Latest Articles

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,...

My Meidel Is the Centerfold: Is Playboy's first Jewish bunny a role model?

Growing up, I learned a few things about Jewish girls from the copy of Truly Tasteless Jokes my brother kept in our bathroom. In addition to being frigid and cheap, I learned that we love Bloomingdale's, dislike oral sex, and prefer circumcised penises—as the joke goes, we like everything better when it's 20% off. While Jewish men are noted for their keen minds and acerbic wit, Jewish women...

O is for the Other Things She Gave Me: Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections” and contemporary women’s fiction

As every tabloid reader knows, it’s a short step from a celebrity marriage to a publicity-filled divorce. When Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, The Corrections, was published this fall, critics waxed hyperbolic over its wedding of character-driven family drama and up-to-the-nanosecond cultural commentary. Then Oprah chose the novel for her book club, and The Corrections seemed...

Editors' Letter: Is Biology Destiny?: Fomenting Activism in the Face of “United We Stand”

We sat down to write this editors' note more than two months after September 11. Since that morning, it's been hard not to feel that the work we do and the things we choose to write about have become far less important in the face of a sickening sense of loss; a looming, amorphous enemy; and renewed support for many of the right's potentially disastrous policy initiatives, both foreign and...

A Galaxy of Our Own: Searching for black women in science-fiction film

In the '90s, the black man suddenly invaded the blockbuster science-fiction and fantasy film. African-American males found expanded roles for themselves in a genre that had previously been blindingly white. We finally have a celluloid landscape in which Will Smith and Wesley Snipes get to represent heroic manhood for the masses, but hip and powerful black women have been overlooked by the...

Editors' Letter: Music: Why Music?

Whether a music writer makes a living marshalling lyrical evidence for supposedly new trends or manufacturing arguments to shore up tired clichés—and whether you applaud women’s progress in the musical arena or not—one thing’s clear: Women in music, prevalent as they may be, are consistently positioned as an aberration or an exception. Even the phraseology is troublesome: “women in...

Grrrl, You'll Be a Lady Soon

Last fall, at a reading for Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future, a 50-ish audience member questioned the thirtysomething authors’ ever-so-casual usage of the word “ladies.” To this woman (who turned out to be tireless second-­wave activist Laura X, creator of the Women’s History Research Center), the blithe use of “ladies” ran counter to everything she and her generation of...

Teen Girls + Boy Love Dolls = Tru (heart) + $ 4Ever

Pop-sensation lifespans have been shrinking since the dawn of pop sensations, but the power of the boy band has proved enduring. These prefab crews of scrubbed, smiling teens busting a synchronized move to manufactured beats have a special place in pop – music history and in the hearts—and notebooks and lockers—of their (mostly female) fans.


Although the manufactured boy band has...

Sex, Lies, and Videotape: An Interview with <em>The Center of the World</em>'s Molly Parker

Reviewers have likened it to a dot-com Pretty Woman, but The Center of the World, the latest film from director Wayne Wang (Smoke, Blue in the Face, The Joy Luck Club), is a far more complex rumination on the intersections of sex, love, and commerce. Set in southern California, the story follows Florence (Kissed's Molly Parker), a rock 'n'...

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