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"the sorry state of “default” imagery"

no more “put a skirt on it”
In a historical vacuum, we would not project gender onto images with no visible gender signals. But we’ve inherited, and perpetuated, the idea that a blank person is a Man. Unless you add decorations. Then you have yourself a Woman. Yes, it’s 2014, many women have short hair, pants, and no makeup. We know this intellectually. But it doesn’t seem to translate into how we actually represent men and women.…

Good news: the next time you draw a person or create a user avatar, you have an opportunity to fight the sexist patriarchal bullshit! Like many instances of patriarchy-smashing, it’s not actually that hard once you get the principles down.

posted by Lexica on Jul 24, 2014 - 48 comments

"I don't want to be a girl."

A young girl's questions about the Boko Haram abductions reveal an increasing consciousness of a misogynist world. How can her mother—a survivor of kidnapping and abuse—respond?
Lacy M. Johnson writes for Dame Magazine: "I Don't Want to Be a Girl."

[TW: graphic recountings of gendered violence] [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 24, 2014 - 43 comments

The Modern American Man, Charted

"This summer, All Things Considered is looking at the lives of men in America. By some measures, not much has changed over the past few decades — girls still do better in school, and men still make more money. In other areas, the shifts are profound." They made some charts.
posted by cmchap on Jul 18, 2014 - 51 comments

"I don’t need a purse to buy comics online"

Attack of the purse snatchers: gender and bag policies in U.S. comic book stores
What could a clerk at a comic book store possibly say to a new female customer to make her feel as alien and unwelcome as possible? Would it be some sort of overtly sexist slur, or an inappropriate comment about her appearance? Or could it perhaps be something as presumably innocuous as: "I’m going to need to take your bag before you go any further."

posted by Lexica on Jul 16, 2014 - 126 comments

There is no such thing as concrete, binary "biological sex."

Secular trans feminist Zinnia Jones debunks the myth of biological sex and the inaccurate ways the concept has been used to invalidate trans people.

Mey from Autostraddle explains why it’s time for people to stop using the social construct of “biological sex” to defend their transmisogyny.

Inter/act explains that intersex people, despite having disorders of sex development (DSDs) that contribute to what doctors define as a "biological sex other than male or female," may identify as male, female, or somewhere else on the gender spectrum. [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on Jul 11, 2014 - 96 comments

Boardrooms Still Lack Women

Gender_Map by Data Morphosis and TWO-N demonstrates that women make up just 10.7% of all US company board members. They are best represented at Avon, where more than half the board is female. Eighteen S&P 500 companies have male directors exclusively. (Via Forbes, where the article is adorned with a pink [!] bar graph.)
posted by GrammarMoses on Jul 10, 2014 - 6 comments

"Confession doesn't just allow – it incites."

...if it felt like an author had already come into your life, already seen some aspect of your experience then it would be natural to want to extend this intimacy into conversation. The impulse to contact a confessional writer – whose writing has already revealed something private – is something else. Perhaps it is still a desire to translate one kind of intimacy into another, but the terms are different. With confessional writing, the disclosure has already happened – now the reader wants to confess something back, make a reciprocal exchange. So whenever people talk about confessional writing as navel-gazing or self-involved, I think about those voices, and their offerings.
Author Leslie Jamison (previously, previouslier) explains why confessional writing is not self-indulgent. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 10, 2014 - 5 comments

Women, Pants, and the Backlash

Margaret Perry's review of Women in Pants provides an interesting overview of those women (in the Western world) who chose to wore pants in the 19th and early 20th centuries when the standard gender norm dictated dresses for girls and women. R.S. Fleming has a great collection of Victorian women-in-pants images, particularly in non-American military garb. See also: Welsh pit miners, women fighting in the US Civil War (and support-staff), this cattle thief/gunfighter, some cowgirls, and Dr. Mary Walker - here she is in more traditionally masculine dress (second picture). In France, the artist Rosa Bonheur had to get permission from the police to wear pants (picture) while sketching in public (her license), while adventurer/archaeologist Jane Dieulafoy got a lifetime exemption to wear pants from France. [more inside]
posted by julen on Jul 9, 2014 - 25 comments

