Culture

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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... Read more »

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’... Read more »

Student Counsel: Talking Sense with <em>The Education of Shelby Knox</em>’s Creators and Star

Everything’s bigger in Texas, or so the saying goes, and that may be truest in the realm of sex-education controversy. Texas, which has one of the nation’s highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, has also been at the forefront of abstinence-only education in... Read more »

We Were Here, We Were Maybe Queer: New Historical Biographies Tell Us to Get Used to It

Four score and seven years ago, our forefathers—and most infamous tyrants—were getting down with other men. Or so some folks would like us to believe. Historians and posthumous biographers have of late been venturing into the relatively uncharted territory of sexual historiography, exhuming some... Read more »

Senex and Sensibility: Boys to men in Wes Anderson's film oeuvre

From the machismo of Arnold Schwarz­enegger and Sylvester Stal­lone to Woody Allen’s nebbishes and the teenage fantasies of the Porky’s and American Pie franchises, manhood in all its flavors is a staple of the silver screen. Writer-director Wes Anderson is clearly fascinated by the... Read more »

Love Guns, Tight Pants, and Big Sticks: Who Put the Cock in Rock?

cock rock: To some, the term conjures up images of rock gods in white jumpsuits, long hair haloed by a rainbow of lights, fans waving their Bics in unison as an immaculate guitar solo screams out from a tower of amps. To others, it evokes backstage legends of drugs and debauchery, the triumph of... Read more »

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Ms. Opinionated: I'm a Man. How Can I Help the Feminist Movement?

Welcome to Ms. Opinionated, our weekly advice column dealing with questions of life, love, feminism, and pop culture. This week, a reader... 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 »

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 »

Know & Tell: The Literary Renaissance of Trans Women Writers

For so long, the people who wrote about us were not us. Finally, that is beginning to change. Read more »