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Gina Barreca
Dr. Gina Barreca is the author of If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse? Questions and Thoughts for Loud, Smart Women in Turbulent Times (St. Martin's Press, 2016).

Gina has appeared on 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, the BBC, NPR and Oprah to discuss gender, power, politics, and humor. Her earlier books include the bestselling They Used to Call Me Snow White But I Drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor, It’s Not That I’m Bitter, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Visible Panty Lines and Conquered the World, and Babes in Boyland: A Personal History of Coeducation in the Ivy League. Of the other six books she’s written or co-written, several have been translated into to other languages–including Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, and German. Called “smart and funny” by People magazine and “Very, very funny. For a woman,” by Dave Barry, Gina was deemed a “feminist humor maven” by Ms. Magazine. Novelist Wally Lamb said “Barreca’s prose, in equal measures, is hilarious and humane.”

Gina’s weekly columns from The Hartford Courant are now distributed internationally by the Tribune Co. and her work has appeared in most major publications, including The New York Times, The Independent of London, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Cosmopolitan, and The Harvard Business Review. She’s Professor of English and Feminist Theory at the University of Connecticut and winner of UConn’s highest award for excellence in teaching. Gina has delivered, often as a repeat guest, keynotes at events organized by The Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, the National Writers Workshop, the Women’s Campaign School at Yale and the National Association of Independent Schools, The Chicago Humanities Festival, Women In Federal Law Enforcement, Chautauqua and The Smithsonian–to name a few.

Her B.A. is from Dartmouth College, where she was the first woman to be named Alumni Scholar, her M.A. is from Cambridge University, where she was a Reynold’s Fellow, and her Ph.D. is from the City University of New York, where she lived close to a good delicatessen. A member of the Friars’ Club and the first female graduate of Dartmouth College invited to have her personal papers requested by the Rauner Special Collections Library, Gina can be found in the Library of Congress or in the make-up aisle of Walgreens. She grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island but now lives with her husband in Storrs, CT. Go figure.

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Entries by Gina Barreca

Don't Take Karen Pence's Towel!

(2) Comments | Posted July 20, 2016 | 6:39 PM

Trump's VP pick, Mike Pence, has a wife named Karen. Mrs. Pence developed a product called "THAT'S MY TOWEL!" I was first alerted to this by a piece published in Jezebel--a number of my readers sent me the link--about how Mrs. Pence decided the world problem she needed...

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Questions I Wish I'd Asked My Mother

(9) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 10:56 PM

Oh, my old friend ...

You ask me to remember what it was like for me when I was sixteen and my mother was dying.

Your friend has a daughter the same age and what worries her most is leaving her child: What...

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The Toughest, Easiest, Worst and Best Parts of Fatherhood

(2) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 5:14 PM

To my husband, my editor, my colleagues, my brother, and my friends who have the good fortune to celebrate Father's Day, congrats. Where would we be without you?

The Toughest Things About Being a Father

1. Receiving cards on your birthday and on Father's Day which, while ostensibly...

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Dartmouth and Women: What's Changed?

(1) Comments | Posted January 30, 2015 | 4:20 PM

Janis Joplin, patron saint of every girl who ended up with a guy because he couldn't get the girl he really wanted, was singing "Take Another Little Piece of my Heart Out Baby" as I walked onto the Dartmouth campus in the hot late autumn afternoon in September...

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Holiday Gift Guide: Don't Give Anyone a Scale!

(2) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 9:28 AM

Whoever said, "It's the thought that counts" never got a bathroom scale for Christmas.

Around this time of year we will all witness a bizarre event whereby even the most expert, earnest and experienced of female shoppers, driven by a deep and desperate need, will offer as gifts, in all...

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Holidays After Loss: A Love Letter

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 12:47 PM

My Dear,

I know this is going to be a tough holiday for you after everything that's happened this year. I can't say anything that will make it easier. Words, powerful as they are, can't change what you've had to live through. But I think it's important to tell you...

