What’s in a Name?: “I AM A SITUATION LIKE THIS”

In this blog entry, A. Finn Enke, editor of Transfeminist Perspectives in and beyond Transgender and Gender Studies, considers names, pronouns, and learning from Chelsea Manning.

As a trans person and educator, I am grateful to Chelsea Manning. She is not the only famous person to come out as trans, nor is she the first military person to do so. But because her coming out coincided with her internationally high-profile trial and her impending incarceration, she has provided an opportunity for institutions and communities to recognize transgender existence. As Socrates observed long ago, learning is often painful because learning requires us to change. Manning is making most of us have to work a little harder, finally. Continue reading “What’s in a Name?: “I AM A SITUATION LIKE THIS””


New insights into gendered brain wiring, or a perfect case study in neurosexism?

The latest neuroscience study of sex differences to hit the popular press has inspired some familiar headlines. The Independent, for example, proclaims that:

The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are “better at map reading” (And why women are “better at remembering a conversation”).

The study in question, published in PNAS, used a technology called diffusion tensor imaging to model the structural connectivity of the brains of nearly a thousand young people, ranging in age from eight to 22. Continue reading “New insights into gendered brain wiring, or a perfect case study in neurosexism?”

“For black boys, cool comes with costs”

In a piece in The Atlantic, Aboubacar Ndiaye reflects on recent sociological research by Megan Holland (here) and Simone Ispa-Landa (here) on gender differences in the social experiences of black boys and girls bused into suburban schools. This research emphasizes how racial images associating blackness with “cool” facilitate boys’—but not girls’–social integration in suburban schools. These findings underscore the importance of gender in contouring racial experiences—a point multiracial feminists have been making for decades—even while policies and popular discussions continue to reflect a “one size fits all” approach, treating black people as if their experiences are all the same. Continue reading ““For black boys, cool comes with costs””

Taking the ‘care’ out of care work?: Men in nursing

Nurses and doctors have different kinds of work – but there’s a lot of overlap.  Yet, we still culturally associate the “doctoring” with masculinity and the “nursing” with femininity.  The distinction between “caring” and “curing” is a gendered one and it is part of what maintains existing occupational segregation in healthcare.  Indeed, research on occupational gender segregation finds that it persists less because we simply believe men are better than women (stronger, more competent, capable of more complex thinking, etc.) and more because of our beliefs that women and men simply have different natural interests and aptitudes.  This is why male nurses are the butt of so many jokes in our culture.  “Male nurse” sounds like an oxymoron (like “jumbo shrimp,” a “just war,” or my personal favorite, “graduate student”).  So, recruiting more men into nursing or more women into astrophysics is difficult work because it challenges a strong cultural bias against their entry.Bridges_image1

Continue reading “Taking the ‘care’ out of care work?: Men in nursing”

Recruiting men, constructing manhood: How health care organizations mobilize masculinities as nursing recruitment strategy

While it is cliché to think that men are not as caring or compassionate as women, women are still much more likely to enter caring professions, such as nursing, than men. Men make up about 7% of the nursing workforce in the U.S. and their experiences as a numerical minority have been a rich source for advancing gender scholarship (i.e., Williams’ notion of the “glass escalator” that propels men to faster advancement in female-dominated fields). But what about organizational efforts to recruit men to nursing? How do recruitment efforts address conflicting notions of the ideal nurse as emotionally engaged, empathetic and helping others, while ideal masculinity gets portrayed as emotionally detached, tough and risk-taking? Continue reading “Recruiting men, constructing manhood: How health care organizations mobilize masculinities as nursing recruitment strategy”

You’ve come a long way baby? Seeing men as more than sperm donors

December 3, 2013: Recent headlines such as “Men, Who Needs Them?” and “Why Fathers Really Matter” showcase a growing debate about the importance of including men in discussions of gender inequality.

Two new studies from Gender & Society turn attention to areas in which men have long been ignored: at home, in the study of conception, pregnancy and childbirth, and at work, in the caregiving professions—particularly nursing. New research demonstrates under what conditions men’s contributions are slowly becoming more visible and what the benefits are (and can be). Continue reading “You’ve come a long way baby? Seeing men as more than sperm donors”

Queering the hookup scene

We began this research on two different campuses, asking different kinds of questions.  What was going on in the hookup scene?  Were women making out with other women purely for the entertainment of men?  What were queer women up to on campus?  We knew, from a survey of hookup practices, that a small percentage of women who identified as heterosexual had had oral sex with women, as had almost a fifth of women who were unsure about their sexual identities.  But the survey results tell us little about why women students do the things they do or what consequences, if any, sexual activity with another woman has on students’ sexual identities. Continue reading “Queering the hookup scene”