By Siobhan Phillips

Siobhan Phillips writes poems and essays. She teaches at Dickinson College.

  1. I’m sitting alone in Girvan, Scotland, on one of the longest days of the year, looking at the late sun and thinking about the women who all of a sudden caught fire. There were a good number of them. Enough, in the 1700s, to constitute a chapter in the medical literature. The most-quoted British case is Grace Pitt, a 60ish female whose charred corpse was discovered one morning in 1744—like “a log of…

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  2. More than any other art, classical ballet makes gender its problem. The focus is obvious but subtle. Almost every class is two-thirds female and the hallways of a ballet school are always disproportionately pink. But ballet also curates a vision of femininity as the very ideal of its practice. The vision is manifest not only in the old, narrative productions of the nineteenth century—like The Nutcracker, or Swan Lake, or Giselle—full of the tiaras and…

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