Moving to a Wealthier Neighborhood Is as Traumatic as Going to War

Over the past few decades, urban policy has focused on breaking up clusters of poverty, planning cities so that poor residents could live in areas that also had middle-class people. Does this new research mean projects like MTO are actually a bad thing? “When we first showed these results, somebody said, ‘Well, don’t send them to new neighborhoods,’” says Kessler. “Well wait a second, you’re now dealing the girls some pretty bad outcomes. But if you do send them, the boys are getting bad outcomes. What if you have one boy and one girl?”
posted by surenoproblem on Jul 8, 2014 - 9 comments

Trans Women's Lit

Trans women writers Jeanne Thornton, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin and Casey Plett read from their recent works for Talks at Google. [more inside]
posted by emmtee on Jul 6, 2014 - 11 comments

10 Words Every Girl Should Learn

10 Words Every Girl Should Learn "Stop interrupting me." "I just said that." "No explanation needed." [more inside]
posted by triggerfinger on Jul 6, 2014 - 72 comments

That group is men.

"There remains, however, one important group that the show barely, and inadequately, represents." Noah Berlatsky writes in the Atlantic about the portrayal of men in Orange is the New Black. [more inside]
posted by Ruki on Jul 2, 2014 - 152 comments

Making a life on the margins of society

After Koovagam, India's Largest Transgender Festival: "Some of the transgender women you see on the street were training to be lawyers or engineers," says Rangeela, who is one of a handful in her circle who did not drop out of school. "I hope in that in 10 years those people can go on with their careers and not be stuck into a life of prostitution." [more inside]
posted by Ragini on Jul 1, 2014 - 3 comments

" . . . but women hold the power of story."

Women make up roughly half of the 42 million Pashtun people in the borderland. The kind of hardship they know is rare. Some are bought and sold, others killed for perceived slights against family honor. But this doesn’t render them passive. Most of the Pashtun women I know possess a rebellious and caustic humor beneath their cerulean burkas, which have become symbols of submission. This finds expression in an ancient form of folk poetry called landay. Two lines and 22 syllables long, they can be rather startling to the uninitiated. War, drones, sex, a husband’s manhood—these poems are short and dangerous, like the poisonous snake for which they’re named.
posted by jason's_planet on Jul 1, 2014 - 12 comments

Dads who do dishes have more ambitious daughters

A new study suggests that dads who equally divide household chores with their wives tend to have daughters whose career aspirations are less gender-stereotypical. The study results suggest that even when fathers publicly endorse gender equality, when there is a traditional division of labor at home daughters are more likely to see themselves in traditionally female-dominant jobs.
posted by rcraniac on Jun 26, 2014 - 67 comments

how to make sure we don't leave trans people behind

The Stranger's Queer Issue 2014How to Make Sure We Don't Leave Trans People Behind
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 25, 2014 - 44 comments

Having the same tired discussions about gender bias, over and over.

The first Women in Science Writing: Solutions Summit took place at MIT on June 13-15. Here's a brief roundup, with plenty of links and stats that look at gender bias and harassment in science journalism.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 24, 2014 - 27 comments

"Do you think I want people to know I greenlit 'Transendence'?"

Who really controls Hollywood? Now it can be told! (SLFOD)
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 18, 2014 - 8 comments

trans kids matter

The Vancouver School Board's controversial new gender identity policy (pdf, faq) is on the cusp of passage, even in the face of opposition from evangelical christian chinese parents protesting against it. One Vancouver mother speaks out for her 11 year old transgender son, and in support of VSB's new transgender policies (audio, interview starts at 1m30).
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 14, 2014 - 84 comments

these stories happened to so-and-so, they’re happening to us.

can theatre bring justice to homeless transgender youth?
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 11, 2014 - 1 comment

Not Alone.

