Culture

Mom's the Word: Yummy mummies, alternadads, and other literary offspring

At the turn of the millennium, Bridget Jones and the Sex and the City girls heralded a new era of fun, fearless singledom. Chick lit, accompanied by memoirs and anthologies about single womanhood, made it whimsical for an otherwise-capable woman to be vain, proud of her missteps and mistakes, and... Read more »

The Cold Shoulder: Saving Superheroines from Comic-book Violence

There's a new Bat in Gotham City. Like Bruce Wayne, she's a rich socialite by day and a black-clad vigilante at night. And, also like Bruce Wayne, in both incarnations she's apt to sweep the ladies off their feet. Kate Kane, the new, revamped Batwoman, isn't the first lesbian character to debut in... Read more »

When Tyra Met Naomi: Race, Fashion, and Rivalry

One of the last places I expected to hear an engaging antiracist and feminist critique of the fashion industry was on The Tyra Banks Show. But on a January 2006 episode, there was Banks, sitting couch-to-couch with supposed arch­nemesis and fellow supermodel Naomi Campbell, discussing the forces... Read more »

Egos Without Borders: Mapping the New Celebrity Philanthropy

You can't turn on the television or flip open a magazine these days without encountering an image of a star promoting his or her latest cause célèbre: Oprah handing out makeup kits at a women's hospital in Ethiopia; Angelina Jolie visiting refugee camps (alone or with Brad Pitt); George Clooney... Read more »

Tree So Horny: Can Sex Sell Environmentalism?

What you think about Fuck for Forest, a Berlin-based website that lets subscribers watch videos of environmental activists doing the nasty, depends in part on what you think about porn as a whole. If you think it's liberating, empowering, and fun for the folks involved, then you can feel good about... Read more »

Female Bonding: The Strange History of Wonder Woman

"Bind me as tight as you can, girls, with the biggest ropes and chains you can find!" The woman is smiling in ecstasy, plastered against a large wooden beam, ropes and chains taut against her body, as she begs her captors, a group of jubilant, scantily clad young women, to pull her shackles just a... Read more »

Weighing Reality: Who's Really the Biggest Loser?

"Obesity," declares Charlotte Cooper, author of 1998's Fat and Proud: The Politics of Size, "is just a word used by people to medicalize fat." Extra weight, once considered a genetic short straw, is increasingly characterized as a crisis threatening the physical, political, and moral health of our... Read more »

Board of Education

Each semester in my American popular culture class, my students and I spend a night playing board games. I start them off with games for small children, like memory cards or Strawberry Shortcake adventure games. They play self-consciously, giggling at the losers who can’t master a game for... Read more »

Sims Like the Real Thing

The Sims is a game that consists of little more than creating characters and pushing them through the day, making sure they eat, sleep, stay clean, make friends, advance in a career, and buy stuff. The bodily functions are tedious and the rest is everything I hate about life in a capitalist society... Read more »

The Accidental Jock

I’m not an athlete. I’ve always disliked team sports, with their conformist, vaguely fascist associations. While as a child I longed to be a tree-climbing tomboy, I had to admit a preference for tea parties, dress-up, and long afternoons at the library. Then one summer night, three... Read more »

Pages

Will Filming the Police Keep Us Safe?

There’s a cultural idea that having someone looking over our shoulder makes us behave better. From fake security cameras to Elf... Read more »

Saying Goodbye to Maria and the End of a Sesame Street Era

Growing up, Sesame Street's Maria was one of the best Latina role models I had. Read more »

Why You Should Pay for Porn

If you’re a progressive middle-class individual, chances are you think about where your food comes from. Maybe you try to buy shoes that are... Read more »

It's Time to End the Long History of Feminism Failing Transgender Women

The marginalization of transgender women in feminism is not new, but the decades-long debate has taken on new dimension thanks to social media and the ease of finding strangers’ personal information online. Read more »