Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Beyoncé Songs Re-Imagined as Undergraduate Theses in Women’s and Gender Studies

Baby Boy: The Sociocultural Effects of Prolonged Male Adolescence

Check on It: The Gendered Dynamics of Male Spectatorship in Urban Public Spaces

Crazy in Love: The Diagnosis and Treatment of “Female Hysteria” During the Late Nineteenth Century

Naughty Girl: Disidentification and the Performance of Female Sexual Promiscuity

Cater 2 U: Female Subservience and the Reinforcement of Hegemonic Gendered Power Structures

Get Me Bodied: A Radical Critique of the Sex/Gender Binary

Freakum Dress: The Role of Consumerism in the Construction and Assertion of Female Sexuality

Videophone: Social Networking Technology and the Deconstruction of the Dominant Gaze

Run the World (Girls): Historical Perspectives on Global Female Leadership

Bills Bills Bills: The Dual-Income Model and the Reshaping of the Domestic Sphere

Soldier: The Hypermasculinization of U.S. Military Culture

Independent Women: Girl I Didn’t Know You Could Get Down (to Business in the Public Sphere and Still Be Expected to Perform Domestic Labor During the “Second Shift”) Like That

Alli Farer lives in New York and her greatest regret is not naming her undergraduate thesis "Ladies Leave Your Man at Home."

Photo by arvzdix, via Shutterstock

136 Comments / Post A Comment


This is why I read the Hairpin.

Nic Knack

@pterodactgirl yes! i second.


@pterodactgirl THIRDED. Verbatim what I thought when I read the first one.


@pterodactgirl exactly.

bouncy castle

@pterodactgirl Exactly what I thought when I saw the title of the post.


@bouncy castle This and "So You've Decided to Take Some Time for Yourself". And also A Spider, whom I miss.

Katie Heaney

Dammit I have SO many papers that could have used this model.


More colons needed. One of my classes in undergrad managed to stack up 4 colons in one course title and ever since I have taken it as my model in all things.


@annepersand That's what he/she said.



@nyikin "That's what he said: Rumor, hearsay, and the sin of knowledge in The Scarlet Letter"


@annepersand Or or or! "That's what she said: Gossip as an oppressor of Wicca's practitioners in 'The Crucible'."


Amazing amazing amazing! I want a job where I do this all day. My absolute favourite thing is analysing whether random bits of pop culture (mostly Lady Gaga) are "ANTI FEMINIST" or "FEMINIST and just being ironic and, like, drawing attention to what's wrong with our society by EMBODYING those wrongs... or something... I'll work it out while doing a sitting down dance to Telephone"
-Dances to Telephone-

@thechouxbrunette Gaga's Telephone: Technologies of Discourse and the Politics of Dance


@thechouxbrunette Oh my God, I so want to write about this exact topic. Co authors?


All the Single Ladies: An Analysis of the Socio-Economic Changes for Post-Boomer Middle-Class Women and the Postponement of Marriage.


@ejcsanfran Exactly. Single Ladies was clearly the obvious choice here.


@ejcsanfran Halo: The Deification of the Mother in Mid-Century Popular Culture

Lily Rowan

If I Were a Boy: Living Gender Identity Within a Kyriarchical System


I Don't Think You're Ready for This Jelly: The Smuckers Corporation, Monocrop Farming and the Destruction of the Strawberry as an Outgrowth of Women Entering the Workforce and Relying on Mass-Produced Food


By Katie Roiphe.


Can someone please do Bootylicious?


@ejcsanfran Bootylicious: A Critique of the Female Form and Contemporary Standards of Beauty: Are We Ready for This Jelly?


@Layla: HA! Excellent. And thank you!


@ejcsanfran Oh my god. I love you.


Haha this is great, love it! Very Hairpin.

Elvis Costello's Spectacles

This is brilliant!

However, in the latest instalment of I Live Under A Rock (subheading: And Never Really Listened to Destiny's Child Anyway), I decided to Google 'Cater 2 U' as I was hoping it would be a typically sassy put-down of demanding men getting all up in their independent women's faces, and would thus make up for the questionable use of text speak in the title. So I read the lyrics and... can somebody PLEASE tell me that it was a highly ironic piece of performance art? An elaborate practical joke? Recorded at gunpoint? Please??


@Elvis Costello's Spectacles
I'll fetch your slippers. Ironically.

No that doesnt work.


@teaandcakeordeath Take your slippers and may you never have a day's luck with them!


@Teffodee Marry Freddie? What an absurd idea.