"Not Alone" is the title of the first report of The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. This report comes after a number of incidents of sexual assault were under-investigated or ignored at numerous college campus' in the US. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Jun 10, 2014 - 128 comments

stop street harassment!

A study (pdf) released by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment shows that 65% of American women have experienced some form of street harassment – 41% of women were subject to physically aggressive harassment in public like being flashed or fondled. Men also report being harassed (and men who identified as LGBT were much more likely to be harassed than heterosexual men). No matter who was being harassed, men were most likely to be the harassers.
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 4, 2014 - 156 comments

Why is gender ever a thing?

A Linguist on the Story of Gendered Pronouns. Gretchen McCulloch talks about why we have pronouns, why gender is a thing in English, and how gender is a thing in other languages. [more inside]
posted by clavicle on Jun 4, 2014 - 111 comments

Selling Buddhism -- Selling Out the Religion

Joanna Piacenza tackles difficulties she sees in the American conception of Buddhism. She was spurred out of writing silence several months ago by Time Magazine choosing for the second time in a decade to sell their magazine with a consumerist representation of Buddhism depicted on their cover with an pretty and ethereal looking white woman. Today, she published an article in First Things on why she believes Buddhism can't be just "an add-on: an energy boost in your spiritual smoothie," but is a religion and the American attitudes that she sees as enabling this misconception.
posted by Jahaza on Jun 4, 2014 - 128 comments

when I wear a skirt, it makes them think about gender and not jumping to

agender: portraits of young people who identify as neither male or female. (first two links NSFW: nudity) [more inside]
posted by and they trembled before her fury on Jun 2, 2014 - 81 comments

i'm transgender. i'm very sure of this and not at all sure what it means

Are you a boy or a girl?”: Our trans-bisexual love story
posted by and they trembled before her fury on May 30, 2014 - 14 comments

Gender and Jeopardy

Julia Collins of Kenilworth, Ill, is now the winningest woman in Jeopardy! history, the third winningest non-tournament player, and she isn't done. She'll be playing her 20th game tomorrow night, wherein followers hope she'll break the $400,000 mark on her steady climb. You can catch up on her run at YouTube.

One of the champions whose records she has now surpassed is Arthur Chu, who has also made big waves this week, speaking out on misogyny in geek culture, in response to the murders in Isla Vista. Writes Chu: The overall problem is one of a culture where instead of seeing women as, you know, people, protagonists of their own stories just like we are of ours, men are taught that women are things to 'earn,' to 'win.'

The show's history and the iconic host's banter seem to reveal that in terms of gender, Jeopardy! is not, as etymology would have it, "an evenly divided game," but could this be the year things change?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on May 29, 2014 - 65 comments

We might as well start with gay sex

For the past two weeks, the back of my mind has been occupied by thoughts of how to start writing about my experience as a white man in India. The list of potential anecdotes is interminable. Perhaps a theoretical grounding would prove a more incisive framework. Or maybe I need to talk about everything that I am. I am more than a skin colour. I am a gender. I am a nationality. I am a language. I am a class. I am a sexual orientation. The overlapping privileges encompassed in a straight, white, English-speaking, relatively affluent American man can be more difficult to disentangle than one might imagine.

posted by infini on May 27, 2014 - 37 comments

"Most people don’t fit common gender definitions"

Four things about men and women I’ve learnt from being neither by CN Lester.
posted by MartinWisse on May 15, 2014 - 111 comments

Can we do that there? Be that here? Check Equaldex.

Equaldex: the collaborative LGBT knowledgebase! A crowd-sourced, verified, beautifully presented representation of equal rights (and how they are specifically denied) for LGBT folks. [via reddit]
posted by batmonkey on May 13, 2014 - 7 comments

a living hell has become hopeful under Raúl Castro [?]

