Archive for the ‘Language and gender’ Category

November 11th, 2014

August 25, 2016

… was a banner day for cartoons in the New Yorker. Waiting a few minutes to get called in for routine blood tests at the Palo Alo Medical Foundation this morning, I chanced upon this particular issue of the magazine and found five cartoons of interest for this blog (plus some others I enjoyed but had no special interest here); all five were from artists already familiar on this blog.


xkcd mansplaining

August 6, 2016

Yesterday‘s xkcd, “Time Travel Thesis”:

A man’s gotta explain what a man’s gotta explain.


Pleasures of patriotic penetration

June 17, 2016

(Well, dildos and vibrators, so not for everybody.)

Passed on by Jeff Shaumeyer on Facebook, a startling sex toy, from the BlogRebellen website yesterday:


Fühl den Nationalstolz tief in dir mit dem Deutschland-Dildo ‘Feel national pride deep within you with the Deutschland Dildo’

Black, red, and gold (the colors of the German national flag, in order, here from the black Eichel, or dickhead,  to the gold Hoden, or balls), in silicone, with natural-looking veining and a suction-cup base. Be a penis patriot: fuck yourself the bold Teutonic way!


Anti-spam architect (plus a mathemagician)

May 21, 2016

The anti-spam architect would be Elizabeth Zwicky in a “Yahoo Women in Technology Profile” by Michael McGovern (Talent Community Manager at Yahoo!) on the 18th. The piece is in the form of an interview, but with questions submitted in writing by McGovern and answers written out by EDZ, so you get the full flavor of her writing — lucid, pointed, often wry. There are photos: one of EDZ with her team, one an unposed head shot of her which catches her nicely. It’s a bit too light, a consequence of the fact that the photographer (Opal Eleanor Armstrong Zwicky, then age 6) was a novice at the camera, though she already had a good eye):



Bad bro days

April 28, 2016

The story of the address term bro in relatively recent years begins with its use by black men to black men, roughly (but not exactly) like the widely used American buddy — a term of male affiliation. It then spread into the wider culture, serving as a mark of male solidarity. This is what I called in a 4/12/16 posting “good”, positive, bro. But male solidarity tends to come with a dark side: rejection of anything perceived as feminine, played out as sturdy misogyny and homo-hatred in general; and the elevation of boys’ clubs (formed for whatever reasons) to boys-only clubs, aggressively hostile to women and to men perceived as inferior. When these guys use bro to address (or refer to) one another, then we’ve got what I called “bad”, negative, bro.

Regular use of bad bro between men in groups, for instance by fraternity boys and so-called brogrammers, has led to a steady pejoration of the term for people outside those male groups; bro is now a tainted term for many people, calling up unpleasant images of aggressive masculinity.

A brief review of these matters on this blog, then two recent entries in the conversation. And a cartoon too!


Loving couples

February 16, 2016

Two things that came to my attention over this holiday (Valentine’s and Presidents Day) weekend, both involving same-sex couples: a piece on two men who are a couple (an engaged couple, in fact), Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black, in the February issue (the “love” issue) of OUT magazine; and a review (in the NYT Book Review on the 14th) of a children’s picture book about two hermaphroditic worms in love.

In both cases, the question is how these couples will present themselves and how they will be portrayed in images (photographs or illustrations) — in particular, how they will treat the conventions of coupledom for other-sex pairs, in which the sexes are often sharply distinguished. There are three possibilities: (a) to embrace these conventions; (b) to abandon them, by appearing as equals; and (c) to fragment them, by assigning each partner a mixture of them. Daley & Black present themselves / are presented sometimes via (b), sometimes (c), and the worms go for (c). I’ll get to (a) — which is well represented in male-male couples in gay porn, and sometimes in real life — after some discussion of Daley & Black.


Morning names: wiles, Wiles

February 9, 2016

Sunday’s morning name was the common noun wiles, but that led me to the adjective wily, the proper name Wile E. Coyote, and to people with the family name Wiles, in particular the mathematician Andrew Wiles and the gay pornstar Kevin Wiles. Actually, being who I am, I thought of Kevin first and then got to Andrew, but I’m going to take them in the other order here, because until I get to Kevin Wiles, there’s nothing especially racy here, but once I get to KW, we go deep into the world of men’s bodies and man-man sexual acts, and the posting turns into things that are definitely not for kids or the sexually modest. When I get to that point, I’ll raise a flag, and you can decide whether you want to bail out. That last section is certainly verbally X-rated, but though there are photos, the ones here aren’t visually X-rated; I posted the X-rated KW images (8 of them) on AZBlogX yesterday.


Sara and D’ijon double-team Jeremy

January 23, 2016

The Zits from the 21st takes up a recurrent theme in the strip:

Over the years, Mark Liberman and I have posted about the Chatty Girls trope on the strip, retailing the (basically false) stereotype that women, and especially teenage girls, chatter on ceaselessly, overwhelming guys (with their laconic ways). One guy sandwiched between two girls doesn’t have a chance.

Five from Barsotti

January 20, 2016

It started with a cartoon by New Yorker cartoonist Charles Barsotti (from 1/18/10) in my doctor’s examining room yesterday:


Angry doctor upbraids a smugly smiling patient (hugely obese, cocktail in hand, cigar in mouth).

Barsotti is a great favorite of mine, and he has his own Page on this blog.

So: four more Barsottis that tickle me and haven’t been blogged on here before.


Misogynistic urinals and sinks

January 3, 2016

(This posting is packed with pretty direct talk about bodies (women’s and men’s) and sexual practices (mostly, but not entirely, straight, and some kinky). While NSFW, the images are technically not X-rated. Still, definitely not for kids or the sexually modest.)

Another spin-off from my urinals postings, this time specifically taking off from image #1 in my New Year’s Day posting on “Urinals and the conventions of the men’s room”: a urinal in the shape of a mouth, probably from the Rolling Stones Museum in Germany — where it appears not as an artwork in a gallery of the museum, but as a functioning urinal in the museum’s men’s room.

(Note: the museum was founded, in a tiny German town, by a Stones-mad couple, Birgit and Ulrich “Ulli” Schröder; it has no official connection to the Stones. Meanwhile,  Mick Jagger is considering opening a Stones museum in London.)

Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky then sent me a link to a 3/18/12 piece on the Sociological Images site, “Women’s Parts as Urinals and Sinks” by Gwen Sharp, which begins:

Stephanie Medley-Rath sent in a new example of urinals shaped like women’s mouths. We’ve taken the submission as an opportunity to re-post our collection

She adds also other women’s parts used as urinals: vaginas and perhaps buttocks as well. And to branch out into fixtures for a men’s room that incorporate women’s bodies presented from behind (thus offering their vaginas and/or buttocks) incorporated into urinals and sinks. Some, if not all, of this is clearly misogynistic.