TV

Crowned: Riches of Embarrassment

I don't know if there's a clearer sign that the writer's strike is killing good television than the insanity broadcast last night on the CW. Crowned offered up 11 mother-daughter pairings competing for a prize of $100,000 in what's being called "The Mother of All Beauty Pageants," but what a Boston... Read more »

Pumpkins in Philly

On the subway this morning, I sat next to a man reading, Why Men Marry Bitches. Somewhat comically, the woman sitting on the other side of me was reading Che Guevara's essays on How to Change the World. Lisa and I met again at Penn Station, where we boarded our train to Philadelphia. This city... Read more »

Overheated in DC

As I climbed the stairs from the subway headed for Penn station, the strap on my enormous bag broke, so I was left carrying it like a sack of potatoes. Which was a huge bummer because I'd left my other bags in Brooklyn.  Lisa was waiting for me inside the station, and we boarded the train to... Read more »

Multiply & Conquer: How to Have 17 Children and Still Believe in Jesus

When she was presented with the state of Arkansas's Young Mother of the Year award in April 2004, Michelle Duggar was 37 years old and seven months pregnant. A USA Today profile on the award ceremony noted her current reproductive status by describing with notable amusement how she "waddled" into... 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 »

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 »

Period Pieces: The Last Taboo of Reality TV

Detailed discussions of diarrhea (Survivor). On-camera vomiting (The Bachelor, The Biggest Loser). Extensive cosmetic surgery (The Swan). Endless hot-tub makeout sessions (take your pick). On reality tv, no subject is too personal to reveal, no biological function too intimate to discuss—... Read more »

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... 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 »

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... Read more »

Pages

Tina Belcher's Sexual Revolution

Tina Belcher breaks all the rules of network sitcoms. That's why she's wonderful.  Read more »

Films and TV Portray Abortion as More Dangerous Than It Is

Films and television shows tend to present a skewed portrayal of abortion—when fictional movies and TV shows include a plotline about abortion... Read more »

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

Priv-lit and the new, enlightened American dream. Read more »

What I Learned About Gender and Power from Sailor Moon

My life began in 1995 — the year I turned eight and became a divorced kid.    Read more »