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]
"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.
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?)
"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.
[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."
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.
Scholars often speak of ancient Greek masculinity and manhood as if there was a single, monolithic, simple conception. I will show that the ancient Greeks, like us today, had competing models or constructions of gender and that what it meant to be a man was different in different contexts. I will focus on three constructions of the masculine gender in ancient (classical and post-classical) Greece: the Athenian civic model, the Spartan martial model, and the Stoic philosophical model. I will focus on how these share certain commonalities, how they differ in significant ways, how each makes sense in terms of larger ideological contexts and needs, and, finally how constructions of masculinities today draw from all three. (10 page PDF) [more inside]
Gender Swap - Experiment with The Machine to be Another. "Gender Swap is an experiment that uses The Machine to be Another system as a platform for embodiment experience (a neuroscience technique in which users can feel themselves like if they were in a different body). In order to create the brain illusion we use the immersive Head Mounted Display Oculus Rift, and first-person cameras. To create this perception, both users have to syncronize their movements. If one does not correspond to the movement of the other, the embodiment experience does not work. It means that both users have to constantly agree on every movement they make. Throughout this experiment, we aim to investigate issues like Gender Identity, Queer Theory, feminist technoscience, Intimacy and Mutual Respect." [NSFW, Via]
Today, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded the case of Smithkline Beecham Corporation v. Abbott Laboratories, holding that lawyers cannot exclude a potential juror from service solely based on their sexual orientation, because sexual orientation is subject to heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.
Britain's elite sportswomen fear that the way they look is judged to be more important than what they achieve in their sporting careers. [more inside]
Model View Culture is a new online publication that concerns itself with technology, culture and diversity. [more inside]
"Ultimately, feeling ugly or feeling beautiful can feel like the same thing, as long as you don't feel like either one of them has to get in the way of what you can do and of who you can be. Because they shouldn't, and they don't." (SLYT, autogenerated transcript available via the transcript button below the video.) via Socimages
"Bilbo, it turns out, makes a terrific heroine. She’s tough, resourceful, humble, funny, and uses her wits to make off with a spectacular piece of jewelry. Perhaps most importantly, she never makes an issue of her gender—and neither does anyone else."
Fallon Fox is the world's first and only transgender MMA fighter. Profile by Nancy Hass for GQ.
"We can go to science fiction for its sense of wonder, its power to take us to far-off places and future times. We can go to political fiction to understand injustice in our own time, to see what should change. We may go to poetry — epic or lyric, old or new — for what cannot change, for a sense of human limits, as well as for the music in its words. And if we want all those things at once — a sense of escape, a sense of injustice, a sense of mortality and an ear for language — we can read the stories of James Tiptree, Jr.," the reclusive, award-winning author whose vague biography started out in the Congo, routed through a period as a painter, then service as a photo intelligence officer in WWII, and finally a researcher and teacher of "soft" sciences before getting to writing science fiction. There was another facet that was only guessed at by some, dismissed by others: the fact that "Uncle Tip," and his reclusive friend, the former school teacher Racoona Sheldon, were the same person. And they were Alice Bradley Sheldon. [more inside]
In September, Italian archaeologists removed a slab door in Tarquinia and entered an untouched, newly discovered Etruscan tomb (Slideshow: Entry to Tomb, Pictures of Contents) There was much excitement to find the intact tomb of a high-status man - a warrior, a prince, a man of importance, with a lance, grave goods, and the remains of his wife. Or so it was trumpeted by the discovering team and the media. A month later … the figure on the wider slab with the lance turns out to be the female, and the man was on the other slab. Whoops! Judith Weingarten writes about the assumptions made before and after the osteological analysis (and Part II). [more inside]
You probably know of Paul Dini as the guy who, over the past 20 years brought to television Batman, the beloved DC's animated universe (with Bruce Timm) and Duck Dodgers (among many other things). He's now working at Marvel after 20 years with Warner Brothers. Speaking recently on Kevin Smith's podcast he claimed that executives are spurning female viewers because they believe girls and women don't buy superhero show related toys, which may go some way to explaining the Wonder Woman decision (previously). (via) Dini's comments come at a time when many feel that the gender segregation of toys is regaining strength.
We analysed 5,483,841 research papers and review articles with 27,329,915 authorships. We find that in the most productive countries, all articles with women in dominant author positions receive fewer citations than those with men in the same positions. And this citation disadvantage is accentuated by the fact that women's publication portfolios are more domestic than their male colleagues — they profit less from the extra citations that international collaborations accrue. Given that citations now play a central part in the evaluation of researchers, this situation can only worsen gender disparities. The data are also used to make a really cool interactive map.
