Mirrors are a well worn device in movies. They provide an extremely literal moment of self-reflection that often during a film’s emotional peak. So why do we see characters repeatedly reacting in the exact same way?
We’ve known for a while that testosterone is associated with aggressive behavior. But a fascinating new experiment reveals that these hormones are a two-way street: Simply acting aggressive can also raise levels of testosterone, in both women and men.
Nerf balls are for boys. Dolls are for girls. Romance movies are for women, and action flicks for men. Nearly everything in our world is gendered in some way. But what if we lived in a world where gender was more like hair color — something you could change at will, and that had little bearing on what other people…
Are men better than women at writing science fiction and fantasy books? The major awards in the field certainly seem to think so. And in case you weren’t aware of how widespread the problem is, a groundbreaking new research project has generated some utterly staggering charts.
We think in binaries: plant/animal, day/night, edible/disgusting, safe/dangerous. Breaking the world into discrete chunks helps us make rapid decisions about how to behave, but can also make us uneasy when we’re faced with things that don’t easily fit into one of our mental boxes.
When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number got blown up in news stories that asserted “90-95%” of them were fake, though nobody put forth any evidence for such an enormous number. So I downloaded the data and…
Over the weekend, the internet was freaking out over the first pictures from the new Ghostbusters movie, featuring the cast looking tough and nerdy in their haunt-hunting coveralls. Headlines hailed it not as the new entry in a popular franchise, but as the “all female Ghostbusters.” Which is terrible.
At this point, the debate over "strong female characters" has gotten a bit stale. Movies and TV keep serving up tough women, but they mostly still don't come across as actually "strong characters" in any meaningful sense. So this Twitter mini-rant by science fiction writer Ada Hoffman is incredibly useful.
Referring to a single person who may be of any gender in English can be tricky. It can be awkward to use words like "one" or phrases like "he or she," and many a grammarian hates using "they" as to refer to a single person. How has English gotten this far without such a convenient pronoun? Actually, it hasn't.
If you look down the bright pink girls' toy aisle and think to yourself that toys weren't always broken down so clearly along gender lines, then you're right. A sociologists has written a fascinating history of how toys have been marketed over the decades and how gender has come into play.
Iran's parliament has banned vasectomies, saying that more babies will "strengthen national identity" and counter "undesirable aspects of Western lifestyles." Reformists see the law as part of a drive by conservatives to keep Iran's highly educated female population in traditional roles as wives and mothers.
There's a fascinating interview with Ursula K. Le Guin over at Electric Literature. She talks about the former literary/genre divide, and when to ignore "the rules." And she also explains why creating radically different versions of gender is actually a way to help people see the here and now more clearly.
One of the most notable things about Ann Leckie's Nebula and Clarke-winning novel Ancillary Justice is its unusual pronoun use, which she talked a lot about when she answered your questions. In a new profile, she explains how she was told it would make the book unpublishable.
I love the highly-specific title of this academic paper by Melissa Tatum, Robert Spoo, and Banjamin Pope: "Does Gender Influence Attitudes Toward Copyright in the Filk Community?" It combines three hot-button issues: copyright, gender, and fandom. It's a like a powder keg of things people have very strong opinions on.
Orphan Black is one of the most intelligent, nuanced, and ambitious shows on television, thanks in no small part to the contributions of science consultant Cosima Herter. Recently, she wrote an essay dealing with the nature vs. nurture debate, and it's fantastic.
I self-identify as a straight male-bodied dude, but recently I've taken to playing as a female-bodied character in many games. It's not something the majority of people do, but it's also not uncommon. Oddly, however, men play as women far more than women play as men. Let's break down why people choose the avatars they…
Hot on the heels of the announcement of the much-anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII cast, and the sudden, dismaying realization that only one new female lead had joined the cast, suddenly sources are saying that Star Wars: Episode VII still has another "substantial" female role to cast.
This morning we all delighted in the casting announcement for Star Wars VII. And then the reality set in: There is only one new female character being added to what is arguably the world's most beloved mythic series. It's as if 51 percent of the population cried out in pain, and was suddenly silenced.
As anyone who has played Mass Effect knows, some characters can be either gender and still play the same basic role. What other characters in science fiction and fantasy do you think could switch genders and still have the same fundamental story?