The idea that men are naturally more interested in sex than women is ubiquitous that it’s difficult to imagine that people ever believed differently. And yet for most of Western history, from ancient Greece to beginning of the nineteenth century, women were assumed to be the sex-crazed porn fiends of their day.
Women enjoy video games, to the astonishment of local TV newsreaders. Women enjoy science, to the astonishment of Facebook users.
'Feminism' has often been seen as a Western concept, but African women are increasingly redefining it to suit their own purposes. This, in turn, is influencing the rest of the world.
"When looking at a sample of bloggers reviewing SF/F, a majority of men will skew toward reviewing more men. A majority of women will skew toward a more equal gender parity, or the opposite in which they review a majority of women. There will be a handful of outliers." -- An analysis of the visibility of women in (online) science fiction and fantasy reviews and whether the gender of the reviewer impacts that visibility.
Natalie Reed, who often writes about gender politics and social justice, calls out "born this way" (especially in a gender/trans* context) as its own form of gender essentialism:
“Gender identity” is still gender-essentialism. It’s just a gender-essentialism where we get to continue thinking men are men, and women are women, and these are inherent parts of who you are, but we also get to ignore the uncomfortable demand of DEFINING “man” and “woman” and what we mean by that, and thereby dodge the uncomfortable fact that any such definition within any essentialist framework necessarily invalidates, undermines, insults or excludes at least some trans or intersex people. It’s a way to go right on believing that our womanhood, or our manhood, or whatever “gender identity” we have, is an immutable and intrinsic quality of ourselves, and thereby maintain the comforting belief that it’s concrete and stable and unassailable, but without having to deal with any of the difficult implications of that, without having to interrogate our definitions, without having to worry about what we mean, and without having to really think about gender beyond the generally received notions. It’s a way to be transgender but still think of our genders the way cis people do.
" Initially it was thought to be something to house firewood, though it didn’t seem capable of holding much, and the slat that sits perpendicular to the box on the inside wall made little sense. It took observers a while to realize that this contraption was a device for holding children—a “baby tender.”" (via)
When family and work obligations collide, mothers remain much more likely than fathers to cut back or drop out of work. But unlike the situation in the 1960s, this is not because most people believe this is the preferable order of things. Rather, it is often a reasonable response to the fact that our political and economic institutions lag way behind our personal ideals. [more inside]
The Everyday Sexism Project collects user-submitted reports from women to document their day-to-day experiences with normalized sexism, including sexual harassment and job discrimination. Entries can be submitted at the site, in an email to founder Laura Bates or to their twitter account. [more inside]
First noticed on tumblr but now available to all, Alex Clayden's paper "Same-Sex Desire in Pharaonic Egypt" which, among other things, tells you about the connection between lettuce and semen and the Ancient Egyptian for "You have a nice ass."
Today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will announce that the Pentagon has lifted its 19 year old ban on women serving in combat roles in the military. [more inside]
"The Reconstructionists, a collaboration between illustrator Lisa Congdon and writer Maria Popova, is a yearlong celebration of remarkable women — beloved artists, writers, and scientists, as well as notable unsung heroes — who have changed the way we define ourselves as a culture and live our lives as individuals of any gender. Every Monday in 2013, we'll be publishing an illustrated portrait of one such trailblazing woman, along with a hand-lettered quote that captures her spirit and a short micro-essay about her life and legacy."
The New York Times asks seven 'experts': Does makeup ultimately damage a woman’s self-esteem, or elevate it? [more inside]
"...the first decade of the 21st century can be viewed as a singularly male-dominated era in American cinema."
New York Times Magazine "Hollywood Issue": Hollywood’s Year of Heroine Worship. Accompanied by an online web series of 13 original, short films: Wide Awake, each starring an actress whose performance helped 'define the year in film.' [more inside]
As the conversation about the state of games criticism continues, there is a site that acts as a platform for some of the best writing in the field by theorists, critics, and independent developers: Nightmare Mode dot net. [more inside]
"Top-Toy Group, a licensee of the Toys "R" Us brand, has published a gender-blind catalog for the Christmas season." [more inside]
“I stole this book from the library ages ago…”Behind the Curtain (AKA OMG Marvin K. Redpost is a girl!) is one of the funnier excerpts from The Complicated Geography of Alice, a memoir in progress.
“Fourth grade” I say, watching them huddled together in the mirror.
“…one of those Marvin K. Redpost books. He kisses his elbow one day and when he wakes up the next morning he's a girl.”
“I meant to make you take it back but I bet we still have it.”
“My mom's cataloging fifteen years of gender-bending in one week.” She says, rolling her eyes.... “Seriously Mom, how did you NOT know?”
She will ask me this a hundred times. I will ask myself a hundred more and still never I didn't have a good answer then and I don't now. Perhaps we simply see what we expect to see and write off anything that doesn't fit into the little boxes we put people into. Or perhaps she'd learned to mask and over-correct, to hide so well that by the time those distinctions matter, I could not see her until she tore down that wall. I wish I'd known sooner.
