Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged gender roles

Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps—and What We Can Do About It

Given the heavy media coverage about studies that “prove” significant, inborn differences between males and females, it is no surprise that we excuse or accept certain behaviors depending on whether they come from a boy or a girl. We are often led to believe that it is natural for a boy to be athletic and for a girl to demonstrate more empathy because it is part of their biology and something that cannot be helped one way or another.

Surfer Girls in the New World Order

I was twelve years old when my mom moved to South Florida and I was first introduced to surf culture. My step-dad’s shed was filled with boards all different shapes and sizes and on the few rare occasions I did paddle out, it was always with him by my side—and with his help navigating the powerful ocean. I was interested and wanted to learn, but I was scared. I wouldn’t be good enough, I wasn’t strong enough, the boys would make fun of me, I’d get in their way, they wouldn’t like me.

Pens and Needles: Women's Textualities in Early Modern England

Pens and Needles takes a new approach to the study of how women expressed themselves in Early Modern England (roughly 1500-1700). It has long been assumed that the gender roles we know today have been consistent over time. Pens, writing, communication, are the realm of men; needles, sewing, the home, are the realm of women. Frye disagrees; she gives extensive examples of women writing in the Early Modern era, from poetry to household accounts.

Love Like Hate

Having left the history of the Vietnam War in the classrooms of my London secondary school six years ago, I delighted in reading the new novel by Vietnamese American author Linh Dinh. Predominantly set in post-war Vietnam, Love Like Hate weaves fact with fiction, giving an historical background to character development.


Nuala Ní Chonchúir's début novel tells the tale of a young girl who interprets the life she and her siblings inhabit in their urban Gothic surroundings with simple yet insightful prose.

The Bradshaw Variations

In earlier times, a set of variations on a theme in classic art music was a chance for a composer to play around with a melody, try it on in various guises, and allow the audience to hear possibilities. Each variation was minute, an aural petit four to be savored briefly while one contemplated on the sweet yet temporal nature of life.

Florida Supercon (6/18 – 6/20/2010)

Since I live in Miami, a city of fashionable sameness, it can be difficult to find alternatives to the mainstream culture. So I was convention curious. Yet all I knew about anime was what I’d seen on Adult Swim or the Syfy channel: doe-eyed, borderline pornographic girls in their miniskirts and ponytails. I can never get past the not-so-subtle little girl fetish.

The Finishing Touches

I consider myself a feminist yet I read chick lit like it's going out of fashion—is that strange? I'm aware this genre is often problematic from a certain feminist point of view, but it also provides ample material for a proper discussion.

Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World

In the eternal question of nature versus nurture, author and developmental psychologist Birute Regine leans comfortably towards nature. She embraces “feminine” qualities and calls for women the world over to do the same.

Tea on the Axis of Evil

After two years of providing security intelligence about the activities of Al Qaeda to the United States government in the wake of 9/11, the Bush Administration publicly dubbed Syria a threat to democracy by including it in the so-called Axis of Evil. Knowing very little about the secular republic, filmmaker Jean Marie Offenbacher decided to spend a year in Damascus in order to offer a look at everyday citizens of Syria and combat stereotypical depictions put forth in the mainstream media. Though the U.S.


Henna is a visceral cinematic experience that functions as an exercise in patience. Drawing from reflections on his own childhood growing up in a rapidly developing Abu Dhabi, Saleh Karama created the character of Henna (A’aesha Hamad), a curious eight-year-old girl through whose perspective we are invited to see the world. Henna lives in a fishing village in an unnamed Arab country.

King Kong Theory: A Manifesto For Women Who Can’t Or Won’t Obey The Rules

King Kong Theory is most easily my favourite read so far this year; it packs a punch and voices everything I feel about our oppressive patriarchal society. This work is completely free of any hesitation to say what is really going on in the Western world today. Virginie Despentes blew me away with her fresh and honest analysis of what women (and men) struggle within their half-baked, destructive gender roles.

Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism

Shhh, stop and listen for a moment. Listen to the radio, to TV ads, to government policy, to toy stores, to popular magazines, and (OMG) to "science." If you are a fan of equality and freedom of choice, you may want to listen up.

Nakigao (Crying Girl)

You may have already heard about Nakigao (Crying Girl), a DVD released in Japan last month. It features eleven young Japanese actresses crying over real-life dramas they’ve had. And… that’s about it. The DVD is being marketed toward Japanese men, either for sexual or ego enjoyment purposes.

