When a 66-year-old Chinese man went to the hospital complaining of a swollen abdomen, he got a diagnosis he wasn’t expecting. The abdominal pain was a cyst on one of his ovaries. This was news to him. With the ability to grow a beard and male anatomy, he never had reason to suspect he was a biological female.
Doctors found his rare condition to be caused by combination of Turner syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality that causes biological women to lack certain female features and be unable to reproduce, and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which boosts male hormones. Keep reading »
Here’s this article entitled, “The Flip Side Of Being A Female Breadwinner,” another one of those what-does-it-all-mean pieces (yes, there’s an evolutionary psychologist quoted, if you’re playing Navel-Gazey Trend Story Bingo back at home) that takes one person’s experience and blows it up in hopes of making a statement, vaguely tinged with some kind of shame about not doing things properly, about the way women and men live and work now and the way things should be, or ought to be.
The ultimate conclusion of these kinds of pieces? Life is complicated, and no you can’t have it all, and no, we have never heard of anyone who is not a white, middle-class woman because if we did we would have to approach this topic with actual thought and nuance and situate it in a socio-historical context that took long-term economic and political trends into account, and that would be harder than drawing simplistic conclusions about culture and gender roles according to a self-selected sample of friends and “experts.”
I don’t think there’s a “flip side” of being a female breadwinner because I don’t think there are exactly two ways to be a female breadwinner: a way in which everyone is happy in a world of gender roles gone topsy-turvy, and a way in which everyone is swimming miserably upstream. Women — particularly single mothers, particularly women of color- — have been “breadwinning” for years. Keep reading »
A women’s studies class at the University of Saskatchewan made this provocative video which questions commonly perpetuated stereotypes about gender in media. Pointing out that women are often in a subjugated position — turned into objects themselves, along with whatever object they’re supposedly selling, placed in prone, sexually provocative poses — the video connects violent images in the media with their real-life consequences. From the beginning of advertising, there have been ads that have capitalized on female sexuality, gender stereotypes and violence against women. (Seriously, some of these ads would make even Pete Campbell blush.) While it’s tough to say just how much advertising is responsible, it’s pretty clear that violence against women is rampant and more women than ever are going to extreme lengths to pursue a “perfect” body. And even men are not immune — as the video notes, media images have been linked to a recent increase in depression among men, too. Keep reading »
A few days ago, author Maureen Johnson tweeted, “I do wish I had a dime for every email I get that says, ‘Please put a non-girly cover on your book so I can read it. – signed, A Guy,’” and the Coverflip challenge was born. Johnson asked her followers to “take a well-known book, then to imagine the author of that book was of the opposite gender, or was genderqueer, and imagine what that cover might look like.” Some of the resulting cover makeovers are funny (like the above reimagining of Shutter Island as a beachy “novel of self-discovery”), some are pretty ridiculous, but they all say a hell of a lot about how books are very clearly gendered, and how publishers market male and female authors in drastically different ways. Want proof? Click on the gallery to check out a few more crazy Coverflips… [Huffington Post]
Students at a Swedish high school have requested and received a gender neutral changing room as part of the school’s locker room for any student that wants to use it. Soedra Latins upper secondary school already has male and female locker rooms, but students proposed last year that they have an additional space for students not defined by gender. Trans folks (and gay folks) all around the world are discriminated against by people who assume they use opposite-gender bathrooms just to leer; it’s particularly hard on trans kids who are, in many cases, already susceptible to bullying. A gender neutral space gives those bigots no excuse. This Stockholm suburb is the same place that discourages preschoolers from calling each other “him”/”her”/”boy”/”girl” and instead identify each other as “friends.” Between your progressive ideas about gender and your IKEA meatballs, you’re not doing anything to make me not love you, Sweden. [Huffington Post] [Photo of girl in gym locker room via Shutterstock]
Just in case you weren’t clear why we still need feminism to break down the sexism of culturally-prescribed gender roles: MTV announced yesterday it greenlit a new reality TV show called “Guy Court” which will straight-up judge bros on their bro-itude. Explains Yahoo:
In the half-hour comedic courtroom series “Guy Court,” which will premiere in fall 2013, the laws of manhood will be upheld as some familiar MTV2 faces will determine the guilt or innocence of a variety of cases in accordance with Guy Code. Each real life case will be judged, defended and prosecuted with the perfect combination of comedy and justice. Keep reading »
This piece was cross-posted with permission from the Ms. Magazine Blog.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones released an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaking with members of his reelection staff. Much of the conversation focused on actor Ashley Judd, who, until recently, was rumored to be mulling a run against the current Senate GOP leader. For the most part, the recording is typical opposition research. An aide rehearses Judd’s public politics: She loves Obamacare, is pro-gay marriage and self-identifies as a feminist.
None of this, of course, is much of a surprise — Judd campaigned for President Obama and has spoken publicly on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America. More disconcerting than the rehashing of Judd’s political ideology, however, is when the discussion veers from policy to Judd’s reproductive choices and then quickly to her mental health. Keep reading »
“Deciding to wear a skirt onstage in September was a personal landmark. It was the first time I had ever worn a skirt in public—and I would be doing so in front of a couple of thousand people. The skirt was a gift from a friend—it was black and leather, and it fit me great. I was worried about playing in it, unsure if it would affect the way I moved. Our set that night wasn’t our best, but it didn’t matter. I was breaking new ground. Accomplishing small goals when transitioning has a cumulative effect. The confidence you gain from reaching one carries you to the next. Face your fears, I say, but choose the right skirt to do it in.”
– Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace describes her first time wearing a skirt on stage in a really beautiful first-person account of her first year living openly as a woman. I highly recommend reading it if you’re at all interested in gender transitions and relationships. At the end, there’s also an honest Q&A with Laura’s wife, Heather, whose only lament about Laura’s transition is that she didn’t tell her sooner: “It broke my heart to know she’d been going through this on her own for so long.” Seriously, pop over and give it a read. You will be inspired. [Cosmopolitan]
The New York Times is getting a run for its money in the dubiously-credible lifestyle articles department. Today’s contender: the Wall Street Journal‘s ”Who’s Your Office Mom?” which continues on another page with the statement-making headline, “Every Office Needs A Mom.”
Really, WSJ, really? Keep reading »