and so to adopt this theory means that we are accepting that heterosexuality and straight folk are normal and we are outside of that, looking in. When I argue that for me, being a lesbian is a positive choice rather than something imposed upon me by a quirk of nature, I am roundly criticised and viewed with suspicion.

I made a conscious and happy choice to be a lesbian and reckon that when we have less anti-gay bigotry, more people will be free to do so. Rather, I am suggesting that if we were not under such extreme pressure to be straight, and if we did not fear the inevitable prejudice and bigotry, we might be more open to falling for someone of the same sex.

Following my speech, which was in front of a live audience, several heterosexual women and men approached me and told me that I had significantly challenged their beliefs — all had, prior to the event, assumed that sexuality was innate and therefore fixed and static. I abhor the bigoted view that promotes the notion of a cure for being lesbian or gay. My position is that if something is not a sickness or disease, there is no need to find a cure. Yet clearly not everyone thinks this way.

Why has so much time and effort been invested in discovering a cause for being gay or lesbian? So parents can decide whether to abort? Or is it because the majority of people cannot get to grips with the fact that bigotry and prejudice are the problems that need solving, and we do not need a cure. Actually, a lot of us know precisely what we are missing.


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That is the point. In her book Generations of Women Choosing to Become Lesbian: Questioning the Essentialist Link , Australian academic Lorene Gottschalk interviewed three different generations of lesbians on whether or not they believed in biology. Gottschalk found that those who became lesbians in the s believed they chose their sexuality, but those who became lesbians in the s thought it was biology. Certainly, starting in the s to the s and s, social constructionism was fashionable among scientists and academics generally.

It seems, therefore, that gay sociologists were questioning the notion of innate sexuality as far back as the s and s. And before this time it was fashionable to believe that turning out lesbian or gay was all down to the parents: for men, an emotionally distant father or stifling mother; for women, an under-emotional mother and father, who took her to the pub often due to the absence of a son.

Work began in earnest the following decade to try to track down the elusive gene. Such research was often perceived as pro-gay because it presented homosexuality as something that could not be freely chosen.

Homeward Bound

However, biological accounts continued to describe gays and lesbians as somehow ill, deficient or imbalanced, and to suggest that heterosexuality was the norm. The GLF, as evidenced in its manifesto, spurned the idea of a gay gene.


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  • But today we have an almost degree shift in thinking. A much more plausible explanation was the Freudian one that everyone is born with bisexual potential and that homosexuality is part of the natural spectrum of human sexuality.

    Apps Can Help You Get Pregnant. But Should You Use Them as a Contraceptive?

    The idea of being born gay has always seemed bonkers to me. But perhaps my holding such strong and contrary views on this topic is partly because of the fact that I was exposed, while still in my teens, to the radical but commonsense position of some feminists on sexual preference — ie that it, like gender, is a social construction.

    Table of contents

    These feminists, living in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds, subscribed to the theory of political lesbianism that came from the early US feminists such as Jill Johnson and Adrienne Rich. In small group of them had written the infamous booklet Love Your Enemy? Our definition of a political lesbian is a woman-identified woman who does not fuck men.

    It does not mean compulsory sexual activity with women. The message of Love Your Enemy?

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