Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Clarissa D on 10/14/2013

Why Gender-Specific Toys Are Harming Girls

The majority of the Toys R Us Lego Isle is a very familiar shade of blue, copyrighted and trademarked, and gleaming under the florescent lights. In one brightly lit section, however, pink reigns supreme: the section full of toys marketed to little girls. Most of these toys can be placed in at least one of three categories: luxury play (play that seems to serve no other purpose than to stimulate the girls’ imaginations in settings of extreme opulence and wealth), housework play (in which a child mimics doing household chores, including anything from an Easy Bake Oven to a baby doll to a plastic kitchenette), or interpersonal relationship play (in which a child is meant to identify with a doll of some kind, and she and other “dolls” are meant …

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Feminism | Posted by Talia on 09/4/2013

“I’m Not A Boy.”

Every Shabbat (Sabbath), I volunteer at the kids’ group at my shul (synagogue). After we finish the service, Shabbat lunch is served. Traditionally, kiddush is made over wine or grape juice before the meal begins. The rebbetzin (rabbi’s wife) who runs the group at my shul always has a kid make the kiddush. Although this brakha (blessing) is traditionally reserved for the patriarch of the family, the rebbetzin allows both boys and girls to say kiddush.

During the summertime, the number of participants at the group tends to dwindle. A few weeks ago, when there was a particularly small turnout, the rebbetzin was hard-pressed to find a kid willing to make kiddush. She approached her two younger grandsons, neither of whom wanted to say kiddush. She

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Feminism | Posted by Hannah H on 06/14/2013

Tomboy Exceptionalism: “I’m Not Like The Other Girls”

I grew up a tomboy. That meant no dresses, no dolls, and even biting my kindergarten boyfriend who dared to give me a party favour bag at his birthday that was princess themed. It meant playing in the mud, wearing clothes from the boy’s section at Old Navy, and (most importantly) being tough, rough, and powerful. I wasn’t “like the other girls” — I wanted the boys to value and play with me, rather than try and look up my skirt when I jumped from the monkey bars as they did with my friend Lauren.

So I got to play in their reindeer games because, as a tomboy, I was free from gender expectations that devalued me as a women. I wasn’t a threat because I wasn’t “ like the …

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Feminism | Posted by Charles Clymer on 05/8/2013

A Letter To My Future Son

A friend of mine has a young son. She recently asked me, and other men, to write a letter to our sons who exist or have yet to be born that she could show to her own child, someday. This is my letter.

Dear Son,

If you’re reading this, you are now set to embark on a journey into that wonderful, stressful, often-sticky phase we call “young adulthood”.

I want you to know that my love for you, my personal stake in your existence, could never be adequately measured.

As you have grown over the last 18 years, all I have ever sought to do is give you the best possible start on happiness in life and to respect and love others as equals.

You are a man in our …

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Feminism | Posted by Amanda P on 06/29/2012

On Street Harassment

I vividly remember the first time I ever experienced street harassment. I was on my way to class and saw in the distance a group of young men drinking and carrying on in a very loud and obnoxious manner. A young woman, who was a great distance ahead of me, lowered her head, tightened the grip on her shoulder bag, and walked by as quickly as possible. As I approached, their attention quickly turned to me and they shouted, “HEY…HEY, YOU…HEY…!” Now, ladies and gentlemen, I could have easily lowered my head and just ignored these comments but it’s hardly in my nature not to respond to such idiocy. I didn’t even have to say anything — my mere middle finger in the air sent these three young men into …

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Articles | Posted by Julie Z on 06/6/2012

An Interview with Michael Kimmel

Michael Kimmel

Michael Kimmel is among the leading researchers and writers on men and masculinity in the world today. The author or editor of more than twenty volumes, his books include Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and Masculinity (1987), Men Confront Pornography (1990), The Politics of Manhood (1996), The Gender of Desire (2005), The History of Men (2005) and more recently Guyland (2008) and The Guy’s Guide to Feminism (2011).

I hadn’t really thought much about the difficulties guys face in our culture before I read Guyland by Michael Kimmel. I had focused so much energy on figuring out the societal pressures placed on girls that Kimmel’s account of what it means to grow up and be male was completely eye-opening. It confirmed to me just how

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Talia on 04/20/2012

The Color Pink

why does pink = girly

I volunteer at the children’s service at my synagogue on Shabbat (the Sabbath). Every week, the kids walk around with kid-sized Torahs, some of which are stuffed toys. The Torahs are red, yellow, blue, and purple and were bought in the past few years, so they all look new and are in pretty good condition, but there’s one pink one, that is about twice my age. It’s very faded, a little corroded looking, and has been sewed more times than I can remember to keep the stuffing from falling out. Despite the clear quality disparity, all hell breaks loose every Shabbat when the little girls come running to grab the pink Torah before anyone else can catch up. And yes, innumerable tears have been shed …

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Feminism | Posted by Aimee B on 04/11/2012

Growing Up A Tomboy

I was also a tomboy

I never thought much of gender construction as a child. I just knew what I wanted to wear, how my hair should be cut, and what interested me. Did I want to proudly wear my new matching dragon shirt and short set? Yes. Did I want to play the more physical and male dominated games? Yes. Breaking through the conventions of the female stereotype was never problematic for me until I was around eight years old and moved to a new town.

It was nerve racking. I was suddenly over-aware of my “boyish” appearance, worried about how and if my peers would accept me. My mother accompanied my sister and me to our new classrooms, mine being the first. The teacher met us outside of …

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