I took gender and sexuality studies as a minor in college, which is what my school offered instead of “women’s studies.” I assumed at first that they were just being PC with the name. But then when I took the first class, an introduction to the discipline, I realized it truly wasn’t just about women. We learned about constructs like gender and sexuality, yes, but we also devoted a lot of attention to the intersectionality of race, class, religion and able-bodiedness. That introductory instructor encouraged us not to assume gender was what individuals identified with first and cautioned us against ignoring other ways people are oppressed by focusing solely on gender. Gender studies was actually the hip new term for the discipline; “women’s studies,” on the other hand, sounded hopelessly old-school. I took four gender and sexuality studies classes and only one — “Women and The Media” — focused on women almost exclusively (that class was about media depictions). The other courses, however, were far more intersectional and examined all the different ways people can be oppressed; for example, “The History of Prostitution” talked a lot about how female sex workers flourished during Victorian times in part because men felt they had no other outlet.
I never took a “men’s studies” class that focused primarily on men. But if I could go back in time, I might have majored in G&SS instead of minored and taken a course strictly about masculinity. After all, gender is so intersectional and I do want to learn more about that particular construct. Approximately, 100 colleges around the country offer “men’s studies” courses — one would assume in the gender studies, sociology or anthropology departments — and though it’s not offered as a major anywhere yet, the proliferation of these courses is a good sign that in the coming years, masculinity will be critiqued and evaluated just as much as femininity has been by “women’s studies.”
So if G&SS is now incorporating the study of women’s and men’s experiences together, then what the heck is “male studies” about? Keep reading »
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if your food is actually, well, food. That’s where this handy chart comes in. If it’s got more than five ingredients, it’s probably not food. Sorry. [SummerTomato] Keep reading »
On last night’s “Daily Show,”
Jon Stewart spoke eloquently about the devastating shooting
that occurred in Arizona over the weekend, and the current dangerous political climate. Said Stewart, “We shouldn’t conflate our political opponents with enemies, if for no other reason than to draw a better distinction between the manifestos of paranoid madmen and what passes for political and pundit speak. it would be really nice if the ramblings of crazy people didn’t in any way resemble how we actually talk to each other on TV.” Please watch. [Comedy Central
] Keep reading »
When you think of your typical store-bought snack cake, you probably think Hostess or Entemann’s. But if you live in Philadelphia you’ll immediately think of Tastykake, a Philly-based, equally delicious local snack company. As anyone who has ever had a Butterscotch Krimpet (which is basically like a bizarre wavy-shaped piece of cake with vaguely butterscotch icing) or a Peanut Butter Kandy Kake (tiny rounds of cake coated in peanut butter and dipped in chocolate) after chowing down on a Wawa Shorti hoagie knows, Tastykakes are great–and an integral part of the city. Their freaking bakery is located right on the Philadelphia Naval Yard. So we were sad to hear that the Tastykake corporation is having financial troubles and may be going under. Lagging sales of Krimpets, Koffee Kake and Kandy Kakes mean the company is possibly looking for another buyer. We really hope that Tastykake stays alive and well–while there are a lot of great snack cakes out there, there’s nothing like eating the one you grew up with.
Is there a local or regional food you love that you’d be sad to see go? [Philadelphia Daily News] Keep reading »
Put another record on: It turns out that listening to music is just about as good as sex when it comes to making people happy. A new study from Canadian researchers at McGill University in Montreal found that the dopamine released while having sex is the same you get when listening to music. Researchers vetted 10 subjects to receive specialized brain scans to measure dopamine levels. They were then played their favorite music while dopamine levels were measured. Regardless of the genre of music — punk, classical or pop — subjects felt a dopamine high. The coolest thing: Dopamine responds to the pauses and pathways in different songs. So if you’re particularly familiar with a song or a sequence, your brain will anticipate it and produce dopamine ahead of it.
The music dopamine is particularly good news when it comes to figuring out how to treat depression and anxiety. “For reasons that we don’t entirely understand, somehow music was able to kick in with the same system,” said Robert Zatorre, lead researcher on the study. “And that gives it power that it might not otherwise have…Because it gives us pleasure, we can use it to our advantage to modulate our state of mind.” [Montreal Gazette]
Keep reading »