"I wish to dispel the notion that women are “more emotional.” I don’t think we are. I think that the emotions women stereotypically express are what men call “emotions,” and the emotions that men typically express are somehow considered by men to be something else." Jen Dziura in The Gloss: "When men are too emotional to have a rational argument."
I Was A Teenage Sexist - "Girls – the ones we think of as “cool” – don’t trust other women, women who play by gender “rules” that the rest of us cannot quite understand. The most important things those women can seemingly do are spend money on clothes and appeal to the opposite sex. Meanwhile, we ourselves don’t feel particularly female. We only feel like people. It’s a tough fall. People intuitively detect that attitude, go out of their way to remind you that you’re not fooling anybody. You are a woman, and you will only ever be a woman." [more inside]
All I remember about it was that I was having sex with Pierce Brosnan in a hot tub. Except that he had a vagina.
"Emma Stone was my dream best friend for a number of weeks. We'd see movies together. Get drinks and gossip. I remember one dream where we just texted. She resurfaced as my best friend last fall after I saw The Help. An actual friend of mine once told me a story about meeting Andrew Garfield's best friend, which meant Andrew Garfield and I were dream best friends for the following few nights. Again, there was texting." The Awl asks people: What Was Your Weirdest Celebrity Sex Dream?
Geek Masculinity and the Myth of the Fake Geek Girl - why we get things like the "Imposter" ad and the Tony Harris rant.
A woman wanting a mans-style hair-cut was denied one by a Toronto barber because his religion forbids him from touching a woman he is not related to. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is expected to hear the issue if mediation fails, as a competing rights issue where there is a conflict between two individuals exercising their rights. The OBA (warning, cheesy music autoplay) defends some Barbershops as a men's-only space tradition dating back to Ancient Greece, while others point to womens-only spaces like spas that are allowed to continue to operate while discriminating against men.
The new James Bond movie, Skyfall, has largely been well received by critics some of who have suggested that the film is less sexist than its predecessors. Others have disagreed and stated that the new film has is quite problematic and may be "abandoning the moral intelligence of the times". Giles Coren, writer for The Times, put forth a piece that calls Skyfall "a sick, reactionary, depressing film". The Times refused to run the piece saying that "it was about James Bond and there's been too much Bond". So Coren's wife and fellow journalist, Esther Walker, agreed to run the piece in her blog.
"Why did small business owner and gamer dad Mike Hoye spend the last few weeks hand-tweaking the text in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker so that the main character was referred to as a girl instead of a boy? As he put it, 'I’m not having my daughter growing up thinking girls don’t get to be the hero.'"
The International Ski Federation (FIS) has denied Lindsey Vonn's request that she be able to compete in a men's World Cup downhill race at Lake Louise, Alberta on November 24. The US Ski and Snowboard Associaton had petitioned the FIS in support of Vonn's request and the President of Alpine Canada has expressed his disagreement with the FIS decision. The New York Times explained that Vonn spends time training with men, often races on men's skis, and "has, at times, been faster than men in training." The BBC reports Vonn said, "I'd like the chance to compete against them and see where I stand."
In 2010, 1st grader Katie Goldman was the bullied kid at her school for being a girl who was into Star Wars (which is, of course, only for boys). Geeks and fans across the net rallied to give moral support to Katie ("The Littlest Jedi") for standing up for who she wanted to be. Katie and her mother went on to lead an anti-bullying effort at Katie's school (which now observes December 10th as "Proud To Be Me Day") and Katie became a symbol of geek pride and anti-bullying, standing up at a birthday party for a boy who wanted to have his nails painted like the girls were getting. The experience became the source of book Bullied. In 2012, it was Katie's turn to show geek solidarity. The 501st Legion/"Vader's Fist", who had been so supportive when her story went viral, were now among those being taunted online for their cosplay geekery at a con, and Katie wanted to be a stormtrooper for Halloween to show her support. When the troopers heard that, the 501st's First Imperial Stormtrooper Detachment came together to raise the funds/materials/expertise and build a full-on custom-fitted set of proper stormtrooper armor ('77 movie specs and all), with just days to spare before Halloween, as a gift for the little girl whose courage inspired them so much. [more inside]
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
The Art of Presence. Despite so many threats to their freedom, Arab women continue to stage a thousand small revolutions in their everyday lives.
"I began to believe voices in my head -- that I was a freak, that I am broken, that there is something wrong with me, that I will never be lovable."
"I am here because when I was young, I wanted very badly to be a writer, I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I couldn’t find anyone like me in the world and it felt like my dreams were foreclosed simply because my gender was less typical than others."On Saturday, Lana Wachowski (co-director of the "Matrix" franchise and "Cloud Atlas") received a "Visibility Award" from the Human Rights Campaign for her recent decision to publicly come out as transgender. In a powerful 25-minute acceptance speech, Lana spoke about the pain she went through growing up and how she developed self-acceptance. Video. Transcript. Q&A with the Hollywood Reporter.
