Gender Issues

Recent posts

Peaceful Pee

This is a first, at least in my experience – not only have I found a gender neutral bathroom but it’s also sponsored! I’m at the Center for Family Life Education’s annual Sex Ed Conference, and attendees have the option of bucking the gender binary and using the gender neutral restroom sponsored by Pee in Peace. Pee in Peace is an app that helps users locate gender neutral bathrooms, although it unfortunately is only for Ithaca, NY. I’m hoping that more gender neutral bathrooms will start popping up – and maybe with enough attention, Pee in Peace will expand to nationwide. Any thoughts on sponsoring bathrooms? Continue Reading →

Women’s Progress In Academia

Caroline Walker Bynum’s memoir-like essay of being a female professor in the 1960s and 1970s strikingly explains some of the cultural factors that allowed women to begin advancing in academia. At a time when women were not allowed to dine in the Harvard Faculty Club or join certain learned societies, there was of course backlash when women began breaching those bastions of old boys’ clubs. Yet as Bynum points out, “Women, who had never been in the club, didn’t notice much when it disappeared. Sometimes quietly, sometimes aggressively, they began to fill some of the few places that were available.” This is true in other spheres of society as well – and it carries warnings to women, not to get so caught up with in-fighting that we let distrust of each other weaken our already-tenuous positions. Continue Reading →

Unconscious Gender Bias Among Academics

While we may tend to think that educated and open-minded people are less likely to hold unconscious biases, a study by Yale found that scientists responded to the gender of names assigned to CVs as much as a control group did. They judged the men to be more competent candidates and deserving of higher pay. The female as well as male scientists made these assessments, demonstrating that both genders have internalized gendered values. Hopefully openly discussing the prevalence of gender bias will make people more aware of its influence on them. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →

Straw Feminists: Do Feminists Really Hate Men?

The stereotype of the man-hating feminist is quite pervasive in contemporary American culture, as exemplified in this brilliant cartoon, Straw Feminists. But do feminists really hate men? How can we find out? Turns out that empirical research will go a long way toward dispelling such stereotypes. A study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly [pdf] reported on college students’ attitudes toward men, as measured with the Ambivalence toward Men Inventory (AMI). Continue Reading →

Why “They” and “Them” Will Never Work

I’m all about gender-neutral pronouns. The English language, once again, fails us when it comes to those that don’t fit within the norm (see my post on the limits of the English language for reference). Like many languages, English pretty much only allows us two options for singular gendered pronouns: he/him/his and she/her/hers. Those within the queer community (and allies/supporters) have been subverting these language norms for years. In fact, it’s been happening for a lot longer than I thought! Continue Reading →

Change is a Beautiful Thing

Change can be a beautiful thing. When I first met Liv, my partner, I couldn’t help but think he was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. He’s tall, with soft blue eyes and the impish charm of a schoolboy, and dresses the part, too. He’s covered in some serious ink, and dons heavy, colorful stone gauges. Basically, he was my dream boi. Continue Reading →

How Do You Describe Your Gender Identity?

Gender identity is always interesting to me, especially as I don’t view the options as only “male” or “female.” While I do appear female, I like to think of my own gender identity as a bit more fluid. So when I saw some You Tube videos that talked about gender identity, I had even more food for thought. Seeing how different individuals identify gives me a chance to actively reflect on how I see my own gender identity – and how it’s not always male or female. The video I linked to shows 18 Turkish trans activists. Continue Reading →

Gendered Micro-Inequities In Academia

Ah, the start of another school year! I love the beginning of the semester because it’s always an invigorating time. I’m excited to be teaching an introduction to folklore class, which means I get to view my beloved discipline through new eyes. However, this is also a time to reflect on and take stock of what it means to be an academic. And for women, people of color, and other minorities, this can be an unsettling topic. Continue Reading →

Fashion Vs. Coin-Collecting

In response to yet another ridiculous example of making assumptions about women in political power according to how they dress, Feministe has come up with a brilliant comparison of fashion and coin-collecting. Here’s how this works: both fashion and coin-collecting are hobbies, yet fashion is gendered in ways that coin-collecting is not. No one automatically assumes that you collect coins, but women are assumed to be into fashion because, well, that’s what ladies are into, right? Coin-collecting comes up in conversation either briefly or not at all, or if both parties are into it, while fashion is something you can apparently ask any woman about anytime. See where this is going? Continue Reading →

Limits of the English Language – Revisited

Our most recent theme week, Sex and Language, has prompted me to revisit a topic that I blogged about a while back: the use of language when describing a significant other. At the time, I was struggling with what I should call my Sig O. Since my partner (yes, I’ve settled on that word) is transgender, I was bouncing between boyfriend and partner. “Boyfriend,” on the one hand, led everyone to assume heterosexuality, while “partner” made me sound like an old lesbian (no offense whatsoever to that crowd, I’m just not quite there yet). This of course brings up the question of whether or not I actually care what people think of me. When I use boyfriend and people assume I’m straight, should that bother me? Continue Reading →