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Hey, TIME Magazine, Feminists Are Here to Stay

(11) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 12:07 PM

I'm a feminist.

I'm just adorable at it.

And I simply assume everybody I know -- male and female -- is also a feminist.

After all, I give people the benefit of the doubt. Why should I think so poorly of you that I wouldn't include you amongst...

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In Defense of Halloween

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 5:19 PM


Halloween anxiety? I don't think so. Other holidays make me a lot more nervous. We should ask "Who are YOU pretending to be?" on Valentine's Day.

When other special dates on the calendar have greater historical, cultural, social, and national resonance, why does...

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20 Worst Things to Say On a First Date

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 1:14 AM

1. I share a bed with my roommate, but it's not like we're gay or anything.

2. Witness protection doesn't offer as much protection as you might think.

3. For a fat girl, you don't sweat much.

4. Paying in pennies is my way of sticking it to The Man.

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Words Rich People Use That Poor People Don't

(5) Comments | Posted June 25, 2014 | 10:17 AM

According to a recent article in the New York Times, poor people need to read to their children because:

... by age three, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than have those of less educated, low-income parents, giving the children who have...
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Are You An Ambitious Woman?

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 7:27 PM


Flannery O'Connor: "Success means being heard and don't stand there and tell me that you are indifferent to being heard."

Ask a woman if she's ambitious and she'll look at you as if you just asked whether she sticks pins...

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Graduation 101: Meeting the Parents

(1) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 10:53 AM

So sue me: I like attending graduation ceremonies.

I have been teased, mercilessly, for admitting as much; otherwise friendly colleagues cackle and sneer at the very thought of being "forced" to show up on a non-teaching day -- and I'm talking full-time members of academic departments, not beleaguered adjuncts or...

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Worshipping at the Erma Bombeck Altar

(8) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 2:09 PM

The difference between women's humor and men's humor is the difference between revolution and revolt. It's the difference, in other words, between Erma Bombeck and The Three Stooges.

I've worshipped at the Bombeck altar since reading her three-times-per week columns in the...

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Don't Give Men Guns

(4) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 10:08 AM

When we look at the acts of almost unspeakable gun violence making news and breaking hearts, it doesn't take Rachel Maddow or Wayne LaPierre to target the fact that men are responsible. We don't need to hit the archives for historical documentation. What we need to do is this: We...

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6 Truths About Relationships Nobody Wants to Admit

(16) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 2:06 PM

You put away the Valentine's candy and put on the Valentine's pounds.

Now it's time to face the six truths about relationships that nobody never admits:

1. When you enter your next relationship, you become the person you split up with. Were you the parsimonious one, always pinching pennies...

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Why I Love Libraries

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2014 | 9:14 PM

I'm in love with libraries. During only one phase of my life -- and an unlikely one at that -- was I ever uncomfortable inside their walls.

In graduate school, when I was spending way too much time in basement rooms with fluorescent bulbs humming and crackling overhead, I silently...

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Writing In 2014

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2013 | 10:33 AM

When I turn over the pages of a calendar for the new year, I feel as if I'm reading a book no one else has ever read.

Who knows where we will be next January? How many of us can remember what we did last year on this date?...

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The Secret to Surviving the Holidays

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 11:31 AM

The secret to life is that there is no secret. In heaven they ask you to explain all the times you missed an opportunity to find joy.

There is, however, a secret to surviving the holidays, although it has very little to do with heavenly matters.

It has to do...

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Why State Universities Are Best

(1) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 9:50 AM

Even though later-boomer parents are determined to get their kid into the fanciest school possible, paying huge fees for private coaching and SAT prep, state universities are most usefully serving their students by looking towards the future rather than invoking the past. State universities welcome those for whom success is...

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Why I Love (and Teach) Author Fay Weldon

(2) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 2:27 PM

With the tightening of budgets, faculty allocations, classroom space, and intellectual perspectives generally, it seems to me that there's more pressure to justify why we teach what we do -- especially for those of us who teach literature. This kind of self-justification takes place both officially and unofficially. One needs...

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