Bad news, ladies: being described as “caring,” “sensitive,” “kind” or “nurturing” in a recommendation letter can work against you. According to research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, of 624 letters of recommendation submitted on behalf of 194 applicants for eight positions at a university, women are more likely to be described with stereotypically “feminine” adjectives by both male and female letter writers and they are less likely to get offered the job if tainted with these “feminine” descriptions. Researchers took the letters, removed identifying, gendered information, and controlled for things like papers published and honors received. The search committee rated the letters in which the subject was described as “feminine” the lowest for both men and women, but women’s letters of recommendation letters are where these descriptors were most likely to appear. What are some of the words more likely used to describe men? “Confident,” “aggressive,” “ambitious,” “independent,” and “daring.” According to Inside Higher Ed, scholars who analyzed the research said there are “clear patterns” of word choice in recommendation letters. Keep reading »
Do you know some reality stars from TV who look like they could use a real-life kick in the pants? A “desperate bachelorette” maybe? A “d-bag”? An “angry black bitch”? These are just a few of the stock characters you see over and over again on reality TV — excuse me, “reality TV.” Media critic Jennifer L. Pozner — who just happens to be my mentor and friend — has just published Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV, which examines the past decade of “reality TV” and how its statements on race, gender and class just happen to echo cultural stereotypes. (For example, men and women of color were pretty much absent from “reality TV” until Flavor of Love — a “dating” show where women clean up after and perform sexual favors for the rapper Flavor Flav.) Keep reading »
In my early 20s, I’d say I was an Organic Slow and Steady. When I was engaged to my fiance, I definitely thought of myself as a Ritual Re-Inventor. And after our breakup? A Phoenix, baby. Nowadays, I’d consider myself an Organic Someday Mom Trailblazer. What the hell am I talking about? These monikers are just some of the 12 “categories of single women” outlined in Michelle Cove’s Seeking Happily Ever After: Navigating the Ups and Downs of Being Single Without Losing Your Mind (and Finding Lasting Love Along the Way). MarieClaire.com has the full list of single woman types and their brief explanations, writing that Cove “interviewed more than 100 women and talked to them about how relationships based on what they think they should want often leave them unhappy. She tried to determine what it was that they truly wanted — in the process, getting readers to think a little more deeply about what their dream relationship might really be like.” Keep reading »
A geisha girl and a samurai warrior: these are the stereotypes Mattel used for Japanese Ken and Barbie dolls. Barbie is dressed as a geisha with lotus blossoms in her hair, a gold fan, and some gladiator heels which are badass-looking, but I’m thinking not particularly Japanese. Ken is dressed as a bare-chested samurai warrior with a small ponytail and a long sword. An ex-boyfriend who went to grad school in Japan called the Japanese Ken doll, quote, “pure Fu Manchu stereotype” — minus that nefarious mustache, of course. Surprise, surprise, Mattel has a long history of representing their Japanese Barbies as geishas. Keep reading »
She’s mellllllllting … and she’s the Speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi is the cackling Wicked Witch of the West in a new “Wizard of Oz”-themed campaign commercial by Republican Congressional candidate John Dennis. An actress playing Pelosi flies in on a jet, jabbing Dorothy, Toto and pals with the end of her broom and shrieking that her flying monkey henchmen, the IRS, will come after them. That is, until John Dennis throws a bucket of water in her face. Keep reading »
What to think about “Nikita,” a new show debuting on The CW tonight at 9 p.m. (EST)? Based on the 1990s TV series, which was based on the French Luc Besson flick “La Femme Nikita,” in this incarnation of the story, martial arts star Maggie Q plays a woman rescued from prison by the CIA to become an assassin in a secret division. She has escaped their clutches and after years in hiding, she wants to rescue others from the division’s control.
A smart woman? We love it. Principled characters? Great. But why does Nikita have to be yet another ass-kicking female in tight pants, stilettos and a blowout that always looks just-so? Keep reading »
Italians, you won’t be the only ones stereotyped on the boob tube: “K-town,” a new “Jersey Shore”-style reality show randomly produced by male model Tyrese, starring party-hearty Asians, has begun filming in Los Angeles’ famed Koreatown. Months ago, “K-town” posted a casting notice on Craigslist for Asian-Americans “with lively, strong and unique personalities” who love “the Koreatown life” — muscles, short skirts and drinking a la Jersey Shore-houses. The cast of “K-town” is four guys and four girls: Young Lee, Jennifer Field, Joe Cha, Scarlet Chan, Violet Kim, Peter Le, Steve Kim, and Jasmine Chang. Bodybuilder and alleged porn star Peter Le is said to be the Asian “Situation,” although his beefcake abs make The Situation look like tofu. Still, isn’t it beautiful how fist-bumping transcends cultural barriers? [Broadcasting Asian America, New York Post, Jezebel] Keep reading »
Can we stop making jokes already about women being bad drivers and even worse drinkers? No, I guess we can’t. Apparently there’s a reason why the most generic gender stereotypes won’t just go away and die … they’re, uh, scientifically proven. I felt like I was watching a bad series of beer and detergent commercials as I browsed through this list of “6 Absurd Gender Stereotypes (That Science Says Are True).” OK, so we can’t hold our liquor as well as dudes because we have higher fat ratios and smaller livers. And the driving thing? Apparently, testosterone levels determine your navigational skills. Sadly, women and gay men’s spatial prowess pales in comparison to heterosexual men. If it’s any consolation, though, men are bigger slobs because they lack our olfactory skills and they don’t see colors as well as we do. Ha ha! [Cracked]
After the jump, six more absurd gender stereotypes that we’re sure can be scientifically proven. Keep reading »
Researchers do all kinds of dumb studies but the latest dumb study gets kind of meta: it’s about why men tell “dumb blonde” jokes. According to the journal Society, men crack wise about “dumb blondes” because they’re intimidated by their perceived sexiness. You know, all those mystical, magical sexy-powers blondes keep in their hair!
Pardon me for sounding like a blonde here, but … like, duh. Keep reading »
My 9th grade boyfriend once told me, “Women are crazy and men are stupid. And women are crazy because men are stupid!” Alas, I never touched that guy’s wee wee and he still lives with his mom and dad—so reductive gender stereotypes haven’t worked out for him so well.
But they have fared better for the authors Howard Morris and Jenny Lee, whose self-help book, Women Are Crazy, Men Are Stupid, was picked up by ABC as a sitcom. According to a Publisher’s Weekly review of their book, Morris and Lee are a self-described “major nut bag” and a “genuine dunce” who found love. Ah, nut bag and dunce: role models for us all!
I doubt I’ll be TiVo-ing, since a show implying women are “crazy” in romance doesn’t exactly endear me as a viewer. But who knows? Maybe it’ll be brilliant! (Snickers.) [The Hollywood Reporter] Keep reading »