Gender Issues

Recent posts

“You’ve Got She-Mail”: The Use of Gendered Pronouns on RuPaul’s Drag Race

Okay, so I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I just started watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. I had heard of the show before, but it wasn’t until I started watching some reruns at a friend’s house that I realized how much I’d been missing out. The show is, in a word, fabulous. From RuPaul’s ever-changing wardrobe to the weekly “She-Mail” messages, the show is like a bad car crash- you just can’t stop watching. I mean, who doesn’t want to watch a bunch of dramatic divas compete for the title of #1 Drag Queen? Continue Reading →

Gender Roles in Brave

The Pixar film Brave is notable for many reasons: it’s Pixar’s first feature-length film with a female protagonist, it tackles the Disney legacy of passive and pretty princesses, and it grapples with gender roles in magical past not terribly unlike our reality (social hierarchies attempt to keep order while individuals compete for status and struggle with their relationships to the natural world and their duties). A ranking of Disney princesses from least to most feminist reveals that over the years, the princess crowd has grown slightly less obsequious and obnoxious… slightly. Brave shakes all that up by having a fearless archer for a princess… or does it? Continue Reading →

“A” Pregnant CEO or “The” Pregnant CEO?

Marissa Mayer was just hired as CEO of Yahoo – while pregnant. As pointed out in The Atlantic: “A female chief executive who was hired while she was pregnant — and who will give birth just a few months into her tenure — is a symbolic turning point.” However, Mayer is also undergoing critique at Role Reboot for supporting WalMart: “I want women to succeed at business. But, I want no one to succeed at business who doesn’t respect the rights and dignity of workers, especially low-wage workers, most of whom are women.” Hopefully, women (whether pregnant or not) will continue to enter all levels of the workforce, so that A Pregnant CEO doesn’t need to be held up as the singular example or role model for this kind of phenomenon. Continue Reading →

Young Ears are Listening: Gender, Body Image, and Top 40 Music

Yesterday, I was in the passenger seat of my roommate’s car. We were guiltily enjoying some Top 40 in the background as we enjoyed the gorgeous scenery, when suddenly we were accosted by these lyrics:

“Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Let me know
Girl I’m gonna show you how to do it
And we start real slow
You just put your lips together
And you come real close
Can you blow my whistle baby, whistle baby
Here we go” (Whistle, by Flo Rida)

So, not exactly what I want to hear on my car ride. Or, um, ever. Not to mention that it took us a good minute to even hear the lyrics. The song has a repetitive “whistle” riff that makes it sound like children’s music. Continue Reading →

Gender Identity In Media Linked To Children’s Self Esteem

A recent study from Indiana University finds that watching television can lead to decreased self-confidence for African-American boys and girls as well as white girls, but apparently not for white boys. Perhaps this is because white males are so often depicted in positions of power and control, whereas black males are frequently shown to be criminals, while women overall are sexualized: the prize rather than the winner of the prize. On the one hand, it’s nice that more evidence exists demonstrating that everyday imagery affects us; on the other hand, TV’s not going to change unless there’s a good (i.e. financial) reason for it to. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →

Gender on the Galactica

Ok, so I’m secretly a huge nerd. Well, maybe that’s not so secret. But recently I’ve been accepting my true nerdiness and allowing myself to delve into some awesome sci-fi shows. For the past week, I’ve spent most of my free time watching Battlestar Galactica. I’m only on season 2, but so far I’m fascinated by all of the sexuality/gender play on the show! Continue Reading →

Disproving Myths About The Differences Between Men And Women

Have a minute? Good, go read this. The author, an anthropologist, tells us that while gender is an important factor in people’s lives, it’s not as hardwired or innate as we tend to think it is: “It is the strength of the societal myths about sex that fool us into thinking that men and women are so different by nature.” (I practically whooped out loud when I read this, because it is SO TRUE)

Male and female brains aren’t as different as we’re led to believe; differences in sexual desire and hormones aren’t that extreme either. If we can’t fall back on static old beliefs, how then do people justify treating men and women so differently? Continue Reading →

What I’ve Learned About Gender From Working in a Baby Store

Our culture is obsessed with gender. From the moment a new life enters the world, we feel the need to bombard them with “appropriately” colored gifts as a way to reinforce the gender we have assigned. I was aware of this phenomenon before starting work at a baby store, both from my experience as a babysitter and from my gender studies background, but I wasn’t fully aware of how serious people get about their child’s gender. We carry a variety of items in our store, including clothing that is both clearly gendered and gender neutral (or so say the colors). Despite the obvious trend of pink for girls and blue for boys, it still blows my mind when people refuse to buy something because it’s the wrong color. Continue Reading →

Semen-Eating in Papua New Guinea

This semester, I took an anthropology seminar called Anthropology & Sexualities. We spent each three-hour class meeting discussing various practices around the world that have to do with sex, sexuality, gender identity, and rituals. So, when Kate announced to us that we were jumping back into our theme weeks with a “Sex Around The Globe” theme, I was pumped! It took a pretty serious process of elimination to figure out what I wasn’t going to write about, and finally, I settled on the fascinating rituals of male rites of passage in Papua New Guinea. The Sambia of Papua New Guinea are one of many cultures that practice rite of passage rituals. Continue Reading →

To Sauna Or Not To Sauna?

The sauna, or a heated room wherein one can sit and sweat for health and therapeutic purposes, has become well-known in Western health clubs and spas, though it originated in Baltic, Scandinavian, and Slavic cultures. Each region has local variations: some saunas are wet and humid while others are bone-dry; some feature bundles of birch branches that you can use to massage yourself; and in some places, attendees leap into icy lakes or roll around in the snow in order to stimulate blood flow between sessions in the heated room. This all sounds good, right? But would you enter a sauna with the opposite sex when everyone was nude? I did. Continue Reading →