For more than 30 years, New York based photographer Mariette Pathy Allen has been documenting transgender culture worldwide; in 2004 she won the Lambda Literary Award for her monograph The Gender Frontier. In her new publication (amazon), TransCuba, Allen focuses on the transgender community of Cuba, especially its growing visibility and acceptance in a country whose government is transitioning into a more relaxed model of communism under Raúl Castro's presidency. (trans 101)
posted by and they trembled before her fury on May 13, 2014 - 8 comments

"descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone"

In the past month since publishing his essay, "Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege," Princeton freshman Tal Fortgang has become a hero of many in right-wing politics for his refusal to believe that he enjoys privilege. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 3, 2014 - 283 comments

17 Lies We Need to Stop Teaching Girls About Sex

Whether it's the constant fretting over Miley Cyrus' influence on school girls or the growing (and troubling) tradition of Purity Balls, it's clear that society has a fascination with young women's sexuality — especially when it comes to controlling it. But what are we actually teaching today's girls about sex? Fueled by outdated ideals of gender roles and the sense that female sexuality is somehow shameful, there seem to be certain pernicious myths about girls and sex that just won't die. That sex education in America has gaping holes in its curriculum hasn't helped much, either; in a recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report just 6 out of 10 girls said that their schools' sex ed program included information on how to say no to sex. This lack of personal agency was reflected in a forthcoming study by sociologist Heather Hlavka at Marquette University as well, which found that many young girls think of sex simply as something that is "done to them." Knowledge is power, and we can promote a healthier relationship with sex by encouraging a more open dialogue, teaching girls to feel comfortable with their sexuality and, most importantly, emphasizing that their bodies are theirs and theirs alone.
But first, we're going to need to stop perpetuating the following 17 myths about female sexuality.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 28, 2014 - 120 comments

Growing up without gendered pronouns

I didn’t know I was a boy until my younger brother called me one. -- Meredith Talusan talks about her childhood growing up in the Philippines without knowing her gender. (Trans 101.)
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 27, 2014 - 29 comments

“So… do you… do you suppose we should… talk about money?”

Introducing Sociology: Tim Kreider's influential 1999 essay (previously) on how Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut uses sex and infidelity to cover up a story of greed and murder by the elite gets a brand new afterward by the author to introduce a new site for his non-fiction writing, TimKreider.com
posted by The Whelk on Apr 23, 2014 - 51 comments

Behind the Stall Door

The Private Lives of Public Bathrooms "The public collides uncomfortably with the private in the bathroom as it does nowhere else, and the unique behaviors we perform stem from a complex psychological stew of shame, self-awareness, design, and gender roles. "
posted by xingcat on Apr 16, 2014 - 108 comments

Supreme Court of India recognizes transgenders as 'third gender'

The Supreme Court of India directed the Indian Government to include a new gender category to include people who don't identify as the traditional male or female. My head spins as I write this. A combination of being woken up suddenly from heavy sleep and a sudden jerk of pleasant shock has left my head spinning. I am humming some sweet songs in celebration! Hurray!
Supreme Court ruling grants transgender recognition and OBC status* in India. [more inside]
posted by infini on Apr 15, 2014 - 19 comments

Female Pain

Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain. "The pain of women turns them into kittens and rabbits and sunsets and sordid red satin goddesses, pales them and bloodies them and starves them, delivers them to death camps and sends locks of their hair to the stars. Men put them on trains and under them. Violence turns them celestial. Age turns them old. We can’t look away. We can’t stop imagining new ways for them to hurt." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Apr 14, 2014 - 62 comments

A day late and 23 cents short.

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day. President Obama signed an Executive Order to prevent discrimination and address the gender pay gap. According to The National Women's Law Center, "In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was signed into law, a woman was typically paid 59 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart — a 41-cent wage gap. In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, women working full time, year round were typically paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. Although women have narrowed the gap by 18 cents over the past five decades, the wage gap today stands at 23 cents." [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest on Apr 9, 2014 - 92 comments

Katni$$ FTW

Do movies that pass the Bechdel Test make more money than movies that don't? Walt Hickey, writing for Nate Silver's new fivethirtyeight site, examines the data.
posted by Diablevert on Apr 2, 2014 - 162 comments

Unisex dorms in the Norwegian military

In a study and trial somewhat breathlessly reported as Norwegian troops get unisex dorms, the Norwegian Armed Forces has tried out unisex dorm rooms with two women and four men to a room, and consider the experiment a success, with better unit cohesion and lower rate of sexual harassment as results. [more inside]
posted by Harald74 on Mar 25, 2014 - 38 comments

Does research assessment discriminate against female academics?