You impudent hussy!


@teaandcakeordeath Now that you've made a lady of me, I'm not fit to sell anything else!!


At a time like this, it's positively indecent that you don't need a glass of port!

Haley Mlotek

This is relevant to all my interests (women's studies, Beyonce).


@haley Who needs more than two interests anyway!


Aw, 'reminds me of The V-Girls. I recall "Manet's Olympia: Posed and Skirted" with fondness.


@laurel Um, I totally took a class with Jessica Chalmers in college. She is fantastic. Seriously, it seems impossible that you and I don't know each other in real life sometimes!


@dietrich MAYBE WE DO!!!


@laurel MOM?!!


@laurel This is excellent! I can't believe I had never come across this before.


I know it's early in the day (Los Angeles) but I can say with certainty this article will be the best thing I read ALL DAY.

Jessica Langlois

Good Stuff. Crazy in Love's subtitle is my favorite.

Okay.. how about this -- Cater 2 U: Dominant/Subservient Roleplay and Discourse in Mobile Communications Vernacular

Eh? Am I close?


Irreplaceable: Chirality in Packing Dynamics Following Relationship Dissolution.


This just gave me an idea for a paper on unmarried women, religious identification, and social and economic agency in early twentieth century South Africa. Much like Beyonce, it's been done before but not like this. Now I just need to go back to grad school.


Wait . . . are you saying I can't use these for my dissertation?


Good Lord that was amazing.


These are fantastic. I'm trying to come up with a good one for my favorite piece of Destiny's Child ridiculousness, "Nasty Girl."

@Mandykins The Nasty Girl: Prompting Discourse of the Urban Feminist Experience and Disrupted Empowerment


@S. Elizabeth Love it!


Haha, yes. <3 you hairpin!

Whitmans Sampler

How about
"Soldier: The Appropriation of Military Terms by Urban Culture"?

@Whitmans Sampler Solider Boy: A Reflection of Urban Combat and Youth (dis)empowerment

Better to Eat You With

@S. Elizabeth Bonus points for working in the parentheses.

Tragically Ludicrous

Not really Beyonce, but once I called a paper Got to Be Real: Football Manager and Intellectual Reality in Computer Games. I regret nothing.

Jon Custer

@Tragically Ludicrous Also you wrote a paper about Football Manager. Talk about burying the lede (that's right Choire, LEDE).

Jenny K

This is relevant to my interests!


AAAH! I love this. And I actually have to leave right now to go to my women and Spiritual Practices class at 2. (I can see your halo, halo, halo)


I've never understood why humanities thesis titles are structured this way. Could anyone enlighten me?


It's all smoke and mirrors to distract you from the fact that we don't actually know anything. I will swallow my own pride and confess here that my humanities thesis combined the terms "pashlost," "the internal female Gothic subject" and "Shirley Jackson."

I was unemployed for a year after graduating college.

It is also possible, upon further reflection, that plenty of humanities students who were not me know lots of things and I was the exception, rather than the rule.

Tragically Ludicrous

@Jizzcliner It's kind of become expected, so often it just doesn't read right without that kind of structure. Also, it's fun as hell to smush in almost-relevant song lyrics into your Serious Research and and after writing a paper you need some kind of levity.


@Jizzcliner Why the fuck not: I mean, it's not like we know what we're saying: Shall I just through some nouns in here and see what happens? It's time for: An investigation of humanities thesis titles


Just trying to get our money's worth of punctuation. If we're going to sink $30K into an education that will render us useless in today's marketplace, we're taking all the ampersands and semicolons with us: OCCUPY STRUNK & WHITE.


@melis 1% of literate Americans control 99% of punctuation! 47% of Americans use NO PUNCTUATION WHATSOEVER.


@annepersand I was born and raised in America and have done just fine without government punctuation handouts I am proud of how I live and I dont want no part of your whining because I work sixty hours a week with absolutely no em dashes and Im fine with it so shove that up your colon


@MollyculeTheory Everything that just happened in that slurry of words is the reason that I will love you forever.


@MollyculeTheory Sounds like something an adherent of the Chicago Manual of Style would say.


@MollyculeTheory Well I guess that's one way of dodging the Oxford comma question.... the COWARD'S way.


This wasn't meant to be some sort of STEM chauvinism. I've totally been inspired by Clone High's "What It's Like to Be a Teenage Clone: A Rope of Sand" and used "Compact Operators and the Invariant Subspaces that Love Them: A Rope of Sand" for a senior term project. It really draws the reader in without giving too much away.

