Body Image & Wellness

Unattainable and idealized images of women’s and girls’ bodies are visible in every aspect of advertising and mass communication. Women and girls are bombarded constantly with messages that treat them as objects of sexual fantasy and exploitation or that demean them. Popular culture promotes unrealistic standards of beauty and makes women – particularly young women – susceptible to distorted body images, low self-esteem and psychological and eating disorders. The multi-billion dollar cosmetic surgery industry poses increased health risks for women, including life-long disfigurement. Researchers in our network are documenting negative messaging while encouraging a healthy representation of female beauty in which intellect, creativity and character trump thinness and physical perfection.

Institute for Research on Women and Gender

The Institute for Research on Women and Gender fosters collaboration and further the research of all U-M faculty members and graduate students who use the lens of women and gender to pursue their studies.
 
IRWG provides direct research funding and valuable expertise to those seeking external funding.
 
IRWG sponsors a wide variety of lectures, symposia, and other forums geared to faculty and students in all disciplines, at all levels. Many of our free programs appeal to the general public.
 
IRWG enables faculty members to design their own multidisciplinary, multiyear programs that examine significant issues related to women and gender.

Contact

204 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1290
Ph. (734) 764-9537
Fx. (734) 764-9533
http://www.umich.edu/~irwg/
irwg@umich.edu


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Principal Staff

Sarah Fenstermaker, Director
E-mail: umsarah@umich.edu

Deborah Keller-Cohen, Senior Associate Director
E-mail: dkc@umich.edu

Hannah Rosen, Interim Associate Director
E-mail: hrosen@umich.edu

Debra M. Schwartz, Senior Public Relations Representative
E-mail: schwarde@umich.edu

Terrence W. Crimes, Business Administrator
E-mail: tcrimes@umich.edu

Lisa Parker, Contract and Grant Administrator
E-mail: wooliver@umich.edu
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Featured Events

Employment Opportunities

Projects & Campaigns

IRWG supports original, faculty-led programs that reach across the university, each one linking several U-M departments, interdisciplinary programs, or professional schools in a focused examination of a particular area or topic related to women and gender. IRWG Faculty Programs are usually funded for a two-year period, but some are long-standing.
 
IRWG welcomes program proposals that explore differences and commonalities among and between women and men in the multicultural United States and internationally. Typical programs involve a series of public events, workshops, and other creative activities that might inform a future research project or result in a publication or performance. Funding for as much as $10,000 is available for approved programs.

Click here for a list of Current Faculty Programs.

Click here for a list of Past Faculty Programs.


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Reports & Resources

Adolescents and Girls

Children's Time with Fathers in Intact Families, Pamela Davis-Kearn.

Gender, Puberty, and Objectification, Karin Martin.

Arts

Tharp, Feminism, and Postmodern Dance, Sally Banes.

Art/Girl: Graffiti, Femininity, and the Career of Lady Pink, Kristina Milnor.

No Place for a Woman? Critical Narratives and Erotic Graffiti from Pompeii, Kristina Milnor.

Family Stories/Family Pictures: Mothers With Cameras, Joanne Leonard.

Representation of Women in Art History: An Overview, Patricia Simons.

Censorship

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in Law, Abigail Carter.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in Sociology, Susannah Dolance.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in Literature, Leslie Dorfman Davis.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in Feminist Theory and Philosophy, Troy Gordon.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in Education, Edwina Hansbrough.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in the Mass Media, Edwina Hansbrough.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in Psychology, Zaje Harrell.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in Visual and Performing Arts, Libby Otto.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in Economics, Lucie Schmidt.

Studies in Gender Based Censorship: An Annotated Bibliography in American History, Chris Talbot.

Feminist Thought and Scholarship

Objectification Theory: Emotional Consequences of Sexual, Barbara Fredrickson.

Feminist Foundations: Practicing Feminism in the Community. A transcript of a panel at the conference, Feminists at Work: Multicultural, Feminist Influences on Practice, sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Program in Feminist Practice, The University of Michigan, October 16-17, 1998.

Giving It Up: Disrupting White 'Innocence,' Re-Educating White Feminism, Gail Griffin.

International Issues - Religion

The Home and Garden are a Small Paradise for Women: Men and Women Gendering Bosnjak Nationalism in Muslim Bosnia-Hercegovina, Elissa Helms (1997).

Health and Health Care

Dual Autobiography and AIDS Witnessing, Ross Chambers.

Improving Pregnancy Outcomes during Imprisonment

Initial Exposure to Nicotine in College-age Women smokers and Never-smokers, Cynthia Pomerlau.