"professorial women were rounded up in a meeting room, offered unappealing sandwiches." Classics professor Barbara Graziosi in the Times Higher Education: "But I am not sure that these inequalities quite explain the low submission of women in the RAE and now, perhaps, the REF. Is there something that favours men in the way assessment exercises are set up? Or are women simply less good at research?" [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Mar 21, 2014 - 18 comments

O Woman's Day

Talking gender to Africa
International donors have sought to improve the social, political and economic position of women in Africa through an approach known as “gender”. This donor-driven strategy is failing. The jargon of gender programmes is ambiguous and easily misunderstood. It fosters inaction and lip service on the part of patriarchal African governments and civil servants. Gender has become the preserve of the educated elite. The voices of African women have been lost.
[more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 8, 2014 - 6 comments

Female portrayal in video games

QCF Design talks about making their game Desktop Dungeons more gender neutral. [more inside]
posted by arcolz on Mar 4, 2014 - 27 comments

Judith Butler explained with cats...

Judith Butler explained with cats. See also Foucault explained with hipsters. Via Binarythis
posted by Chairboy on Feb 26, 2014 - 23 comments

I thought I’d moved beyond my days of Panicking in Northeast Iowan Malls

"Girls who wanted to be my friend wanted to help me get better at being a girl. Like a Bridget Jones-esque makeover montage, I let them burn my forehead with curling irons, poke me in the eyes with eyeliner pencils, and look me up and down in dressing rooms. I was so thrilled for the friendships I was convinced I enjoyed the forehead burning (my same friend, always burning me in the same place, before every quarterly Junior High dance, as reliable as the changing of the seasons). What began in early adolescence– genuine friendships forged through drag-like gender performance– continued well into adulthood." -- Molly Knefel writes about growing up gender nonconforming.
posted by MartinWisse on Feb 24, 2014 - 26 comments

"What pronoun do you prefer?"

Facebook now offers its users "Custom" gender options and a choice of what pronouns to be referred to by. (I guess this makes MetaFilter a trend setter?)
posted by Jacqueline on Feb 13, 2014 - 192 comments

Gender Specific Listening

"Exploring Gender Bias in listening Do men listen to different music than women do? Anecdotally, we can think of lots of examples that point to yes – it seems like more of One Direction’s fans are female, while more heavy metal fans are male, but let's take a look at some data to see if this is really the case." An examination of music listening data from Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest.
posted by hippybear on Feb 12, 2014 - 74 comments

Hate Sinks

[W]e may not stop to think much about moderation as a form of labor that composes the Internet. But as the need to grant the audience “a voice” has become conventional wisdom, almost every media organization now needs this work done. [...] This complex tension—between voice and civility, eyeballs and deliberation—is one that future-of-news enthusiasts are good at waving away, but that comment moderators must bear. Within representative democracy, we can think of moderators’ bodies as being like that element of an electronic circuit that dissipates excess energy and allows it to function. They absorb the excess affects in a period of political dysfunction, and allow institutions to appear stable and unchallenged.
Jason Wilson argues that, in the comments section, "the facade of liberal democracy only stays clean by putting young women [moderators] in hate’s way."
posted by RogerB on Feb 6, 2014 - 18 comments

Con Men! Artistocrats! Nancy Boys! Radiothearpy and More!

The Trickster Prince is academic and historian Matt Houlbrook's blog about the ephemera and little-known stories of the English inter-war period (and before) with a focus on class-jumping, queer narratives, "faking it", and urban society in the 20s and 30s.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 5, 2014 - 13 comments

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