Alternative Scholarship: Multimedia Scholarly & Creative Work

Alternative Scholarship

Two Generations, Two Women, One Fight: Equality A Performance

by Cara T. Mackie and Vicki Wuertz, Florida Southern College

This performance, available by clicking here, engages two generational viewpoints as it examines women of today and women of yesterday. The authors incorporate autoethnographic stories and research on second and third wave feminism to compare and contrast generational views and experiences. “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” was the anthem for the generation of women who demanded recognition for their abilities outside of the kitchen and the bedroom. Women had to negotiate their roles in the workforce and in the house. Growing up in wake of change allowed women in younger generations to make choices. “I Am Woman, Watch Me Soar” can now be attributed to this younger generation of women. Women are still negotiating roles in the workforce and house, but feel they have been so far removed from the house that they don’t even know how to wear an apron. Did we have a choice?

(Mis)Representing Gender Politics: An Intersectional Feminist Exploration of the Miss Representation Movement

by Danielle M. Stern, Christopher Newport University, and Chelsea J. Henderson, Christopher Newport University

Despite the efforts of millions of women and men across multiple movements, gender inequality in American political, economic, and other institutions persists. Even though women are 51% of the population, they only serve as 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs, 7% of mainstream film directors, and comprise 17% of the House of Representatives. Additionally, 2011 was the first year since 1979 that women did not gain seats in Congress, and the United States ranks 90th in the world with regard to women in national legislatures. These statistics, revealed in the 2011 documentary, Miss Representation (Siebel Newsom, 2011), which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and again on the Oprah Winfrey Network, are intended to increase awareness of gender inequality and “challenge the media’s limiting portrayal of women and girls” ( This blog project investigates how Siebel Newsom and other leaders of the Miss Representation movement have combined efforts across multiple media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, email campaigns, and grassroots means, such as film screenings and dinner conversations in private homes as well as public spaces, to reignite a cross-generational feminist movement. We proceed guided by the following research questions: how does the Miss Representation campaign position gender and leadership? Moreover, what type of feminism does the Miss Representation movement promote? We explore the tensions between the feminist goals of agency and community within the Miss Representation documentary and brand through an exploration of the film’s themes, textual and visual rhetoric, and an examination of the movement’s online presence via its website and Twitter account.

Click here for this project’s blog.

i am the working class mother

by Katherine J. Denker, Ball State University

A poem, an exegesis, and a discussion on the method of using poetry as a part of teaching.  Click here for more

Women’s Strength in Waves

by Nicole Defenbaugh, Bloomsburg University

Twelve years into the new century and we cannot help but ask ourselves how far feminism has come. With gender inequities and atrocities such as lower pay wages, female genital mutilation, and continued debates over reproductive rights we (women and men) are forced to pause in the midst of our daily lives and question the advancements women have made since Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, and the many other founding mothers. How far have we come toward creating equality since women earned the right to vote a century ago? Who has laid the feminist foundation on which we currently stand? How do we continue to pave the way for future feminists while keeping the light of freedom and justice burning in the darkness of backlash and misogyny? In this performance piece, the author looks back at the waves women have made over the past one and half centuries and asks the audience to consider who has shaped the face of feminism and how their words and actions have influenced who, what, and where we are today. The author reminds the viewer not to forget the words of our foremothers as we reflect on the strength of women’s voices over the past three waves.

Click here to Download file for Video Performance.        

Click here for Activities and Reflections to accompany video.


by Paul Muhlhauser, McDaniel College, and Daniel Schafer, Washington State University

Inspired by a Twitter discussion begun by @femfreq (Anita Sarkeesian), “Avengendering” shows how Black Widow and Clarice Starling promote and challenge sexist tropes (e.g. Femme Fatale and Smurfette). “Avengendering” critically examines Black Widow from The Avengers and Clarice Starling from The Silence of the Lambs through a feminist lens. The analysis focuses on a scene in The Avengers between Loki and Black Widow that remediates similar scenes between Starling and Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs to quite different effects.

Refiguring Family: Rhetoric, Feminist Voices, and Digital Publishing

by Kelly Bradbury, The College of Staten Island, CUNY; Paul Muhlhauser, McDaniel College; and Envera Dukaj, The Ohio State University

This essay, written exclusively for Women & Language, is a biographical piece exploring the experiences of three editors for a special issue of the interactive digital magazine Harlot. W&L is pleased to partner with Harlot to present this material through the W&L Alternative Scholarship page and the link below.

Harlot is dedicated to exploring rhetoric in everyday life, and a special issue called encouraged authors to consider Family Rhetoric or the ways in which family is constructed through language and imagery. To our surprise (the editors at Harlot) this call resulted in a record number of submissions to the magazine and an overwhelmingly high percentage of works were composed by women or focused on women’s experiences (such as mothering and motherhood), and a large percentage were composed in the form of a personal narrative. Wanting to know more about how and why this happened, we conducted a survey of authors who submitted to the Family Rhetoric issue. Refiguring Family: Rhetoric, Feminist Voices, and Digital Publishing explores the results of this survey and our speculations about why this issue struck such a strong chord with authors.