Mental Illness and Substance abuse: Implications for Women's Health and Health Care Access, Beth Glover Reed and Carol Mowbray.

Representations of Women's Bodies and Birthing, Carolyn Sampselle.

Women and Stress, Elizabeth Young.

Mental Health

Rumination and Depression in Women, Susan Nolen-Hoeksema.

Serious Mental Illness: Women and Parenting, Carol Mowbray.

History

Telling An Untellable Story: White "Daughter" Black "Mother" After the Cuban Revolution, Ruth Behar.

Prison Discipline, Reform and Debate: Negotiating the Female Prisoner in Nineteenth-Century England, Susanna Calkins.

The Figure of the Adulteress in the Construction of the "Cult of True Womanhood" in the19th-Century American Moral Reform Literature, Lisa Cochran.

Remembering a Forgotten Past, or Why Have We Only Heard of Ballerinas, Lynn Garafola.

The Pasha's Prostitutes: Rethinking Women, the State, and Female Prostitution in Nineteenth Century Egypt, Mario Ruiz.

International Issues - Prostitution

Making A Spectacle: The Nightly Transformations of Egyptian Nightclub Performers in a Conservative Age, Katherine Zirbel.

Contraband Women, Immigration Tricks of the Sex Trade, and State Visions of Migrant Women Workers' Rights? The 1997 Toronto Massage Parlour Raids, Cheryl Harrison.

Politics

Institutional Gender Analysis: Running for the Russian Duma, Janet Johnson.

Visions of Citizenship: Questioning the Liberal Promise of Equality, Elizabeth Wingrove.

Reproductive Rights

Informed Consent Issues in Assisted Reproduction, Nancy Reame.

Recent Trends in Abortion Legislation in Central Europe, Eleonora Zielinska.

Rural Women - International Issues

The (Wo)man in the Cashew: Gender and Development in Rural Belize, Melissa Johnson.

Sexuality

Images of Fashion: Constructing the Visible Body, Olga Vainshtein.

Sports and Fitness

Your Hair is Caked, Your Limbs are Sore: Gender, "Roughing It," and Class in Early Yosemite Tourism, Stephanie Palmer.

Violence Against Women

Assessing Sexual Harassment among Latinas, Lilia Cortina.

Domestic Violence Against Women in Serbia, Zorica Mrsevic.

Offender Interventions to End Violence Against Women, Daniel Saunders.

Women of Color

Dis/Arming the Black Champ: Joe Louis and the Legacy of Racial Uplift in the Post-Civil Rights Movement, Marlon Ross.

Violence

Seng, Julia, and Mickey Sperlich. 2008. Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering, and Healing after Sexual Abuse.


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Center News

Opportunities, Grants & Fellowships

 
IRWG’s Faculty Seed Grant program was established in 1996. It enhances scholarship on women and gender at U-M by supporting disciplinary and interdisciplinary faculty projects. Support may be requested for individual activities, such as research assistance, research-related travel, or research materials--including books, microfilms, or similar items. Faculty Seed Grants also support collaborative projects, such as pilot studies or initial research efforts, study groups, or conference planning and implementation. Awards range from $500 to $10,000. The following criteria play some role in the award process:
 
 
In October, 2006, IRWG joined with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to launch the Sisters Fund, an innovative program to support vital projects that address global health issues related to women and gender. The idea for the fund came from women faculty and administrators, and in its early phase the fund was primarily supported by women—a first at U-M. Grants, varying in size from $500 to $10,000, are awarded to U-M faculty members engaged in scholarship or other creative activities that benefit local and global communities experiencing gender-based health disparities. We welcome applications from all academic disciplines, including the arts, humanities, and sciences. The Sisters Fund awards as many as two grants annually.
 
IRWG/Rackham Graduate Student Research Awards

The IRWG/Rackham Graduate Student Research Awards program provides $500 grants to U-M graduate students who are planning or conducting research, scholarship, and creative activities focusing on women and gender. These grants are for expenses such as books, travel, production or exhibition costs, software, data collection, or payment of subjects. Students at any stage in their graduate careers may apply. Although most awards are made to doctoral-level students, students currently in master’s degree programs, but planning research or creative careers, are invited to apply.

Boyd/Williams Fellowship for Research on Women & Work

The Boyd/Williams fellowship is awarded annually to a U-M doctoral student writing a dissertation related to women and work. Successful proposals promote knowledge and enhance understanding of the complexities of women’s roles in relation to their paid and unpaid labor (e.g. philanthropy, volunteerism, community involvement, domestic work, and political activity). The fellowship provides funding in the amount of $2,000.

