gender studies

The Bacha Posh of Afghanistan

At Mehran’s school, children are absolutely forbidden from seeing the opposite sex naked. The headmaster tells me that at this stage, she is certain that to most students, what sets little boys and girls apart is all exterior: pants versus skirts.

That, and the knowledge that those with pants always come first.

Earlier this month, The Atlantic published an article about Afghanistan's young girls who present as boys, or bacha posh, excerpted from Jenny Nordberg's forthcoming book, The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan. The girls, who are all under ten, undergo a superficial gender "change"—short hair, boyish clothes, no jewelry—for a multitude [...]


A Woman Tapes Her Street Harassers

Via BuzzFeed: a Minneapolis woman named Lindsay is talking to and taking video of her aggressive catcallers, as well as handing out these Cards Against Harassment (a gesture which many of the men find, naturally, to be quite aggressive). You will recognize so many awful interactions in this guy above, as well as this "I honestly don't know why you'd be offended" business bro, and this "bitch means that you're sexy" fellow, and oh no, all the other ones.

Lindsay's work is the Lord's work, requiring much more patience and blood-pressure regulation than my normal blank face/middle finger combo; in [...]


Women Killing It On Jeopardy! For the First Time Ever

From Vulture:

On April 8, an environmental compliance manager from Baltimore named Derrick Shivar hauled in $22,800 on Jeopardy! His triumph would be otherwise unremarkable in the annals of the storied game show except for this: That was was the last time a man won a match on the show. Since then, women have been on an unprecedented run on a program that has long been a target for complaints from feminists and other critics wondering why, for three decades now, the vast majority of players and winners have been male.

Whence this injustice? We've known for a second that women bet less than men on [...]


Manly Me

When I was twenty I sought out a full-time internship at my favorite men’s magazine.

I killed the interview. I wore my first pencil skirt and sat at a conference table across from four men. I professed my love for their magazine’s ambitious features as well as its wit and bombast, and when they asked about me, I told them about a paper I’d just written on changing Cold War representations of masculinity as seen in the James Bond movies. They asked about my favorites, and I said I preferred the dirty pulp of Ian Fleming’s novels to the movies, which I found watered-down and neutered. I [...]


Why Won't the Catholic Church Ordain Women?

Sometimes I imagine a Catholic Church where pedophile priests were rightfully punished and defrocked, rather than slapped on the hand and relocated; a Catholic Church where billions of dollars in investments and property were reallocated to help the poor; a Catholic Church where ego was replaced by open and honest communication.

It’s even harder, sometimes, to imagine a Catholic Church that gives women the respect and leadership positions they deserve. Women’s ordination in the Catholic Church was one of the few feminist movements to emerge from the '70s that hit a complete and total stalemate. It is the most radical and ignored issue in the institution right now.

In the [...]


What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name

On a snowy morning in college, I sat up on my futon, stared out the dorm window, and nudged my boyfriend Chris. “What would you think about our children having my last name?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said, still half-asleep, “Why wouldn’t they have your last name?”

I was probably too shy then to show my relief.

Time passed. We split up for a year, got married ten years later and then, in our mid-30’s, found ourselves with a babe on the way. We didn’t know girl or boy, but we had already re-decided that our babe’s last name would be my last name. Mixing up convention had always mattered [...]


Polls, Like Everything, Are Infected With Mansplaining

Women tend to speak up less on topics they aren’t well versed in, whereas men comfortably hold forth on topics they have little expertise on.

-The New York Times states the obvious/illuminates how a "don't know" option on a political poll will skew responses by gender.



Have you seen that Pantene commercial that’s been making the social media rounds? The one that asks why women are always apologizing?

I’m the first half of that commercial. I am an apologizer. You know: one of those insecure, irritating, thoroughly un-empowered women who can’t stop saying “I’m sorry” even when they haven’t done anything wrong. “I’m sorry, can I get past you?” “I’m sorry, I ordered this with no mayo.” “I’m sorry to bother you, but our meeting was supposed to start half an hour ago.”

It’s the worst type of un-feminist stereotype: the woman who feels ashamed of existing, ashamed of taking up space, ashamed of asking [...]


My Nom de Peen: The Surprising Effects of a Male Pseudonym

I’ve written poems off and on, mostly off, over the course of more than two decades, and I’ve published them in Ploughshares, The Antioch Review, and maybe ten other respectable literary magazines. I work at a corporation, not in academia, and I don’t pretend to know much about how these journals operate.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a bunch of poems about industry, the Midwest, and the exploitation of labor and natural resources. After a few rounds of submissions, I didn’t get a bite. Knowing my subject matter was not stereotypically feminine, I decided to submit under a male pseudonym.

It wouldn’t be the first time I used [...]


Danielle Steel on being asked if she's "still" writing: "I think it is something that only men do to only women, and not just to me"

The best-selling author is popping off wonderfully on her blog:

There is a phenomenon that I have encountered for a long time, years, which I always take personally, has irritated me considerably, and I figured that people just do to me to be annoying. I just discovered that I am not the only one it happens to, and I think it is something that only men do to only women, and not just to me.

It goes like this, I run into a man I know or meet at a dinner party for the first time in a long time. After hello, they open with, “So, [...]