Culture

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-... Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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

A journey into the origins of slash fanfiction.  Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

Pages

Eat, Pray, Spend: Priv-Lit and the New, Enlightened American Dream

Even as reports on joblessness, economic recovery, and home foreclosures suggest that no one is immune to risk during this recession, the popularity of women’s wellness media has persisted and, indeed, grown stronger.  Read more »

Politically Correct Language Isn't Just About Being Polite—It's About Survival

Photo by Phillipe Leroyer (Creative Commons). Two weeks ago, Jonathan Chait published the lengthy essay “Not a Very P.C.... Read more »

Hot Under the Bonnet: The Cooptation of Amish Culture in Mass-Market Fiction

Dubbed “Amish romance novels,” “Amish fiction,” or the more waggish “bonnet rippers,” these novels just one entry point into the varying images of Amish communities in U.S. popular culture. Read more »

The Feminist Power of Female Ghosts

The female ghost is an enduringly fascinating figure. Read more »