IRWG/Rackham Community of Scholars

The Community of Scholars (COS) is a four-month summer fellowship program. It is intended to support U-M graduate students who are engaged in research, scholarship, or other creative activities that focus on women and/or gender.

 
The purpose of the IRWG Senior Scholar Visitor program  is to bring accomplished senior faculty presently employed in academic institutions outside the University of Michigan to  IRWG for up to a year  to engage in research that advances our understanding of women/gender and/or sexuality. Visiting Senior Scholars are expected to offer a public lecture, hold one master class meeting with dissertation students and participate in the intellectual environment of the institute. In selection decisions we consider the applicant's field of interest, scholarly achievement, plan of research, and fit with the institute’s current interests and intellectual community. Scholars from the United States and abroad who hold a PhD, as well as creative artists with a terminal degree in their field, are encouraged to apply. In addition to office space, IRWG will provide a $5000 stipend per term and $1000 for research/ professional expenses.

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Wellesley Centers for Women

At the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), Wellesley College, we believe that disciplined, relevant research and theory paired with innovative training and action programs are key building blocks for social progress.
 
Since 1974, WCW has conducted interdisciplinary studies on issues such as: gender equity in education, sexual harassment in schools, child care, adolescent development, gender violence, and women’s leadership—studies that have influenced private practices and public policy.
 
WCW staff members provide professional development for educators, child caregivers, and youth workers that encourage children’s social-emotional development and enhance learning environments and safety.
 
Other WCW scholars have dedicated themselves to the prevention of psychological problems, the enhancement of psychological well-being, and the search for a more comprehensive understanding of human deve

Contact

106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203
Ph. 781-283-2500
Fx. 781-283-2504
http://www.wcwonline.org
newswcw@wellesley.edu


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Featured Events

Employment Opportunities

Projects & Campaigns

Child and Adolescent Development

Scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women have conducted research studies and evaluations on issues related to child and adolescent development, including issues around race, ethnicity, immigrant status, and identity; the effects of early child care; the value of physical activity; preventing depression; examining unique family dynamics; and exploring sexuality and evaluating sex-education programming.

Childcare

Scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women have studied the ability of public schools to prepare young children for lifelong learning and have shaped local, state, and federal policies. Our groundbreaking research, policy development, and training programs set the standards for out-of-school time, and continue to inform the field in new areas, including physical activity programming.

 
Scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) have conducted research on a range of educational issues, including quality early education; equitable opportunities in STEM fields and literacy; and bullying prevention and sex-education programming. Scholars and trainers from WCW have also developed curricula and facilitated programs that promote equity and diversity and social-emotional learning in educational settings. Our research has raised public consciousness about serious education issues and has informed public policy.
 
 
Scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women have conducted numerous research studies on issues related to gender violence, including bullying- and sexual harassment-prevention programs in schools, and patterns of and interventions for intimate partner violence, including family violence and teen dating violence.
 
 
Work by scholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women led to Relational-Cultural Theory, an understanding that has dramatically changed counseling and psychotherapy practices. Through training institutes, this work continues to be developed and implemented. Researchers committed to the prevention of depression in at-risk youth have undertaken studies to identify effective intervention programming for adolescents and families. Trainers and educators at the Centers develop curricula and facilitate training to promote social-emotional learning in elementary schools.
 
 
Scholars are the Wellesley Centers for Women have conducted research on economic implications of public policy; undertaken studies and audits; facilitated network building; and produced valuable resources for advocates, policy makers, and legal professionals in the U.S. and abroad. This work covers a broad range of issues related to the social and economic development of women, children, and persons with disabilities.
 
 
Scholars at the Wellesley Centers undertake research initiatives that explore issues affecting work/life balance, including child care, work-leave policies, and gender roles. Research and action programs that address women’s leadership inform business practice and policy in the U.S. and within our global-network-partner communities. The Women’s Review of Books, a special publication of the Centers, puts women’s perspectives and voices at the center of literary contributions.

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Reports & Resources

For all publications, click here.


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Center News

THE GIRLS REPORT: What We Know & Need to Know About Growing Up Female

"Seven years ago the National Council for Research on Women and its member centers issued major reports on the status of girls in society, in schools, and in youth organizations in the United States. Since then, university researchers and popular writers have focussed attention on girls. The Girls Report is a fresh and timely look at every aspect of life for girls as we look toward the new millenium.

"If the reports in the early 1990s struck a chord of concern and a call to action, the tone of this report is optimism and activism. As we say at Girls Incorporated, girls are strong, smart and bold unless society puts barriers in their way. Lynn Phillips and the National Council staff have captured the strength, the energy, and the possibilities of girls on their way to becoming young women, while calling on the rest of us to be vigilant in supporting girls' high hopes and expectations for their own achievement."

