Tag Archives | Gender

CA Legislature Passes Bill To Teach LGBT History In Schools

Maria_EfremenkovaThey say history is written by the winners, who will be writing the LGBT history curriculum? Via Reuters:

A bill to require California public schools to teach the historical accomplishments of gay men and lesbians passed the state Legislature on Tuesday in what supporters call a first for the nation.

Governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has not said publicly whether he supports the bill, which he has 12 days to sign or veto once it reaches his desk later this month. If he takes no action, the measure would become law automatically.

The bill gained final passage from the state Assembly on a vote of 49-25, without a single Republican supporting it. The measure cleared the state Senate in April.

California already requires public schools to teach the contributions made to society by women and by racial and ethnic groups that were historically discriminated against, such as blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.

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Indian Parents Push For Surgical Procedure To Turn Children From Girls To Boys

Photo: Planemad (CC)

Photo: Planemad (CC)

Oh the social questions this raises! How does this benefit/hurt the future generation? Should parents have the right to change a child’s sex? What psychological damage could occur? What if an adult learns that they had the procedure when they were young and want it reversed? The next twenty years may see a rise in the search for therapists. Hindustan Times reports:

Girls are being ‘converted’ into boys in Indore – by the hundreds every year – at ages where they cannot give their consent for this life-changing operation.

This shocking, unprecedented trend, catering to the fetish for a son, is unfolding at conservative Indore’s well-known clinics and hospitals on children who are 1-5 years old. The process being used to ‘produce’ a male child from a female is known as genitoplasty. Each surgery costs Rs 1.5 lakh.

Moreover, these children are pumped with hormonal treatment as part of the sex change procedure that may be irreversible.

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Women Are Better At Everything

First group of Women Marine Officer Candidates 1943Really?!? Meredith Melnick explains for TIME:

Recently in the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch columnist David Weidner noted that women “do almost everything better” than men — from politics to corporate management to investing.

Weidner cites a new study by Barclays Wealth and Ledbury Research, which found that women were more likely than men to make money in the market, mostly because they didn’t take as many risks. And why are they risk-averse? Because they’re not as overconfident as men, the study found.

The study’s findings backed up those of previous research on the topic: in a 2001 study [PDF] of 35,000 American households with an account at a discount brokerage, financial scholars Brad Barber and Terrance Odean found that women’s risk-adjusted returns beat men’s by 1% annually. A 2005 study by Merrill Lynch found that 35% of women held an investment too long, compared with 47% of men. More recently, in 2009, a study by the mutual fund company Vanguard involving 2.7 million personal investors concluded that during the recent financial crisis, men were more likely than women to sell shares of stocks at all-time lows, leading to bigger losses among male traders.

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Sweden Debuts Gender-Neutral Preschool

3596182798_fdf38a900eAt best, a school model for the more-enlightened future, and at worst, an intriguing social experiment. Via Yahoo News:

At the “Egalia” preschool, staff avoid using words like “him” or “her” and address the 33 kids as “friends” rather than girls and boys.

From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don’t fall into gender stereotypes.

Egalia doesn’t deny the biological differences between boys and girls — the dolls the children play with are anatomically correct. What matters is that children understand that their biological differences “don’t mean boys and girls have different interests and abilities.”

The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged 1 to 6 is among the most radical examples of Sweden’s efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward. Breaking down gender roles is a core mission in the national curriculum for preschools, underpinned by the theory that even in highly egalitarian-minded Sweden, society gives boys an unfair edge.

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Madame Restell: The Wickedest Woman in New York

Madame Restell ArrestedMadame Restell was a flamboyant 19th century abortionist whom history remembers as  ”the wickedest woman in New York” —but had she been? Victorian Gothic takes a critical look:

The cover of The New York Illustrated Times for February 23rd, 1878 depicts the arrest of the notorious abortionist Ann Lohman, alias “Madame Restell,” by the moral crusader Anthony Comstock. Flanked by reporters and deputies, the statuesque crime-fighter is pictured with a search warrant in hand, which he reads to the lady villain in the attitude of a holy messenger, banishing evil by its sacred words. Comfortably situated amongst the opulent furnishings of her Fifth Avenue mansion, Madame Restell wears a cool, appraising expression, as if to say “Ah, Comstock, my nemesis—I have been expecting you.” Her right hand is clenched into a fist, which overlaps the womb of a veiled woman who weeps with shame in the background.

