Latest Articles

Cornering the Market: Damali Ayo and the Business of Race

When Damali Ayo was 12, her parents sent her to day camp with 20 white kids. The kids were fascinated by the way Ayo’s hair maintained its texture in the pool. Even after she deliberately dunked her head in the water, they were convinced that black hair doesn’t get wet.

This experience stuck with her as she launched her art career in the predominantly white city of...

Alpha Mom, Omega Journalism

With all the world in strife, one might think the moms of New York would cut each other some slack…. That motherhood, in short, would serve as a safe house where civility and mutual respect rule. Think again. Motherhood, for all its well-documented joys, has become a flash point for envy, resentment, and guilt.

—Ralph Gardner Jr., “Mom vs. Mom,” New York, October 21, 2002

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Holy Rollers: Is Roller Derby the New Burlesque?

Talk about old school. In skating rinks around the nation, saucy dames are getting together and strapping on old-fashioned quad rol­ler skates to jam, block, and pummel each other. The roller derby revival is on. More than two dozen leagues operate across the country, with an average of 30 to 40 active skaters each (some leagues even boast as many as 60), and many more are in the works. This...

Out of Bounds: Do Transsexual Athletes Throw Like Girls?

See that blonde weaving through the strip on Roller­blades?” writes Details magazine in a March 2005 article. “Please puff up her denim miniskirt just enough for us to drink in the full length of her long, bronze legs.”

No, this isn’t a fluff piece on the latest centerfold hottie. It’s Details’ self-proclaimed “extraordinary” article on professional golfer Mianne Bagger,...

L in a Handbasket: Kate Clinton's Politics of Funny

Kate Clinton has been called the lesbian Jon Stewart. Her fans, however, prefer to think of Stewart as the straight Kate Clinton. Her career as a political humorist spans several White House administrations, but the current regime has offered her, like most liberal comedians, endless material for both her onstage comic monologues and her monthly columns for the Progressive and the Advocate. A...

Beyond the Valley of the Geeks: Notes on Gender and Gaming

“When I started out, gaming was a geek thing,” says Sean (not his real name), a 38-year-old senior director of product development for a major electronic game publisher. “Now, it’s totally mainstream. It’s clear there’s money to be made.”

It’s not like there’s any nostalgia in his voice. With a six-figure salary and a generous bonus, Sean is one of those...

Hog Heaven: Ariel Levy on Female Chauvinist Pigs and the Rise of Raunch Culture

You'll recognize the female silhouette that leans against the title on the cover of Ariel Levy's new book, Female Chauvinist Pigs. She's the girl who in recent years has made the move from the mud flaps of big rigs right into pop culture, gracing trucker caps, baby tees, and gold necklaces as an emblem of sexy, empowered ­womanhood. Or at least that's what she'd like...

Laughing All the Way to the Polls: Do Female Politicians need a New Punchline?

Once upon a time, politics was serious business. These days, however, presidential merit is measured as much by frat-house standards as by traditional approval ratings (apparently, American ­voters would rather have a beer with Bush than with Kerry), and a well-timed joke can sometimes sway public opinion more effectively than a reasoned argument. Thanks to the advent of television as a force...

Queen of the Night

It didn’t matter that the outcome was predictable, that Beth Hogan would invariably be crowned Miss America. We competed fiercely, as if we expected to win. A year earlier, when we were in fifth grade, we held séances, but now we staged beauty pageants as if our lives depended on it, as many as four or five a night.

We’d rearrange the furniture in our hostess’s living...

Ode to Joystick

How can you not love Ms. Pac-Man, a woman for whom power pellets, peaches, and pretzels constitute a steady diet?

This is how I feel about her now, but my love for the little yellow gal with the red bow began when I wore bows myself—when I was around 11.

Each summer, my mom would drag me to Atlantic City, New Jersey, under the false pretense of visiting my older brother so she...

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