This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org[more inside]
Don't believe France's reputation as a country where sexual peccadillos are always overlooked. After a vote by the country's National Assembly on Wednesday, it has just joined a growing group of European nations where buying sex is now illegal. France is not alone in its fresh efforts to curb prostitution. The move follows similar bans in Sweden and Norway, while other European countries are also scaling back laissez-faire prostitution policies. Germany is poised to change its liberal sex trade laws, while Ireland is also debating a measure similar to France's. Is the end of legal prostitution in Europe in sight?
(Don't miss the deep and interesting links found within the article.)[more inside]
Recently Emily Graslie, of the fantastic natural history tumblr and youtube series TheBrainScoop, was asked a question about whether she had personally experienced sexism in her field. Her response is fucking amazing.
Inside is her goldmine of awesome female science educators online with channels that focus on Science Technology Engineering and Math. My work day is fucked.[more inside]
Despite a customer base that crosses many demographics, a large part of the video game industry has remained resolutely focused on appealing and marketing to male players in the 18-24 age group. It wasn't always this way. Although early coin-op and console game development was male-dominated, titles in the 1970s were either marketed for entire families or for adults in bars and later arcades. What changed? Polygon investigates.
For the first time, three women, identified as Pfc. Julia Carroll, Pfc. Christina Fuentes Montenegro and Pfc. Katie Gorz will graduate from enlisted infantry training today, having passed the two month course at the School of Infantry-East at Camp Geiger, a satellite of Lejeune. However, they still won’t be allowed to serve in an infantry unit, until the Marine Corps finishes its study of women in combat, in two more years' time. [more inside]
Last week, Time magazine put out a feature on the Gods of Food, a series of articles on 60-some-odd empire-building chefs who the magazine thinks are influencing and leading cuisine today. Beyond the statistical problems with the article ... some folks had the temerity to point out that this culinary Mount Olympus was basically a bunch of white dudes. Actually it was all dudes, not a single woman deified. Eater's interview with Time's food editor Howard Chua-Eoan about the story. Amanda Cohen's scathing takedown of the clusterfuck. The New York Times' Room for Debate feature asking leading female chefs about underrepresented women in food media. Eater's latest piece on the question of gender bias in food journalism. [via]
After several years out of the mainstream music scene Lily Allen returned last week covering Keane's "Somewhere only we know" in this year's John Lewis Christmas TV ad. However, today Lily released her latest video which is ... somewhat different in tone and nature. [more inside]
Does the long-running reality TV program Survivor have a sexism problem? A few weeks back (Mefi's Own) Linda Holmes published "The Tribe Has Broken: How Sexism is Silently Killing 'Survivor'" in response to a controversial episode where a male contestant was soundly ridiculed by host Jeff Probst for following a suggestion made by his wife ("Does she tell you what to do all the time?"), while a female contestant who followed a much more direct command from her husband did not receive similar teasing. Over the weekend, Holmes joined former Survivor contestants Rob Cesternino and Stephen Fishbach on Cesternino's Robhasapodcast show for a lively discussion of this topic (runs just over an hour).
About a Girl: Coy Mathis' Fight to Change Gender (single link rolling stone. previously: 1, 2)
One night in January 2010, Kathryn was tucking him in for bed under his pink quilt, and Coy, then three, seemed upset. "What's wrong?" she asked. Coy, his head resting against his kitty-cat-print pillow, hugged his pink stuffed pony with the glittery mane that he'd gotten for Christmas and said nothing, his mouth bent in a tight frown. "Tell me," Kathryn urged. Coy's chin began to quiver.
"When am I going to get my girl parts?" he asked softly.
"What do you mean?"
"When are we going to go to the doctor to have me fixed?" Coy asked, tears now spilling down his cheeks. "To get my girl parts?"
JJ Levine is an artist based in Montréal whose photographic series Alone Time features one person as two different people, of different genders, in the same frame. The latest in the series has just debuted on Buzzfeed and features Levine's partner as both an expectant mother and an expectant father, as well as an interview with Levine. [more inside]
When DNLee was approached to write blog posts for Biology Online, she quite reasonably asked about the terms of the agreement. When she turned them down, their response was...somewhat less than reasonable. And when DNLee posted to her blog about it, Scientific American – who hosts her blog as part of their science blog network – responded in perhaps the most tone-deaf manner possible. [more inside]
Kotaku dubbed it one of the shows to watch this season, later said that it was not living up to its potential, and finally proclaimed it "damn good." Its over the top, but really fantastic, soundtrack has spawned a bit of a meme and, of course, it has inspired the requisite minecraft recreation. After all of that, though, and with the anime's first series coming to an end recently, one of the most high comments that can be paid to the series thus far is that it handles gender in a way that is head and shoulders above many other series.
Last summer, researchers at Yale published a study proving that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts. A wonderful long article by Eileen Pollack where she talks to her former mentors, the study authors, and the other female science professors at her alma mater. NYTMagazine, worth reading especially for the absence of glib simple answers. (Previously, of course.)
