I am decisively “meh” on Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In foundation and its focus on a feminist movement driven by/benefiting capitalism, but I can get behind their latest PSA campaign to ban the word “bossy,” as it’s frequently used to describe and diminish ambitious women. Beyonce is down with it too, appearing in the PSA above (along with Jennifer Garner, Diane von Furstenberg, and Condoleezza Rice, amongst others) in which she states, “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” I just decided that Beyonce needs to do a song called “Bossy,” with that line as a lyric. And then it can be added to her soundboardt. Please? [NYMag.com]
This post is reprinted from The Huffington Post with the permission of its authors.
What’s the biggest myth about street harassment? That men of color comprise the majority of offenders.
It’s a myth as old as this nation: the idea that Black men are more likely to be sexual predators — especially of white women. Consider D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth Of A Nation,” that builds an entire narrative on the idea of the black brute. From the Scottsboro boys to Emmitt Till, history as well as popular culture, the justice system and virtually all other facets of American society still hold the deeply entrenched notion of Black men as people to be feared.
But the myth doesn’t stop with history. In a recent New York Times article, a White woman living in a mostly Caribbean community (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) gets physically assaulted by a Latino man and wonders if it’s her fault, as if moving into a mostly Caribbean community was the city-dwellers equivalent to “asking for it.” A few years ago, a woman, also writing for The New York Times, reported on her experience doing aid work in the Congo and hearing repeatedly from other European aid workers that sexual harassment, violence, and rape in those areas “is cultural,” instead of, as she duly notes, “a tool of war.” The myth that Black and Latino men are innately sexually aggressive is one that extends beyond our national borders. Keep reading »
The Girl Scouts of the USA is under pressure from the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for a New American Dream to end its partnership with Barbie, which it began last summer. The organization teamed up with Mattel to offer a Barbie webpage, activity book and uniform patch for Girl Scouts aged 5 to 8. The partnership marked the first ever Girl Scout patch that has corporate sponsorship, which sounds all kinds of skeevy to me. Keep reading »
Yesterday, Will Ferrell’s company, Gary Sanchez Productions, announced that it is launching a female-focused film and television department called Gloria Sanchez Productions. The idea came from Jessica Elbaum, an exec at Gary Sanchez, who will head the division.
This is exciting news, but I think they missed a major point. I believe people are at their funniest, smartest, most moral and most complete when they exist together. Gary Sanchez Productions is like an apartment with no living room. Yes, it’s vital and sanity-saving to have your own room, but all the best stuff happens in the living room, where people congregate and everyone feels like they belong. While I love the new Girls Room of Gary Sanchez Productions, it doesn’t improve what has been going on in the Boys Room at all. Keep reading »
Why does the mainstream media have to ask if politicians who are also mothers can “have it all”? We never ask if dads can “have it all”; instead, we presume someone back at home (wife, nanny, second wife) is taking care of the kids and the kids are fine and we do not need to worry about them. But when a mom runs for office — or is up for any other kind of huge role, like CEO — there’s the implication that she’s going to fail in one area of her life because she has too many competing responsibilities. By asking whether she can have it all, we suggest she can’t have “it all.” There are literally hundreds of other headlines The New York Times Magazine could have used for this article and cover story about Wendy Davis, who is running for governor of Texas as a Democrat. I don’t doubt the Times Magazine article about Davis will be really interesting. I simply wish the mainstream media reported on male and female politicians more equally. [New York Times Magazine]
Maybe you saw this 1981 gender-neutral LEGO ad (left) the first time around. Or maybe you saw it more recently, going viral on the Internet to underscore how advertising for kids could be: the little girl in the picture isn’t wearing any pink, and the ad copy is about the pride a child takes in building something on their own.
The ad’s young model, Rachel Giordano, recently posed for an updated version of the ad that shows just how much toys have changed in the past few decades. Rachel, who is now a 37-year-old naturopathic doctor, posed holding a toy from the LEGO “Friends” line, which is marketed to girls. The “Heartlake City News Van” in her hands is advertised like this:
“Break the big story of the world’s best cake with the Heartlake News Van! Find the cake and film it with the camera and then climb into the editing suite and get it ready for broadcast. Get Emma ready at the makeup table so she looks her best for the camera. Sit her at the news desk as Andrew films her talking about the cake story and then present the weather to the viewers.” Keep reading »
A study by Rice University and the University of North Texas has found that for lots of us, height does matter when it comes to choosing a partner.
Researchers set out to learn more about height preferences in the heterosexual dating world by conducting a study split into two parts. The first part compiled data from Yahoo! personal dating ads and consulted the opinions of 455 heterosexual men (with an average height of 5’8″ and average age of 36) and 470 heterosexual women (with an average height of 5’4″ and an average age of 35). Only 13.5 percent of guys said they prefer to date women who are shorter than they are. The women in the study, on the other hand, were a bit pickier: 48.9 percent of women would only date men who are taller than they are.
The study’s second part enlisted volunteers from a U.S. university to take an online survey with open-ended questions. The survey included 54 men (who averaged 5’9″ tall) and 131 women (with an average height of 5’4″). Researchers found that 37 percent of men would only date women who are shorter than them, and 55 percent of women would only date men who are taller than them – very similar to the study’s previous findings. Keep reading »
“If you are 35 and don’t have a husband, there is something wrong. … We will start demanding that you are married before you are elected. … You young ladies: look for husbands and get married. You are the ones causing problems. … Someone who is able to manage a home is equally able to run the affairs of the people. But if you cannot manage a home … can you manage public affairs?”
This is William Kabogo, the governor of Kiambu County in Kenya, who has since apologized for criticizing unmarried women who dare to run for office. He was throwing shade at an MP named Alice Ng’ang’a, who is unmarried and also happens to oppose Kabogo’s ideas on taxes. Obviously she has silly ideas about taxes because she is a woman who is single, duh. I hope this guy shuts up so he doesn’t give American politicians any worse ideas. [BBC]