Click! offers a rich and wide-ranging exploration of U.S. women's history from 1940 to the present. It resembles an encyclopedia in some ways: the target audience appears to be those who have little prior knowledge of this field, and it presents this history in a way that favors breadth over depth. In so doing, the curators of Click! consulted professional and academic historians, which makes it a Web site I would trust and recommend, especially to lay people and students looking for a place to start a research project. Sections titled “Political and Social Movements,” “Body and Health,” and “Workplace and Family” divide the site's content thematically, and chapters such as “Women in Civil Rights,” “Changing Sexual Attitudes,” and “Challenging Sex Discrimination” address topics in more detail. Each chapter offers users a dynamic, multimedia experience: in addition to a written overview of each chapter's topic are short video clips; images of people, book covers, and other graphics relevant to the chapter's topic; and hyperlinks to external sources that elaborate on specific items. Another noteworthy feature is a timeline that appears with each chapter, arranged vertically along the left side of the screen. Selecting an item brings up a short description and, often, links to additional media. Lastly, a “Resources” section is organized by the three themes; it provides useful bibliographies, links to primary sources and historiography projects, and links to groups and organizations. The wealth of information and resources is overwhelming, and I am humbled by the effort it must have taken to construct this site and impressed by how well its creators have curated it. I found Click! easy to navigate, and I enjoyed following the default path by simply selecting “next page” to move to another chapter and by wandering nonlinearly and nonchronologically through items that piqued my interest, moving from a chapter's text to a timeline item to a video clip to a (hyperlinked) New York Public Library page. In this sense, the site uses its platform well, taking advantage of lateral mobility that the Internet enables. In its organization and presentation of information Click! offers a fairly conventional introduction to women's history, covering issues that have likely reached lay audiences—such as abortion rights, the gendered wage gap, and the media's depiction of feminine beauty standards. The site emphasizes women making gains in the public sphere: users will learn about women in political office, the work force, and sports. And legal reforms receive significant coverage; multiple chapters reference Weeks v. Southern Bell (1967), Roe v. Wade (1973), Title VII, and Title IX. While covering this wide range of topics, Click! unabashedly identifies feminism as an important force in telling and shaping U.S. women's history. The introduction defines feminism by citing equality between women and men and recognizing “that gender always intersects with other social hierarchies,” and the first section focuses specifically on feminism as a social movement. Thus, the site aims to complicate women's history by recognizing that power and privilege depend not just on one's gender but on the dynamic confluence of multiple identity categories. Foregrounding women of color and showing them as powerful actors and activists, the “Political and Social Movements” section is particularly strong in this respect. This section also builds a foundation for the activism required to accomplish transformations that subsequent sections explore. One challenge in a project of this magnitude is determining the balance between breadth and depth. In this case, the curators chose the former, which means that Click! acts best as an introduction to a topic and not as an end point. Additionally, the centrality of women in this chronology at times takes away from an intersectional construction of history. For example, the chapters begin with videos, most depicting white bodies and featuring white women as the expert talking heads; consequently these figures serve as the point of entry and frame the discussion. While it is impossible to analyze all topics in relation to the entire range of identity categories, the curators' awareness of difference within and among women—noted in the introduction—made me hopeful that attention to these differences would shape the site's content to a greater degree. © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Organization of American Historians. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Journal of American History – Oxford University Press
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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