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girl, you’ll be a woman (too) soon?…

Photo of Chinese baby girls, from Getty Images and the UK Telegraph.

Photo of Chinese baby girls, courtesy of Getty Images and the UK Telegraph.

I’m sure many of us remember our youth as a time primarily free of gender, where we ran around bare chested and barefoot in the glorious summer time, regardless of whether our baby bonnet was blue or pink.  In fact, much of our early lives are blessedly free of the true pressures inherent in a rigidly gendered society, other than the occasional barbie doll falling into hands that really wanted a slingshot or vice versa.

However, there is some disturbing news on both sides of the planet for young girls this week.  NPR reports that a new study conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has found some disturbing puberty related trends are taking place among young girls in the United States.  The study found that “10-percent of 7-year-old white girls were developing breasts”, and “for young black girls… 25-percent of 7-year-olds” were exhibiting early puberty and maturation.

Meanwhile, in the latest bout of milk powder related …

Click to continue reading girl, you’ll be a woman (too) soon?…

encoding the gender binary into today’s social networking sites

Like many of you who’ve been around since before the internet was but a twinkle in Al Gore’s eyes, I recall the good old days of the ‘net.  Back when you hopped on your AOL account, punched in your screenname and password, and were greeted you warmly every time you signed on.  In the mid 1990’s the internet was like one giant anonymous playground, filled with GIFs of dancing hamsters and slow-loading pornographic websites.  And chatrooms.  Oh, man.  Chatrooms.

Back then all you needed was a screenname like tweetybird22 and you’d be sure to make plenty of “friends” in chatrooms right away.  “if ur looking for a good time, im me”.  Oh yeah.  Sure, you might be a 40 year old guy in Omaha, but when you sign in as xX_californiagurl_Xx what fratboy420 doesn’t know can’t hurt him, right?  Right?

And we were all forced to be "friends" with some asshole named Tom.

Yep, everything was fine and dandy until one day, from the depths of hellfire and damnation, spawned a little thing called Myspace.  Suddenly, the internet started transforming from a …

Click to continue reading encoding the gender binary into today’s social networking sites

yogurt: the official food of women

I watch a lot of videos about gender in society, most of which are quite interesting, but it’s pretty rare that one actually makes me laugh out loud. Hats off to you, Sarah Haskins, for this amazing review of yogurt commercials aimed at women. “Why am I holding all this yogurt? Because I am a woman. And yogurt is the official food of women!” Food – something that should never be gendered.

Check out She-conomy, a site about women and marketing, where I first found this video.

in bathrooms and barrooms, on dumpsters and heirlooms

Do chromosomes have anything to do with using the restroom?

Public bathrooms can be exceptionally tricky places, as most genderqueers can attest. In these tiny, smelly public rooms, one’s gender is put to the ultimate test, and “failure” can lead to all manners of embarrassment. We at gender-panic have certainly both had days where wearing an exceptionally cute tie and vest combo led to awkward stares and confrontations in the ladies’ room.

I end up on both sides of the test these days, as both the judge and the judged. The shop where I work has two single stall restrooms and to use them, one must request either the men’s or women’s key from the staff. This leaves me in a bit of a lurch. At any given moment in my work day, with only a split second to decide, I must correctly interpret the gender of countless people. It’s awkward for me, awkward for them, and just totally unnecessary.

Binary bathroom systems are of course just a product of the limited gender binary that we live in. I am amazed, however, at …

Click to continue reading in bathrooms and barrooms, on dumpsters and heirlooms