Their Daughter, Their Dispute: An Outcome of Child Support Enforcement Court

by Cindy J. Elmore, East Carolina University

This hyperlinked ethnographic essay describes the odyssey of one of the many custodial parents who struggled to get the child support enforcement system to collect on a child’s behalf. Four years of travails through a bureaucratic system of child support enforcement resulted in this day in child support enforcement court – a day with an unexpected culmination. As the details from ethnographic observation are shared, readers are able to click through words or phrases that lead to websites with further information or deeper explanations.Click here for pdf of essay with embedded hyperlinks. Click here for pdf of essay with embedded hyperlinks.

Absent Aunt-ing: Connections to/with Grief, Loss, & Forgiveness from a Dying Aunt

by Nicole L. Defenbaugh, Bloomsburg University

Ten years ago the author lost her only aunt to cancer at the age of forty-eight. Although she felt remorse for the loss of her aunt, their aunt-niece relationship had never developed because of family hostilities and a sibling feud. For many years the author’s aunt remained absent in their familial relationship until the day of her death. In this poetic memoir the author reflects on her grief, loss, and forgiveness from her absent aunt-ing relationship. She draws on Ellingson & Sotirin’s (2010) book Aunting: Cultural Practices that Sustain Family and Community Life in an effort to understand the aunting gap created by family rifts and to remember an absent aunt still present in her childhood memory. Click here for complete poem and supporting materials.

Wom(b)en Soundings

by Barbara Bickel, Southern Illinois University, and Ingrid Rose, Vancouver, BC

(with Mary Bennett, Nané Ariadne Jordan, Valerie Lys, Medwyn McConachy, Shirin Theophilus, Cathy Bone, Monica Brammer, Melodie Chant, Sophia Freigang, Tannis Hugill, Annie Smith, and Catherine Wilcox)

From within what post Lacanian artist/psychoanalyst Bracha Ettinger describes as the Matrixial, a theoretical language with its foundation in the symbology of the womb, has emerged. In this essay fourteen women’s voices encounter and reattune with the m/Other through a process of co-emergence and co-fading in the form of lyric prose. Drawing from a collaborative qualitative arts-based study of women spiritual leaders committed to multi-faith education, wom(b)en soundings calls us to relearn the holy language of peace. Vibrating with the frequencies of several strings that perform a poetic of ethics, this writing holds the potential to shift, transform and reform each of us in the midst of relations of difference. Click here for the complete Wom(b)en Soundings.

Seeing Dixie: Exposing Patriarchy in an Internet Meme

by Kathryn A. Cady, Robert Alan Brookey, and Renee Powers

Our new alternative Alternative Scholarship entry is available through this link:

The Dixie Square Mall may symbolize the decline of U.S. mall culturegenerally, but the creators propose there is an implicit gender valence to the meme and that the mall symbolizes a feminine space that has been violated.  The blog considers how this violation and subsequent deterioration is held up online for a masculine scopophilic gaze. For information on this project and its creators, Kathryn A. Cady, Robert Alan Brookey, and Renee Powers, click here.

“Hello Kitty Does Gender in Four Scenes”

by Sandra Faulker from Bowling Green State University

This is W&L’s  first Alternative Scholarship entry.  It includes a video and a transcript with exegetical commentary. In these poems, the well-known fictional character, Hello Kitty, interrogates issues of gender in four institutional contexts. The use of the now ubiquitous Kitty (, whose image is on products ranging from toasters to coin purses, allows a critique of gender roles, gendered language, and understandings of gendered work because the details of experience are fictionalized.

Watch the video:

More “Hello Kitty Does Gender:”  Transcript & Exegesis. . .


Women & Language Alternative Scholarship Call

Women & Language embraces the scholarly freedoms of a computer-mediated and digitally-enabled world by publishing aesthetic texts, crystallized research findings, and other forms of scholarly or creative work that may not be possible to disseminate through traditional print journals. We are particularly interested in artistic expression or cutting edge scholarship that explores, advances, challenges, and celebrates issues of communication, language, and gender. To this end, we welcome the submission of a wide variety of artistic creations or manuscripts including (but not limited to) documentary or other original film production, photography, digitally generated or digitally captured art, filmed performances, documentation of culture jamming or flash mobs, online games, animations, poetry, original musical or spoken-word recordings, and video essays. We will also consider extended qualitative research manuscripts or autoethnographic work that may exceed traditional journal page limits. Across these media, submissions should highlight their contributions to scholarship on gender, language, and communication.

Submissions: If your submission can be e-mailed and is under 2MB in size, please send it to Alternative Scholarship Editor Jimmie Manning at Contributors who have the ability to place their document or project online for download may send the access link to the same e-mail address. All other submissions may be sent via traditional Postal Service on a CD, DVD, or flash drive to:

Jimmie Manning; Alternative Scholarship Editor, Women & Language; Department of Communication; Northern Illinois University; DeKalb, IL 60115; 815-753-1563

Authors should specify software requirements for viewing or listening. Length should be appropriate to the work but no longer than 30 minutes; shorter pieces are preferred. Permission for use and copyright acknowledgment for all links and incorporated materials must be either embedded in the piece or listed in an accompanying file. All work will be posted on the site for six months and then archived.