Gender Issues

Recent posts

The Double Bind Of Sexual Harassment

Author Jim C. Hines nails it with this comic on how reporting sexual harassment at conventions tends to go down. As we’ve covered previously, geek culture is notoriously misogynist at times, and the handling of sexual harassment is but one manifestation of this general trend. Unfortunately, we see plenty of these attitudes in the rest of contemporary culture as well. Continue Reading →

Simple Ways To Be A Male Ally

Michael Urbina’s blog post 101 Everyday Ways for Men to Be Allies to Women contains a lot of great suggestions for men who want to become aware of and cut back on sexist behavior that they might be unconsciously modeling. I like most of the ideas, though I don’t think that a guy having nude pictures of women is automatically a no-no when it comes to being an ally. But then, I hang out with a lot of artists, and we’ve got an artist in my family, so I’m pretty de-sensitized to nude images. What do you think – is the list missing anything? Could any of the suggestions be tweaked or improved? Continue Reading →

Dealing With Harassment – Again

It seems that I keep returning to the topic of harassment, in part because it continues to be present in our culture, and in part because it just keeps happening to me. I’m not particularly special or attractive, I just have the poor luck of being a woman who spends a lot of time in public places. Like, ya know, a lot of people tend to do these days. In my most recent instance of harassment, though, I managed to keep a level head and defuse the situation in a way that seemed to work, so I thought I’d share a bit about the experience. I was at a street festival, dressed in my belly dance costume – not that this is a particularly relevant detail, as it wasn’t skimpy (which is totally not a justification for harassment anyway!), plus I was surrounded by other belly dancers so it’s not like I really stood out. Continue Reading →

Taking A Stand About Sexual Harassment At Conventions

Novelist John Scalzi has announced that he will not attend conventions without strong sexual harassment policies. This is an important step in combating the misogyny present in geek culture, but also that which is present in mainstream culture. I completely agree with author Rosenberg’s analysis of the situation: “Scalzi is saying one of the most important things men who want to be feminist allies can say: that sexual harassment affects and offends him personally, even if he’s not the subject of it, that if someone he cares about is hurt or humiliated, he’s going to be offended on their behalf, and stand with them as they report their experiences and look for ways that things could be different.” We need more feminist allies, not just in subcultures, but everywhere. Taking a stand publicly is a wonderful way to demonstrate that you support making a space safe for women (and in doing so, making it safe for all). Continue Reading →

Gender Studies Via The Powerpuff Girls

A friend pointed me toward this amusing link: The Powerpuff Girls Could Have Replaced Your Gender Studies Class. In it, the author describes the show’s subversiveness, thinly veiled under a cutesy cartoon. Cross-dressing and questioning normative gender roles abound, and the show even makes a critique of the cult of manhood. Pretty advanced gender studies ideas for a children’s show, eh? Continue Reading →

Hot Domestic Monotony

With all the serious sex news going around, add something humorous in your day and have a look at an Onion article titled “Nothing Gets Me Wetter Than a Monotonous Domestic Routine.” Better yet, do a dramatic reading of it with some not-easily-offended friends. You’re welcome. Continue Reading →

My Name is Strong: Raising Awareness About Gender-Based Violence Through Art

I was made aware of a creative new anti-violence initiative and awareness campaign called My Name Is Strong through a volunteer job. The description instantly caught my attention: “our commitment is to turn a single room into an overpowering exhibit of human strength.” My Name Is Strong aims to empower all individuals who have been impacted by gender-based violence through creative expression. The campaign isn’t just for survivors, but anyone who has been impacted by rape, harassment, sexual assault, etc. My Name Is Strong is based out of St Louis, Missouri and you can view submissions on their Facebook page. Continue Reading →

Science, Gender, And Needlepoint

As a folklorist, one of the areas of human existence I study is material culture. We talk about material culture as culture made material: literally, the objects created by humans that display facets of culture, belief, and worldview. Sometimes we’re interested in the material culture of the present, ranging from handmade works like pottery to re-purposed mass-made objects like scrapbooks or quilts. Like archaeologists, we look at objects of the past, too. Folklore intersects with sex in many ways, and material culture is no exception. Continue Reading →

Is Sex-Based Medicine Helpful or Harmful?

Our society needs categories in able to function (or so it seems). These categories come in handy when we’re collecting data for the Census, but the rest of the time, they tend to do more harm than good. In the United States, many pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals use these categories to study human health. It seems like this would make sense, right? Some groups of people are prone to some diseases more than others, so stratifying the data could help to create cures or treatment specific to this group. Continue Reading →

How A Misogynist Changed His Mind

What makes people change their core beliefs about how the world works (a.k.a. their worldview)? This question intrigues me, as I note in this post about how Canadian health care converted a self-identified conservative to support universal health care. In this blog post, you can read about a similar sort of thing happening: a guy who used to be a real misogynist explains how, over a period of years, he slowly began to change his mind about the feminist conspiracy to oppress men and keep “nice guys” like himself from getting laid. What would it take for you to change your mind about a deeply held belief regarding gender or sexuality? Continue Reading →