Our Bodies Tell the Story
Using Feminist Research and Friendship to Reimagine Education and Our Lives
Published: December 2022
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Published: December 2022

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Published: December 2022
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6" x 9"
Language: English

Our Bodies Tell the Story: Using Feminist Research and Friendship to Reimagine Education and Our Lives asks (and answers) a number of critical questions that are key to improving our educational system. How can we use our embodied stories to navigate and disrupt how schools and society reproduce the patriarchy and heteronormativity within our institutions of learning? How do we transgress oppressive boundaries (boundaries cultivated by the patriarchy that have been perpetuated at home, within school, outside of school, in university settings, and in communities) that permit our dehumanization and exclusion? As teachers, professors, and teacher educators, how do we navigate our students’ trauma when we are navigating the re-ignition of our own?

This book sets out to tell the story of how the authors have tried to answer these questions in their lives and work. It is the story of a friendship, a partnership, a narrative retelling of their “becoming” as girls, teenagers, women, teachers, wives, daughters, scholars, and mothers. From the earliest memories of their gendered and sexualized childhoods to the present navigation of sexism, heteronormativity, and trauma in the context of teaching and schools, these stories reside in their bodies. They recall, construct, and reexamine, emerging from their dialogues—from talking face-to-face, to email, to FB messenger, poetry, and text. Our Bodies Tell the Story centers around the co/autoethnography of personal narratives, stories, and a kind of survival testimonies, the ways in which the authors bore witness to each other’s lives.

The book extensively uses co/autoethnography as a self-study feminist research methodology that takes autoethnography, “a form of self-representation that complicates cultural norms by seeing autobiography as implicated in larger cultural processes” (Taylor & Coia, 2006, p. 278) and moves it beyond the singular to the plural. Using this methodology enables the authors to interweave their stories through dialogue, so that validity, insight, and analysis all emerge in the text. The book investigates the self within the social context of personal relationships, as well as the larger society. Creating a co/autoethnography is a rich, multi-layered endeavor because it is not conducted in a vacuum. As such, it is an important book for faculty and researchers involved in a number of disciplines, including auto/ethnographic research, gender studies, women’s studies, feminist studies, qualitative research and many other areas of study.

Perfect for courses such as: Gender and Education │ Public Purposes of Schooling │ Introduction to Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies │ Critical Feminisms in Teacher Education │ Gender Issues in Teacher Education

Table of Contents:

List of Figures


Chapter 1:
Letting Our Bodies Tell the Story: An Introduction

Chapter 2: A Feminist Embodied: Co/autoethnography of Two Friends

Chapter 3: Childhood: Becoming Girls

Chapter 4: Performing Adolescence

Chapter 5: Becoming Teachers: Addressing Trauma and Emotions in the Classroom

Chapter 6: Womanhood: On Aging Bodies, Beauty, and Academic Mothering

Chapter 7: Conclusion: Living A Feminist Life and Disrupting the Patriarchy

About the Authors


Reviews & Endorsements:

“An important new addition to feminist literature and the body politic. Literally. Using their bodies as narrative subjects, urging their readers to do the same, Klein and Taylor open their kimonos on all the ways in which the story of our bodies is the story of our lives. It’s like listening to two of your favorite girlfriends go deep and get real on being a girl, becoming a woman, and all the hidden joys and insults in between.”

Deborah Copaken, New York Times bestselling author of "Ladyparts"

“Klein and Taylor have penned an evocative, provocative, and highly original book that comes from the heart, and the body. The engaging writing style merges the personal and the public, reflecting the very themes in the book. Our Bodies Tell the Stories: Using Feminist Research and Friendship to Reimagine Education and Our Lives makes important contributions to the literature on feminism, embodiment, and education.”

Patricia Leavy, Ph.D., Author of "Film, Blue, and Re/Invention: Methods of Social Fiction"

Authentic, courageous, impactful! Professors Klein and Taylor offer educators first-hand accounts of their lived experiences as female academics who boldly challenge sexism and disrupt the patriarchy in this documentation and weaving of the cycles of their personal and professional lives. Their investigation, conceptualization, experimentation, and engagement in activism is an inspiration for others to participate in real day-to-day activism. This book defines and redefines feminism in the context of our time and what it means for equity and social justice and for the future of all of our lives. Their embodied knowledge includes efforts to support teachers in learning about the trauma they face in the classroom and the essentialness of self-care and loving who you are. Includes a wealth of references!”

Anastasia P. Samaras, PhD, Professor, George Mason University

“Feminism, for Emily Klein and Monica Taylor, is both a critical lens and an ethical orientation. Our Bodies Tell the Story: Using Feminist Research and Friendship to Reimagine Education and Our Lives draws on personal and professional experience to show how feminism can advance social justice. While acknowledging that this is challenging work that taxes our hearts, minds, and bodies, the authors draw on their stories to illustrate how friendship can support this vital endeavor. Their stories demonstrate how we might enact feminism while conveying the urgency of action now. Our Bodies Tell the Story: Using Feminist Research and Friendship to Reimagine Education and Our Lives is timeless in its wisdom and timely in its call to action!”

Julian Kitchen, Ph.D., Professor, Brock University, co-editor of "Studying Teacher Education" and editor for Springer’s "Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices series"

“Amidst monumental setbacks in women’s rights in the United States—including the overturning of Roe v. Wade—Emily J. Klein and Monica Taylor offer powerful insights into how they do feminism through an embodied collective counter-story. They underscore how patriarchy governs the boundaries of belonging, peripheralizing and oppressing women in their homes, work, school, and communities. In the process of transgressing these boundaries, they (re)claim their humanity and detail how to navigate and disrupt the reproduction of patriarchy and heteronormativity in schools and society. Attending to the embodied violence of patriarchy—whether physical or emotional—and the toll it takes in the lives and bodies of women like them, they invite readers to participate as they employ plurality and dialogic meaning making to reimagine education and their very lives. Through deeply personal examples, photos, and reflections, the authenticity and vulnerability of engaging in feminist research and friendship comes to life. In relatable ways, the authors offer a vibrant and complex portrait of how women can—and must—be in relation with each other as an act of freedom and liberation. A refreshing, insightful and much-needed contribution to the field, Our Bodies Tell the Story: Using Feminist Research and Friendship to Reimagine Education and Our Lives is a loving and caring call to action for women to develop strong albeit caring communities, reject the violence of patriarchy, and live feminist lives.”

Mariana Souto-Manning, Ph.D., President and Irving and Neison Harris President’s Chair, Graduate School in Child Development, Erikson Institute