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Full Frontal Offense: Taking Abortion Rights to the Tees

There's a new front in the battle for abortion rights—the literal front, that is, of a t-shirt designed by writer and feminist activist Jennifer Baumgardner that proclaims "I had an abortion." The shirt, initially for sale on Planned Parenthood's national website and now available on Clamor magazine's website, has generated controversy among not only the antiabortion community but also pro-...

Suburban Blight: The Battle of <em>The Stepford Wives</em>

A film studies professor once told me that everything you need to know about a movie is revealed in the first five minutes. This is particularly true of The Stepford Wives. 


In the opening scene of Bryan Forbes's 1975 original, Joanna Eber­hart (Katharine Ross) takes a long, scrutinizing look at herself in the bathroom mirror. Her reaction is one of mild surprise, then...

Kiss Me, I'm a Fashionable Bigot: Cashing In on Misguided Irony

Two years ago, the preppy mall staple Abercrombie & Fitch released a line of t-shirts that paired early 1900s–style caricatures of Chinese men (complete with coolie hats, big grins, and slanted eyes) with slogans like “Wong Brothers Laundry Service—Two Wongs Can Make It White” and “Wok-N-Bowl—Let the Good Times Roll—Chinese Food & Bowling.” The clothing chain...

Beauty and the Feast: The Cosmetic Industry's Female Feeding Frenzy

The first thing you see is food. a breastlike dome of cake towers at the top of t­he ad, frosted pink with a raspberry on top. "It's like dessert for your legs," declares the text, and just in case this copy wasn't clear, below it a pair of cellulite-free gams balances a bottle of Skintimate After-Shave Gel in lieu of icing. A cartoonish, disembodied bald head floats in the background, licking...

Editors' Letter: Taste & Appetite: Appetite for Deconstruction

From the ancient Greeks to the current Queer Eyes, the cocktail of knowledge, ideals, aesthetics, and manners that makes up the concept of taste has served as a tireless organizing principle for a class-based society (and really, is there any other kind?). Like all organizing principles, taste is a construction rather than a law of nature: It's almost impossible to say why, for instance, we...

Compromising Positions: Gender by design on <em>Merge</em> and <em>Mix It Up</em>

Mass media, particularly so-called family television, from Bewitched to Everybody Loves Raymond, has long portrayed the home as women's domain, an ultra-feminized realm in which housewives bustle and cluck while their hapless husbands do little more than hand out spending money and retreat to the most masculine part of the house: the study, or their favorite chair. There's no...

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. 

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