Latest Articles

Bodies of Work: Lisa Jervis talks to philosopher Susan Bordo

"Analysis is hard, it's complicated, and it disturbs the comfortable simplicity of familiar worldviews." So writes Susan Bordo, professor of English and women's studies at the University of Kentucky. And she should know: Her incisive writings on a wide variety of topics cut through thickets of controversy and rhetoric to produce a fine, elegant, and, above all, resonant analysis.

The Queen's Gambit: The underhanded treatment of race in bringing down the house

Few would debate the fact that before the civil rights and women's liberation move­ments percolated into mass culture, representations of black/white relationships in popular media, particularly Hollywood, were thoroughly unbalanced. Viewed in retrospect, seemingly amicable duos like Uncle Tom and Eva, Scarlett O'Hara and Mammy, and Shirley Temple and Bill Bojangles make us cringe with the...

Rules of Play

To stroll the aisles of your local Toys "R" Us is to venture into the heart of gender darkness. Whether you believe that boys emerge from the womb with dump trucks clutched in their tiny fists or see toys as an early means by which kids are trained to hew to culturally determined gender differences, you'll find plenty of evidence to back you up. (It basically comes down to how you interpret...

Fan/tastic Voyage: A Journey Into the Wide, Wild World of Slash Fan Fiction

A journey into the origins of slash fanfiction. 

The Women's Academy

There are some contests in which women are truly at a disadvantage when competing with men. Football. Presidential nominations. Snow-writing. But acting is not one of them. Streep vs. Nicholson, Dame Judi vs. Sir Ian, Maggie Gyllenhaal vs. Jake Gyllenhaal - the Vegas odds would be close ones indeed if these actors were pitted against each other for top honors.

They’re not, of...

Sex, Dreads, and Rock 'n' Roll: Suicide Girls' live nude punks want to be your porn alternative

“People think I have the greatest job in the world,” says “Spooky” Suicide. On any given day, he’s busy coding, designing, or holding up the business end of his website. It doesn’t sound too glamorous—until you realize that his site, Suicide Girls, is probably the best known in a growing trend in adult entertainment: alternative, independent web porn. Of course, amateur...

Women and Children First!: What's Up With War Reporting's Chivalry?

“At least 19 victims, mostly men and children, were taken for treatment to the hospital in Kandahar.” “The Israeli missile…took the lives of at least 14 other people—including three men and nine children.” “Tens of thousands, including men, children and the elderly, were victims of chemical weapons attacks.”

These quotes from recent news articles may read a bit strangely, but...

Queens of the Iron Age: On the New Feminist Hygiene Products

When i was 8, my father organized a present for my sisters and me to give my mom for Mother’s Day: a pressure cooker, wrapped up with other fun kitchen items like tea towels, pop-up sponges, spatulas, and an apron. It seemed like a good idea—Mom was the one who was always in the kitchen, and this was the day to celebrate her. But the minute she opened her present, even I knew we had the...

The Common Guy: One Seemingly Benign Phrase Makes a Man Out of All of Us

Oprah says it. My yoga instructor says it. College students around the country say it. The cast of Friends says it, as do my own friends, over and over again. At least 10 to 20 times a day, I hear someone say “you guys” to refer to groups or pairs that include and in some cases consist entirely of women. I get e-mail all the time asking after my (female) partner and me: “How’s...

Ladies First: ...to protest with style and humor, of course

It was 1984. Ronald Reagan was running for reelection and Phyllis Schlafly—conservative gadfly, ardent foe of the Equal Rights Amend­ment, and self-identified “little homemaker”—was presiding over a fashion show at the Republican National Convention in the sweltering heat of a Dallas August. As a giant eagle ice sculpture dripped water off its tail feathers, Mrs. Jack Kemp, Mrs. Trent Lott,...

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