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gender norms

Justin Baldoni’s TED Talk Is a Beautifully Honest Exploration of the Different Sides of Masculinity

We've been looking forward to Justin Baldoni's weekly series 'Man Enough' for a few months now. I first saw it announced in October of this year, described as a dinner-party-style show with male celebrities and public figures discussing issues of masculinity. Baldoni recently gave a talk at the TEDWomen Conference and showed us what we can expect from those discussions. After watching the above video, we're more excited than ever.

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Star Trek: Discovery’s Female Lead Character Is Named Michael Burnham and I Can’t Stop Thinking About It

Names have power: just ask Rumpelstiltskin. As someone with a longstanding interest in the meaning of names, the first thing that caught my attention while watching Discovery was that the first officer played by Sonequa Martin-Green has a traditionally masculine name. I had to know more.

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Prince George Is a Preschooler, Not Anyone’s “Gay Icon” or Receptacle for Your Gender Norms

Prince George, son of the U.K.'s Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is four years old. This is important, because a couple of days ago, the Internet decided to speculate about his sexuality.

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Twitter Is Having a Hard Time Accepting the New Man-Bun-Sporting Ken Doll

Let Ken be Ken.

Mattel just released their new "Fashionistas" line of Barbie and Ken dolls, which includes 40 new dolls, with seven different body types, 11 skin tones, and 28 hairstyles. The internet is a flurry of opinions, of course, though they're mostly ignoring the 39 of the new diverse line's dolls and focusing on one: Man Bun Ken.

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Evan Rachel Wood’s Gorgeous Golden Globes Suit Proves Dresses “Aren’t a Requirement”

"I love dresses, I’m not trying to protest dresses, but I wanted to make sure that young girls and women knew they aren’t a requirement."

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Apparently, Men Don’t Care To Date Funny Women. But, Women Aren’t Funny Anyway, Right?

Remember that super-depressing study about how men find intelligent women to be less attractive? Well, turns out that a woman with a sense of humor won't much impress 'em, either. All signs seem to point to heterosexual romance being dead ... at least for smart and/or funny women.

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Rebecca Sugar on Gender, Steven Universe, and the Show’s Inspiration

Rebecca Sugar, the creator behind Steven Universe, recently had an interview with Entertainment Weekly about her show and how it found its place among some of television's most feminist titles. And, of course, she also dishes on the show and teases just a tiny little bit of what's to come.

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Teaching Girls to Be Their Own (Super) Heroes in a Time When Toy Aisles Teach Them Otherwise


John Marcotte, founder of Heroic Girls and father of two superhero-obsessed daughters The Mary Sue has a great affection for, has a thing or two to say about showing girls that superheroes aren't "for boys." It's an incredibly important message, especially in a time when Marcotte says research has found that the toy aisles have never had a stronger gender divide—and that's just the tip of the gender normative iceberg.

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3-Year-Old Geek Girl Chooses Her Own Clothes, Is a Fashion Icon

Why don't I own any capes? This must be rectified!

Ok, but do you think she'd let me raid her closet?

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Subversive Power Armor Hardsuits for LEGO Friends to Wear Into Battle

Pulverizing gender stereotypes, one fully weaponized minifig at a time.

The LEGO Friends line of products is a black mark on LEGO's otherwise impressive recent record of gender-neutral marketing, but as the SuperFriends Project demonstrated earlier this year, just because the toys themselves might be less than awesome doesn't mean master builders can't give the minifigs a radical makeover.

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Obama Supports Girls in Science, Refuses to Gender Toys At Annual Christmas Event

It's a White House miracle!

This December marked the first time that President Obama participated in the Marine’s Toys for Tots program by helping the First Lady divide donated gifts into "girl" and "boy" bins. But the President, who first declared “I’m the big elf [...] I’m like Will Ferrell," surprised some of the crowd with his refusal to gender sports equipment, video games, and LEGO.

