Renowned author and essayist William T Vollmann commits to his protagonists. In the case of his most recent heroine, Dolores of The Book of Dolores, he tried to live as a woman. Dolores is a transgender prostitute who interests include jewelry and geology. She is a housewife who often dons a black and red corset. She carries a whip into the bedroom. As accurately and earnestly as possible, Vollmann transformed himself into the female character in ... Read More
According to the New York legal firm Clifford Chance, female lawyers and staffers need to tone down their feminine “quirks.” In a memo addressed only to female employees, the firm instructed women on everything from speech patterns to proper attire.
Much of the advice might be helpful to any young associate; for example, they advise “[projecting] power,” not using the word “like,” or “[dropping] your ... Read More
It is no exaggeration to say that I am obsessed with Hello Kitty. My bedroom is saturated with stuffed animals and wall decals. The first thing I see every morning is an image of Hello Kitty on an airplane adventure, the words “It’s a wonderful day... Hello Kitty” flying alongside her.
But not all of Kitty’s days have been wonderful; like the rest of us, she has faced her fair share of criticism. The Japanese Kawaii aesthetic ... Read More
Debbie Harry Sports Striped Leggings
We’ve all read or heard some variation on the “leggings are not pants” speech. And although everyone’s views on fashion are valid, a lot of the discourse surrounding leggings centers around subtle body-shaming. In well-meaning articles on clothing “dos” and “don’ts,” bloggers use language that can be harmful. Of the garment, one writes, “how to avoid the dreaded ... Read More
In a sexist society, women are conditioned to be cheerful and peppy and men are trained to be confrontational and ambitious. The expectations placed on individuals based on gender contribute to some awful things like assertive women being called “shrews” or kind men being considered weak.
A new study by the Institute of Information Technology in Canada’s Saif Mohammad and Tony Yang suggests that we might internalize these ... Read More
Art critic John Berger’s text Ways of Seeing suggests that women in art are often displayed for the pleasure of men, tilting their heads and looking at the viewer with an air of suggestion and submission. There’s a connection between this idea and his claim that advertising sells fantasy more than it does products; ads seem to suggest, “Buy this, and this girl will want to sleep with you.” The objectification of women ... Read More
As Halloween approaches each year, the internet abounds with images of sexy costumes; some websites advertise and others mock, but everyone seems to have an opinion. Both types of costume coverage seem to center around women, and it’s always unpleasant to see internet lists that either objectify (“10 sexiest women at Halloween”) or shame (“10 sluttiest costumes”) us ladies.
For this reason, I was surprised to ... Read More
Ideally, a bookstore is an endless cornucopia of knowledge, a place where boys and girls can explore their most personal curiosities. But at a recent visit to the bookstore, eight year old KC Cooper, daughter of author Constance Cooper, found something quite unexpected and distressing: sexist children’s books.
KC loves the outdoors, and as she thumbed through adventure books, she found one that included tales of animal attacks and natural disasters. ... Read More
Since a study came out about the long term effects of high heels on women's health, I’ve noticed a slew of essays, blog posts, and editorials on the cultural implications of what we choose to put on our feet. After scouring the web for insights, it’s hard to determine exactly how women feel about high heels.
Buzzfeed reports that shoes were used to “immobilize women” starting in Imperial China and the Middle Ages. From ... Read More
The New Republic’s Laura Bennett has something important to say about Betty White’s recent roles in her essay “Betty White Is Not a Sex Machine: Our Cruel Obsession with Dirty Old Women.” While she acknowledges that elderly women in the media have gained traction, ceasing to be mostly “sexless [...] prudish nags,” she sees an increase in sexual exploitation of older women. From Betty White’s role in Hot in Cleveland to ... Read More