Teaser: 

The Girls Report surveys current studies on girls, mapping theoretical debates, countering popular myths with recent research findings, and highlighting successful programs serving diverse populations. Chapters on education, health, self-esteem, violence, sexuality, and economic realities conclude with clear recommendations for action. A comprehensive bibliography offers resources to educators, researchers, policymakers, and all concerned with increasing opportunities for girls.

Cover Image: 

GIRLS FORUM: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

February 10, 2009 posted by admin My first memory in life is of my mom holding me up as a human shield to try get my dad to stop beating her—possibly to stop from killing her. I was 2-years-old at the time. My book for young women, RESPECT: A GIRL'S GUIDE TO GETTING RESPECT AND DEALING WHEN YOUR LINE IS CROSSED (Free Spirit Publishing, 2005), was born out of a life riddled with disrespect. Like many girls and women I’ve met, I grew up in this home where domestic violence, addictions, incarceration, near poverty and "-isms" from racism to sexism were diminishing my family. But I was one of the lucky ones who discovered the many keys to breaking this cycle. Through following my passions, discovering my mission in life and getting help--among other Steps to Respect--I learned that respect is always within reach because true respect starts on the inside.  Now as I travel the country coaching girls and women, I hear a lot of stories just like mine. And as part of this work, I share with them an amazing video made by Jennifer Uribe, our 19-year-old program assistant at Respect Rx (a venture I founded last year). Jen's video includes powerful stats  that some girls have heard and some haven't, like: 


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GIRLS FORUM: See Dad

February 5, 2009 posted by admin How often is a girl’s Dad hidden in plain sight? Seeing fathers is an innovative step to increase and sustain girls’ self-esteem and self-efficacy considering the numerous obstacles they face. Seeing Dad is also a step that’s readily available, if not always easy to take. The power and potential of father-daughter relationships remain fairly invisible among advocates for girls and professionals working with girls and their families.  But a moment’s reflection reveals how important Dad and/or Stepdad is in Daughter’s life. Nearly every adult woman can identify ways her father (and/or stepfather) influenced her. Ask any group of adult women about their relationships with their fathers, and you rarely get a lukewarm answer.  You’ll hear something along the lines of either “He’s one of my heroes” or “He’s an [expletive deleted].”  Dads have unique influence in the lives of their daughters and stepdaughters.  A father’s actions (and inactions) set the standard of “man” for his daughter—what she can expect as normal from boys now and men later.  Dad also profoundly affects his daughter’s concept of “partner.”  His behavior in relationship with his daughter’s other parent(s) sets her standard for what’s normal and acceptable from her own eventual life partner(s), regardless of gender.


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GIRLS FORUM: Navigating Girlhood to Womanhood from New Moon’s Nancy Gruver

February 5, 2009 posted by admin We asked activists and scholars in the girl’s rights movement to draft a letter to President Obama, outlining their Girls Agenda for 2009.  Here’s what Nancy Gruver, founder and CEO of New Moon Magazine had to say: Dear President Obama: As Malia and Sasha’s proud father I don’t need to tell you how having daughters can give you new eyes on the world.  My daughters, Mavis and Nia, are adults now.  But it feels like just last week that they were ten years old and I was worrying about how to help them navigate the treacherous journey from girlhood to womanhood.  We started New Moon Girls magazine together to give girls a place to express themselves and make the world better. I believe you agree that growing up should mean increasing opportunities as well as responsibilities for our daughters.  It should mean increasing respect and rewards for their intelligence, creativity, and skills.  It should mean they have access to equal education and healthcare, including effective pregnancy prevention.  It should mean they have the freedom to walk down the street or go on a date without worrying they might be attacked just because they are female.


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GIRLS FORUM: Deborah Tolman on Enhancing the Resiliency of Girls

February 3, 2009 posted by admin We asked advocates and scholars working on issues affecting girls’ lives to address the national conversation on girl’s needs, desires, and rights. What would they like to see changed?  Below is the first response in this week’s forum: Health is not just the absence of disease or risk.  It is the ability to live in a healthy body, with a healthy mind and spirit.   Girls need more than the elimination of risks and dangers in their lives, environments, schools, neighborhoods, homes. They need the encouragement and information that can enable them to live in the positive.   Most government funded research focuses on what, how and sometimes why negative practices, forces, impacts can be eradicated.   How about some effort, energy and resources getting behind what works for diverse girls?  What girls need to enhance their resilience not just to minimize their risks?


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