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Carnegie Science Center Makes Less-Than-Optimal Programming Choice For Girl Scouts

Hey, at least it wasn't cookie making, right?

I have immense respect for the Carnegie Science Center. The Institution does a lot of admirable work, and I can only imagine the intricate decision process involved in coordinating its programs. But big organizations are bound to make mistakes sometimes, right?

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Dear DC Comics, This Is Why You Shouldn’t Leave Creative Little Girls Behind

A geek dad reports.

For my birthday a few months ago, my buddy Matt gave me Justice League: Axis of Villains, a superhero board game by DC Comics and game maker Wonder Forge. “It say ages 8 and up,” he tells me, “but I read the rules. Cassie’s smart. She can handle it if you play together.”

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Watch A Mini-Documentary About A Group Of Girls Playing Dungeons & Dragons For The First Time

Oh, I'm sorry. I meant Dungeonettes and Dragonettes.

When filmmaker Meredith Jacobson overheard her boyfriend tell a group of 9-11 year old boys that young girls aren't interested in playing D&D, the producer wanted to prove that the joy of role-playing games knows no gender—and thus the idea for DnDnG was born.

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Mom’s Request Convinces Lands’ End to Stock Science Tees for Girls

But what's really brave here is that they included Pluto.

As of yesterday, this lovely tee-shirt featuring the solar system (Lands' End still loves you, Pluto) and another proclaiming the wearer as NASA crew are available in girl sizes from Lands' End, and it's thanks to the request of one mom with a science loving daughter.

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Shailene Woodley Talked About Gender Politics & Comparisons To Jennifer Lawrence On The Tonight Show But NBC Cut It Out

Today in things that make us scream incoherently

The Fault in Our Stars actress Shailene Woodley isn't shy about sharing her opinions when it comes to gender issues and for that we love her. Read on to find out what she said that got edited out of one of her Tonight Show appearances. 

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Sympathetic Characters: Gender Bias, Villains, & Orphan Black


[Editor's Note: There are no spoilers for BBC America's Orphan Black in this post, some adult language, and lots of good points.] Recently, my husband and I burned through S1 of Orphan Black, which, as promised by virtually the entire internet, was awesome. But in all the praise I’d seen for it, a line from one review in particular stuck in my mind. The reviewer noted that, although the protagonist, Sarah, is an unlikeable character, her grifter skills make her perfectly suited to unravelling the mystery in which she finds herself. And as this was a positive review, I kept that quote in mind when we started watching, sort of by way of prewarning myself: you maybe won’t like Sarah, but that’s OK. But here’s the thing: I fucking loved Sarah. I mean, I get what the reviewer was trying to say, in that she’s not always a sympathetic character, but that’s not the same as her actually being unlikeable. And the more I watched, the more I found myself thinking: why is this quality, the idea of likeability, considered so important for women, but so optional for men – not just in real life, but in narrative?

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What Happens To Gendered Advertising When You Swap Audio & Video?

Some pretty interesting things, if we may be so bold. offers you the opportunity to choose the video from a few toy commercials aimed at boys, and the audio from commercials aimed at girls (or vice versa) and play the results. May I also take this moment to say I think I hate toy commercials of all kinds? (via Tipster Robin) Previously in Gendered Advertising

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UK Labour MP Points Out There Are No Female Engines In Thomas The Tank Engine

If we got angry about this kind of thing we'd be angry all the time

Parents, it's never too early to teach your kids about fair gender representation in the media! Mary Creagh, the UK's Labour shadow transport secretary, reminded us all that gendered social conditioning starts young when she pointed out that children's TV shows unfairly portray transport jobs as exclusively male - particularly placing blame on Thomas the Tank Engine.

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Yet Another UK Toy Retailer To Go Gender-Neutral in 2014

Things to Do With Your Kids

Consumers spoke up, and UK department store Marks & Spencer has decided to ditch the gender-specific packaging that unfairly restricts toys by what gender they "should" be played with.

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