Democracy Distilled: A History of America's Voting Rights. Remember to vote this November. Women in America, let's rise up. [more inside]
The hard numbers behind scholarly publishing's gender gap - The Chronicle of Higher Education investigates the nature of gender disparity in science and humanities publishing, with the help of researcher Jennifer Jacquet in collaboration with Jevin West and Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington, whose Eigenfactor tool (previously) is used to map the intersection of gender and authorship in JSTOR articles from 1665 to 2011. [more inside]
On the 40th anniversary of the release of "Free To Be... You and Me," a three-part piece in Slate examines the genesis and impact of this influential album and its accompanying TV special.
An Ada Lovelace Day editathon is happening at the Royal Society in London This is part of a project to improve the representation of 'women in science' on Wikipedia and is hosted at the Royal Society of London after previous edit-a-thons at Harvard and Stockholm. It seems like most of the participants are women. If it sounds intriguing, it's not too late to register for a subsequent session in Oxford on the 26th (You might even be given cake).
"In removing the associations with genitalia, the messiness of bodies mashing together is obfuscated. Men no longer have to worry about being replaced. Women no longer have to worry about the psychic implications of being penetrated by a penis. Society doesn’t have to worry about gender norms being disturbed. And expectations of what defines sex remains stable." -- Jenny An on "The Pleasure Model" (a jokey NSFW pic at the top)
You can accurately judge a person just by looking at their shoes, psychologists say. "Researchers at the University of Kansas found that people were able to correctly judge a stranger's age, gender, income, political affiliation, emotional and other important personality traits just by looking at the person's shoes." Virginia Postrel responded: "The study made a solid contribution to research on first impressions, but it was hardly earthshaking. By getting so much attention, however, it demonstrated a sociological truth: People love to talk about shoes. Even those who dismissed the research as silly often felt compelled to call radio stations or comment on websites, providing details about their own choices. Why this fascination with footwear? " [more inside]
My Life as a Girl - Why Stephen Burt likes dressing up as a woman.
The problem is that the fedora has become a go-to accessory for a peculiar subculture of love-entitled male nerds whose social inexperience and awkwardness manifests in a world rocked by a gender revolution—a tectonic shift in the makeup of formerly cloistered, rule-bound clubs. They aren't bad people – they simply need a place from which to draw a sense of manhood, if not from women.
Balpreet Kaur is a (female) sophomore at Ohio State who follows the Sikh tenet of kesh (uncut hair). Choosing to leave her facial hair in its natural state, however, led to her candid picture drawing negative attention in Reddit's "funny" section. Her clear, friendly and smart response has now gone viral, changing the opinion of at least one european douchebag.
The Sponsor Effect: Breaking through the Last Glass Ceiling (pdf) Women aren't making it to the top. Despite gains in middle and senior management, they hold just 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions. In the C-suite, they're outnumbered four to one. What's keeping women under the glass ceiling? High-performing women simply don't have the sponsorship they need to reach the top. The study found that women underestimate the role sponsorship plays in their advancement. And those who do grasp its importance fail to cultivate it. It's also a classic catch-22: a woman's personal choices, whatever they may be, brand her as not quite leadership material. What will it take to promote sponsorship?
Nature constantly engineers new and creative solutions to all sorts of problems—turning our stereotypes about sex upside-down along the way.
"This blog is a look at the social movement I call ‘New Domesticity’ – the fascination with reviving “lost” domestic arts like canning, bread-baking, knitting, chicken-raising, etc. Why are women of my generation, the daughters of post-Betty Friedan feminists, embracing the domestic tasks that our mothers and grandmothers so eagerly shrugged off? Why has the image of the blissfully domestic supermom overtaken the Sex and the City-style single urban careerist as the media’s feminine ideal? Where does this movement come from? What does it mean for women? For families? For society?"
I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day's tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack.
But now, Bic has saved me! With these easy-to-manage lady pens, I too can record my grocery lists and the agenda for my weekly sewing circle! Yes, that's right; due to these pens' soft grips and lightweight build, even my useless, made-from-porcelain hands can manage to wield them. And what's more, their sweet and rosy color palette is soft on my frail lady eyes! It really is a dream come true!
In 1972, an early version of best-selling novelist Lois Gould's X: A Fabulous Children's Story was published in Ms. Magazine as part of its monthly "Stories for Free Children" feature. In 1978 it was expanded and turned into a wildly delightful children's book with a distinctive illustration style, critiquing gender expectations in infancy and childhood. The New York Times, for which she wrote, has more about her in her obituary, while Google Preview has some history on the publication of X, now in print only as part of the 2008 anthology Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature.