Week in Review, July 13-19

18 Jul

This week, around the web…

A new study from Oregon State University found that teen girls and young women negatively evaluate other girls and women who post sexy social media pictures. The girls and women surveyed rated women in sexy photos as less attractive, less socially attractive, and less competent. One psychology researcher quoted suggests encouraging girls to use profile photos that depict their likes, rather than their looks. Certainly we want our young girls to value themselves deeply, and not suffer from sexualization, but what does it say about our culture that we believe sexiness and competence are incompatible? And what does this tell us about gender policing?

In a related vein, this HuffPost piece suggests that the world is still a difficult place for girls to navigate. We teach them to speak up and be confident, and yet when they do that in the “real world” they are penalized. Women who are seen as confident are also seen as less likeable. Some researchers suggest teaching girls “gender judo”—“the art of combining masculine competence and feminine warmth in order to remain both likeable and respected.” Again, rather than asking women to control their own behavior, what kind of cultural and structural solutions could we implement? And speaking of annoying gender imbalances, here’s a post continuing the conversation on “mansplaining.”

Last week, we shared a link discussing Dungeons & Dragons new support for gender nonconformity. Well, it appears that Marvel is also shaking things up—the next character to play Thor will be female! Although some of these changes may seem small, the author explains: “OK, this is silly, but then, in comics and games, the audiences are growing and diversifying, yet the gender imbalance in both both [sic] characters and writers in only very gradually improving. So gender-swapped reboots may be the safest way for publishers to improve the ratio.” So, calling all game writers and programmers…where my ladies at?

Interestingly, although we’ve begun to see some softening of rigid gender roles and expectations in notioriously conservative places like the Catholic Church, a recent study of materials produced by the Mormon Church shows that little has changed in gender perceptions in the last 40 years.

For your reading enjoyment, a couple of interesting posts: on boyhood and masculine values, as well as this one on the new Old Spice “Mandroid” commercials—what’s your take on these?

This week, in the news…

Two important trans-news tidbits. First, Chelsea Manning was denied her request to transfer to a civilian prison for gender transition treatments. This is raising questions about the type and quality of care she might receive, and at what point transfer to a women’s facility becomes necessary, specifically because “Manning’s treatment request was the first by a transgender military inmate, and it set up a dilemma for the department of how to treat a soldier for a diagnosed disorder without violating long-standing military policy.” As some readers may know, the problems facing trans men and women in prisons are overwhelming. Perhaps this Manning’s case will bring some publicity to an issue that often gets swept under the rug. Second, Finland’s discriminatory policies toward transgender people have been brought into the public eye. The European Court of Human Rights is backing the Finnish government’s policy to force a trans woman to divorce her current partner to complete her gender transition and update national IDs. She is being asked to choose between her life partner and having her gender identity officially recognized.

This week, on Masculinities 101…

Clay Darcy wrote about the gender dynamics of selfies, where unsurprisingly both men and women live up and reproduced gender stereotypes in the photos.
And, we reposted Garry Gilfoy’s HoffPost piece on the father-son archetype. Gilfoy explains its role in therapy, and how breakdowns in the father-son relationship have intense effects on men’s lives. Briefly, he discusses some of the Celebrate Manhood weekend retreats in which he has been involved.

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