Blog Archives

I’m Ok, You’re Ok, Bruce Jenner’s Ok

Bruce Jenner transitioning.

Bruce Jenner transitioning.

Bruce Jenner is the most high-profile transgender person to come out of the closet.

And people seem fairly accepting of the transition so far. But transgender folk face hate crimes at astonishing rates, says Nick Kristof at the New York Times. He points out:

So far this year at least three transgender people have been reported murdered in the United States. The Human Rights Campaign issued a report the other day listing 13 transgender women murdered in 2014: They were shot, strangled, burned and beaten.

Bullies project their own shame onto others. And then they beat the crap out of what they hate inside themselves. Sometimes verbally, and sometimes physically.

What is it about transgendered-ness that cues insecurity? Read the rest of this entry

Girls Can Be Tomboys, Boys Can’t Be Sissies

No sissies. Just tough guise.

No sissies. Just tough guise.

Every quarter I ask my women students if any of them had been tomboys when they were little. Many hands enthusiastically shoot into the air. The women often have fond memories of their time climbing trees and digging in the dirt.

Then I ask the men students if any of them had been sissies. The class bursts out laughing. One hand might sheepishly creep up.

One man claimed the question was unfair since the word “sissy” is stigmatized but “tomboy” is not.

Actually, there isn’t a non-stigmatizing word for a boy who acts like a girl. And there’s a reason for that.  Read the rest of this entry

Women Are Passive? Think Again

Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter

Most of us think women are more passive than men. It’s natural, right? Men’s testosterone makes them tough and assertive.

Think again.

Actually, it’s hard to untangle the effects of biology and society.

In fact, it’s hard to untangle the effects of biology, alone.

Testosterone makes men aggressive?

Yes, men have more testosterone. But:  Read the rest of this entry

Cross-Dressing’s Erotic Side

Grayson Perry-sexy

Grayson Perry, in drag

Being a transvestite is a complex cocktail of motivations. It’s different for everyone, but there’s often a strong sexual component to cross-dressing, although trannies sometimes find it hard to admit this. I feel it’s like the elephant in the room. I feel it’s really there, but nobody’s talking about it.

Maybe it’s this erotic dimension which is the hardest part for others to accept.

That’s what artist and cross-dresser, Grayson Perry thinks.

“Vivienne,” over at Bluestocking Blue began blogging to better understand why “she” feels compelled to cross-dress male-to-female.  Read the rest of this entry

Shrinking Women, Hulking Men

The Hulk

The Hulk

Today’s woman may be a CEO, legislator, minister, action hero…

But as the sexes grow more similar, their bodies — at least in media — are diverging.

Men are getting bigger and women are getting smaller — except for their busts.  Read the rest of this entry

Men & Women React to Male & Female Nudity

Women and men showing skin

Women and men showing skin

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”?

Read the rest of this entry

How I’m Seen Differently in a Female Body

Joelle Circé, “Waving Pride”

Joelle Circé, “Waving Pride”

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.

Read the rest of this entry

Purse Turns Brave Men into Scaredy-Cats 

HandbagMen can act pretty courageous, but ask them to hold a purse and they become scaredy-cats.

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

Women Want Casual Sex? Yes and No

Women want casual sex as much as men, says one study. No they don’t, says another.

Which is it?

Maybe you’ve heard of this project: strangers approach students on college campuses and propose a one night stand or a short-term fling. Women almost always decline, but a lot of men accept.

Standard conclusion: evidence supports evolutionary psychology which claims women are picky, wanting faithful men with good genes, who will provide for their children. Men, on the other hand, will have sex with as many women as possible to better “spread their seed.”

But wait. Another study found that women were as likely to accept casual offers as men. So long as the possible partners were Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp. Read the rest of this entry

Why Dating Resists Gender Equality

How to ask a girl out

How to ask a girl out

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

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