Gender Issues

Women kick ass at Olympics, but there's still more ass to be kicked

Women kick ass at Olympics, but there's still more ass to be kicked

Reuters writer Belinda Goldsmith had a great roundup yesterday of “The Women’s Games”, which is what many are calling the 2012 Summer Olympics (which — for those of you living under a rock — just wrapped up this past weekend in London). Here’s a quick summary of the important stats, but the whole article is worth a read.

Pronouns ain't what they used to be: A TRANSGENERATION grammar primer

Pronouns ain't what they used to be: A TRANSGENERATION grammar primer

Nobody wants to be that person in a social situation. You know, the one who gets their pronouns all wrong? There you are in a room with people identifying as ze, they or hir and it doesn’t even occur to you to ask. You make a few assumptions about peoples’ genders, are met with blank…

Morgan Spurlock's new doc, MANSOME

Morgan Spurlock's new doc, MANSOME

Tickets go on sale today for Morgan Spurlock’s new documentary, MANSOME, as part of the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival — but only for American Express cardholders (Amex is a founding sponsor of the festival). The rest of you plebes can order tickets next Monday for the screenings which start on Saturday, April 21st and run through the following week. Then the film hits the rest of New York and also Los Angeles on May 18th.

Switcheroo, a photo series

Switcheroo, a photo series

photo “Mish & Colin” from the series Switcheroo by Sincerely Hana

“Sincerely Hana” is a self-taught photographer raised in Whistler and currently living in Vancouver, Canada. On her website, she’s got an ongoing project called Switcheroo: dual portraits of two people each — almost always one man and one woman — standing side by side.

The slow but (hopefully) steady erosion of our gender stereotypes

The slow but (hopefully) steady erosion of our gender stereotypes

For our book club, we’re reading the 2003 novel “We Need to Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.* I, Lo, knowing nothing about the book or its author, began reading and was amazed that a male author could create a female narrator that sounded so authentic and convincing, especially regarding childbirth and motherhood. That is, until halfway through the book when I happened to catch a glimpse of the author photo on the inside back flap: turns out Lionel is a woman.

"Bounce That Dick," feminist or not?

"Bounce That Dick," feminist or not?

When we were sent a link to the new YouTube video “Bounce That Dick” on the Jenna Marbles channel, we didn’t know what to expect: some kind of safe-for-work sexual technique advice video by a porn star turned educator? Then, during the first 30 seconds, our hopes were raised, as the young “blogger and entertainer” began a rap parody, stating with much braggadocio, “I’ve been told since the day I started growing pubes to shake my ass. Well, guess what, my ass is fucking tired as shit. This time it’s your turn to wiggle your man junk for me. I wanna see you shake your muthafuckin penis, bitch.”

How different are girls' and boys' brains?

How different are girls' and boys' brains?

It’s a favorite question of ours…okay, of mine (i.e. Lo’s), and my personal answer is that yes, there are differences, but not as many or as great as our culture presumes. The bias we have as a society actually influences the development of boys’ and girls’ brains (which are elastic) so significantly as they grow that by the time they’re adults there’s much more difference than there would be if we lived in a more egalitarian, less Men-Are-From-Mars world. In other words, it’s a self-fullfilling prophecy. So while there are differences, we would do better to celebrate our similarities, or at least our potential for overlapping skills and desires and tendencies, so that both sexes don’t feel limited by narrow gender roles…

Beyonce, who run the world? Not girls.

Beyonce, who run the world? Not girls.


Beyonce’s latest hit “Run the World” is a girl-power anthem, sort of: “Who run the world? Girls” over and over. Maybe it’s aspirational. Eh, probably not

Guys, crawl out of your "man caves"

Guys, crawl out of your "man caves"

We like the image of Plato’s allegorical cave, but adult sex educator Charlie Glickman calls it the Man Box, or more specifically, the Act-Like-A-Man Box. In a series of blog posts earlier this month, Glickman explained how, in order to be perceived as “real men,” heterosexual guys have to live in a box of strict…

"Sex in America with Lisa Ling"

"Sex in America with Lisa Ling"

At least, that’s what Ling’s new show on OWN (Oprah’s new tv network) should be called, instead of “Our America with Lisa Ling.” After all, four of the first five episodes focus on matters of sexuality: There’s “Pray the Gay Away,” which looks at the conflicts between Christianity and homosexuality; “Transgendered Lives,” which profiles several different people who were born in the wrong body; “The State of Sex Offenders” which takes a look at criminals once they’re out of jail; and tonight at 10pm “Online Brides,” which we’re guessing (from the promos) follows men to foreign lands who are in search of love (read: paid-for sex slaves). The first three (which we’ve seen) all take a very personal and intimate look at how these issues are affecting real people — it’s fascinating stuff, all shot very cinematically.

