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Archive for the ‘cultural commentary’ Category

A week or so ago, I saw a slide show of “strange plastic surgeries” on MSNBC’s web site.  While I’m pleased that the site listed these procedures as extreme (even “oddball”), I was struck by one thing in particular.  Two of the surgeries were meant to remedy complaints about women’s calves.  If a woman had “cankles”–large calves that stretch to her ankles (hence eliminating the “normal” curve the ankle/calf distinction creates)–she could correct the flaw with liposuction.  If a woman had “radish calf”–large, muscular calves that apparently create too much of the aforementioned curve–she could inject botox to reduce the size of the muscle.  The upshot of all of this is that a woman must neither have a calf that is too big nor too small.  Like Goldilocks’ proverbial porridge, a truly feminine lower leg must be “just right.” (more…)

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I recently watched a BBC America documentary (part of the BBC Reveals series) called Perfect Private Parts. The hour long documentary is about labiaplasty and other genital plastic surgery. Labiaplasty, for those who don’t know, involves cutting and reshaping one or both sets of the labia, to make them smaller.  The documentary is adamantly opposed to any surgery and the director, Lisa Rogers, states on camera that she is making the film in hopes of not only understanding why women undergo labiaplasty, but  also dissuading viewers from considering these surgeries.

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By now you’ve probably heard, read about, or experienced the odd Facebook meme of women posting their bra color as their status, supposedly in order to raise awareness of/for breast cancer.  Mashable’s brief article about the phenomenon was picked up by The Huffington Post, but I can’t find any other media coverage.  Moreover, no one seems to know who is responsible for starting this meme.  That’s probably for the best because the whole idea makes very little sense.  Here’s why: (more…)

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Professor Moss and I recently upgraded our cell phones, and apparently one of the “fun” features of newer phones is the ability to download screensavers and other personal touches onto one’s phone (maybe this isn’t so new, but it’s new to us).  Since I enjoy a bit of window-shopping as much as the next fellow, I decided this morning to browse the possible screensavers available to me.

My cell provider divides screensavers into categories, and many of these are banal but predictable (sports, movies, music, etc.).  I was intrigued, however, by two categories in particular: “For Him” and “For Her.”  My blog-radar began to beep uncontrollably.  What, you may ask, is in each category?  The surprising thing isn’t so much the differences in gendered screensavers as the one glaring similarity. (more…)

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Early Friday morning Tiger Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant and a neighbor’s tree, was taken to the hospital and released after being treated for facial lacerations. This much is fact. And while the mainstream media has stuck to the facts, the gossip columns (especially the website TMZ) has had a field day claiming that Woods was driving away after a fight over his infidelity, that his wife smashed the window of the SUV with a golf club and that Woods’ injuries are due to his wife, not the crash.

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What do I hate most about Thanksgiving? Well, what I really hate most is the way people say “Happy Turkey Day” when millions of turkeys are killed just so Americans can overeat. But this isn’t a vegan blog; it’s a gender and culture blog, so I’m going to talk about the way Thanksgiving (and holidays in general) bring out traditional gender roles.

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By now, you’ve probably all seen this image of model Fillipa Hamilton:

Other bloggers and journalists have pointed out the unrealistic proportions of this woman (her jawline is wider than her waistline), and Ralph Lauren has admitted that their manipulation of the image went a bit too far.  The model, Filippa Hamilton, claims that she was fired for being overweight.  I don’t want to engage in the debate over whether she was, indeed, fired for being overweight.  Nor do I want to criticize this image even further.  Instead, I’d like to consider the possible consequences of the proliferation of intentionally-altered images like this and to ask you all to weigh in (no pun intended). (more…)

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