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Cynthia Peters: In Case of Emergency

A while ago, I had a chance to learn about how I react in emergencies. The event unfolded on the street in front of my house. The emergency probably only lasted twenty minutes or so, but in my mind it has become symbolic of the general state of emergency we are living in all the Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: “Off Without Off”

“How was your weekend?” I ask my adult education students at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton. “Did you have any time off?” “Off without off,” is the usual answer. For these female service employees, there is no such thing as “off.” There’s only the question of which kind of work they are doing — Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Citizen Consumer

There is no such thing as too much detail when it comes to the corporate press directing its readers in how to shop, how to avoid engaging in civic life, and how to celebrate the trivial as the main source of respite from a harsh world. Having just finished reading the Boston Sunday Globe (December Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Curvy Women Can Sell Products Too!

Like any random American, I have consumed mountains of advertising featuring women’s cleavages, women’s tongues, women’s asses, and women’s firm and supple flesh — sometimes draped in a sliver of lemon peel, suggesting that a woman is — what? — a fruit waiting to be peeled and eaten, of course. So I was thoroughly surprised Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: WASP Values and Political Work

At a recent funeral of an African American family member, people took turns standing up to eulogize him. But they didn’t stand up alone. There was always one person, sometimes two, at their side, the assumption being that they might not be able to stand there alone. They might need someone to hold them up. Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Pink-ish, Blue-ish States R Us

When you opened your newspaper on November 4, you could be forgiven for thinking we live in a completely divided country. The blue states were on either coast, plus a couple of states in the middle, and the rest of the country was red. Many friends of mine — fellow activists and leftists — reacted Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Trim your thighs. Enhance your cleavage. Take a Bubble Bath

Recovering from a bit of surgery recently, I complained to a friend that I felt nauseous and that there was nothing I wanted to eat. “Well, I bet you’re losing weight!” she responded enthusiastically. Silly me for not noticing the built-in dieting benefits of my recent medical problems. Indeed, I should have been more aware. Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Don’t Let the Authorities Down!

“Peace Begins With YOU!” says the bold faced type of the subway station billboard in Boston’s Back Bay station. “What’s this?” I ask myself. “Have local peace groups scraped together their measly resources to purchase a billboard exhorting subway riders to work for peace?” Upon closer inspection, I notice that the billboard features a woman Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Talking Back to Chomsky

Our social change movements have benefited enormously from the work of Noam Chomsky. The incredible energy he brings to his speaking and writing means that millions have been exposed to his analysis of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. But he has one favorite rhetorical device that always makes me nervous. He’ll suggest that something is Read more…

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Cynthia Peters: Selling, Stalking, and Shaming

Superbowl 2004 offers a revealing window into how our culture views sex and sexuality. Namely, sex is a tool for persuading you to consume, for oppressing and demeaning others, and for making people feel guilty and confused about something that should be a right and a pleasure. By now everyone is aware that Janet Jackson Read more…

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