Women have casual sex for — get this! — pleasure

Women have casual sex for — get this! — pleasure

It may not be news to any of you ladies out there who’ve enjoyed the thrill of a no-strings-attached hook-up, but for those who buy into the evo-psych pop notion that women are only interested in high-status resource providers rather than hotties (i.e. the opposite of men’s supposed eternal motivations) there’s a study published in…

Valerie Jarrett on gender parity

Valerie Jarrett on gender parity

Rahim Kanani, a Research Associate for the Justice and Human Rights domain of practice at the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University, recently conducted an in-depth interview in the West Wing with Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. They discussed the…

The flaws in the science of sex differences

The flaws in the science of sex differences

One of our biggest pet peeves is our society’s automatic acceptance — the giddy embrace, even — of the theory that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, with nary a space shuttle between them. We’ve written before on the lazy scientists who are suckers for a sexy headline about the “innate” differences between men and women, while touting the seemingly lone, reasonable voice of neuroscientist Lise Eliot in her book “Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps — and What We Can Do About It.” Fortunately, there are now a few other voices of reason voice that have jumped into the fray as of late: First, Barnard professor Rebecca Jordan-Young in her new book “Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences”; and then “Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society and Neurosexism Create Difference” by academic psychologist Cordelia Fine. Slate has a great review of “Brain Storm” here, and below is Publisher’s Weekly succinct starred review of it:

The world's gender inequality

The world's gender inequality

The World Economic Forum recently came out with their 5th annual Global Gender Gap Report for 2010, which, according to Time magazine (Oct 25th issues), ranks 134 countries on “a percentage-based metric that calculates how much they have closed their gender gaps in education, politics, health and economic opportunity.”

Guess whose high school yearbook pic?

Guess whose high school yearbook pic?

Yep, Rachel Maddow’s. Out and proud Rachel Maddow of MSNBC’s kick-ass liberal politics show “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Maddow, who wears as little makeup as the producers will let her get away with, who would never be caught dead in feminine jewelry (let alone pearls!), who’s always in jeans and sneaks under her television desk, who gets her haircut with what looks like a Flowbee. Don’t get us wrong — none of that is a dis. We love, love, love that Maddow refuses to abide by the strict beauty rules set for women in our society, especially in our society’s television media. Which is perhaps why this picture is so striking — it’s such a 180 for her, the epitome of the feminine ideal, even today: blonde, long-haired, tan, make-up-ed, and accessorized. We admit, our first reaction was: OMG! But why?

Will the real Elena Kagan please stand up?

Will the real Elena Kagan please stand up?

We have mixed feelings about Maureen Dowd: on the one hand she is a totally awesome butt-kicking columnist who can swing with the big boys while pointing out how many of them are actually just whiny little boys. But on the other hand, she seems to phone it in a lot these days. That said, her recent columns about Elena Kagan have made us swoon again.

Men are from Mars, blah, blah, blah…

Men are from Mars, blah, blah, blah…

Oh, isn’t it fun to talk about how men are from Mars and women are from Venus? It’s like we’re practically two different species! And once almighty “Science” comes down from on high and explains these differences as natural, well then you better suit up because the inter-galactic, inter-species war of the sexes is going to be fought for a loooong time. And so it is with neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine’s new book “The Male Brian: A Breakthrough Understanding of How Men and Boys Think,” her follow-up to her 2006 “The Female Brain.” It’s already on it’s way to best seller status (it’s number #150 on Amazon) — for this is the stuff talk shows are made of! Why, men are practically born to cheat!

The Super Bowl Ad Superlatives (in the love & sex category)

The Super Bowl Ad Superlatives (in the love & sex category)

BEST OVERALL: Dove Men+Care’s “The Journey to Comfort”
At last, a commercial that celebrates manhood without being sexist, stupid or beer-related! It’s basically a mini-movie crammed into 45-seconds (seriously, try counting the number of scenes they had to shoot) that follows one Everyman’s life from birth to adulthood by highlighting the big moments as well as the mundane ones: puberty, love, marriage, jar-opening, parenthood. The message is “You’re mature and comfortable enough in your own skin that you don’t have to worry about seeming like a pussy if you want to moisturize your skin.” And it avoids all the divisive or offensive gender stereotypes often found in Super Bowl ads. BUT — and it’s a big “but” — the title of “best ad” only applies to the 45-second version that aired during the Super Bowl last night. If you search online for it (and on the Dove site), the version that will probably come up first is the ONE minute version, which sadly DOES include a bunch of tired gender stereotypes, like fighting at parties, never showing your sensitive side and never showing fear — ugh! Like with good film making, good commercial making is all about editing, editing, editing.

45-Second Version (Yay!):

One-Minute Version (Boo!):

See the winners for “Most Romantic,” “Most Sexist” and “Funniest” after the jump:

10 things you probably didn't know about hermaphrodites

10 things you probably didn't know about hermaphrodites

photo by dalbera

The South African runner Caster Semenya recently withdraw from a competition amid speculation about her sex. The rumor is that she is intersex — or a hermaphrodite, as they used to say in the olden days. If it’s true, then it’s too bad she withdrew, as we would have loved to see the world of international athletics try to wrangle this one. After all, it’s not like they could force her into the operating room in order to compete. Plus, it’s a subject rife with misunderstanding and stubborn rumors, and the more people talk about this stuff openly, the better. For now, we’ll try to clear up a few things as best we can:

Evolutionary psychologists do it with blinders on

Evolutionary psychologists do it with blinders on

photo:gniliep Evolutionary psychology can be so annoying sometimes. Like when it tries to explain women’s modern-day preference for pink as some left-over instinct from hunter-gatherer days when they needed to be good at gathering berries, completely disregarding the fact that in the early 1900s pink was the color of choice for little boys and blue…