Jon Custer

@Jizzcliner Social sciences do it to. The format is usually "Pun: Jargon jargon jargon."

Jon Custer

@Jon Custer Or, occasionally, "Jargon jargon jargon: Pun?"


@annepersand: My OKCupid profile mentioned my opposition to the serial comma (unless required for clarity, obv). In related news, I am still single.


@ejcsanfran Well, I should HOPE SO. Opposed to the serial comma, my foot.

simone eastbro

@melis shirley jackson is extremely relevant to my interests. why have we not discussed this.

simone eastbro

@annepersand right? he's a barbarian. i would know. i have met him.


@annepersand: I am reporting your cruel insult to my parents, Jesus Christ and Edith. Wait a minute - that doesn't look right...



throwaway style

@Jizzcliner it's to make the papers sound way more fun than they actually are.


@MollyculeTheory Can I like this a million times?


@annepersand As an English teacher, I can cosign these statistics.


This is relevant to my (current) playlist!

Two-Headed Girl

The working title for the paper I'm writing now is actually a Bey song. This may have inspired me to "accidentally" forget to change it.

They always say they want clever titles...

Tragically Ludicrous

@Two-Headed Girl oh man the amount of times I've "accidentally" forgotten to change working song-lyric titles to papers is...uh, probably all of them starting grad school last year?

Better to Eat You With

@Tragically Ludicrous I once called a poem for workshop "Double Dutch" after the Liz Phair song. My prof wrote on my draft, "I'm glad you didn't pick 'Fuck and Run.'"


@Two-Headed Girl Oh man I used a working title that was random ONCE and got accused of cheating. I saved my senior thesis as "I hate this paper" in Arabic - it was just the file name. When I sent it in my prof/advisor was all like "who is this person whose name is what the document is saved as hmmmmm????" and I had to very painfully explain what it meant and link to google translate.


@MissMushkila In retrospect a song would have been a much better outlet for my frustration.


Rutgers was way ahead of y'all. Fall 2010, WGS 250, Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyonce. We watched videos and read Angela Davis, trash-talked Taylor Swift and listened to Nina Simone. My final paper was on Janet's "Rhythm Nation 1814." You are jealous. I don't blame you.

simone eastbro

@Sapphireblue "Speak Now: The Politics of White Privilege and the Female Voice in Public Discourse"


@simone eastbro I doff my slouchy knit cap in a brightly colored yarn to you, despite the risk that doing so could muss my princess hair.

simone eastbro

@Sapphireblue that is why i go for the utilitarian pigtail braids.


interesting)) I've never looked at her song that way


It was in High School, but I don't think I ever quite topped Burn Baby Burn: Dante's Inferno. It was an in-class essay and I got a late start on it because my page kept getting passed around for my classmates to have the opportunity to snicker at it. Which is probably a metaphor for my whole high school experience?

I don't know. Beyonce.


I am just jealous as hell because the one time I tried to do the cutesy title thing, my professor circled it like, 10 times and was like "RELEVANT????" which we all know is the kiss of death to anyone academically inclined because the answer is always "...no," to everything.

Jolly Farton

@annepersand Fuck that professor.


@annepersand UGH I think I had that professor too. :( Now I write fiction where you can do all manner of goofy shit and it's always relevant because CREATIVITY.

simone eastbro

@annepersand i think they meant "RELEVANT [to my interests]"

Anne Helen Petersen

@simone eastbro As a professor, I can say YES TO EVERY POP CULTURE REFERENCE : WHAT THE PAPER IS REALLY ABOUT title. Ever. So much better than "Response Paper."


@lilly pilgrim And run.


@Anne Helen Petersen The kid who attached a picture of Bruce Jenner to his job letter assignment with a note that said "This is my résumé" got a bonus point from me.

Oh, Seagull

@Anne Helen Petersen I once did a cosmo style title that I somehow actually turned in. "Dirty Sex and Bad Relationships: D.H. Lawrence Explains Why We Do It and How We Can Stop."

Yep. Undergraaaad.


Suga Mama: The effects of economic recession on male–female income disparity in the United States

The Lady of Shalott

All my undergraduate papers that I could do this with inevitably had titles punning on the names of books. It was like what would happen if that book-title-pun post from a couple days ago and this post had a baby.


@The Lady of Shalott One time I wrote a paper on Medieval medicine called "A Sense of Humours"


i am now retronaming one of my papers "ladies leave your man at home: department stores as feminine space in london's west end, 1890-1914"

simone eastbro

@propermake RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. "shopping for pleasure"?


