Category Archives: gender
By Lisa Wade @ Sociological Images
We’ve all heard the truism “sex sells.”
But whose sex is sold? And to who?
If it was simply that sex sold,
…we’d see men and women equally sexually objectified in popular culture. Instead, we see, primarily, women sold to (presumably heterosexual) men. So what are we selling, exactly, if not “sex”?
No aspect of my existence, no moment of the day, no contact, no arrangement, no response is not different for men and for women. The very tone of voice in which I was now addressed, the very posture of the person next in the line.
And if others’ responses shifted, so did my own. The more I was treated as a woman, the more woman I became. I adapted willy-nilly. If I was assumed to be incompetent at reversing cars, or opening bottles, oddly incompetent I found myself becoming. If the case was too heavy for me, inexplicably I found it so myself.
Women treated me with a frankness which was one of the happiest discoveries of my metamorphosis. But I also found men treating me more and more as junior. I discovered that even now men prefer women to be less informed, less able, less talkative, and certainly less self-centered than they are themselves; so I generally obliged.
A while back I tossed my handbag onto the back seat as I gave a couple of friends a ride. After parking I asked Mike to hand me my purse.
His hands sheepishly approached the worrisome object — and impulsively pulled away.
“How to grasp it?” he wondered. He considered the purse from different angles. Read the rest of this entry
Gender equality has grown by leaps and bounds. We now have women CEOs, heads of state, religious leaders, media pros, doctors, lawyers and accountants…
But dating — at least the early stages — has remained resistant.
In the early stages of relationship, most men take the lead and most women passively wait. Read the rest of this entry
Women may wear their hair short because it’s chic or easy to care for. And some guys favor long, sexy locks, a la Andrea Agassi — before he went bald.
But some women cut it short to express a more masculine sense of themselves. Just as some men — cross-dressers — don girlish wigs to bring out their feminine side.
So hair holds symbolic meaning: Long is feminine; it’s for girls. Short is masculine; it’s for boys.
Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.
That’s what art critic John Berger famously observed.
But some feminist artists have turned the tables in the exhibit, Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze:
With a gallery filled with men stripped naked this body of work exposes women’s cheeky, provocative and sometimes shocking commentaries on the opposite sex (which) may make the viewer squirm a little. But that is precisely the point.
I am a girl. That is a simple fact.
But six years ago I cut my hair short and everything changed.
I still dressed the same, acted the same, walked and talked the same. (All admittedly tomboyish). But suddenly everyone saw me as a boy.
All because of a haircut. Read the rest of this entry
All I want to do is to be able to be myself every day.
That’s from “Vivienne,” a man who cross-dresses in part to get in touch with his feminine side and feel whole.
Wearing a dress helps in the same way that actors use costume to get into a part.
But it’s unsatisfactory, he says. Read the rest of this entry