The words and phrases that distinguish men and women on Facebook. A word cloud visualization taken from a new study exploring personality, gender and age in language used on social media, published in PLOS ONE. [more inside]
Jennifer Sky, a former model/actress, recently published a NYT op-ed about her recurring role as Amarice in Xena: Warrior Princess, stating, "Gender was not relevant in the Xenaverse." Her perspective has been met with some contention.
In 1999, officials in Vienna, Austria, asked residents of the city's ninth district how often and why they used public transportation. "Most of the men filled out the questionnaire in less than five minutes," says Ursula Bauer, one of the city administrators tasked with carrying out the survey. "But the women couldn't stop writing."
As the United States moves toward a knowledge-based economy, school achievement has become the cornerstone of lifelong success. Women are adapting; men are not. Yet the education establishment and federal government are, with some notable exceptions, looking the other way.
To my daughter's high school programming teacher: "I spent 16 years raising a daughter who had all the tools and encouragement she needed to explore computer programming as a career. In one short semester, you and her classmates undid all of my years of encouragement."
By many measures, women in political science do not achieve the same success as men. Their ranks among full professors are lower; their teaching evaluations by students are more critical; they hold less prestigious committee appointments; and, according to a new study, their work is cited less frequently. Why? [more inside]
Sherlock Holmes gets to be brilliant, solitary, abrasive, Bohemian, whimsical, brave, sad, manipulative, neurotic, vain, untidy, fastidious, artistic, courteous, rude, a polymath genius. Female characters get to be Strong. - I hate Strong Female Characters.
Last year, Rhea Ewing started asking questions like "What is gender? How do we relate to it? How do we talk about it? Does it mean the same thing for everyone?" In trying to answer them, she interviewed people and turned their responses into a zine, only to find that those answers sparked more questions. [more inside]
Anita Sarkeesian has released the 3rd video in her Tropes vs Women in Games series, focusing on gender-reversals on the Damsel in Distress formula.
A 21 year old man was arrested for tweeting rape threats. The target of the tweets, Caroline Criado-Perez, had successfully campaigned to have a woman (Jane Austen) shown on the UK's new 10 pound note, and has been subsequently receiving incessant rape and death threats via twitter, a violation of UK law. Twitter's Terms of Service are being repeatedly and flagrantly violated in this episode, and the company appears to be having issues responding to a backlog of reports; it responded to Criado-Perez only that she take the matter to the police. This resulted in shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper asking Twitter to review its policies for handling abuse complaints. [more inside]
"The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms, better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change." In The Atlantic, a comparison of some of the socio-economic aspects of Finland and the USA. [more inside]
David Gaider, senior writer at Bioware, delivers a talk on sex, sexuality, and sexism in video games and the gaming industry at the 2013 Game Developers Conference. (single-link 49-minute video)
Fifty years ago today, Valentina Tereshkova became the first textile factory worker, first civilian and of course first woman in space. She completed 48 orbits, in the process amassing more space time than any of the American astronauts had logged. It would be almost twenty years before a second female astronaut got into space, slightly more than that for the first American woman. In total, fiftyseven women have flown into space, or roughly ten percent of the total number of astronauts.
. . . when half the population is ignored: At the Movies, The Women are Gone Also: Joss Whedon pissed off about lack of female superheroes in films. Female roles in 2012 blockbuster films drop to lowest level in five years.
TV REWIND! You're watching Supernatural, late season 3. (Welcome back! Spoiler alert!) Demon hunter Dean Winchester has sold his soul to a demon to resurrect his brother Sam, a deal that Sam is determined to break before Dean's payment is due.
"A hunt for a dragon in New York City ends with some unexpected changes for Sam and Dean. With the clock ticking down on Dean's deal, can the brothers pull together to save the city?"You're now watching The Other Side, a 25-minute Supernatural fan film created as a volunteer labor of fan love. Written by novelist Naomi Novik, The Other Side is the first episode in a series exploring how fannish tropes, a tricksy dragon, gender issues, and a teeny tiny film budget could have sent Sam and Dean's story in a very different direction. [more inside]
The Test Shot is an online visual project that aims to document and celebrate the variety and strength of transmasculine style. Ballet dancing "princess boys", dapper transmen fresh out of a golden age musical, hipstery trans* boys, preppy boy dykes, and video journalists in traditional Pakistani menswear showcase the diversity in how people interpret and express their gender through their favorite clothing. Original Plumbing [warning: non-explicit ad for porn site] is the premier print magazine dedicated to the sexuality and culture of FTM trans guys. OP documents diversity within trans male lifestyles through photographic portraits and essays, personal narratives and interviews. Read an interview with the creators, Dr. T's medical advice column, or check out blog entries on living in an all-male dorm,, how to get into queer porn as a trans guy,, and deciding to carry a baby after transition.. [more inside]