Recent posts

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 →

“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 →

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 →

Men And Women, Sex Drives, And Misogyny

We are still trying to understand what differences, if any, exist between men’s and women’s sex drives, and how these differences might impact social differences. The problem gets trickier because it looks like social expectations impact how often men and women will report feeling aroused, as discussed in this Kinsey Confidential report. Researchers found that men reported thinking about sex quite often (though not as often as the “every 7 seconds” stereotype), while women reported thinking about sex pretty often too… but they might’ve under-reported because of social norms that are more permissive about men thinking about sex than women doing so. Why does this matter? Continue Reading →

Social Media And Gender: Pinterest

This essay on the trends in women adopting social media, focusing on Pinterest, highlights the gendered attitudes about blogging and other internet activities that tend to foreground “masculine” activities over “feminine” activities. I wonder: is it truly possible for a website or a blogging topic to be gendered? I know men who bake and women who enjoy motorcycles, so why would stereotypes be so lively on the internet? Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Cross-Dressing Couples

“Switcheroo” is the name of clever project a Canadian photographer, Sincerely Hanna, snapped of mostly heterosexual couples in their regular clothing and having switched outfits. The result is both amusing and thought-provoking. Many of the photos show, for instance, that even when women aren’t wearing skin-tight clothing or really short skirts, their clothes will look that way on their male partners! Go gender bending! Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →

New Research On The Gender Pay Gap

A new study indicates that, contrary to popular belief, women have begun to ask for raises as often as men – but they are less likely to receive them. What starts as an insignificant or nonexistent pay gap between the genders thus widens over time. One important implication of this research is that it’s not women’s fault that the pay gap exists; women aren’t being shy or reticent as commentators on this issue have argued in the past. So, once again, we have to look for larger systemic issues (and hopefully do something about them). Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Continue Reading →