The Blue Orchard

I can't remember the last time a tale of fiction grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. I finished The Blue Orchard by Jackson Taylor over a week ago and it still haunts me during those quiet moments of my day. What drew me in to say 'yes' to reviewing this book was that it is a tale of a nurse in pre-Roe America who is arrested for performing illegal abortions.

The Taste for Civilization: Food, Politics, and Civil Society

At a time when Western society is becoming more and more dependent on cheap and rapid sustenance of often dubious nutritional value, Janet Flammang’s study is an important reminder of both the way it was and the way it perhaps should be. In The Taste for Civilization, Flammang sets out to present what she calls “table activities” as central to respect, citizenship, and a greater good.

Societies of Peace: Matriarchies Past, Present and Future

In a time when it seems we have lost our sense of humane, egalitarian living Societies Of Peace stands out as a guide to what we can learn from matriarchies in order to save ourselves from self-destruction. This book is a collection of the presentations from the two World Congresses on Matriarchial studies.

Amy and Gully with Aliens

Amy and Gully with Aliens looks promising from the title, and the immediate jump into action makes this Buddhist children’s book a breeze.

Women and Judaism: New Insights and Scholarship

Why is it that so many scholars—people well-versed in captivating ideas and history—are dry writers? Being a feminist with Jewish roots, I was really excited to review Women and Judaism. Divided into four sub-categories: classical tradition, history, contemporary life, and literature—the volume did present some very interesting thoughts on women's role within the Jewish religion.


In his first few shots, all very wide angles and washed-out greens, Abdullah Oguz shows his cards as an ambitious, technically brilliant filmmaker. In the Anatolian countryside, a flock of sheep turns a slow circle as the camera, peering down on a girl’s body, does the same. A melody—composed by Zülfü Livaneli, who also wrote the book on which this film was based—hums through the valley.

Doing Gender Diversity: Readings in Theory and Real-World Experience

What does it mean to be female or male in modern American society? How does this limit the endless ways in which human beings are capable of expressing themselves? More importantly, how do we promote open-mindedness in a world that grooms people from birth to fit in one of two check-yes boxes? I cautiously pose an attitude change as necessary, with all due respect given to gender’s role in society.

An Education

From the moment the film started, the audience of An Education had a collective understanding that what we were about to see no longer applied. Based on the memoir of British journalist Lynn Barber, the film opens with a nostalgically ridiculous montage of ‘60s-era schoolgirls learning their daily lessons: cooking, ballroom dancing, and walking with proper posture (books-on-heads and all).

Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity

It’s easy to confuse Clint Eastwood the actor with Clint Eastwood the director.

Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches’ Guide to Romance Novels

Romance is a huge market, the most popular kind of fiction—and one of the most maligned.

Secret Son

Having read Laila Lalami’s short fiction collection Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, I was thrilled to find out she was working on her first novel, Secret Son.

Boyfriend University: Take Advantage of Your Man and Learn While You Can

In 1994 I was sitting around a bonfire in my combat boots and a thrift store granny dress, drinking homebrew and wondering how many years it had been since I’d used a razor, when someone handed me a pamphlet from the 1930s about how to be a “good wife.” And I couldn’t believe what I was seeing—it was demeaning and yet terribly serious all at once, and we laughed with a combination of horror and relief that the world had changed so much since our grandmothers were young.  This particular memory came flooding back to me when I received _[Boyfriend University](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/

No Country for Young Girls

No Country for Young Girls is a twenty-five minute question posed to India: "How can this country move forward while there is still profound gender discrimination against females?" Director Nupur Basu introduces twenty-seven-year-old Vyjanthi, a mother of a three-year-old daughter. When she becomes pregnant with another girl, her husband and in-laws pressure her to an abortion. She flees to her parents’ house to weigh her options. Should she leave her husband and raise her daughters on her own?

He’s Just Not That Into You

He’s Just Not That Into You wasn’t a terrible movie. Despite its manipulative moments, this film did manage to skip many of the eye roll-inducing rom-com conventions. This movie just wasn’t that romantic or particularly funny.

Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men

Guyland is less of a place than an attitude, a realm of existence. Occupied by young, single, white men, its main demographic is middle class kids who are college-bound, college co-eds, or recent graduates in the United States. They live in communal housing with fraternity brothers or other recent grads. They work entry-level jobs but act aimless. They have plenty of time to party like they did in college and subsist on pizza, beer, and a visual diet of cartoons, sports, and porn. They hook up with women, but rarely form meaningful relationships.

Men Speak Out: Views on Gender, Sex, and Power

Men Speak Out is an important book for feminism.