Dubbed the “wickedest woman in New York,” Madame Restell built an empire of cruelty; promoting vice, and profiting upon the mistakes of married women and wayward girls.

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Women Like Pink Because Of ‘Berry-Picking’ Past And Boys Like Green Because Of Their Hunting Ancestors

525px-HeteroSym-pinkblue.svgDo pinks and purples remind you of gathering berries? Do greens and blues remind you of hunting in the forest? Finding a reason other than cultural influence as to why genders seems to lean towards specific colors, scientists look to our past. Via Fiona Macrae at Daily Mail:

Girls really do prefer pink – and not just because it is pretty.

Scientists have shown that females are drawn to pinks and reds and men to blues and greens – and they believe the explanation lies our hunter-gatherer past.

As the gatherers of the operation, women’s brains became fine-tuned to the purples and reds of ripe fruits and berries.

The men, meanwhile, developed a preference for the clear blue skies that signaled good weather for hunting.

The theory comes from Chinese scientists who asked more than 350 students to study 11 colours for three minutes and then rank them in order of preference.

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Why Do Girls Wear Pink?

pink-and-blue-gender-Mellins-baby-food-ad-7 No, it’s not an immutable law of nature. In the 1920s, retailers began encouraging pink (a strong color) for boys and blue (a dainty one) for girls, before the trend reversed after World War II. For centuries prior, both boys and girls wore white dresses.

In light of hysteria over a photograph in J. Crew’s new catalog depicting a mother painting her son’s toenails pink, Smithsonian Magazine explores how we got to this point:

For centuries, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. “What was once a matter of practicality—you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached—became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted,’ ” Paoletti says.

The march toward gender-specific clothes was neither linear nor rapid. Pink and blue arrived, along with other pastels, as colors for babies in the mid-19th century, yet the two colors were not promoted as gender signifiers until just before World War I—and even then, it took time for popular culture to sort things out.

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Are Women Developing Immunity to the Sexual Harassment ‘Virus’?

TaxiScienceDaily reports:

Sexual harassment may have become so commonplace for women that they have built up resistance to harassing behavior they consider merely “bothersome,” suggests a provocative new study by Michigan State University researchers.This effect, said lead investigator Isis Settles, may be similar to the way people build up immunity to infection following exposure to a virus.

“When women view sexual harassment as bothersome, it doesn’t seem to be associated with distress,” said Settles, associate professor of psychology. “In some ways this suggests that sexual harassment is such a widespread problem that women have figured out ways to deal with it so it doesn’t interfere with their psychological well-being.”

For the study, which appears in the research journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, the researchers examined surveys of more than 6,000 women and men serving in all five branches of the U.S. military.

Sexual harassment was a problem for both sexes, the study found.

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Why Is There Not More Male Nudity in Mainstream Films?

CensoredStacie Adams writes on the Nervous Breakdown:

Today I bring you a subject that’s very close to my heart. And by heart I mean sex organs.

I’m a 31 year old heterosexual woman who is appalled by the lack of male nudity in movies. Tits and girl ass are legion in film, and that’s OK, I don’t mind it. But, in the interest of this equality I hear so much about, perhaps we can add some rock hard pectorals and v-shaped abdomens into the mix? Some chiseled male bums? A quick shot of the little guy?

Remember when action movies always had that scene of the anti-hero crying into his refrigerator, or gun, or eight ounce glass of whiskey over his dead dog, or kid, or wife? And remember how in these scenes said anti-hero would always be without pants and have an ass like Michelangelo’s David?

Well, those scenes were put there for women like me.

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Study Claims Ogling Women Makes Them Worse at Math

Simpsons CuriesI wonder what the first person to win two Nobel prizes, Madame Curie, would make of this study. Oh, I know the answer from a classic Simpsons episode … Stephanie Pappas writes on LiveScience:

Getting the once-over from a man causes women to score lower on a math test, a new study finds.

Despite this drop in performance, women were more motivated to interact with men who ogled them, perhaps because they were trying to boost their sense of belonging, psychologists report in the February issue of the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly.

“It creates this vicious cycle for women in which they’re underperforming in math or work domains, but they’re continuing to want to interact with the person who is making them underperform in the first place,” study researcher Sarah Gervais, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, told LiveScience.

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