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New Women's Media Center Guide Available

28 Mar

New Women's Media Center Guide Available

The Women’s Media Center’s Media Guide to Gender Neutral Coverage of Women Candidates Politicians By Rachel Joy Larris and Rosalie Maggio is now freely available as a 29 page pdf.   It is sponsored by Name It. Change It., a collaborative project of The Women’s Media Center and She Should Run.

The guide gives suggestions to journalists on looking for terms to describe female candidates, such as reversibility and parallelism (if there isn”t a male equivalent, or if the gendered terms used aren”t parallel, don”t use them).  For example, the adjective feisty is used only with those who would not normally be considered powerful.  Women can be feisty.  Children can be feisty.  Men generally are not.   If a media outlet does not normally discuss best online casino the hair style and color of male candidate”s hair then it shouldn”t discuss female candidate”s hair.

There are some case studies and suggestions for female candidates who find themselves the target of sexist attacks.   The guide also provides background research on the effect of gender oriented language on voters” impressions of candidates.

While the guide focuses on female politicians, powerful women in all settings would benefit from the information provided.  Likewise, while it is aimed at the media, anyone in public relations or who speaks in public, especially as a corporate or organizational representative would find it useful.

Two Books on Women in Prehistory

11 Nov

Two Books on Women in Prehistory

Taylor, Timothy.  The Prehistory of Sex.  NY:  Bantam Books, 1996.

Ryan, Christopher and Jetha, Cacilda.  Sex at Dawn:  The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality.  NY:  HarperCollins 2010

Both of these books concern, in large part, the place of women in prehistoric societies, but are viewed from different academic perspectives.  Taylor is an archaeologist; Ryan is a psychologist and married to Jetha, a psychiatrist.  The disciplinary difference is quite evident, as I will discuss later.

What both books agree on, and do so in no uncertain terms, is that hunter gatherer societies were more egalitarian in terms of sexual equality than the agricultural societies that replaced them in many parts of the world.   Both reject the theory that women exchanged sexual favors or chose sexual partners because of their ability to provide, thus making all women, to some degree, prostitutes.   Both disagree with the notion that hidden ovulation in human women developed so that human men would not know when they were fertile and thus would stay around longer.  Taylor points out the evidence that prehistoric and early agricultural and urban societies had knowledge of contraceptive plants.  Ryan and Jetha point out that prolonged breast feeding would inhibit ovulation and thus prevent frequent pregnancies.  In either view early human societies were more knowledgeable about reproduction than modern people traditionally acknowledge.  Both also mention the similarities and differences between human sexuality and that of other primates, though Ryan and Jetha do so in greater detail and more frequently.
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Could Sam Berlant Ride the Train in Pennsylvania?

19 Sep

Could Sam Berlant Ride the Train in Pennsylvania?

An upcoming issue of MP focuses in part on transgender.  Mainstream society has definite gender expectations .  As an example there was a recent firestorm over a J Crew ad that showed a mother painting her young son”s toenails pink.   Another is the reception one mother received when she allowed her five year old son to attend a pre-school Halloween party dressed as Daphne from “Scooby Doo.”

Regimented systems such as prisons, college dormitories, even transit systems,  can insist that people publicly identify themselves (or be indentified against their will) as either male or female.  It is, in fact, almost impossible to go through life without being identified as one or the other.

Even in popular culture characters are identified as male or female.  An exception is Pat from “Saturday Night Live,” whose gender ambiguity was a source of nbso online casino reviews humor.  More seriously, science fiction writer Jon Scalzi created a character in his novel Android Sheep, Sam Berlant, who gender is never provided.  Sam is clearly in a relationship with another character, Archie, who is indentified as male.    Scalzi deliberately didn”t assign Sam a gender.  In a blog post, “What Sex is Sam Berlant?” he writes that some people contacted him, irked because they didn”t know Sam”s gender and therefore didn”t know if Archie is heterosexual or homosexual.   Scalzi says he doesn”t know what gender Sam is.  Presumably Sam knows, as does Archie, but if anyone else in the book has noticed, they don”t mention it.

 

 

Achieve or Opportunity?

2 Sep

Achieve or Opportunity?

The neurological research done for marketing purposes turns up some fascinating information.  One recent research finding, showed differences in men and woman that were identical in the U.S. and China.  In a research study for Intel, 12 men and 12 women each in Berkeley and a city in Schian Province, wore devices that detect electrical activity across the brain.  They were shown Intel ads and then a series of words to see what qualities people associated with Intel.  Researchers looked mobile casino at brain activity to see which words got the strongest reaction.  Two words scored the highest, one each to a segment of the total group.  The difference wasn”t between cultures but between genders.  Women in both groups reacted more to the word “achieve” and men in both groups to the word “opportunity.” 

For the full article see  Adam L. Penenberg, “Neurofocus uses neuromarketing to hack your brain,” Fast Company, September 2011.

Bechdel Test

15 Apr

Bechdel Test

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel popularized a method for testing how inclusive movies are for women.  She credits her friend Liz Wallace with developing the criteria but they appeared in Bechdel”s comic “Dykes to Watch Out For” and so the test is known as the Bechdel Test or Bechdel Rule (sometimes the Bechdel / Wallace Test).   The test is comprised of three questions:

1) Does it online casino have at least two women in it?

2) Do they talk to each other?

3) About something other than a man?

Some variations say the two women characters have to have names.  Movie viewers can rate films at The Bechdel Test Movie List (http://bechdeltest.com/).  The site currently rates over 2000 films.


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