@simone eastbro more like you can only shop or go to a tea room by yourself or else you're a skanky skank. only applies to upper and middle class women; working class women had a lot more urban territory at the time.

simone eastbro

@propermake no, i know. the book i've read about that is called "shopping for pleasure." that shit blew my mind.


@simone eastbro my bad. i must have reference that at the time, if it was published in 2001. it's been like 8 years, although i'm feeling tempted to dig it out of the harddrives.


Like fake academic titles? There's a Twitter account for that: http://twitter.com/AcademicTitles

So good.


@rachelp That's excellent.

Jon Custer

Semi-related: a friend of mine reports that his English lit classmate wrote an extensive and well-argued paper on how Outkast's "Bombs over Baghdad" was about the (2003) Iraq war.

throwaway style

It's like the Hairpin can read my ladybrainz. Is it weird that I think like this all the time?


Spooky timing. As we speak I'm preparing an abstract for a Kanye-based paper titled "Don't Know What It Is With Females." #notajoke


Academic Paper Titles: Are They Better with Colons? An Inventory of Obvious Questions

dalek in heels

OMG ALLI!!! Bethany just texted me (this is Sarah btw) that you got a Hairpin post but not what it was, so of course I flipped out, came over here, and as soon as I saw this title, I knew it had to be yours. YOU ARE BRILLIANT AS USUAL. I want to write that "Crazy in Love" thesis. Also, can you please do something like this for your beloved Mariah now?


@dalek in heels "Vision of Love": The Dialectics of the (Fe)Male Gaze,

Amy Schiller@facebook

For the deeper Beyonce catalog:

Me, My"Self" and I: Pronouned Personhood as Resistance to Heteronormativity.


I created an account on here just so I could say how brilliant this is.

If anyone actually writes a thesis or essay using one of these points, I would love to read it. Ha :)

Paul Tierry@facebook

nice trends


My day has been made.


Oh heyyy, just popped in to say LOVE THIS.


That book you're reading? I wrote it
That text you're teaching? I wrote it
'Cause I got my degree!

All the women who academic,
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys who love to study,
Throw your hands up at me
All the mommas who live as scholas,
Throw your hands up at me
All the ladies who know their Plato
Throw your hands up at me...


@Katherine@twitter this whole column and comments section is awesome sauce, but this...this is purely amaze balls. I'm laughing so hard tears are dancing down my face.

T. Ljung
T. Ljung

Hmm. My friends and I came up with this very same game 3 years ago, but used all pop songs: http://thelms.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/i-call-this-piece-untitled-blog-post-1-2/

some of our examples:

Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne = Social Expectations and the Electra Complex: interactions in post-millennial Canada.”

Spice Up Your Life =The East Indian Trading Co and Third Wave Feminism: Globalized seasonal additives and feminine expectations of social ability

I Just Called to Say I Love you = Authenticity enhanced in emotive greetings that lack ulterior motives.

Total Eclipse of the Heart = Complete Cardiac Obscuration in post-romantic subjects.

Ice Ice Baby= Ubiquitous crystalline solvents and neonatal formative experience

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

If I had written about hysteria for my gender and technology class, I would have straight-up stolen the "Crazy In Love" title.


This is possibly the greatest thing I have ever heard.
I love you, Hairpin.


Cough, cough -> http://bit.ly/beysregistry


A talented 15 Year old Rapper from Toronto With a nasty flow nicknamed "Ee-maann" who made a single song called Astonishing which is now on the rise , Maybe you should consider writing about him . here's a link to his single http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Akb7GKeA4pU .


If I were a boy: Gender dissatisfaction and the new age of radical transgender surgery


Countdown: the Myths of Nuclear Proliferation in the Age of US Empire

1+1: the Education Crisis in the Wake of Neoliberal Politics

Bow Down: The Global Manufacturing of Economic Dependence on the the United States

Love on Top: the Politics of Gay Sex and Masculinity

Me, Myself, & I: Self-Reflexivity and its Schizophrenic Counterpart

Deja Vu: La politique de l'oubli (French Prerequisite)

Best Thing I Never Had: the Futility and Impossibility of the American Dream


Um....so I actually wrote a paper on Beyonce during my tenure in grad school. It was for a Performance Studies class on divas. The title?

"Suga/Mama: A Critical Analysis of the Media’s Treatment of Beyonce’s Pregnant Body"

So yeah, sure, pretty much I'm a parody of myself. But whatever, I was actually pretty proud of my analysis.

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